It’s Tax Day!

tax day

FLSA – Changes coming?

One of the most recent developments in the world of the Fair Labor Standards Act, is President Obama is looking to strengthen overtime protections. On March 13th, 2014 the White House, Office of the Press Secretary released the Fact Sheet: Opportunity for All: Rewarding Hard Work by Strengthening Overtime Protections.

As an excerpt from the fact sheet states, “The overtime and minimum wage rules are set in the Fair Labor Standards Act, originally passed by Congress in 1938, and apply broadly to private-sector workers. However, there are some exceptions to these rules, which the Department of Labor has the authority to define through regulation. One of the most commonly used exemptions is for “executive, administrative and professional” employees, the so-called “white collar” exemption.” A Presidential Memorandum has been signed instructing the Secretary of Labor to update regulations regarding who qualifies for overtime protection.

These developments may come as a surprise to many, as the DOL’s recent focus has been on the misclassification of employees under current guidelines. By possibly changing the rules as to who qualifies as exempt vs. non-exempt from overtime, in what may be a new form of “duties test”, as well as the possibility of the income threshold for salary being raised; many employers are sure to have questions.

These changes are coming on the heels of an already aggressive crack down on the misclassification of employees, and may bring further complications to employers in remaining compliant. We are urging our clients to be prepared by attending our April 17th Training; during which we will discuss the Fair Labor Standards Act, the current Exempt vs. Non-Exempt classifications, W2 vs 1099, along with what the recent developments may mean for them.

Learn More About HR Strategies

It’s Just Around the Corner!

tax day april 15 2013

Are Your Social Security Benefits Taxable?

Some people must pay taxes on part of their Social Security benefits. Others find that their benefits aren’t taxable. If you get Social Security, the IRS can help you determine if some of your benefits are taxable.

Here are seven tips about how Social Security affects your taxes:

  1. If you received these benefits in 2013, you should have received a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, showing the amount.
  2. If Social Security was your only source of income in 2013, your benefits may not be taxable. You also may not need to file a federal income tax return.
  3. If you get income from other sources, then you may have to pay taxes on some of your benefits.
  4. Your income and filing status affect whether you must pay taxes on your Social Security.
  5. The best, and free, way to find out if your benefits are taxable is to use IRS Free File to prepare and e-file your tax return. If you made $58,000 or less, you can use Free File tax software. The software will figure the taxable benefits for you. If your income was more than $58,000 and you feel comfortable doing your own taxes, use Free File Fillable Forms. Free File is available only at IRS.gov/freefile.
  6. If you file a paper return, visit IRS.gov and use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to see if any of your benefits are taxable.
  7. A quick way to find out if any of your benefits may be taxable is to add one-half of your Social Security benefits to all your other income, including any tax-exempt interest. Next, compare this total to the base amounts below. If your total is more than the base amount for your filing status, then some of your benefits may be taxable. The three base amounts are:
    • $25,000 - for single, head of household, qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child or married individuals filing separately who did not live with their spouse at any time during the year
    • $32,000 - for married couples filing jointly
    • $0 - for married persons filing separately who lived together at any time during the year

For more on this topic visit IRS.gov.

social security

Source IRS Tax Tip 2014-23, February 28, 2014

5 Good Reasons to E-File your Tax Return

Tax TimeWill you E-file your taxes or not?  It’s getting close! More than eighty percent of tax payer’s e-file their return and that number are rising every year. Since the inception of electronic filing in 1990, the IRS has safely and securely processed more than 1 billion electronic returns.

IRS TAX tip 2013-03 Lists “Five Good Reasons to E-file Your Tax Return”

  1. Accurate and complete: E-file is the best way to file an accurate and complete tax return. Tax returns that are incomplete or include errors take longer to process.
  2. Safe and secure: Tax preparers and software companies who e-file must meet strict guidelines and provide the best in encryption technology. You receive an acknowledgement within 48 hours that the IRS received your tax return. If the IRS does not accept your tax return, you will receive notification and can quickly correct your return and resubmit it.
  3. Faster refunds: An e-filed tax return usually means a faster refund compared to a paper return. The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days. If you choose direct deposit, your refund goes directly into your bank account. Combining e-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. About three out of four taxpayers who file receive a tax refund. Last year the average refund was about $2,700.
  4. Payment options: If you owe tax, you can e-file early and set an automatic payment date anytime on or before the April 15 due date. You can pay by check or money order, by debit or credit card, or by transferring funds electronically from your bank account.
  5. It’s easy: You can e-file on your own through IRS Free File, the free tax preparation and e-filing service available exclusively at IRS.gov. You can also use commercial tax preparation software or ask your tax preparer to e-file your return. And, if you qualify, IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly partners will e-file your return for free.

Source

Happy National Employee Benefits Day!

Countless recent studies show that the majority of people will outlive their money. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans has plans to change this fact by making people more aware of the retirement crisis and the available employee benefit options. Here’s a snippet from their site: “This year, the focus of National Employee Benefits Day is to increase awareness of the retirement crisis, and to help plan sponsors motivate participants to actively engage in their financial wellness.” See Source. Go to their website for a multitude of resources and simple tools that will get your employees thinking about their financial future. 

Click on the picture below for some fun ways to celebrate!

top ten ways to celebrate

Beware of “Prank Calls” this April Fool’s Day!

Be on the Lookout for Fake IRS Emails & Phone Calls This Tax Season

april-fools-day-shutterstock

Tax scams that use email and phone calls that appear to come from the IRS are common these days. These scams often use the IRS name and logo or fake websites that look real.

Scammers often send an email or call to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. The crooks then use this information to commit identity theft or steal your money. Some call their victims to demand payment on a pre-paid debit card or by wire transfer. But the IRS will not initiate contact with you to ask for this information by phone or email.

If you get this type of ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. Then delete it.

If you get an unexpected phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:

  • Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
  • If you think you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.
  • If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 to report the incident.
  • You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission by using their “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

Be alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS will not initiate contact with you through social media or text to ask for your personal or financial information.

More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov.

Additional IRS Resources:

Source IRS Tax Tip 2014-19, February 24, 2014

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