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Retro Pay 101: Payroll Lessons From the Government Shutdown

The absolute worst feeling that a payroll professional can have is finding out someone didn’t get paid.

While that stings for us, it’s even worse for the ones who wake up to an empty bank account on payday. Last week, roughly 800,000 federal employees experienced that due to a partial government shutdown.

Eventually, most of these employees will be paid for their time. And given that the shutdown started back in December, it's a sure bet that payroll professionals like me will be asked to process plenty of retroactive payments. Here’s how those should be handled.

New 2019 Form W-4 Released, But Concerns Persist

The more things change, the more they stay the same. After months of speculation, the 2019 Form W-4 has arrived—and it isn’t nearly as worrisome as payroll professionals thought it would be.

On December 11, the IRS quietly added the 2019 Form W-4 to its website, unaccompanied by the usual press release. With the exception of a few minor wording changes, the form is virtually identical to the 2018 edition. 

How Does State Tax Reciprocity Work?

Everyone’s heard the saying, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” In payroll, when these agreements happen between states, we call them reciprocal agreements. In other words, “you take my tax, I’ll take yours.”

Calling the IRS? Read This First.

The holiday season is known for a lot of pleasant things—eggnog, scented candles, and family time all come to mind. But if you’ve been in the payroll profession long enough, there’s a good chance you associate it with something else: federal and state tax notices. And when those come in, it’s time to pick up the phone. Gulp.

2019 Contribution Limits Released

Call it an annual holiday tradition. Every year, the IRS publishes a new set of contribution limits for a variety of popular benefits, including flexible savings accounts and commuter plans. With a series of announcements spaced over the last several weeks, the agency has finally settled on all major limits for 2019.  

Form 1099 vs. Form W-2: How to Classify Employees Correctly

Contractor or employee? With 57 million workers, or 36 percent of the U.S. workforce, participating in the gig economy, the line between contractors and employees has never been blurrier. The tax filing implications are even more complicated.

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IRS Releases 2019 Retirement Contribution Limits

New year, new limits. Earlier this month, the IRS published its long-awaited updates to 401(k) and IRA contribution limits for 2019.

Because retirement plans can be funded on a pretax basis (meaning deductions are taken from employee paychecks before taxes like social security), the IRS limits how much employees can contribute to them annually. These limits are subject to a periodic review to account for changes in the cost of living, inflation, and other factors.

Key Dates to Remember for Year-End Payroll

For HR and payroll professionals, the holiday season means a whole lot more than gingerbread and mistletoe. The transition between years brings tax deadlines, ACA reporting requirements, bank holidays, and more.

DOL Announces New Overtime Rule's Release Date

The decade's most hotly anticipated change to employment law has been delayed yet again.

Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it was postponing the release of its overtime rule changes until March 2019. Earlier this year, the agency said it hoped to unveil them by January. The announcement marks just the latest turning point in a regulatory soap opera that dates back to 2015.

Death and Taxes: Processing a Deceased Employee’s Final Check

We’ve all heard the old saying about death and taxes. But going further, what are the tax implications of death?

There’s no denying the emotional toll when we lose a loved one or colleague. But even in death, payroll still needs to be processed. We'll break down the common scenarios that might occur when an employee passes.