In July 2016, the IRS released a proposed rule addressing how opt-out arrangements–arrangements whereby an employer offers its employees a cash payment in exchange for declining coverage under an employer-sponsored plan–are to be taken into account for purposes of determining whether the coverage is affordable under certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. While the IRS anticipated finalizing this rule prior to the end of 2016, the IRS has announced that it expects to finalize such guidance “at a later time.”
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IRS: Opt-Out Arrangement Rules To Be Finalized ‘At A Later Time’
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A new law allows certain small employers–those with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees who do not offer a group health plan–to offer new “qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements” to reimburse employees for qualified medical expenses, including individual health insurance premiums, for years after December 31, 2016. The law also includes a notice requirement for these new HRAs.
Qualified Small Employer HRAs
Qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are exempt from the ACA’s market reforms. To be considered a qualified small employer HRA, the arrangement generally must:
- Be funded solely by an eligible small employer without salary reduction contributions;
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Certain Small Employer HRAs Exempt From ACA Market Reforms
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that tax season will begin Monday, January 23, 2017. The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
Tax Season Begins January 23
The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns on January 23, 2017. Many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before January 23 and then will submit the returns when IRS systems open. The IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. According to the IRS, there is no advantage to filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for the IRS to begin accepting e-filed returns.
The new year is a great time to take stock of your company’s compliance with important federal, state, and local labor law requirements. Keep these resolutions in mind to help start your company off right in 2017:
- Give your poster wall a thorough check-up. Make sure all of your workplace posters are up-to-date and the correct size. Check with your state labor department for any industry-specific poster requirements that may apply to your business. Note that certain localities may also have posting requirements.
The minimum wage saw an increase in a number of states at the start of 2017. Unless otherwise noted, the following minimum wage rates (per hour) went into effect on January 1, 2017:
- Alaska: $9.80
- Arizona: $10.00
- Arkansas: $8.50 for employers with 4 or more employees
- California: $10.50 for employers with 26 or more employees (for smaller employers, the rate remains $10.00)
- Colorado: $9.30 ($6.28 for tipped employees)
- Connecticut: $10.10
- District of Columbia: $12.50, beginning July 1, 2017 ($3.33 for tipped employees)
- Florida: $8.10 ($5.08 for tipped employees)
- Hawaii: $9.25
- Maine: $9.00, beginning January 7, 2017