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Posts published in “Payroll”

A Handy Guide to the IRS Form W-2

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Over the next few weeks, as your employees start to receive their 2018 W-2 form, they will most likely have questions as to what all those numbers mean.  For example, it is not uncommon for a salaried employee who earns $50,000 per year question why their Box 1 Wages only reflects $45,000.  The response is, ‘do you contribute to a pension plan or have pre-tax insurance, then if so those amounts reduce your “taxable” wage, which is what appears in Box 1’. To assist you with those questions, here is an explanation of what is in each box and what…

New Federal Withholding W-4 Form Released

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Whew!  We dodged a bullet… at least for another year.  If you are not familiar with what the 2019 W-4 form could have looked like, then keep an eye out for a future article where we will give it a thorough review as it is now postponed for 2020 by the U.S. Treasury. The new 2019 W-4 form has been published (including the Spanish W-4(SP) version) and not much is changed from the 2018 version. A Form W-4 remains in effect until the employee gives you a new one, so you do not need to obtain a new form each year.  When…

State Minimum Wage Increases 2019

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While the Federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, 22 states and many cities/locals have set increases effective January 1st, 2018 with a few announcing a July 1st, 2019 increase, and New York with a December 31st, 2018 increase.  A list of each state/local, along with the new hourly rate is listed below; All rates are effective January 1st, 2019 unless otherwise noted. Alaska: $9.89 an hour Arizona: $11.00 Flagstaff: $12.00 Arkasnsas: $9.25 California: $12.00 for businesses with 26 or more employees; $11.00 for businesses with 25 or fewer employees Alameda: $13.50 Belmont: $13.50 Cupertino: $15.00 El Cerrito: $15.00 Los Altos: $15.00 Los Angeles: (7/1/2019) $14.25 for businesses with 26 or more employees;…

Reimbursing Employees for Health Insurance Can Be a Costly Mistake

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As we get into the health insurance renewal season, there are some smaller, non-ACA mandated businesses (less than 50 FTEs) that may consider dropping their small group health plan all together.  An average of 20-30% group rate hikes year after year do take a toll on the bottom line, so it would not be surprising. In lieu of carrying a group health plan, some employers may even decide to simply reimburse their employees a set amount for them to obtain individual coverage, or maybe even pay for the employees individual health insurance costs directly.   Unfortunately, 2013 guidance from the IRS…

What You Need To Know About Paycheck Stubs

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I have previously written about how to pay, when to pay, and even the method to pay employees, so now let’s look at what needs to be provided to an employee with their check (their pay stub).   Similar to my last article about when a final check is due to a separated employee, there is no Federal law which means the power to dictate is in the hands of each state.  This certainly can become confusing to a company who operates in multiple states, and the best practice here is to comply with the state that has the most requirements. We will…

Now That The Employee Has Separated, When is Their Final Check Due?

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With the exception of four states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi), each state has specific laws regarding the issuance of a final paycheck to a separated employee.  Many states differentiate whether the employee was separated voluntarily or involuntarily, and the timing ranges from “immediately” (yes, this means the same day the employee is terminated) to the next scheduled payday, so I have put together this table for quick and easy reference. Each state has penalties for violation of the final check rule, so be sure you know what is required.    A state such as California will enforce the employer to…

Little Known Successor Rule Means Big Tax Savings

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There are tax credits and savings all around us, but if you do not know what to look for or have an experienced tax adviser, you may be missing out.  One rarely known tax savings is the Successor employer rule.  The regulations can be found under IRS Code 31.3121(a)(1)-1(b), and there is a single, small paragraph that makes mention of it in Publication 15 Employer’s Tax Guide, but I will give you the rundown here.   If you have purchased or looking to purchase a business, then this is definitely one you do not want to overlook. Most employer taxes are…

Are Your Employees Mismatched? SSA is Cracking Down – Penalties May Follow

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The Social Security Administration has announced that they will begin mailing Educational Correspondence (EDCOR) notices in the middle of next year to businesses and employers who submit wage and tax statements (Form W-2) that contain name and Social Security number (SSN) combinations that do not match their records.  There are a number of reasons why reported names and SSNs may not agree with their records, such as typographical errors, unreported name changes, and inaccurate or incomplete employer records. If they cannot match the name and SSN reported on a Form W-2 to their records, they cannot reconcile employer wage reports and…

Thinking about a PEO? Think Twice.

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While I am biased, as President of PayMaster, a payroll service provider, I do find the rare case for a business to utilize the services of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or Employee Leasing as it is sometimes referred to.  In my opinion, there are only two reasons for a business to utilize a PEO, and that is in regards to Health insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance as we will discuss.   If the PEO route is the decision then I strongly recommend proceeding with caution and do your math, taking into consideration the big picture of the financial cost.  This not…

Tipping – A Fictitious City in China and Maybe on Its Way Out Here

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This past week, voters in Washington, D.C. elected to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to minimum wage by passing Initiative 77.  Wait aren’t they already receiving minimum wage?  Sort of.  While the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the minimum wage for an employee who receives at least $30 per month in tips is only $2.13 an hour.   This does not mean that an employee who works a 40 hour week is only going home with less than $100 gross.  The employee is expected to receive tips that bring them up to the regular minimum wage, and should that…