Controllers face many tasks at the end of the calendar year. This guide provides advice, reminders, and tips about certain responsibilities that require your attention in the next few weeks, and includes an update of rates and limits for 2019. Items covered include:
I. THE NEW YEAR
II. W-2s AND YEAR-END PAYROLL ADJUSTMENTS
III. INFORMATION RETURNS
IV. WITHHOLDING ON NON-EMPLOYEE PAYMENTS
VI. STATE ISSUES
The members of Mazars USA LLP’s Entrepreneurial Business Services Group are available to assist you in meeting your year-end compliance and reporting requirements.
I. THE NEW YEAR
TAX RELIEF TO VICTIMS OF HURRICANE FLORENCE AND MICHAEL
Hurricane victims from specific counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have until January 31, 2019 to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. Hurricane victims in specific counties in Florida, Georgia and Alabama have until February 28, 2019 to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. These provisions provide an additional filing extension for taxpayers with already valid extensions. In addition, the IRS is waiving late deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due during the first 15 days of the disaster period. The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area.
In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records, necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period, are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. This also includes those assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization. See the disaster relief page on www.IRS.gov for information as it updates.
Have your employees complete all appropriate election forms for 401(k) deferrals, flex plan contributions, etc., for 2019 in writing and in accordance with each plan’s provisions, before January 1, 2019.
If you have any employees who are claiming an exemption from taxes, you must get a Form W-4 signed by them by February 15, 2019 to continue the exemption from withholding for 2019. IRS regulations require employers to notify their employees to file a new Form W-4 for any changes to their withholding status. Verify that you have a valid Form W-4 for each employee, and that your payroll service is withholding based on the proper exemptions.
The Social Security Administration will continue to send letters when employee social security numbers on Forms W-2 do not match their records. Employers can verify social security numbers of employees at www.ssa.gov/bso.
Employers are required to verify eligibility for employment of all employees hired after 1986. Form I-9 is used for this purpose. Review your personnel files to determine that you have Form I-9 for all required employees, including the business owners. USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9 on July 17, 2017 that must be used by all employers. This form can be obtained at www.uscis.gov/i-9, or by calling 800-870-3676. Monetary penalties for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ violations range from $375 to $16,000 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving penalties at the higher end. Penalties for substantive violations, which includes failing to produce a Form I-9, range from $110 to $1,100 per violation.
In determining penalty amounts, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) consider five factors: the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and history of previous violations. ICE continues to conduct inspections of the Form I-9 for compliance and will hold employers accountable for failure to comply.
Employers should take care not to use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that may have been assigned to certain nonresident and resident aliens. Only a social security number can be used for employment purposes.
ELECTRONIC DEPOSIT OF TAXES [EFTPS]
All federal tax payments must be made through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. To enroll in EFTPS, go to www.EFTPS.gov or call 800-555-4477.
Confirm that your state disability and workers’ compensation policies are in force. States impose high daily penalties if policies have not been purchased or have lapsed.
On routine audits of workers’ compensation policies, the carrier will ask for certificates of coverage for independent contractors. If none can be produced, payments made to independent contractors will be included in your premium base. Make it a practice to obtain certificates of coverage before independent contractors are hired and retain them on file.
SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE TAX BASE
The tax rates have remained the same as 2018, but the 2019 wage base increased to $132,900. The rates and the taxable wage base for FICA are shown below. There is no limit on the amount of wages subject to the Medicare tax.
Employers are required to withhold the 0.9% additional Medicare Tax on an individual’s wages and compensation paid in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) in a calendar year. The actual additional Medicare Tax liability is determined when you file your individual tax return, depending on your filing status and applicable threshold amount. Based on this, any excess or shortage of withholding will be adjusted on the individual tax return. There is no employer match for the additional Medicare tax.
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase by 2.8% in 2019. A cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to 62 million social security beneficiaries in January 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018. The purpose of a COLA is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and SSI benefits is not eroded by inflation.
The earnings limit for workers under age 66 will increase to $17,640, and the limit for people turning 66 in 2019 will increase to $46,920. There is no limit on earnings for workers who are at retirement age or older.
401K MAXIMUM DEFERRAL
For 2019, the maximum deferral amount increases to $19,000 from $18,500 for those 49 years of age and younger, or $25,000 for those 50 years of age and older. For those 50 and older to make a catch-up contribution amount of $6,000, the Plan Sponsor must amend the plan (if not previously amended) to permit catch-up contributions, notify the plan participants that they can make catch-up contributions, and revise the plan election forms. In addition, since the catch-up contribution is not included in nondiscrimination testing, it must be accounted for separately from other 401(k) contributions. The limit on annual contributions to an IRA increased in 2019 from $5,500 to $6,000. The catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to the cost of living adjustment and remains at $1,000.
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain requirements. If the taxpayer or spouse was covered by a retirement plan at their place of employment during the year, the deduction can be reduced or phased out depending on certain conditions. The modified AGI phase out ranges are as follows:
- Single/Head-of-Household taxpayers: $64,000-$73,999
- Married Filing Jointly/Qualified Widower: $103,000-$122,999
- Married Filing Separately: $0-$9,999
SIMPLE IRA & SIMPLE 401K
For 2019 the maximum contribution increased from $12,500 to $13,000 for those 49 years of age and younger. For those 50 years of age or older, the maximum contribution increased from $15,500 to $16,000.
401(K) STUDENT LOAN BENEFIT PROGRAMS
In 2019, the IRS issued a letter in response to an employer seeking to make non-elective contributions to employee 401(k) plans if the employees were actively repaying student loans. The IRS took the stance that if an employee contributes at least 2% of their eligible compensation for a pay period towards student loan repayments, then an employer may make a non-elective contribution equal to 5% of the employee’s eligible compensation for that period.
AUTO MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT AND TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFITS
The 2018 mileage rate is 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven. For tax year 2018, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit is $260, as is the monthly limitation for qualified parking. The 2019 monthly limitation and mileage rate are not yet available.
PER DIEM RATES FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL
The per diem rate for travel can now be found at the U.S. General Services Administration Website www.GSA.gov. The rates are effective October 1 of each year. Traveler reimbursement is based on the location of the work activities and not the accommodations, unless lodging is not available at the work activity; in that case, the agency may authorize the rate where lodging is obtained.
VOLUNTARY CLASSIFICATION SETTLEMENT PROGRAM (VCSP)
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a voluntary program that provides an opportunity for employers to resolve past worker classification issues by reclassifying their workers as employees for employment tax purposes in future tax periods. It allows employers the opportunity to comply by making a minimal payment covering past payroll tax obligations, rather than waiting for an IRS audit.
This provides an eligible employer with substantial relief from federal payroll taxes that they may have owed in the past. If they prospectively treat workers as employees to participate in this new voluntary program, the taxpayer must meet certain eligibility requirements, apply to participate in the VCSP using Form 8952, and enter into a closing agreement with the IRS.
REPORT OF FOREIGN ACCOUNTS
FinCEN Report 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for the year 2018, is due on or before April 15, 2019, which is consistent with the federal income tax due date. There is an automatic extension for a period of six months (until October 15) for FBARs. In addition, there is a waiver of any late filing penalty for first-time filers who fail to submit a timely extension request or file an extension (but who presumably file by October 15). The FBAR should be filed electronically through the BSA E-File System. If you are unable to e-file, you may contact the FinCEN Regulatory Helpline at 800-949-2732 to request an exemption.
A U.S. person who has a financial interest in, or signature authority over, foreign financial accounts must file an FBAR if the aggregate value of the foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. The type of accounts and filing requirements have been expanded to include certain types of investments, bank accounts, and those who are authorized to initiate transactions and sign on foreign accounts. There are significant penalties for failure to file. Failing to file an FBAR can carry a civil penalty of $10,000 for each non-willful violation. If your violation is found to be willful, the penalty is the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the amount in the account for each violation. Each year you didn’t file is a separate violation.
You may also be required to file Form 8938 along with your individual tax return to report the ownership of specified foreign assets if the total exceeds an applicable threshold amount.
Please contact us for further information regarding your filing obligations.
PAYMENT CARD REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Information reporting for credit card payments and third- party network transactions are to be reported on Form 1099-K by January 31, 2019 by businesses for the gross amount of transactions they process.
You should make sure that you provide your credit card processors with the correct Federal Identification Number and a description of your business so that they properly assign you the applicable merchant category code.
II. W-2’S AND YEAR-END PAYROLL ADJUSTMENTS
W-2 forms must be distributed to your employees by January 31, 2019. Before processing W-2s, the following steps should be taken:
- Notify your payroll service in writing to keep your 2018 payroll file open for adjustments, including manual checks and voids, taxable fringe benefits, and third-party sick pay.
- Many payroll services can provide a W-2 draft report, which should be reviewed before the W-2s are finalized. This step will eliminate the need to incur expenses for revising incorrect Forms W-2, and/or filing amended Forms W-2.
- Report any manual payroll checks, voided checks, third party sick pay, etc. to your payroll service before your last December payroll, or before the closing date for adjustments as agreed to by your service. Unreported adjustments will result in the need for Forms W-2C, extra charges from your payroll service, and, probably, penalties for late payment of taxes.
- Review your bank reconciliations and your general ledger net payroll account to make sure that all adjustments have been reported.
- If you have a 401(k) plan, premium-only plan, or other plans administered by your payroll service, review the coding of your employees so that the payroll service can do appropriate testing to avoid disqualification of the plan.
- Before distributing Forms W-2 to employees, reconcile the totals to your general ledger and to the quarterly 941 returns that were filed for the year.
Please be aware of these filing deadlines. Have all employees review their Form W-2 and make necessary corrections prior to filing to alleviate having to file corrected W-2s. Forms W-2 can be filed electronically with the Social Security Administration at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer. They are required for all employees that were paid $600 or more in wages, even if no taxes were withheld.
EXTENSIONS OF TIME
Extension of Time to File with the SSA
Extensions of time to file Form W-2 with the SSA are no longer automatic. A 30-day extension must be requested by submitting a completed Form 8809. A detailed explanation is required, and the IRS will only grant the extension in extraordinary circumstances or catastrophe, such as a national disaster that destroys a company’s books and records. If the IRS grants the extension, then the Forms W-2 must still be furnished to employees by January 31, 2019, unless the due date to furnish forms to recipients has also been granted an extension.
Extension of Time to Furnish Form W-2 to Recipients
You may request an extension of time to furnish the statements to employees by sending a letter to the Internal Revenue Service, Attn: Extension of Time Coordinator, 240 Murall Drive, Mail Stop 4360, Kearneysville, WV 25430. The request must be postmarked by January 31, 2019 and include (a) payer name and address, (b) payer TIN, (c) a statement that you are requesting an extension to furnish “Forms W-2” to employees, (d) the reason for the delay, (e) signature of the payer or authorized agent. Requests are not automatically granted. If approved, an extension will generally be for no more than 15 days from the due date, unless the need for up to a total of 30 days is clearly shown.
Penalties and exceptions are based on when you file the correct Form W-2. Please see the Information Returns section for specific penalty information.
HEALTH CARE BENEFIT REPORTING
The reporting of the cost of employer-sponsored group health coverage is mandatory for the year 2018 for all employers under the Affordable Care Act. It is reported on the Form W-2 in Box 12 using Code DD (full premium payment).
QUALIFIED SMALL EMPLOYER HEALTH REIMBURSEMENT ARRANGEMENT (QSEHRA)
Use box 12 Code FF to report the total amount of permitted benefits under a QSEHRA. A QSEHRA allows eligible employers to pay or reimburse medical care expenses of eligible employees after employees provide proof of coverage. Reimbursements are capped at $5,050 ($10,250 if also providing for family members), before indexing for inflation.
FEDERAL EMPLOYERS IN THE CNMI
There are special income tax withholding requirements for certain federal agencies that have employees who work in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) or Puerto Rico. Rather than U.S. federal income taxes, all federal employers (including the Department of Defense) are required to withhold and deposit CNMI taxes with the CNMI Treasury for those employees whose regular place of federal employment is in the CNMI.
LIMIT ON HEALTH FLEXIBLE SPENDING ARRANGEMENT (FSA)
For 2018, a cafeteria plan may not allow an employee to request salary reduction contributions for a health FSA in excess of $2,650. The salary reduction contribution limitation of $2,650 does not include any amount (up to $500) carried over from a previous year. The limit for 2019 has increased to $2,700.
In addition to withholding Medicare tax at 1.45%, an employer is required to withhold a 0.9% Additional Medicare tax on any FICA wages or RRTA compensation it pays to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. Additional Medicare tax is only imposed on the employee, not the employer. An employer begins withholding in the pay period where wages or compensation exceeds $200,000, and continues to withhold it until the end of the calendar year.
EMPLOYEE’S FICA PAID BY EMPLOYER
If you paid your employee’s share of social security and Medicare taxes rather than deducting them from the employee’s wages, you must include these payments as wages subject to federal income tax withholding, social security, Medicare and federal unemployment (FUTA) taxes. This does not apply to household and agricultural employers, who must only include these payments in employee wages for income tax withholding purposes. The wage increase is not subject to social security, Medicare, or FUTA taxes.
Paper Forms W-2 must be filed with the Social Security Administration by January 31, 2019. Forms W-2 can be filed electronically with the Social Security Administration at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer. If you are filing 250 or more returns, they must be filed electronically using specialized software. The due date for electronically filed returns is January 31, 2019. If you e-file, do not file the same returns using paper forms.
COMMON PAYROLL ADJUSTMENTS
The following is a brief summary of some of the items that are taxable to employees in addition to wages and salaries.
PAYROLL REPORTING REQUIREMENT CHANGE
Effective for calendar year quarters beginning on or after January 1, 2019, employers must complete all of NYS-45’s Part C (Employee wage and withholding information), including columns D and E. Employers failing to complete Part C quarterly, will have penalties imposed on a quarterly basis.
THIRD-PARTY SICK PAY
Sick pay or disability payments made to your employees by your insurance carrier are includible as compensation on the W-2. Such payments, particularly those made in the 4th quarter, will not be reported to you by the insurance carrier until sometime in January. You should determine if your disability insurance carrier is responsible for filing a separate Form W-2 for sick pay. If the insurance company or other third-party payer did not notify you in a timely manner about the sick pay payments, it must prepare Forms W-2 and W-3 for your employees showing the sick pay. If not, it is important that you inform your payroll service to keep 2018 open for adjustments.
EMPLOYEE BUSINESS EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENTS
If you have an accountable plan (in which your employees must give an accounting to you and substantiate their expenses), do not report any reimbursement to your payroll service. However, if you make payments for expenses to your employees and they do not account to you or substantiate their expenses, then you must include those payments as wages, subject to all taxes. In addition, any excess reimbursements must be returned in a reasonable time so as not to be treated as wages.
TAXABLE PREMIUMS ON EXCESS GROUP LIFE INSURANCE
Each employee who is covered for more than $50,000 of group term insurance must be taxed on the value of the excess coverage. Report the cost as wages in boxes 1, 3, and 5 of Form W-2, and in Box 12 with “Code C.” This benefit is subject to FICA and Medicare tax, but not income tax withholding. The amount to be included is calculated based on the age of the employee, the amount of coverage, and the cost in accordance with this table published by the IRS:
To calculate the amount to be included in wages, multiply
Monthly Cost * Full Month’s Coverage * Months Covered.
Remember to reduce the full month’s coverage by $50,000 before plugging it into the equation, and to also reduce the result by any amount the employee paid toward the insurance.
If the full month’s coverage was $150,000, the employee was 47 years old, and the employee contributed $80 towards life insurance, then the following calculation would be made to determine the amount reported on the employee’s Form
$150,000 – $50,000 = $100,000
$0.15 * 100 * 12 months = $180
$180 – $80 = $100
YEAR-END BONUS PAYMENT
Notify your payroll service if you want an additional bonus payroll set up. Advise your employees that taxes must be withheld. Several of our clients have had withholding tax audits, and bonus payments are one area being audited. You could be subject to penalties and/or interest if the proper taxes are not withheld. This applies to state, city and federal withholding.
For 2018, the optional flat rates for withholding on supplemental payments including bonuses are:
FUTA Tax Rate
The FUTA tax rate is 6.0%. This results in a net FUTA tax rate of 0.6% if you are entitled to the maximum 5.4% credit for payment of state UI taxes.
Some states take federal unemployment trust fund loans from the federal government. The United States Department of Labor determines which states have not repaid money borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits. These states are considered “credit reduction states” and are required to pay additional federal unemployment tax when filing an annual Form 940 return.
For 2018, the following states have been determined to be credit reduction states. The Form 940 Schedule A will list all the states subject to this additional tax, which can vary from year to year. In years when there are credit reduction states, you must include liabilities owed for credit reduction with your fourth quarter deposit. Employers in states with a credit reduction will incur a FUTA tax rate of .6% + FUTA credit reduction + Benefit Cost Rate (BCR) add-on.
These states are also potentially subject to the BCR additional credit reduction. Both states have applied for FUTA Credit Reduction Relief.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 requires that employers must notify individuals of their rights to obtain premium assistance for coverage for children. A model notice is available at www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/chipmodelnotice.pdf.
Employer-provided education assistance program payments for 2019 have not been released yet. For 2018, payments up to $5,250 are not subject to tax (IRS Code Sec 127). Amounts more than $5,250 per year must be included as taxable wages, unless the expenses are working condition benefits, i.e., the employee would have been able to deduct the cost had he or she paid for it. Payments for business training under an accountable plan are not required to be reported on Form W-2.
TAXABLE FRINGE BENEFITS
Be sure to report to your payroll processor any includible amounts, such as the value of personal expenses advanced by the company, including personal auto usage, travel for family members, meals and entertainment, and professional fees. Employees who use company vehicles are required to keep records that substantiate their business usage of such vehicles. Expenses reimbursed under a non-accountable plan must be included in the employee’s income.
NONQUALIFIED DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLANS
All amounts deferred under a nonqualified deferred compensation plan are currently includible in gross income unless certain requirements are satisfied (Code Section 409A). Such deferrals are reported on Form W-2 in box 1 and in box 12 using Code Z (income amount). This income is also subject to an additional tax of 20% that is reported on Form 1040. Code Y (deferral amount) is not required to be reported on Form W-2. Nonqualified deferred compensation may also be reported as income on Form 1099-Misc box 7, including all deferrals reported in box 15b.
OTHER REPORTABLE AMOUNTS
If you have any special situations, including adoption benefits, Medical Savings Accounts, moving expenses, outplacement benefits, or employee business expense reimbursements under a non-accountable plan, contact us to discuss proper treatments.
III. INFORMATION RETURNS
Many payments made in the ordinary course of business must be reported to the IRS, generally on 1099 series forms. Not-for-profit organizations are also considered to be engaged in a trade or business and are subject to reporting requirements. Form W-9 (or one of the Form W-8 series for foreign persons) should be used for obtaining taxpayer identification numbers. You should request to have this completed prior to issuing payment.
The following tables list key information returns and their due dates:
* If reporting payments in Box 7 (Non-employee compensation)
** If reporting payments in Box 8 or 14
*** If reporting by trustees and middlemen of Widely Held Fixed Investment Trust (WHFITs)
If you are filing 250 or more returns, they must be filed electronically using specialized software. File Form 4419 at least 30 days before the due date of the returns to obtain approval to file electronically. Failure to file electronically when required to do so may lead to a penalty of up to $270 per return, unless a reasonable cause can be established. The first 249 returns can be filed on paper, not subject to the electronic filing penalty.
Penalties are indexed for inflation.
Failure to File Correct Information Returns by the Due Date
- $50 per Information Return if filed correctly within 30 days of the due date; maximum penalty of $547,000 per year ($191,000 for small businesses).
- $100 per Information Return if filed correctly more than 30 days after the due date, but by August 1; maximum penalty of $1,641,000 per year ($547,000 for small businesses).
- $270 per Information Return if filed after August 1, no corrections are filed, or if the required Information Return is not filed; maximum penalty of $3,282,500 per year ($1,094,000 for small businesses).
- At least $540 per Information Return with no maximum penalty if failure to file is due to intentional disregard of the filing requirements.
Failure to Furnish Correct Statement to Recipients by the Due Date
- This separate penalty is applied the same as failure to file (listed above).
To claim a safe harbor exemption regarding independent contractors, Form 1099-MISC must have been filed; in IRS audits, the agents typically ask to see 1099-MISC forms.
Payee identification numbers can be truncated on certain paper payee statements, but not on any forms filed with the IRS or state and local governments, nor on any payee statement furnished electronically.
An inconsequential error or omission is not considered a failure to include correct information. Errors and omissions that are never inconsequential are those related to (a) a TIN, (b) a payee’s surname, and (c) any money amount except as provided, later, with respect to the safe harbor for de-minimis dollar amount errors.
If you meet the following de-minimis rule for corrections, even though you cannot show reasonable cause, the penalty for failure to file correct information returns will not apply to a certain number of returns if:
- You filed the forms on or before the required filing date,
- You either failed to include all the information required on the form or included incorrect information, and
- You filed corrections of these forms by August 1.
- If you meet all of the de-minimis rule conditions, the penalty for filing incorrect information returns (including Form W-2) will not apply to the greater of 10 information returns (including Form W-2) or ½ of 1% of the total number of information returns (including Form W-2) that you are required to file for the calendar year.
No correction need be filed, and a Safe Harbor will apply, if an information return (including Form W-2) is issued with incorrect dollar amounts, and the corrected dollar amount is off by $100 or less, and tax withheld is off by $25 or less. The de-minimis error safe harbor does not apply for failures to file or furnish an information return or payee statement outright, even if it would report dollar amounts of $100 or less (or $25 or less with respect to any amount of tax withheld).
EXTENSIONS OF TIME
Extension of Time to File with the IRS
You can get an automatic 30-day extension of time to file by completing Form 8809 and filing by the due date of the returns. It may be submitted on paper, or through the FIRE System. No signature or explanation is required. The IRS encourages electronic submission. Under certain hardship conditions, you may apply for an additional 30-day extension.
Extension of Time to Furnish to Recipients
You may request an extension of time to furnish the statements to recipients by sending a letter to Internal Revenue Service, Attn: Extension of Time Coordinator, 240 Murall Drive, Mail Stop 4360, Kearneysville, WV 25430. The letter must include (a) payer name, (b) payer TIN, (c) payer address, (d) type of return, (e) a statement that extension request is for providing statements to recipients, (f) reason for delay, and (g) the signature of the payer or authorized agent. The request must be postmarked by the date on which the statements are due to the recipients. Generally, you will be granted a maximum of 30 extra days to furnish the recipient statements.
The following list of reporting items is not all-inclusive.
Payments of $600 or more made to individuals, partnerships (including LLPs and LLCs), physicians, physicians’ corporations, other suppliers of health and medical services, and all attorneys, are reportable. Payments for merchandise and payments to real estate agents for rents are not reportable, but payments of rent to landlords are reportable. Payments for royalties of $10 or more are reportable (Box 2). Broker payments in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest of $10 or more are reportable (Box 8).
Rental income recipients are required to report payments they made for expenses that they deducted from rental income using the form 1099-MISC reporting requirements. Paying vendors by credit card would reduce 1099-MISC filing requirements.
While payments to corporations are typically not required to be reported on Form 1099-MISC, certain payments to corporations must be reported. Such as payments to attorneys, medical corporations, etc.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS
Payments made with a credit card that are reported on Form 1099-K by your credit card company that otherwise would be reportable on a Form 1099-MISC are not subject to reporting by the payer.
Attorneys’ fees and gross proceeds made to attorneys of $600 or more must be reported, even if the attorney is a corporation. Legal fees are reportable in box 7. If a payment is made to an attorney and the portion that is a legal fee cannot be determined, the total amount paid to the attorney must be reported (box 14). These rules apply even if the attorney is not the exclusive payee.
Punitive damages, damages for non-physical injuries or sickness, and any other taxable damages must be reported on form 1099-MISC. Certain damages are not required to be reported. Please call our office for further information regarding taxable and non-taxable damages.
Any interest payments of $10 or more (or at least $600 of interest paid in the course of a trade or business) to individuals, partnerships, and LLCs must be reported. If interest has been imputed on a loan, this should be reported to avoid the below-market interest rules.
Original issue discount of $10 or more on notes, including installment sale notes, must be reported on an accrual basis each year.
File Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions, for each person to whom you have paid dividends (including capital gain dividends and exempt-interest dividends) and other distributions on stock of $10 or more; for whom you have withheld and paid any foreign tax on dividends and other distributions on stock, for whom you have withheld any federal income tax on dividends under the backup withholding rules; or to whom you have paid $600 or more as part of liquidation.
Distributions to participants of $10 or more from your pension plan, 401(k) etc., must be reported with the appropriate codes. Coordinate with your actuary or plan administrator to determine who will be responsible for filing 1099-Rs. Cost of current life insurance protection provided by a pension plan, death benefit payments made by employers that are not made as part of a pension, profit-sharing, or retirement plan, and reportable disability payments made from a retirement plan must also be reported on form
Late rollover contributions to an IRA certified by the participant are reportable in boxes 13a and 13b on Form 5498. The self-certification code is reportable in box 13c.
Mortgage interest of $600 or more received by you from an individual, including a sole proprietor, must be reported if you are engaged in a trade or business of lending. File a separate Form 1098 for each mortgage. The $600 threshold applies separately to each mortgage, so you are not required to file Form 1098 for a mortgage on which you have received less than $600 in interest, even if an individual paid you over $600 on multiple mortgages. Filers must report the number of properties, in excess of one (1), that secure a single mortgage. Mortgage insurance premiums of $600 or more received by you are reportable in box 5, including prepaid premiums.
All employees receiving $20 or more a month in tips must report 100% of their tips to their employer. You must file Form 8027 if you’re an employer who operates a large food or beverage establishment, normally employing more than 10 full-time equivalent employees, not counting owners with more than 50% ownership. Form 8027 is due on paper by February 28, 2019 or by April 1, 2019 if filed electronically. For further information on tip reporting, please contact us.
There are several other situations that require reporting, such as payments to fish vendors, Archer Medical Savings Account payments, health savings accounts, real estate transactions, barter transactions, and cancellation of debt. Contact us for further information on these types of reporting.
IV. WITHHOLDING ON NON-EMPLOYEE PAYMENTS
Form 945 to report other withholding tax must be filed by January 31, 2019. Taxes reported on Form 945 must be deposited separately from other withheld taxes. If you made deposits on time in full payment of the taxes for the year, you may file the return by February 11, 2019. Your return will be considered timely filed if it is properly addressed and mailed First-Class, or sent by an IRS-designated private delivery service on or before the due date.
All lump-sum retirement plan distributions paid directly to employees (as distinguished from rollovers) are subject to an automatic 20% federal withholding tax. This applies whether the distribution is due to changing jobs, retirement, termination, or early withdrawals. Minimum distributions (for beneficiaries over 70 ½) are subject to 10% withholding only if the beneficiary so desires.
If the lump-sum distribution is paid directly to a trustee of a rollover account, the 20% withholding tax will not apply. However, the distribution must be paid directly to the rollover IRA and must not be payable to the employee. Tax withheld on pension distributions is reportable on Form 945.
Payments that are subject to 1099 reporting are subject to backup withholding at a rate of 24% if the payee fails to provide his or her correct taxpayer identification number. The IRS enforces the collection of such withholding where a Form 1099 reports a missing taxpayer identification number or an incorrect number. You will be liable for uncollected tax, penalties, and interest on such payments. Therefore, it is extremely important that payments subject to 1099 reporting not be made until the payee’s taxpayer identification number is obtained. The IRS provides validation of tax identification numbers and names through its website. Please contact our office if you need further information on this service.
If you receive a notice from the IRS that a number is incorrect, you will have to begin withholding taxes from future payments for that payee. Backup withholding (reported on Forms 1099 and Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings) is reportable on Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax.
Separate deposits are required for payroll (Form 941 or Form 944) and non-payroll (Form 945) withholding. Deposit all withheld federal income tax by EFT. There are two deposit schedules – monthly or semiweekly – for determining when you must deposit federal income tax withheld. For 2019, you’re a monthly schedule depositor for Form 945 if the total tax reported on your 2017 Form 945 (Line 3) was $50,000 or less. If the total tax reported for 2017 was more than $50,000 you’re a semiweekly schedule depositor.
If you’re a monthly schedule depositor and accumulate a $100,000 liability or more on any day during a calendar month, your deposit schedule changes on the next day to semiweekly for the remainder of the year and for the following year.
Unless there is a reasonable cause, penalties are issued for filing the Form 945 late and for paying or depositing taxes late.
Amounts Not Properly or Timely Deposited
Interest is charged on taxes paid late at a rate set by law.
Form 1042 is used to report tax withheld from foreign persons or entities. Form 1042 must be filed and furnished to recipients by March 15, 2019.
FOREIGN PARTNERS OR PAYEES
Three forms are required for reporting and paying tax withheld on effectively connected taxable income allocable to foreign partners; Form 8804, Form 8805, and Form 8813.
Form 8804 and Form 8805 used to report income and tax withheld must be filed annually with the IRS by the 15th day of the 3rd month following the close of the partnership’s year (March 15th for calendar year partnerships). Certain payments to foreign payees for services performed in the United States require tax to be withheld and remitted on Form 1042 by March 15, 2019. Form 8804 is a transmittal form for Form(s) 8805. File a separate Form 8805 for each foreign partner, whether any withholding tax was paid, and attach Copy A of each Form 8805 to the Form 8804 filed with the IRS. Form 8805 must be sent to each foreign partner by the due date of the partnership return (including extensions). Although an extension of time to file Form 8804 is permitted by filing Form 7004, it does not extend the time to pay the tax.
Form 8813 must accompany each payment of section 1446 (partnership withholding) tax made during the partnership’s tax year. File on or before the 15th day of the 4th, 6th, 9th and 12th months of the partnership’s tax year.
Interest is charged on taxes not paid by the due date, even if an extension to file is granted. It is also charged on penalties imposed. Interest rates are determined under section 6621.
Late filing of Form 8804 results in a penalty of 5% of the unpaid tax for each month or portion of a month the return is late, up to a maximum of 25% of the unpaid tax, unless the partnership can show reasonable cause. If Form 8804 is filed more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty will be $210 or the amount of any tax owed, whichever is smaller.
Both late filings of Forms 8805 required to be filed and failure to furnish correct Forms 8805 to recipients when they are required to be furnished, result in a penalty of $270 per Form 8805, with a maximum penalty of $3,275,500 per year. The penalty can be reduced or eliminated if the partnership has average annual gross receipts of less than $5 million during a specific period, corrects the failure to file during the specific period, or has a de minimis number of failures to file correct forms.
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (FDIC) COVERAGE
The current standard maximum deposit amount remains at $250,000. The FDIC insurance coverage limit applies per depositor, per insured depository institution, for each account ownership category. Deposits held in different ownership categories are separately insured, up to at least $250,000, even if held at the same bank. For example, a revocable trust account with one owner naming three unique beneficiaries can be insured up to $750,000.
NANNY TAX THRESHOLD INCREASE
In 2018, The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that cash wages paid by an employer for domestic service in the employer’s private household is subject to FICA tax (“nanny tax”) if the amount of wages paid during the year exceeds $2,100.
ANNUAL GIFT EXCLUSION
For 2019, the annual gift exclusion is $15,000. The donor of the gift is generally responsible for paying the gift tax.
EMPLOYER COMPENSATION EXPENSE TAX (ECET)
The Employer Compensation Expense Program (ECEP) established a new and optional tax called the Employer Compensation Expense Tax (ECET). Employers may now choose to pay this optional tax if they have employees with annual New York earnings above $40,000. The phased in rate will start at 1.5% in 2019, 3% in 2020, and 5% in 2021 and subsequent years (computed quarterly). The tax is calculated quarterly on the employer’s payroll expense for any New York employee that exceeds $40,000 per year (subject to only to wages earned in New York).
The quarterly rate is only applied to wages paid over the $40,000 threshold. As an example, consider the following scenario:
In 2019, Mary receives $20,000 per quarter. For quarters 1 & 2, Mary is not yet covered by the ECEP threshold of $40,000. For the 3rd and 4th quarters, Mary’s employer must pay $300 for each quarter (1.5% x $20,000 per quarter). The total tax would then be $600 for the year.
Employers must opt-in on an annual basis by December 1 of the current year for the election period effective January 1 of the following year. All ECEP payments must be made electronically and on the same date the employer issues their withholding payments, as the covered periods and due dates are the same as NYS-45 filings. No extensions will be granted for filing or payment, with penalties issued for any failures to pay or file. Lastly, employers cannot deduct or withhold any ECEP amounts from employees’ wages.
TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT (TCJA)
The TCJA introduced some of the most sweeping changes to the U.S. tax law changes since the 1986 Tax Reform Act. In this section, we will briefly touch upon some relevant issues that may impact employee-employer agreements.
Starting in 2018, any reimbursements paid to employees for direct or indirect qualified moving expenses will now be included in employee wages and subject to federal income tax. Any reimbursements that occurred in a prior year, or for services prior to 2018, are not subject for inclusion in employee wages. Employers may continue to deduct the qualified moving expenses only if they’re included as part of the employee’s wages.
Bicycle Commuting Reimbursements and Qualified Transportation
The TCJA suspended the exclusion of employer qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements from an employee’s income for 2018 through 2025. Any bicycle commuting reimbursements should now be reported in the employees earned wages. Furthermore, the TCJA disallows employer deductions for expenses associated with specific transportation benefits and services (e.g. transit passes, qualified parking, etc.). Employees may still choose to take pre-tax salary deductions for these transportation services.
Employer Provided Meals
The TCJA extends the 50% reduction limitation on meal expenses to include those that are de-minimis or “for the convenience of the employer” fringe benefits. This 50% reduction will be replaced by a full non-deductibility clause in 2026. The employee tax exclusion for de-minimis meal benefits remains unchanged.
Employee Achievement Awards:
The value of certain employee achievement awards could qualify for an exclusion from the recipient’s gross income, and a corresponding deduction by the employer if they are tangible personal property. The TCJA clarifies tangible personal property with employee achievement awards to not include the following:
- Cash or cash equivalents
- Gift cards
- Gift coupons
- Specific gift certificates
- Tickets to theater or sporting events
- Stocks, bonds, securities, and other similar items
Employer Tax Credit for Paid Family Leaves
For the 2018 and 2019 tax years, eligible employers may now claim a general business credit equal to 12.5% of the wages paid to qualifying employees during any period said employees are on paid family or medical leave. This credit is only allowable if the employer pays the employee at least 50% of their normal hourly wages while the employee is on leave.
This 12.5% credit increases in .25% increments (limited to a 25% ceiling) for each percent by which the paid leave rate exceeds 50% of the employee’s hourly wages (e.g. 55% paid leave rate would be a 13.75% credit). A maximum of 12 weeks may be used with respect to the credit’s calculation. Any leave paid for by state/local governments or employer-funded vacation, personal, or sick leave, is not considered for this credit.
Employee Compensation Deductions (Public Firms Only)
The TCJA modifies the disallowance of deductions for compensation paid to covered individuals (company executives). For the tax year beginning January 1st, 2018, the exceptions for commissions and performance-based compensation are repealed, and the definition of a covered employee is widened to include the CEO, CFO, and the three highest paid officers. Also, any employee considered covered for a tax year after December 31st, 2016, is classified as covered for all subsequent years.
CHANGES IN OVERTIME RULES
Final Department of Labor overtime rules were ruled invalid by the Federal Court several years ago and it appears the final rule is unlikely to ever go into effect.
Employers impacted by the overtime rules should continue to follow future developments.
VI. STATE ISSUES
WITHHOLDING FROM EMPLOYEES
Many states permit employers to rely on the exemptions claimed on Federal Form W-4. However, some states do require that a separate withholding form be submitted if an employee is claiming excessive allowances. For example, New York State requires the submission of Form IT-2104 if more than 14 exemptions are claimed. Please contact our office for specific requirements for other states.
MINIMUM WAGE (NYS AND NYC)
The minimum wage increases in New York State on December 31, 2018. The minimum wage rates for New York are as follows:
After December 31, 2019, the minimum wage for fast-food establishments will increase to $13.75 in the rest of New York State and by December 31, 2021, the New York State minimum wage will reach $15.00.
OTHER STATE MINIMUM WAGE RATES
**The ordinance provides that the minimum wage will not increase when the unemployment rate in Chicago for the preceding year, as calculated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, was equal to or greater than 8.5 percent. The ordinance also provides that if the CPI increases by more than 2.5 percent in any year, the minimum wage increase shall be capped at 2.5 percent.
12-WEEK PAID FAMILY LEAVE POLICY
On April 4, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed into law the 12 Week Paid Family Leave Policy, which is the most comprehensive in the nation. When fully phased in, employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid family leave when caring for an infant, family member with a serious health condition, or to relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service. Paid family leave is not available for pre-natal conditions. In 2019, the maximum benefit will increase to 55% (from 50% in 2018) of the employee’s average weekly wages, up to a statewide average salary of $746.41 per week. Additionally, the maximum duration will be increased from 8 weeks to 10 weeks.
It will be fully implemented in 2021 at 67% of the employee’s average weekly wage, but capped at 67% of the weekly statewide average. The Average Weekly Wage is set every year by the NYS DOL. For example, in 2019 an employee that makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $550 a week, and the maximum amount of NY State’s Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW) is $746.41. An employee that makes $2,000 a week in 2019 would only receive $746.41 because of the New York State cap. This program will be included under the disability policy all employers must carry, and the premium will be fully funded through a nominal payroll deduction for employees, so employers will incur no cost. Employees will be eligible to participate after having worked for their employer for six months.
The maximum covered wages for PFL contributions for 2019 have increased from $67,908 to $70,570. All eligible employee wages including commissions and bonuses, up to $70,570 annually will be subject to a premium charge. The 2019 PFL premium rate has increased from .126% to .153%. The maximum annual employee contribution is $107.97 ($70,570 * .00153.)
NYC PAID SAFE AND SICK LEAVE
Employers with five or more employees who are employed for hire more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid sick leave. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid sick leave. Employers with one or more domestic workers who have worked for the employer for at least one year and who work more than 80 hours a calendar year must provide paid sick leave. This law also applies to employees who do not live in New York City but work in New York City more than 80 hours per calendar year, and employers located outside of New York City that have employees that work in New York City more than 80 hours per calendar year. Nonprofit employers are covered by the Paid Sick Leave Law and must comply.
This law does not apply to employees who work 80 hours or less per calendar year in New York City; government agencies (U.S. Government, State of New York City, City of New York); participants in federal work-study programs; employees whose work is compensated by qualified scholarship programs; physical therapists; occupational therapists; speech language pathologists and audiologists licensed by the New York State Department of Education; independent contractors who do not meet the definition of an “employee” defined in the New York State Labor law; participants in Work Experience Programs; and certain employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
Employees begin to accrue sick leave on their first day of employment at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per calendar year. An exception to this is a domestic worker, who has worked for the employer for at least one year, will earn two days of paid sick leave. When an employee uses paid sick leave, the employer must pay the employee what the employee would have earned for the time and the type of work the employee was scheduled to perform at the time the paid sick leave is taken.
NEW JERSEY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT
The overarching goal is to have all employees within New Jersey accrue paid sick leave. However, the legislation does not apply to union workers in the construction industry, per diem health care workers, or public employees which already receive sick pay. Furthermore, New Jersey residents working outside of New Jersey are also exempt. Any paid sick leave must be earned before it may be used at a rate of one hour earned per 30 hours worked, with a cap of 40 earned hours in a year. Paid sick leave may be elected after 120 days into the year.
Employees may carry over a maximum of 40 hours of sick leave into subsequent years. Employers that already offer policies with “paid days off” do not need to create additional policies to capture the paid sick leave. Employees must give notice when time-off is foreseeable, otherwise prompt notice is required. Also, employers may decline employee requests for specific dates, or require medical documentation to justify immediate requests. Employers are required to post a sign of worker’s rights, including paid sick time, within 30 days of this law taking effect.
Employees that use sick time for invalid use are subject to employer penalties. First offense fines from $100 – $1000, or 10-90 days in jail. Repeat offenses have fines from $500-$1000, and/or 10-100 days in jail. Violators may also suffer penalties for each week an employee accrues paid sick time. The New Jersey Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner may also levy fines from $250-$500.
Valid Uses of sick time:
- Personal health or that of a family member (broad definition given)
- Pertaining to domestic or sexual violence needing immediate medical attention or legal services
- Closure of the employee’s, or family member’s, workplace, school, or childcare facility due to health emergency.
- A child’s school-related function
NEW HIRE NOTIFICATION
You must continue to provide information about newly hired employees within 20 calendar days from the hiring date or rehire date. If there is a newly hired nonresident alien visa employee, you have 20 calendar days to report the new hire starting from the date the employee receives a Social Security number. Failure to report newly hired employees will result in a $20 penalty for each employee not reported. Failure to file a report showing the required information also results in a $20 penalty for each false or incomplete report filed.
Employers in New York State that report electronically must do so using two monthly transmissions (if needed) not less than twelve, or more than sixteen, days apart. The State of New Jersey requires employers that submit electronically to report every 12-16 days. Contact information is:
You can obtain a link to new hire reporting for all states at www.sba.gov/content/new-hire-reporting-your-state. Multi-state employers can designate one state in which any employee works and transmit all new hire information to that state alone. You must notify the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services in writing if this option is selected. A multistate employer notification form is available on www.acf.hhs.gov.
Your payroll processing company may or may not report new hires as part of its service, so you should contact your provider to determine whether this is being reported for you.
NOTIFICATION TO NEWLY HIRED EMPLOYEES
New York State requires that newly hired employees be notified in writing at the time of hiring as to their rate of pay, their overtime rate of pay (if eligible for overtime), and the employer’s regular pay day. The employer must obtain and retain a written acknowledgement from the employee of the receipt of the written notices. There is no annual notice requirement. There are significant civil penalties for failure to comply – $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for the second violation, and $3,000 for each subsequent violation. The maximum penalty for damages in civil lawsuits filed by workers increases to $5,000.
If the Labor Commissioner has issued an Order to Comply against an employer who does not pay the money owed, the DOL can require them to post a bond or provide a list of their assets. If an employer fails to do so 10 days after the appeal period, the Commissioner may bring a court case against them, and the failure to provide the list of assets can have a penalty imposed of $10,000. 15% in damages can be added to a judgment if the employer fails to pay in full within 90 days. The notification must be made using the official form published by the New York State Department of Labor. Form LS 54 is available at www.labor.ny.gov.
WITHHOLDING REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-RESIDENT PARTNERS
Many states require partnerships and limited liability companies to withhold estimated taxes from non-resident partners, but there are situations where certain partners may be exempt. Contact us for further information.
NEW JERSEY UNEMPLOYMENT AND DISABILITY MAXIMUM EARNINGS
In 2018, the New Jersey Unemployment and Disability Maximum Earnings is $33,700. It will increase to $34,400 in 2019. The withholding rate for employees in 2018 was .705%. In 2019 the rate decreased to .675%. The maximum employee deduction for 2018 was $237.59. The maximum employee deduction for 2019 will be $232.20.
NEW YORK STATE LIMITED LIABILITY ANNUAL REPORTS
Form IT-204-LL is required for each Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and Limited Liability Company (LLC) organized and/or doing business in New York State, including disregarded entities. Also, every regular partnership that is required to file a New York State partnership return, doing business in New York State, and has New York source gross income for the preceding year of at least $1 million is required to file. The amount of the filing fee will be based on the New York source gross income for the tax year immediately preceding the tax year for which the fee is due. If an LLC or LLP did not have any New York Source gross income for the preceding tax year, the filing fee is $25.
Returns and payments must be filed and paid electronically, and no extensions are permitted. Form IT-204-LL is due on the 15th day of the 3rd month following the close of the tax year of the partnership, LLC, LLP, or single-member LLC that is a disregarded entity. Therefore, a calendar-year-end tax-payer must file and make payments by March 15.
NEW YORK STATE METROPOLITAN COMMUTER TRANSPORTATION MOBILITY TAX (MCTMT)
The New York State appellate court ruled the MCTMT payroll tax to be constitutional.
Beginning with tax year 2015, all self-employed individuals paying MCTMT must do so with their personal income tax returns. Estimated MCTMT payments must be made with their personal New York State estimated income tax payments.
The MCTMT payroll tax requires quarterly filing for employers in quarters in which the covered wages for employees exceed $312,500 for the calendar quarter, have made MCTMT payments during the calendar quarter, or have an MCTMT overpayment that is carried from a previous quarter. For the quarter ending December 31, 2018 payment is due by January 31, 2019. The rest of the due dates through 2019 into January 2020 are: April 30, 2019; July 31, 2019; October 31, 2019; and January 31, 2020.
Effective April 1, 2012, employers are subject to MCTMT if the payroll expense for all covered employees exceeds $312,500 for the quarter. The rates are applicable to payroll expense over $312,500 to $375,000 at .11% and over $375,000 to $437,500 at .23%. The original tax rate of .34% still applies when any quarterly payroll exceeds $437,500.
NYS SALES AND USE TAX
As of June 1, 2018, specific sales of originally taxable food and beverages may be made for resale and exempt from sales tax collection for specific entities (E.g., cooked pasta dishes, deli platters, hot coffee, premade sandwiches, etc.) The credit/refund originally used to counter the collection of sales tax on these items will still be available. The tax law has been changed to offer responsible persons liability relief for specific minority interest individuals and limited partners of a limited liability company.
States are increasing their audits relating to sales tax. They are including many businesses which do not typically collect sales tax, such as medical practices and law firms, and often assess tax, penalties, and interest for non-payment of compensating use tax. Since there is no statute of limitations when returns have not been filed, these audits often cover periods of six years. Review your procedures in terms of reporting such use tax and evaluate whether your business should register and file use tax returns. Please call our office if you have any questions in this area.
NEW JERSEY SALES AND USE TAX RATE CHANGE
The New Jersey Sales and Use Tax rate will remain at 6.625% for 2019. Short-term housing rentals (Air BNB) are now subject to New Jersey sales tax as of January 1, 2019.
PENNSYLVANIA ACT 32
Act 32 simplifies and restructures the collection of local earned income taxes in the State of Pennsylvania. It requires all employers to withhold earned income taxes on behalf of all employees. The applicable tax rate is the greater of the nonresident tax rate where the employee is employed or the resident tax rate in effect where the employee lives. The Act applies to all Pennsylvania counties except Philadelphia, which is exempt from Act 32. Philadelphia city withholding supersedes the provisions of Act 32.
All employers are required to register with the appropriate Certified Tax Collector in the area where they are located. To determine the applicable tax collector for your place of business, go to www.munstatspa.dced.state.pa.us.com, and enter your county or municipality.
All employees need to complete a local earned income tax residency certification form which should be given to their employer, so they can withhold the correct amount of earned income tax. This form, and withholding rates by address, can be obtained online at www.NewPA.com.
PENNSYLVANIA UNEMPLOYMENT EMPLOYER WAGE BASE AND EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTIONS
The taxable wage base for employer contributions to the PA Unemployment Compensation Fund in 2018 and thereafter is $10,000. The withholding rate for employee contributions is .0006% in 2018. There is no cap on the amount of wages from which employee contributions are withheld.
NEW JERSEY/PENNSYLVANIA RECIPROCAL TAX AGREEMENT
The NJ/PA Reciprocal Income Tax agreement states that Pennsylvania residents who receive compensation from New Jersey sources are not subject to New Jersey income tax on those earnings. Under the State of New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Reciprocal Personal Income Tax Agreement, a New Jersey employer is not required to withhold New Jersey income tax from compensation paid to its Pennsylvania resident employees who file Form NJ-165, Employee’s Certificate of Non-residence in New Jersey, with their employer. The reverse holds true for Pennsylvania employers with New Jersey resident employees. This agreement covers compensation only.
The 2016 withdrawal of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania reciprocal tax agreement was reversed in 2018. Taxpayers residing in either state, and working in the other, will still only file in their state of residence.
Pennsylvania has a flat 3.07% income tax rate, whereas New Jersey’s graduated income tax tops out at 8.97%.
New Jersey has six marginal income tax rates for individuals, ranging from 1.4% for those earning $20,000 or less to 8.97% for income greater than $500,000. There are seven rates for married couples filing joint returns. Without the reciprocity agreement, Pennsylvania residents would have had to pay higher taxes.
VII. NYS AND NYC SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLIANCE
NEW YORK STATE
Effective October 8, 2018, all New York State employers are required to adopt a written sexual harassment policy that is either commensurate with, or more robust than, New York State’s model policy. The minimum standards include:
- Must be in a spoken language understood by employees
- Prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights
- Provide examples of prohibited conduct that would be classified as unlawful sexual harassment
- Include information about both federal and state provisions about sexual harassment, potential remedies available for victims, and a statement about local laws
- Include a complaint form
- Include procedures for timely and confidential investigatory measures
- Inform employees of their rights of redress and all methods possible for adjudicating sexual harassment claims
- Clearly state that sexual harassment is not tolerated and that it’s an explicit form of misconduct
- Clearly state that any harassers and/or supervisors that knowingly allow the misconduct will suffer repercussions
- Clearly state that retaliation against an employee that makes a sexual harassment claim is unlawful
By October 9th, 2019, all New York State employees must complete interactive sexual harassment prevention training that meets or exceeds the minimum standards under the law. New York State requires all employees, including but not limited to: full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, minors, and interns. However, employers do not have to provide their policy to any third-party vendors or other non-employees. Lastly, those in supervisory or managerial roles must meet additional requirements.
All nondisclosure terms must be offered to all parties, and any complainant has 21 days from the date provided to consider the terms and conditions. The 21-day period cannot be shortened. If, after the 21-day period, the terms are the preference of the complainant, then the preferences shall be memorialized in a contract with all parties. Additionally, seven days after the period following the execution of an agreement containing the terms, the complainant may revoke the contract and render it inert. Lastly, there are two agreements needed to finalize the process:
- An agreement memorializing the complainant’s preference to maintain confidentiality
- An agreement containing the nondisclosure language and terms of resolution concerning the initial dispute.
NEW YORK CITY
Effective September 1, 2018, all New York City employers must post bi-lingual (English and Spanish) anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibility posters in their workplace and distribute bi-lingual anti-sexual harassment fact sheets to all new hires.
Effective April 1, 2019, New York City will extend the statute of limitations for gender-based harassment claims under the New York City Human Rights Law to 3 years (up from 1 year). This covers all employers, regardless of size or industry.
Effective April 1, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees (including interns) must conduct annual interactive anti-sexual harassment training for all employees, including all supervisory and managerial staff. However, this is only applicable for employees that work 80 or more hours in a calendar year. New York State regulations will supersede this and make training mandatory for all individuals. Current employees must therefore receive training by April 1, 2020.
More information, such as model policies, guidelines, and training, are found on the New York State government website.
This guide is intended to be informational and to advise you of some highlights. It is not all-inclusive.
Please contact your Engagement Partner if you have any questions on either these year-end procedures or any other reporting requirements.