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Category Archives: Blog


IRS: Opt-Out Arrangement Rules To Be Finalized ‘At A Later Time’

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.”

Certain Small Employer HRAs Exempt From ACA Market Reforms

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;

Tax Filing Season Is Upon Us

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.

5 HR Compliance Resolutions for 2017

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:

  1. 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.

New State Wage Rates in 2017

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

5 Website Security Tips

2040884a-7da9-4468-b3d0-efccbb80de39Imagine leaving your car parked in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Would you leave your windows down and doors unlocked? Unfortunately, the internet is very much a crime-ridden neighborhood and too many of us are not even taking basic security steps to keep our websites protected.

The goal of this article is to give you some general best practices that can help you keep your website secure from many common cyber threats. Think of this as advice on “How to roll up your windows” and “How to lock your doors” – very straightforward but important steps. While a determined hacker may still be able to break into your vehicle, following these steps will substantially decrease your chances of becoming a victim of a cyber-based attack.

The Day The Internet Stood Still

3756ff84-f858-4a76-bda2-db0baf4e7926It’s almost 2017 and, today, even toasters are connected to the internet.

We call it IOT – or “internet of things” – and, in case you haven’t heard, it’s the latest technology wave to hit consumer electronics. Cisco estimates that by 2020, there could be anywhere from 50 to 200 billion internet-connected devices in use.

While it’s great that our cars, homes, coffee makers, and refrigerators will join us in this great experiment, we’re now seeing some of the bad that will come with the good.

Ecommerce Starts and Ends Here

Selling products online is an important part of running a business. Some businesses are entirely online, allowing for business owners to operate from anywhere at any time. To nobody’s surprise, ecommerce accounts for more and more purchases every year and is only expected to grow in the coming years.

Ecommerce Projected Growth

Visa Tackles the Biggest EMV Issue

EMV has rolled out to stores and Visa Quick Chipcredit card terminals around the world. It’s the new standard for secure transactions, and people are encouraged to use their chip-enabled cards whenever they have the option.

One of the major complaints about EMV (it may be the only complaint, really) is how long it takes to run a card with a chip. Traditional magstripe transactions allow you to swipe once and the final amount and authorization are handled afterwards. With the current EMV software, customers have to insert their card and leave it in the terminal until the total of the purchase is known and authorized. This process takes about 15 seconds, which may not seem like much on paper, but when you’re standing in a line of 5 people those seconds can really add up. Visa is working on a fix to make EMV transactions faster and more convenient for both cardholders and merchants.

Your Business is Live Now

Facebook is a great place to get engagement Facebook Livewith potential customers. From ads to boosted posts and Call To Actions, Facebook is definitely a place for business, and new features are being added every day to make advertising feel less like advertising and more like natural communication with people you do business with. Facebook’s latest feature, a response to Persicope (by Twitter), is Facebook Live Video. A user or page can broadcast video from their smartphone or tablet and receive comments from people watching the stream.





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