In case you hadn’t heard Congress is working on a tax bill! Yes, a bit snarky there. But this new tax bill does have a direct effect on payroll, especially our year end and year beginning updates. Normally by now we would have received the Notice that gives us the 2018 tax charts, the Form W-4 would have been finalized etc. But we were notified in the monthly IRS payroll industry phone conference call, on Thursday Dec. 7, that these items are on hold until the tax bill is passed or abandoned. Now since it is unlikely this bill will just be abandoned, the massive changes to tax charts, taxing of fringe benefits etc. is going to require extensive updates for the IRS to incorporate. So even if the bill is effective January 1, 2018, which it is indicated to be, don’t expect the new charts immediately. The IRS needs time to “review and implement” the required changes. So what will probably happen is that we will have an “implementation period” as we did in 2009, when new tax legislation was passed. Employers will continue to use the 2017 charts and guidance until the info is received. This may pose a problem as many of the fringe benefits that we currently offer such as transportation passes, educational assistance and relocation may have tax status changes from nontaxable to taxable. So be sure to track these payments or benefits so they can properly taxed if need be when the final bill is implemented.
When conducting my webinars on the FLSA requirements one area always seems confusing to attendees and that is the eight types of payments that can be excluded when calculating regular rate of pay. The one found most often to be confusing to my attendees and maybe to you as well is the one that is for bona fide overtime premiums. Bill Pokorny has done an excellent blog post on this subject that I know you will find helpful on this topic. Please take the time to check it out if you offer this type of payment or to improve your general payroll knowledge.
I get a lot of questions on whether or not a payroll professional should get certified and if they should then which certification should they try for first. Should they go right into the CPP exam? Or start off with the FPC and work up to the CPP? Many payroll professionals are even confused as to which certification they could qualify for. In their blog, Payroll News, Symmetry Software has done a very nice and quick comparison of the two certifications offered by the APA. If you are looking to certify but aren’t sure which test to try for, take time to check out the blog today.
A recent article from RIA told of the following problem:
Mike McGuire from IRS Modernized e-File (MeF) told listeners to the May 4 payroll industry telephone conference call that the IRS has been rejecting “tens of thousands” of 2017 first quarter electronically-filed Forms 941, Schedule B (Report of Tax Liability for Semiweekly Schedule Depositors) because the total tax liability on Schedule B does not agree with the total tax liability on Form 941, line 12 (Total taxes after adjustments and credits). Prior to the 2017 tax year, the total tax liability on Schedule B had to agree with Form 941, line 10 (Total taxes after adjustments), or the IRS would reject it. However, the IRS revised some of the line numbers on Form 941, beginning with the 2017 tax year, to take into account that “qualified small businesses” may now elect to claim a portion of their research credit as a payroll tax credit against their employer FICA tax liability, rather than against their income tax liability. Beginning with the 2017 tax year, the total tax liability on Schedule B must agree with Form 941, line 12 (Total taxes after adjustments and credits) rather than line 10. Some electronic filers have not adjusted their programs to take this change into account. Rejected returns have to be resubmitted to the IRS.
Make sure your system has made this change.
Find out about these types of changes fast and easy by subscribing to Payroll 24/7.
I just completed my registration for the American Payroll Association’s 2017 Virtual Congress & Expo. This is a free event for APA members which is held every year. This is the 8th year for the event and the 6th one I will be attending. This is the online companion to the Annual Congress. But for me it is the only one I can usually attend. I love attending the live, real world congress. I get to meet up with associates, network and gain valuable knowledge. However, my schedule just doesn’t permit me to take the time off to attend most years. But virtual congress is different. I can attend in the morning, take time to do one of my webinars and be back in the afternoon. I still get to network with old friends and make new ones using the networking lounge’s chat boards. I get to see all who are attending and can even contact attendees directly to say hello. The webinars are always educational. This year we are looking at such subjects as:
- State Unemployment Rates: How Did They Arrive at Our Rate?
- Is this Taxable?
- Global Payroll
- Calculations Your High School Teacher Never Taught You
I am really looking forward to these webinars. Virtual congress is the next best thing if your work schedule or budget just won’t let you attend Congress. So I hope to “see you there”. By the way did I mention that you can earn up to 15 RCHs for attending the webinars. And if you register but can’t attend everything, after the virtual congress concludes, the webinars are then open as on-demand webinars until August. This is great for me. I can catch up on the ones I had to miss due to work or that were scheduled at the same time as another topic I wanted to check out.
For more info check out the APA website.
The Social Security Administration announced in their blog today that California drivers can now replace their Social Security cards online. SSA’s online application makes getting a replacement card super easy and California joins the growing list of 16 other states and the District of Columbia where your employees can use this service. Other states include Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. As long as your employees have a California driver’s license or a state issued identification card they can request replacement Social Security cards online through the My Social Security portal. Check out SSA’s blog today for more information.
It is now the season for the requests for duplicate copies of the Form W-2 to begin, if they haven’t already. It amazes me how many people seem to “lose, misplace or never get” their Form W-2. No matter how hard I work to remind them to check your address at the end of the year, watch your mail box, or better yet, get an electronic copy you can’t “lose” I still get requests every year for duplicates. So how should payroll handled duplicate requests? Should you have your own form? Is there a required time frame for reissuing? Can I charge a fee? These are just some of the questions we discuss in our February white paper. We hope you find it interesting and informative.