November 2014: Employer's business tax calendar

This is your monthly guide to critical payroll due dates.

PTO banks go mainstream

Use of paid time off leave banks has increased almost 50% in the last dozen years.

Are there limits to direct deposit?

Q: A new employee wants us to direct deposit her paychecks into a business bank account. She’s provided proof that she’s the signatory on the account. Is this OK?

Enhanced pay report proposed for fed contractors

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a Notice of Proposed Rule­­making that would require the Office of Federal Contract Com­­pliance Programs to collect pay data from federal contractors.

Complicated compensation formula? Prepare to spell out all details in court

Here’s a warning for employers with overly complicated compensation systems: If someone believes the pay plan is discriminatory, you’ll probably have to spend considerable time explaining the system in court. Simpler may be better.

Withholding on bonuses: The 25% solution (or not)?

Q: The company pays bonuses to employees every fall. We’ve run across several 2014 W-4 forms on which employees claim an exemption from federal and state income tax withholding. Can we still withhold using the 25% flat supplemental withholding rate for federal purposes?

Nov. 2: Time to fall back

Don’t forget daylight saving time's effect on the payroll department.

Rules allow employees to opt out of cafeteria plan coverage

Cafeteria plans may, but aren’t required to, allow employees who experience a change in status (such as a change in marital status) to change or revoke their elections. The IRS has expanded the conditions under which cafeteria plans may allow employees to revoke their elections to participate in group health plans to account for individual coverage that’s available on the exchange, which may be a better deal for them.

FICA wage base increases to $118,500 for 2015

The 2015 taxable wage base for the Social Security portion of FICA is $118,500, a 1.28% hike over the 2014 wage base. The 6.2% Social Security tax is payable by both employers and employees; in 2015, the maximum tax is $7,347.

Worker damaged truck then quit: Any recourse?

Q. An employee driving a backhoe backed into a wall and tore the door off. We had to install a new door ($275), but the employee quit that same week. So we deducted $275 from his last check. Now he says he’s talking to a lawyer. Were we right?

SHOP 2015: Buying health insurance on the ACA exchanges

Under final ACA regulations, open enrollment for the 2015 plan year begins Nov. 15, 2014, for small employers that buy group health plans through the federally run Small Business Health Options Program. State-based SHOPs can set their own open enrollment periods.

Holiday bonuses: Great for everyone's morale (but Payroll's)

Holiday bonuses are a tradition at many companies. Employees usually receive their bonuses in December. But Payroll must begin planning for them now. Here’s what you need to know.

5 ways employers should respond to wage garnishments

While the economy is finally waking up from the Great Recession, millions of Americans are still feeling the hangover in the form of wage garnishments. What if a lender wants a piece of your employee's paycheck? Here are five tips.

All large employers on the 2015 health care reporting hot seat

Now is the time to make decisions regarding information reporting, since the first returns are due in 2016.

Take a bite out of corporate travel expenses with per diems

How can you keep employees out on the road without busting the company’s travel budget? You can get more bang for your travel buck if you use the federal government’s per diem rates.
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