Archive | June 2017

Tax Tip Tuesday

For Letter Rulings and Similar Requests: Electronic Payment of User Fees Starts June 15; Replaces Paying by Check

WASHINGTON — Beginning June 15, taxpayers requesting letter rulings, closing agreements and certain other rulings from the Internal Revenue Service will need to make user fee payments electronically using the federal government’s Pay.gov system.

Pay.gov allows people to pay for a variety of government services online using a credit card, debit card or via direct debit or electronic funds withdrawal from a checking or savings account. In the past, ruling requesters could only make required user fee payments by check or money order. During a two-month transition period, June 15 to Aug. 15, requesters can choose to make user fee payments either through Pay.gov or by check or money order. After Aug. 15, 2017, Pay.gov will become the only permissible payment method.

Rulings described in Revenue Procedure 2017-1 and sent to the Docket, Records and User Fee Branch of the Legal Processing Division of the Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration) (CC:PA:LPD:DRU) are affected by this change. These include private letter rulings, closing agreements, and rulings using Form 1128, 2553, 3115 or 8716. Determination letters are not affected because they are sent to other offices as described in the revenue procedure.

A letter ruling is a written determination issued to a taxpayer by IRS Chief Counsel in response to the taxpayer’s written inquiry, submitted prior to the filing of returns or reports required under federal law. In general, it concerns the requester’s status for tax purposes or the tax effects of its acts or transactions. Letter rulings and other similar ruling requests interpret the tax laws and apply them to the taxpayer’s specific set of facts. User fees range from $200 to $28,300, depending upon the type of ruling being sought.

Pay.gov is used to accept payments only. The original, signed ruling request and supporting materials must still be submitted by mail or hand delivery to the IRS.

To submit a user fee, visit www.pay.gov and use the IRS Chief Counsel User Fees (or Supplemental User Fees) for Form 1128, Form 2553, Form 3115, Form 8716, Private Letter Rulings and Closing Agreements form. This form can be found by entering “IRS Chief Counsel User Fees” in the “Search the Forms” box or by clicking on the “Agency List” link under “What Federal Agencies Can I Pay?” and choosing Internal Revenue Service.

Once payment is made, print a copy of the completed form and the receipt and include these with the  letter ruling request. Then submit the complete package by mail or hand delivery:

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
CC:PA:LPD:DRU
P.O. Box 7604
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC  20044;

or

Hand deliver, or if using a private courier service, to:

Internal Revenue Service
CC:PA:LPD:DRU
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room 5336
Washington, DC  20224

In addition, for the fastest processing, please Efax a copy of the pay.gov receipt, the completed form and the ruling request to this eFax line, 877-773-4950.

IR-2017-102, June 1, 2017

OSHA’s New Slip and Fall Rules Might Have Escaped Many Employers

Are you aware of the new standards that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued last year? According to a Newsday report, many employers are not aware of the new regulations.

Last year, OSHA updated its Walking-Working Surfaces Safety standards which indicates it will prevent numerous fatalities, thus reducing the 5,000 injuries that occur annually. Fall from heights, and same-level are among the leading causes for these injuries.

“The new guidelines require employers to conduct regular inspections of every surface in the workplace on which people work and walk, including stairs, floors, ladders and other areas. The purpose is to identify trip, slip and fall hazards. The updated standards bring workplace requirements in line with those of the construction industry.”

Though the updated standards became effective in January of this year, many employers have been slow to comply. As of May 17th, employers are expected to have trained employees who use “fall-protection” equipment and systems.

The rule affects a range of workers, from painters to warehouse workers and is used to update general industry standards. Specifically, it updates the “slip, trip, and fall” hazards and adds requirements for personal fall protection systems.

“OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities
& 5,842 lost-working injuries every year.”

OSHA also states that the updates standards allow employees flexibility in deciding the best way they can minimize safety hazards. One example of a rule change is eliminating the existing rule to use guardrails as a primary fall protection method. This will allow employers to choose from accepted fall protection systems they believe will work best in a particular situation. This approach has been quite successful in the construction industry since 1994.

Advantages:

  •  Advances in Technology
  •  Industry Best Practices
  •  Effective & Cost-Efficient Worker Protection
  •  National Consensus Standards

Employers must stay up to date on OSHA Regulations. Regular inspections are crucial to minimize workplace injuries and fatalities. However, if these safety hazards are ignored, the costs are steep. Your company could get hit with not only OSHA Citations for safety violations, but there are workers’ compensation cost to consider along with possible lawsuits that come with those injuries.

HR Strategies offers our employers help with staying in compliance with new OSHA Regulations.

For questions regarding your Workers’ Compensation Policy, OSHA Regulations, or training, please contact Tanya White at twhite@hr-strategies.com or 678-551-6419.

MA is latest of 19 states to pass laws protecting pregnant and nursing mothers

Dive Brief:

  • Nineteen states now have laws protecting pregnant women and nursing mothers, Engineering News-Record (ENR) reports.
  • The Massachusetts House passed a bill on May 10 requiring employers to provide nursing mothers with a private, non-bathroom area. The bill also requires employers to provide mothers with reasonable accommodations, such as a lighter workload, unless the employer would face undue hardship. The state’s Senate is expected to approve the bill.
  • According to ENR, the states’ laws extend protections for pregnant and nursing mothers beyond federal law, and most of them — 13 out of the 19 — were passed within the last four years.

Dive Insight:

Legal protection for pregnant women and nursing mothers is yet another area of employment law in which states have taken their own measures. That growing list includes paid family leave, “ban the box” and pay equity laws.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers in traditionally male-dominated jobs, such as construction or architecture, might require private areas to take care of maternal issues, like pumping breast milk. They will almost certainly need to be given less strenuous tasks and assignments in addition to more frequent breaks.

Kathleen Dobson, safety director at Alberici Constructors, told ENR that some employers don’t understand the federal rules; employers might not even know that pregnant workers are considered disabled under the law and therefore entitled to reasonable accommodations. Wal-Mart employees recently sued the company for denying pregnant workers the same reasonable accommodations as other disabled workers.

With 13 out of 19 states passing laws protecting pregnant women and nursing mothers within a relatively short time, more states will likely follow. Employers must monitor possible changes in their own state’s laws, which often are more extensive than federal law.

Source: HR Dive

%d bloggers like this: