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Payroll Legal Alert

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement reports that during fiscal year 2013, the last year for which statistics are available, 74% of all child support payments were made via paycheck withholding. That’s $30 billion. The OCSE is beefing up its electronic income withholding orders, or eIWOs, in order to make the child support withholding process even more efficient.

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The IRS may have to return to a bankruptcy estate a bankrupt payroll service bureau’s tax deposits that were collected from clients but were used to satisfy its own tax liabilities. A federal trial court has ruled that the bankruptcy trustee may be able to void transfers of the clients’ money to the IRS.

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If you have an auto-enrollment 401(k) or 403(b) plan, or a plan with escalation features, then you probably have administrative problems. Run-of-the-mill 401(k) plans aren’t a piece of cake to administer, either. The IRS has created three new safe harbors under which you don’t need to make corrective contributions for missed or incorrectly calculated employee pretax deferrals if certain conditions are met. The safe harbors became effective April 2, 2015.

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Electronic W-2 filing is paying off for the Social Security Administration—it’s now able to process hundreds of millions of W-2 files per day and send that information to the IRS by the next business day.

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

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Q: We currently reimburse employees who use their own cellphones to make business calls, but then add back those amounts as taxable pay. HR wants us to stop this practice and make those reimbursements a tax-free fringe benefit. Don’t the accountable plan rules apply here?

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The Department of Health and Human Services sets the maximum limit on out-of-pocket expenses for nongrandfathered, non-high-deductible health plans. For 2016, those limits are $6,850 for self-only coverage ($6,600 in 2015) and $13,700 for other than self-only coverage ($13,200 in 2015).

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An employer that normally would have been liable for three years’ worth of willful FLSA violations may be on the hook for violations stretching back 11 years.

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It’s long been federal policy that you may deduct partial days off from an exempt’s accrued leave time without jeopardizing that status, because partial-day deductions from accrued leave banks aren’t the same as partial-day deductions from pay, which could throw that status into doubt. Does the result change if you overlay a state wage payment law that categorizes accrued vacation as nonforfeitable wages? No, according to a California appeals court.

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The one sure bet is that the IRS will come to the American Payroll Association’s Annual Congress prepared to discuss its payroll-related initiatives. This year’s 33rd Annual Congress was held in Las Vegas; here’s a recap.

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