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Payroll Legal Alert

No sooner had IRS Letter 226J hit applicable large employers’ mailboxes informing them that they may be liable for a free-rider penalty, than questions regarding the validity of this penalty assessment arose. The IRS has now answered its critics, but whether that answer is sufficient is a different story.

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Employees who are members of the National Guard or Reserves are heroes. Here’s what you need to do to ensure they are paid properly while they are serving the country.

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

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Your options: You can either void uncashed checks or hold them open on your books. Hiccup: Banks generally won’t honor checks that are older than six months, so your employees won’t be happy either.

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If you’re tempted to say that to the teenagers in your house, and thankful that someone else will be employing them this summer, remember that somewhere out there other parents are saying the very same thing to their teens. And you may end up employing them.

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Here’s your monthly guide to critical payroll due dates.

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If misclassified workers pay their income and self-employment taxes, you’re off the hook for the income taxes you didn’t withhold and likewise for both the employer and employee portions of FICA (but penalties may still apply).

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When you withhold taxes from employees’ pay, you’re administering the tax code. The U.S. Supreme Court has now given you some breathing room. It ruled that you can’t be criminally liable for obstructing the due administration of the tax code unless you’re aware of, or can reasonably foresee, a pending proceeding, such as an audit.

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Glitches in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act began bubbling to the surface almost the minute it was signed into law. Although there are higher priority items that need clarification and correction, one little-noticed provision may have an outsized impact on 401(k) plans that allow employees to take hardship distributions.

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Are employees’ business entertainment expenses taxable? … What are the rules for reimbursing employees’ home internet access?

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As employees’ thoughts turn toward summer vacation, put two items on your agenda: ensuring that the summer vacation schedule runs smoothly and that employees aren’t overpaid during weeks they take a day or two off.

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Payroll managers whose companies take on summer hires know the feeling. Questions about W-4s and I-9s from new members of the taxpaying community are just the beginning. Use this checklist to bring order to the summer hiring process.

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Can you steer employees to paycards instead of checks or direct deposit? Yes, but you can’t require them.

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For the 2018 plan year, group plans are affordable if employees’ premiums don’t exceed 9.56% of their W-2, Box 1 income or their hourly rates of pay on the first day of the plan year (9.69% for the 2017 plan year).

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Here’s your monthly guide to critical payroll due dates.

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Final regulations now allow the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to accept transfers made by terminating 401(k) plans if you can’t find former employees, but need to make distributions to them on account of the plan’s termination.

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Does breakfast at Tiffany’s come with a watch? … How do we handle withholding without personal exemptions?

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The deductibility of costs incurred for company events, such as a Christmas party, is covered under tax code Sections 274(e)(1) and (e)(4), which the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act didn’t touch.

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The IRS is a prodigious publisher. Here are digests of documents sent between IRS offices.

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Before spring fever sets in for real, why not clean up your payroll records? Careful: Be judicious in your culling; the IRS requires you to keep payroll records for at least four years after employees’ 1040s are due.

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