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Feds: Payroll news you can use

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

Here are digests of some recently released official announcements from around the federal government.

1. Reporting data breaches to the IRS. If a phisher has gotten into your payroll records, report the data breach to the IRS as soon as possible by sending an email to: dataloss@irs.gov. Tips: Be sure to include the company’s name, the Employer Identification Number associated with the data loss, a contact name and phone number, a summary of how the data loss occurred and the number of employees affected.

PAYROLL PRACTICE TIP: The IRS doesn’t specify how or even whether it will contact you. It does note that any contact from the IRS will be in response to your email. It also notes that it never initiates contact by email, text messages or through social media channels. Ominously, however, it warns that scammers often create false IRS websites and emails that impersonate the IRS, when they learn of a new IRS defense. Watchword: You must still be cautious.

2. No more downloadable AccuWage. The Social Security Administration has announced that it’s retiring the downloadable version of AccuWage. AccuWage Online will replace the downloadable version on Sept. 23, 2017. Caution: Keep this in mind as you plan your year-end reporting procedures. Point your browser to tinyurl.com/accuwage for more information about AccuWage.

3. Sec. 179 elections. Under tax code Section 179, businesses with a sufficiently small amount of annual investment in the business can take current deductions for certain qualified items, including software programs, instead of having to depreciate them. The IRS now says that you may make Sec. 179 elections on amended returns without the Commissioner’s consent. (Rev. Proc. 2017-33, IRB 2017-19)

4. Congress invalidates state/municipal auto-enrollment IRA regs. Final regulations issued last year by the Department of Labor provide a safe harbor from ERISA for private employers that are required under either a state law or a municipal ordinance to automatically enroll employees into IRAs and withhold contributions from their pay. Congress has passed H.J. Res. 66, which invalidates the state regulations and H.J. Res. 67, which invalidates the municipal regulations. (H.J.Res. 66; H.J.Res. 67)

PAYROLL PRACTICE TIP: No city has passed an ordinance, but California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and Oregon have such laws on their books. Although these laws aren’t automatically invalidated, states that continue to push for enforcement will need to work within the current framework of ERISA’s preemption rules, which apply to any retirement plan. Oregon has indicated that it intends to go forward with its auto-enrollment IRA program.

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