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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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Under the de minimis deposit safe harbor rule, employers that accumulate less than $2,500 in payroll taxes during the current calendar quarter can pay those taxes with their Form 941, rather than deposit them. Final regulations allow quarterly filers to use the safe harbor rule if their accumulated taxes for the current or preceding quarter are less than $2,500.
Final medical loss ratio (MLR) regulations, which took effect Jan. 1, 2012, require group health in­­surers to spend between 80 and 85 cents of every pre­­mium dollar on medical care and health care quality improvement. Insurers that fall short must make rebates to participants, beginning Aug. 1, 2012.
This isn’t good news for employees named Chris, Pat or Robin. The Social Security Administration has announced that it has removed the verification of gender from its Social Security Number Verification Services (SSNVS).
Under the IRS’ Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), you may change workers’ status from independent contractors to employees for future years. One major concern with VCSP has been potential liability for reclassified workers under the FLSA or state wage payment laws.

The standard mileage rate, which employers may use to reimburse employees who drive their own cars on business, remains 55.5 cents a mile for 2012. You can also use the standard mileage rate to value employees’ personal use of moderately priced company cars.

Comp and benefits pros have three ways to make tax time easier on employees this spring. Work with your colleagues in payroll and accounting to publicize these conveniences—and protect workers from fraud.
Darn that groundhog! If it knew what payroll administrators know about looming W-2 deadlines, it would never come out of its den. Paper W-2s are due to the Social Security Administration by the end of the month; e-filed forms are due by April 2.
You couldn’t have direct deposit or online banking without the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. Unfortunately, online banking through the ACH network has generated a new cyber crime—ACH fraud. Payroll, which uses the ACH network for direct deposits and other transactions, is particularly vulnerable.

Businesses must stay abreast of an alphabet soup of federal laws—ADA, ADEA, FMLA and so forth—each with its own requirements. Further complicating matters, most states have their own laws that override the federal requirements. To comply, you first must know which laws apply to your business, based on the number of people you employ ...

Q. We would like to institute a rule subjecting em­­ployees to discipline for clocking in late. Are we permitted to do this even though we round our employees’ time to the nearest quarter-hour?
To offset the cost of three new free-trade agreements, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011 requires states to beef up their unemployment and new-hire reporting laws. Both provisions will affect your payroll operations.
If you use an accrual method of accounting and allocate money to a bonus pool, you can breathe a sigh of tax deductible relief. The IRS has concluded that employers can take a current tax deduction for a fixed amount of bonuses that will be paid to employees during the next year.
Payroll doesn’t have time to shake off any lingering holiday blues, since it’s down-to-the-wire time for W-2s. Here are two tax questions about gift cards and staff discounts:
According to the IRS, the same rules that apply to employees’ tax-free use of cellphones and smartphones also apply to tablets, such as iPads.
Congress has repealed the dreaded withholding provision under which state and local governments would have been required to withhold 3% of payments made to any payee for goods and services. The provision was slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Employees can take a lot of the guesswork out of their 2012 income tax liability by ensuring that their W-4s are accurate. Those who need to file new forms due to changes in their personal finances now have the inflation-adjusted figures on which to base those decisions.
After weeks of wrangling, the House of Representatives and the Senate on Dec. 23, 2011 agreed to extend a 2 percentage point payroll tax cut for two months to buy time for talks on a full-year renewal. President Obama immediately signed the bill into law. The vote removes employer uncertainly about how to handle payroll withholding starting Jan. 1, 2012.
Question: An employee signed up for a cafeteria plan health flexible spending account (FSA). Last February, she had back surgery, which meant that she was reimbursed for the full amount of her annual election. She quit before the balance of her elective deferral could be withheld from her pay. Must we report the amount paid out to her from the FSA, but not yet deducted from her pay, on her W-2?

W-2s can give you aggravation, sleepless nights, you name it. Here are the critical due dates, as well as six common W-2 errors and easy tips to avoid them:

As part of an economic stimulus effort, the withholding rate in 2011 for the employee’s share of the Social Security tax was reduced from the usual 6.2% to 4.2%. Will Congress agree to extend the 4.2% rate through 2012?
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