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irs-future

New Law Modernizes IRS, Updates Payroll Rules

The IRS gets a bad rap for being behind the times. Between its reliance on paper forms and complicated acronyms (1040-EZ, anyone?), you would be forgiven for not associating the agency with the state-of-the-art.

With a new law, the agency is looking to change that perception. The Taxpayer First Act, signed by President Trump earlier this month, goes a long way in modernizing the IRS’s approach to cybersecurity and some longstanding payroll forms. Below, we’ve summed up the changes most applicable to HR and payroll professionals.

wa-elder-care

Washington State Approves Historic Long-Term Care Tax

Americans are getting older. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) estimates that 10,000 U.S. residents turn 65 each day—the majority of whom will need some form of long-term care in their lifetimes.

Form W-4

IRS Releases New Draft Form W-4

Even a federal agency like the IRS needs a “do-over” sometimes. With a recently released (and rewritten) draft Form W-4, the agency is asking HR and payroll teams for a second chance—and a second opinion.

On May 31, the agency published a new draft Form W-4, or Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. The form, which tells HR teams how much to withhold from employees’ paychecks, is a longstanding part of the new hire onboarding process. Once finalized, new hires starting after January 1, 2020 and current employees looking to change their withholdings will need to use the new version.

beach

3 Payroll Lessons From Fyre Festival

Everyone knows about the ill-fated Fyre Festival. Simply put, it was supposed to be a massive festival in the Bahamas and the experience of a lifetime. Ticket holders would get the opportunity to sip margaritas and hit the pool with celebrities, supermodels, and artists. Long story short, none of that ever happened. People spent (and lost) a lot of money for what turned out to be a living nightmare. Seriously, look up the stories.

But before people arrived on the island to see their dreams dashed upon the Bahamian coast, festival staff had an inkling into the issues that would arise. How, might you ask? Payroll.

njt

New Jersey Becomes First State to Require Transit Benefits

Your New Jersey commute just got a little more bearable. With a law recently signed by Governor Phil Murphy, the Garden State becomes the first to require employers to offer pre-tax transportation benefits. Before being signed by the governor on March 1, Senate Bill 1567 was overwhelmingly supported by both houses of the state legislature. 

hsa-fsa

HSA vs. FSA: Spelling Out the Differences

Everyone knows you can find (and buy) just about anything on Amazon, including medical supplies. While the online mega-retailer has always accepted a long list of payment methods, one recent addition might be just what the doctor ordered.

The company recently announced that it would begin accepting health savings account (HSA) and flexible savings account (FSA) cards as payment. This development marks just the latest in Amazon’s foray into the healthcare industry, which Namely first covered last year.

If you’re currently unenrolled in an HSA or FSA, it might be prime time to reconsider. In this article, we’ll go through the two account types and their potential payroll tax implications.
 

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prosports

Pro Sports and Payroll: How Are Athletes Taxed?

It’s game day. The wings are hot, the beer is cold, and mom’s seven layer dip is on point. While your friends are agonizing over the score, the payroll professional in you can’t stop thinking, “How is the away team taxed?” Come on, I know that's going through your mind. 

shutdown

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.

w-4-worry

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. 

reciprocity

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.”