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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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Q. Employees who don’t use all of their paid time off (PTO) lose it at the end of the company’s fiscal year. Management wants to amend this policy to give employees the option of selling back their unused PTO days to the company at their current pay rates or rolling over the PTO days into the next year. Before Payroll gives its final OK to this plan, we’d like to know if we’re missing anything.

The IRS recently announced that it has begun conducting correspondence audits of employers that took the 6.2% Social Security tax credit authorized by the 2010 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has concluded that the audit program remains error-prone, and that those errors affect taxpayers’ rights.

April is the cruelest month not because it rains ­buckets, but because it’s time to file your first-quarter Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. Here’s help for Payroll:
A federal trial court has ruled that an auto body shop’s inside CPA/controller was personally responsible for 100% of its unpaid payroll taxes. It was enough, the court said, that the CPA had some authority over the company’s finances; exclusive authority wasn’t necessary.
Employees can be reimbursed for their travel and entertainment expenses (T&E) on a tax-free basis. However, if a T&E policy does not meet the IRS standards, or employees do not adequately substantiate their business expenses, their reimbursements are fully taxable.
The IRS has retired Form 941-M, which is filed monthly by employers with serious payroll compliance problems. Also retired are the special deposit rules, which required deposits to be made into a special trust fund account within two banking days of payday.
Q. A new employee was mistakenly paid through Accounts Payable for January, so no federal or state taxes were withheld from his pay. It’s still early in the year, so we’d like to take out the taxes that should have been withheld from later wage payments. But we don’t want to leave him with no net pay. According to our calculations, it should take us two months to withhold the additional taxes. Is this OK?
Form W-2 and the 1099 series of forms are called information returns. Withheld income and FICA taxes are reconciled quarterly when you file your Form 941 with the IRS. They're reconciled again, annually, when you file a Form W-2 for each employee with the Social Security Administration.

Allowing wage-and-hour problems to fester can land you in hot water, which puts a premium on performing a self-audit of your company’s pay policies. But be aware that you may have to provide this so-called self-critical analysis to employees’ attorneys, should they sue you. Take these steps to minimize this possibility:

A federal appeals court has ruled that an employee-tax protester can’t sue his employer and individual employees for withholding taxes. The court also rejected the employee’s Title VII claim that he was unlawfully terminated for complaining about the withholding.
Under proposed regulations, staffing agencies that send health care workers into clients’ homes would be fully covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In-home health care workers who are employed by families would retain their FLSA exemption.
Here are digests of recent benefits rulings that will affect your Payroll operations: 1. Payroll off the hook for CLASS Act withholding. 2. Compliance with summary of benefits and coverage rules postponed. 3. HRA reporting under the Medicare-as-secondary-payer rule.
The IRS has clarified that em­­ployers can take a current-year tax deduc­­tion for a fixed amount of bonuses that will be paid to employees during the following year, even though the amount that each employee will re­­ceive, and even the identity of employees, aren’t known until after the tax year ends.
Employers that use the standard mileage rate to value employees’ personal use of company vehicles are restricted to supplying them with vehicles of modest value. For 2012, the value of company cars that qualify for the standard mileage valuation method is $15,900.
If em­­ployees attend a business convention in Europe, you can’t reimburse their business expenses on a tax-free basis unless they demonstrate that the convention’s location satisfies heightened standards of reasonableness. But employees who attend business conventions in North America need only establish the familiar elements of the accountable plan rules for their reimbursements to be tax-free ...
Beginning with 2012 W-2 forms, you must report the value of employees’ health benefits (Box 12, with Code DD). Reporting on Form W-3 isn’t ­necessary. Good news: Under new IRS guidance, W-2 reporting is excused in more instances.
The earlier employers fix errors on 2011 W-2s, the less likely it is they’ll be penalized by the IRS. E-filers have until the April 2 to file original W-2s, but even those few extra weeks may not be enough to get off the W-2c hook for mistakes that come to your attention after e-filing.
Under the Affordable Care Act health care reform law, doctors and nurses whose student loans are forgiven under state programs that reward those who work in underserved areas don’t have income in the amount of the debt that’s forgiven.
Whether accrued vacation pay is due to an employee upon termination is determined by state law. This chart summarizes state vacation pay laws. Some states have no laws on this issue, which means that company policy should prevail.

Employees call Payroll every year saying they’ve lost their W-2s. Dealing with such requests can become a time-consuming headache, especially for larger organizations. Here are some tips for managing the reissued W-2 process.

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