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Payroll Management

Ineffective payroll management and shoddy payroll systems can result in personal liability (including JAIL TIME) for non-compliance.

Business Management Daily helps our readers with information on payroll processing and tips on timesheets that will help you to implement payroll programs that pay off.

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IRS agents are searching for violations of the COBRA rules, which require an employer with 20 or more employees to offer continued health insurance coverage to departing employees for at least 18 months after their departure.
Q: We reimburse employees for the cost of their cellphones, as well as their wireless coverage. Is the reimbursement for the cost of the cellphone taxable?
Nothing upsets your well-oiled Payroll machine more than the influx of summer hires and their paperwork. Use these tips to tame the summer hiring process.
Q: Are amounts paid for wellness programs and on-site medical clinics reportable in Box 12 of employees’ W-2s? Also, can you explain when dental and vision plan costs are reportable on Form W-2? What qualifies these benefits as “separate” plans?
It’s a frequently recurring headache for employers and the IRS: Determining whether the value of frequent-flier miles employees accumulate when they travel on business is a tax-free fringe benefit or taxable compensation. Share this latest guidance with your colleagues in the payroll department.
Wage garnishment is a tricky business for employers. To keep garnishment practices on the straight and narrow, employers must know how to make deductions and how much to deduct; what is considered disposable income; and which garnishment orders take precedence.
State laws usually require that employee participation in direct deposit or paycard programs must be voluntary. States may also allow paycard vendors to charge employees fees, beginning with the second transaction. This chart summarizes the states’ direct deposit/paycard rules. “Mandatory” means that a state allows you to make e-payment a condition of employment, if you choose. States that don’t have laws aren’t included. In all cases, contact your state labor department for the full story.
To encourage employees to sign up for checkless paydays, the federal government declared May direct deposit month. As government declarations go, it’s been a success—most employees do have their pay deposited directly into their bank accounts. Most isn’t all, however.
Forget the overdone hamburgers and warm soda. Payroll problems can arise even around the most hallowed of institutions, the annual company picnic.
Employees looking for a place to park their youngsters during the summer should consider day camp, including speciality camps. Tax break: Parents may defray day camp expenses through the company’s dependent care assistance program, up to the $5,000 annual limit.
As you gear up for employees’ summer vacation requests, remember that the FLSA has a lot to say about working hours, calculating overtime when employees take a day off during the week, and uniform policies. Here’s help navigating these choppy waters.

Employees' pay and taxable fringe benefits are subject to federal income tax withholding, FICA withholding and state income tax withholding. Employers pay a matching share of FICA taxes; only employers pay federal unemployment taxes, or FUTA. 

Question: Included in our new employee handbook is a standard payroll deduction agreement, which employees must sign and return to Payroll. There’s a clause in the agreement that says employees’ consent to payroll deductions includes, but isn’t limited to, miscellaneous deductions—faxes, phone calls and so forth. HR has told employees that if they don’t sign the agreement, then no deductions can be made. What does Payroll tell employees?
Q. Some of our Illinois employees have taken out payday loans and now expect the Payroll department to set up a payroll deduction to repay the loans ... We’d like to discourage this behavior by charging these employees a fee for servicing these loans. Can we?
All new hires must provide the Payroll department with Forms W-4. The amount of employees' federal income tax withholding, and, often, state income tax withholding, is determined by entries on this form. Forms must be signed under penalties of perjury. The IRS updates this form every year.
Clean breaks are always the best. You don’t want any pay problems lingering after an employee terminates. What you must pay a terminating employee, in addition to any final wages, is determined under state law. And mistakes can be expensive. Two recent cases illustrate.
Federal taxes withheld from employees' pay, the employer's share of FICA, and the employer's FUTA payment must be timely deposited, by cash, check or electronically with an authorized federal depositary institution.  Income and FICA taxes are deposited on a monthly or semiweekly schedule, depending on a look-back rule ...
A federal appeals court has ruled that an employee whose wages were subject to a federal tax levy can’t sue his employer for violations of his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights or for theft of money under state law.

Under the IRS’ Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), you may change workers’ status from independent contractors to employees for future tax periods on favorable tax terms, without in­­curring penalties or interest. Now, however, new questions have arisen. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

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