Founded in 1998, AmTrust Financial Services has earned an “A” (Excellent) Financial Size IX rating from A.M. Best, while continuing their commitment to excellence in providing property and casualty insurance for small to mid-sized businesses. AmTrust Financial Services offers a philosophy of niche diversity with a focus on low-hazard risk, with extensive underwriting experience and innovative and technology driven insurance products.
HR Strategies is pleased to have been a partner with AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. for the past 8 years to accommodate the Workers’ Compensation insurance needs of our clients.
It was just announced yesterday in the PEO Compass that AmTrust has become one of the 3rd largest providers of workers’ compensation in the country! Below is their official announcement on this tremendous accomplishment:
Dear Agent Partner,
We’re proud to relay that a recently released workers’ comp market share report conducted by Aon Benfield indicates that AmTrust is now the 3rd-largest workers’ comp carrier in the U.S.
This confirms similar findings in a report conducted in April this year by SNL Financial, which also ranked AmTrust as the 3rd largest workers’ comp carrier nationwide. These reports demonstrate our ongoing growth and committment to the workers’ comp market.
What’s more, AmTrust continues to experience unprecedented growth across all lines of businesses, including our Business owners Policy, Commercial Auto, EPLI and General Liability products, all of which serve as a perfect complement to our Workers’ Comp product. Recently, we introduced a new Cyber Liability product to cover the growing risk of a data breach for small businesses.
AmTrust’s financial strength and unprecedented growth signal a bright future ahead:
- “A” (Excellent) rating for financial strength by A.M. Best, financial size category (FSC) “XIV”
- Publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the stock symbol AFSI
- Ranked as best-managed insurance company in U.S. by Forbes magazine in 2014
- Innovative technology: Our web-based quote, binding and policy access system, AmTrust Online, is simple, efficient, accurate and available 24/7
For more information about how AmTrust can better serve your customers’ needs, please contact your regional sales manager or visit our website.
AmTrust North America
EO Select Check
Exempt Organizations Select Check is an online search tool that allows users to search for and select an exempt organization and check certain information about its federal tax status and filings. It consolidates three former search sites into one, providing expanded search capability and a more efficient way to search for organizations that:
- Are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions (Publication 78 data). Users may rely on this list in determining deductibility of their contributions (just as they did when Publication 78 was a separate electronic publication rather than part of Select Check). Updated data posting date: 08-08-2016
Please be aware of the following when searching for organizations in this database:
1. Certain eligible donees (i.e., churches, group ruling subordinates, and governmental units) may not be listed in this database. See Other Eligible Donees for more information.
2. “Doing business as” (also known as DBA) names of organizations are not listed in this database. See Search Tips for additional guidance.
- Have had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked under the law because they have not filed Form 990 series returns or notices annually as required for three consecutive years (Auto-Revocation List) Updated data posting date: 08-08-2016
- Have filed a Form 990-N (e-Postcard) annual electronic notice. (Most small exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less are required to electronically submit Form 990-N, unless they choose instead to file a completed Form 990 or Form 990-EZ.) Updated data posting date: 08-29-2016
In addition to searching for a particular organization, users may download a complete list of each of the three types of organizations through Exempt Organizations Select Check.
Click Here for the Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool.
There are many forms of employee theft. Some of which include theft by stealing tangible items (money, products or supplies), confidential information (customer lists, formulas), or time (falsifying time records). All the above have become all-too-familiar for employers. Below are 3 steps you can take to reduce employee theft:
- Install video cameras in areas that you think might be susceptible to theft.
- Check the laws in your state for limitations on where you can have video surveillance.
- Do not place cameras in obvious places where employees expect to have legitimate privacy (i.e. restrooms, changing areas or locker rooms).
- Be sure to notify your employees of any new surveillance installations.
- Timecard Audits
- Regularly audit employee timecards, reviewing for discrepancies that may indicate falsified time.
- Protect Confidential Information
- Develop company policies and procedures to protect confidential information
- Put in place a Confidentiality & Trade Secrets Policy
- Remove any administrative access that employees may have on their computer.
- Prohibit the copying of company files to anything they can take home with them.
- Develop company policies and procedures to protect confidential information
If you suspect an employee of stealing, remember the following:
- Conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the suspected theft and carefully document the results.
- Handling Termination
- Consider how you communicate the reason for termination to the employee.
- Tell the employee that the reason for termination is because of policy violations, lack of trust, or loss of confidence, instead of telling the employee that he/she is being terminated because of theft.
- Withholding Pay
- Under no circumstances should an employer withhold the value of the lost property from the employee’s pay. Instead, consult with an HR Professional (aka HR Strategies) to determine the options available to you to recoup lost property.
If you have any questions, or would like HR Strategies to help you put a Confidentiality & Trade Secrets Policy in place, please call your HR Consultant at 770-339-0000, option 3.
The Internal Revenue Service today announced important changes to help taxpayers comply with revisions to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program made under a new law. The changes require some taxpayers to renew their ITINs beginning in October.
The new law will mean ITINs that have not been used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will no longer be valid for use on a tax return unless renewed by the taxpayer. In addition, ITINs issued prior to 2013 that have been used on a federal tax return in the last three years will need to be renewed starting this fall, and the IRS is putting in place a rolling renewal schedule, described below, to assist taxpayers.
If taxpayers have an expired ITIN and don’t renew before filing a tax return next year, they could face a refund delay and may be ineligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, until the ITIN is renewed.
“The ITIN program is critical to allow millions of people to meet their tax obligations,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS will be taking steps to help taxpayers with these changes, and we’re designing this effort to minimize the burden as much as possible. We will be working with partner groups on an outreach effort to share information about these changes to ensure people understand what they need to do in advance of next year’s tax season.”
The ITIN changes are required by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted by Congress in December 2015. These provisions, along with new procedures to help taxpayers navigate these changes, are outlined in IRS Notice 2016-48, which was released today.
Who Has to Renew an ITIN
The IRS emphasizes that no action is needed by ITIN holders if they don’t need to file a tax return next year. There are two key groups of ITIN holders who may need to renew an ITIN so it will be in effect for returns filed in 2017:
- Unused ITINs. ITINs not used on a federal income tax return in the last three years (covering 2013, 2014, or 2015) will no longer be valid to use on a tax return as of Jan. 1, 2017. ITIN holders in this group who need to file a tax return next year will need to renew their ITINs. The renewal period begins Oct. 1, 2016.
- Expiring ITINs. ITINs issued before 2013 will begin expiring this year, and taxpayers will need to renew them on a rolling basis. The first ITINs that will expire under this schedule are those with middle digits of 78 and 79 (Example: 9XX-78-XXXX). The renewal period for these ITINs begins Oct. 1, 2016. The IRS will mail letters to this group of taxpayers starting in August to inform them of the need to renew their ITINs if they need to file a tax return and explain steps they need to take. The schedule for expiration and renewal of ITINs that do not have middle digits of 78 and 79 will be announced at a future date.
How to Renew an ITIN
Only ITIN holders who need to file a tax return need to renew their ITINs. Others do not need to take any action.
Starting Oct. 1, 2016, ITIN holders can begin renewing ITINs that are no longer in effect because of three years of nonuse or that have a middle digit of 78 or 79. To renew an ITIN, taxpayers must complete a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, follow the instructions and include all information and documentation required. To reduce burden on taxpayers, the IRS will not require individuals renewing an ITIN to attach a tax return when submitting their Form W-7. Taxpayers are reminded to use the newest version of the Form W-7 available at the time of renewal which will be posted in September (Use version “Rev. 9-2016”).
There are three methods taxpayers can use to submit their W-7 application package to renew their ITIN. They can:
- Mail their Form W-7 — along with the original identification documents or certified copies by the agency that issued them — to the IRS address listed on the form (identification documents will be returned within 60 days),
- Use one of the many IRS authorized Certified Acceptance Agents or Acceptance Agents around the country, or
- In advance, call and make an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing original identification documents to the IRS.
Other Steps to Help Taxpayers
To make this renewal effort easier and reduce paperwork, the IRS will be offering a family option for ITIN renewal. If any individual having an ITIN middle digit of 78 or 79 receives a renewal letter from the IRS, they can choose to renew the ITINs of all of their family members at the same time rather than doing them separately over several years. Family members include the tax filer, the spouse and any dependents claimed on their tax return.
The IRS is also working closely with a variety of partner and outreach groups to share information about the ITIN changes and help raise awareness about the new guidelines. The IRS will be providing additional information and material to share with these groups and taxpayers in the near future.
“We encourage people who need to renew their ITINs to plan ahead and take action this fall to avoid issues when they file tax returns in early 2017,” Koskinen said.
New requirement for dependents whose passports do not have a date of entry into the U.S.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, the IRS will no longer accept passports that do not have a date of entry into the U.S. as a stand-alone identification document for dependents from countries other than Canada or Mexico or dependents of military members overseas. Affected applicants will now be required to submit either U.S. medical records for dependents under age six or U.S. school records for dependents under age 18, along with the passport. Dependents aged 18 and over can submit a rental or bank statement or a utility bill listing the applicant’s name and U.S. address, along with their passport.
Other information about ITINs
ITINs are for federal tax purposes only and are not intended to serve any other purpose. ITINs that are only used on information returns filed with the IRS by third parties do not need to be renewed. An ITIN does not authorize one to work in the United States or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit. ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system and do not establish immigration status.
All these skills apply regardless of your current job status, role, title, or position. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting an entry-level position, a manager, or the Vice President of your company. All levels can benefit from these 6 leadership skills.
- Embracing Politics
I know what you may be thinking… Yes, politics in an office can have a negative connotation associated with it, but it can be used for good too. At it’s core, it’s about building relationships with the people you work with. There are many different types of power and influence that exists in an organization, but there are three that stand out when talking about politics in an organization.
- Role Power
This is also referred to as “legitimate power” and is very hard to change in a company. It refers to where you sit in an organizational chart. It asks the questions; who reports to you, who do you report to, and who does your yearly performance evaluation?
- Expertise Power
This refers to who perceives you to be knowledgeable about a certain subject they care about. The key word here is, “perception.” You could be really knowledgeable about a subject but if people don’t perceive you to be knowledgeable in that subject, then you do not have “expertise power.” There may be times when you wonder why a certain individual received a promotion or how that person got into that position. This happens all too often. At some point, someone who had the “role power” to make that decision, perceived these people to be experts, even though they might not be. A lot of times this happens because the person had a relationship with the decision maker, which brings me to the third power,
- Relationship Power
This is the most important power for you to develop, because it transcends the organizational chart. You can develop relationship power with anyone, at anytime. The first step to get them to follow you is to get them to like you. Take the time to get to know other people even outside your own department. Use the people you get to know, but don’t “use” them so that the relationship is one-sided. The relationship should be a reciprocal relationship. Think about yourself as being a service to others. The goal is to fundamentally lift them up to help them succeed. The energy you put out, will come back to you. When you adopt that kind of service mentality, that’s embracing the good kind of office politics.
- Role Power
- Picking Your Battles
This skill goes hand-in-hand with office politics. You have to know when to hold them and when to fold them. You can gain political capital by building relationships, but you can just as easily blow it all by choosing to fight too many battles. Save the political capital up for the times that really matter and those times are when they directly contribute to advancing your priorities. Don’t sweat the small things, instead focus on the things that allow you to get you where you want to go.
- Crafting Your Vision
Battles you choose to fight all depend on what you’re trying to achieve. Great leaders have a plan and need to establish a clear set of goals. It’s important to have a sense of purpose, know what it’s going to take and how to articulate it simply to your team. If you can’t articulate it correctly, they may not jump on board. Remember, just because it makes sense to you, doesn’t mean it will make sense to them. Be Bold. Leaders are meant to inspire people and if you accomplish that, they will be more likely to show up and do their best work.
- Build Alignment
Great leaders bring other people along with them. Companies gain buy-in from different levels of people within the organization. That means communicating the big picture to everyone who needs to be involved. This ensures that everyone who wants to be involved has that chance to be included and anyone who doesn’t, can opt out. Include the reasoning behind your methods and really encourage questions. A lot of people are going to have a lot of ideas and make good points and so it’s important for you to remain open-minded. This is also a chance to look for opportunities to collaborate with them or refine your vision.
- Inspiring Execution
At this point, you know where you’re going, you have your group of people, and now it’s time to see your vision through and to do that, you have to create a tactical execution plan that illustrates what’s expected from each person. Make sure to give feedback along the way and set the example through your own behavior.
- Learn To Give Up Control
How you execute a vision or a plan is critical, but don’t mistake it for micro-managing. Leaders set goals and empower the people around them with the resources and support they need to get the job done. Even if you see them doing something different then what you would do, it doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong and it doesn’t mean it won’t work. Don’t control them into doing it your way. Instead, ask questions and try to see it from their point of view.
If you don’t achieve your goal or see it through like you thought, you have the opportunity to learn from it and make improvements for the next time around. The only failure that really happens is the one we don’t learn from. Even if you let your people execute it the way they wanted, bring them along with you. They will learn something they didn’t know before. That’s going to set them up for future success. That, at the core, is what being a leader is really about.
Borysenko, Karlyn. “Human Strategies Podcast #11: Six Critical Leadership Skills That Will Take Your Career to the next Level.” Audio blog post. Zen Workplace. N.p., 3 Jan. 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
Each year, many people get a larger refund than they expect. Some find they owe a lot more tax than they thought they would. If this has happened to you, review your situation to prevent a tax surprise. Did you marry? Have a child? Change in income? Life events can have a major impact on your taxes. Bring the taxes you pay closer to the amount you owe. Here are some tips to help you come up with a plan:
- New Job. When you start a new job, you must fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, and give it to your employer. Your employer will use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to withhold from your pay. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form. This tool is easy to use and it’s available 24/7.
- Estimated Tax. If you earn income that is not subject to withholding you may need to pay estimated tax. This may include income such as self-employment, interest, dividends or rent. If you expect to owe $1,000 or more in tax, and meet other conditions, you may need to pay this tax. You normally pay it four times a year. Use the worksheet in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, to figure the tax.
- Life Events. Check to see if you need to change your Form W-4 or change the amount of estimated tax you pay when certain life events take place. A change in your marital status, the birth of a child or the purchase of a new home can change the amount of taxes you owe. In most cases, you can submit a new Form W–4 to your employer anytime.
- Changes in Circumstances. If you are receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit, it is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or family size, to your Health Insurance Marketplace. You should also notify the Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current Marketplace plan. Advance payments of the premium tax credit help you pay for the insurance you buy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.
With Summer almost coming to an end, we continue to find ways of having a healthy lifestyle and what better way to stay busy then by doing something we love!
Most people like working out but want to participate in activities that don’t feel like working out. One solution to staying healthy is by doing the things you already love to do or have always wanted to try. That hobby you’ve been wanting to try or have been putting off could be your key for a healthier, happier life.
Hobbies engage you physically and mentally. It’s been proven that people who actively participate in hobbies are at a lower risk for depression and dementia. Hobbies are a way for people to stay engaged on multiple levels. People who have a hobby “are generally healthier,” says Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., Director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. Most hobbies involve at least some level of mental activity and give people a reason to stay connected to other people with similar interests.
So you may be asking, “What kind of hobby is best?” Hobbies that require expertise are more satisfying because developing an expertise in something like photography or astronomy requires commitment which results in a higher level of engagement. Hobbies that involve some form of physical fitness such as walking, provides a physical benefit as well. Walking is linked to reducing stress and anxiety.
Hobbies can be thought of on three levels:
Hobbies act as a diversion that helps us pass the time and makes us unaware that time is passing. They can also become a passion that we become truly engaged in. And finally, they are something that creates a sense of purpose. We all need that. The ideal hobby is a combination of all three.
If you’re looking for a hobby, many community collages offer classes in activities that range from gardening to watercolor painting. It’s also a great way to meet other people that are also interested in the same activities.
For additional online information and resources about maintaining well-being and wellness, go to http://www.eapconsultants.com and enter your password. If you do not know your password, send an email to email@example.com and include the name of your employer.