Download our latest e-book The Interstellar Guide to Benefits Administration now!

Pay Matters! March 2018

03-06-2018
Tags: 

We know, you’ve got a lot going on.  So much, in fact, that you don’t have a ton of time to worry about what’s new in the payroll world.  That’s where we come in!

Want to make sure you’re not missing important developments in the payroll scene?  Never fear: we’ve got the round-up of payroll news and updates that you need to know in order to stay in the loop.  This is Pay Matters –  the March 2018 edition.

Read on to stay informed and stay in compliance with relevant alerts and insights that matter most for your payroll.


UPCOMING WEBINAR – KEEP ON LEARNING!

Confused about which OSHA reporting and recordkeeping requirements apply to your organization? Learn what you need to know with our upcoming HR webinar!

OSHA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements

In this session, we’ll review these requirements – who they apply to, what your company must do for compliance, and when to complete various responsibilities. We’ll review the OSHA 300 forms in detail, and will cover OSHA’s new electronic submission of injury and illness records requirements.

Register for this webinar over on our webinar page.


FEDERAL UPDATES

IRS Issues 2018 Form W-4 and New Tax Calculator

On February 28, the IRS issued the 2018 Form W-4 for 2018, as well as an online withholding calculator.

In general, Form W-4 is used by employees to indicate their marital status and number of allowances so that employers can calculate how much Federal income tax to withhold from their pay. Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, tax rates, tax tables, and withholding calculations have undergone significant changes. The new Form W-4 more accurately reflects these changes. Employees are not required to file a new Form W-4, but completing a new Form W-4 is recommended to ensure more accurate payroll tax withholding.

The IRS has also released a 2018 withholding calculator, promoting a “Paycheck Checkup”, encouraging employees to use the calculator to determine their correct withholding allowances for 2018. The calculator guides employees through a series of questions such as marital status, income, and anticipated deductions to suggest the appropriate allowances.

Employers should consider notifying their employees of the new Form W-4 and calculator.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – At a Glance

The biggest tax reform since 1986 has its fair share of HCM-related changes.  Check out the following chart for a quick overview of these changes.

Old New Comments
Personal exemptions ($4,050 in 2017)  Allowance amount instead of personal exemptions  There will be a new Federal withholding system in 2019 to reflect this change. This system has not yet been unveiled by the IRS but they are promising education and outreach in advance of the release.  The old system of using personal exemptions is retained for 2018.
Standard deduction:

Single    $6,350

Married $12,700

Standard deduction:

Single       $12,000

Married   $24,000

IRS will phase changes into the withholding system. 2018 tables have been issued and the IRS has released the 2018 Forms W-4 and an updated tax calculator.
Tax brackets

10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, 39.6%

Tax brackets

10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, 37%

25% supplemental rate up to $1M 22% supplemental rate up to $1M
39.6% supplemental rate over $1M 37% supplemental rate at least $1M
Moving expenses tax-free. Moving expense taxable. Still can be taken by employers as a deduction
Bicycle commuting $20 per month tax-free No tax-free bike benefit Tax-free parking and auto commuting continue
Backup withholding rate of 25% Backup withholding rate of 24% Applies when payee doesn’t provide a TIN

Paid Family Leave Bill is Early Stages

Several Republican senators are collaborating on a bill which would allow employees to designate Social Security contributions as a funding source for a continuance of pay during parental leave. Under the proposed legislation, employees who opt in would have to delay retirement to repay the funds.

This legislation would follow the already enacted tax reform bill giving employers a tax credit if they offer employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.

The proposition has been met with opposition from some Democrats who are against using Social Security to pay for such a program.


STATE UPDATES

States Look for Ways to Counterbalance Federal Tax Reform

Tax reform’s removal of the deduction for state and local taxes paid has sent states scrambling to find ways to compensate their residents for the lost deductions.  In addition, the IRS will no longer allow personal exemptions.  States that had followed the federal model of allowing personal exemptions must now decide whether to cast out on their own, or continue conforming to the IRS.  Before tax reform, 21 states accepted the federal W-4.

Here’s a digest of state activity:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fiscal 2019 budget includes an opt-in payroll tax starting in the tax year 2019. This tax would be a type of employee benefit.  Employers would pay a 5 percent tax on all compensation exceeding $40,000 for each employee, according to a Feb. 12 news release. Employers would have until October 1, 2018, to decide to opt in for 2019.

In return, employees of participating employers would receive a credit in the amount of the payroll tax paid by their employer to use toward their individual income tax return. The tax would be phased in starting Jan. 1, 2019, at rates of 1.5 percent in 2019, 3 percent in 2020, and 5 percent in 2021 and on.

Cuomo proposed legislation including the payroll tax plan February 15.

Note:  this is still not the law in New York.   Viventium Compliance Services will closely follow and report on developments.

Idaho modified its law to conform to the Internal Revenue Code only until December 21, 2017, thus excluding the tax reform changes.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal proposed H.B. 918 on February 13 by to update the state's conformity date to January 1, 2018, while increasing the state's personal exemption to $3,750 from $3,000. The bill also would allow residents to take the increased federal standard deduction with either standard or itemized state deductions, according to a news release.

Michigan's bill (H.B. 5420), which passed its House on January 25, would increase the state's personal exemption to $4,800 from $4,000 by 2020. It would also strike a provision linking the number of state exemptions to the number claimed on the W-4.

Nebraska is considering a bill (L.B. 1090) to maintain the state's credit and retain the federal standard deduction as it existed before tax reform.

New Mexico tried to pass a bill (H.B. 367) similar to West Virginia’s (see below) but ran out of time as its legislative session ended on February 15 before its Senate could vote.

Vermont’s tax department proposed a plan February 2, and Gov. Phil Scott presented a draft bill to the legislature with a personal exemption of $4,000 and standard deduction of $6,000 instead of the current conformity to federal amounts.  This change would ensure that residents’ 2018 tax liability would be about the same as in 2017. Vermont's deduction and exemption previously depended on federal amounts.

West Virginia removed its dependence on the number of exemptions claimed on the federal W-4. The bill, requested by Gov. Jim Justice (R), was sent to him Feb. 15 for signing.

Colorado stated on January 29 that it is still figuring out if it needs to change its withholding rates.

Louisiana issued an emergency rule on February 12 with a new formula which took effect on February 16.

Missouri changed its rates on January 22, but its website asserts that it still plans to release final withholding guidance.

Oregon issued its 2018 formula on January 19.

Overtime Overhaul Proposed in Pennsylvania

Though the attempt to change overtime rules on the federal level may not have succeeded, Pennsylvania has made steps towards an overtime overhaul on the state level that will affect half a million workers.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a proposal updating the state overtime law. Under current law, a salaried worker earning $23,660 annually ($455 per week) who meets the duties test, is not entitled to overtime pay. This potentially means that someone earning $24,000 a year can work 60 hour weeks without overtime pay.

Under the proposal, the salary threshold that requires employers to pay overtime would increase gradually as follows:

  • January 1, 2020: the salary level to determine overtime eligibility for most workers would increase from the federal minimum of $455 per week, $23,660 annually, to $610 per week, $31,720 annually;
  • January 1, 2021: the threshold would increase to $39,832;
  • January 1, 2022: the threshold would increase to $47,892;

Starting in 2022, the salary threshold would increase automatically every three years. In addition, the duties test would also be clarified for easier understanding.

Sound familiar? The U.S. Department of Labor tried to enact similar legislation back in 2016 but was ultimately halted. Viventium will keep an eye on whether the state of Pennsylvania will have more success.

For more, click here.


LOCAL UPDATES

Minimum Wage

The City of Santa Fe, and County of Santa Fe, New Mexico are increasing their minimum hourly wages effective March 1, 2018, from $11.09 to $11.40. The county’s minimum cash wage for tipped employees increases from $3.32 to $3.41 (in unincorporated areas only). The city did not say anything about tipped minimum cash wage, but federal and New Mexico law allows $2.13 per hour if direct wages plus tips equal at least the minimum wage.


HR HEADS UP

Upcoming EEO-1 Reporting Deadline

HR teams and practitioners had a break last year from completing an annual EEO-1 report. While the pay data reporting has been suspended, covered employers must submit their 2017 EEO-1 reports no later than March 31, 2018.

 


This information is for educational purposes only, and not to provide specific legal advice. This may not reflect the most recent developments in the law and may not be applicable to a particular situation or jurisdiction.

Subscribe To Our Monthly Roundup

Flexible Software Anyone Can Use

Viventium-Logo

By filling out this form, you submit your information to Viventium, who will use it to communicate with you regarding updates and other services.

Overtime Shuffle - Lyrics

Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 1
In the world of work, there’s a tale to be told, About overtime hours, and the payroll gold, A consistent paycheck, that’s the worker’s dream, But when it comes to overtime, it’s not as easy as it seems.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, Susie worked hard in San Francisco town, But the rules around overtime, they had her feeling down, 42 hours this week, she gave her all, Now it’s time to calculate, let the numbers fall.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 2
Exempt or non-exempt, the title they hold, Where they work, where you’re based, it’s all in the fold, California or New York, the laws they diverge, For payroll admins, it’s a never-ending surge.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, the DOL’s website, a labyrinth to explore, State regulations galore, it’s quite a chore, Staying compliant, it’s a tricky art, Missing out on requirements can break your heart.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

BRIDGE
But here’s a method that can save the day, A payroll software, to keep errors at bay, Input the info right, integrate with ease, No more manual labor, no more overtime fees.

VERSE 3
Back to Susie’s story, she’s owed her due, According to FLSA, it seems we have a clue, $860 on the table, that’s what we’d say, But California’s got its rules, changing the way.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, California says, hours past eight, Are overtime-eligible, don’t underestimate, Now Susie’s owed $900, that’s the decree, In this overtime puzzle, you gotta set it free.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

OUTRO
So when it’s overtime, and the rules entwine, Choose a payroll software, let it all align, Viventium’s the name, we’ve got the key, To make overtime calculations a breeze, you’ll see.

ENDING
Don’t overwork yourself, don’t you fret, With Viventium by your side, it’s a safe bet, Relax, you’re with us, in this overtime fight, With the right tools in hand, everything’s gonna be alright.

Retroactive Rhythms

Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 1
In the world of care, where time slips away, Caregivers dedicate, every single day. But when the hours are missed, in the daily race, Retroactive pay, steps up to embrace.

PRE-CHORUS
A caregiver tired, at the week’s end, Forgot to log hours, a mistake to mend. Admins face the challenge, calculations to make, To set it right, for the caregiver’s sake.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 2
Manual calculations, prone to a flaw, Dealing with shifts, odd hours, and the law. As your business grows, the cost takes flight, Automated solutions, shining bright.

PRE-CHORUS
Compliance is key, with FLSA’s might, Calculate and compensate, get it right. Avoid the audit’s gaze, fines and the cost, Retroactive pay, no longer lost.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

BRIDGE
Employee satisfaction, a crucial part, Resolve mistakes, a work of heart. Relationships flourish, in pay’s embrace, A payroll software, creating a trace.

VERSE 3
Star caregivers, valued and strong, Retention and recruiting, where they belong. Automated solution, a total pay dance, Establish your business, a work-life romance.

PRE-CHORUS
A self-winding watch, Viventium’s grace, Optimizing payroll, in every case. No more struggles, in the payroll game, In it with you, time and time again.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

OUTRO
As your business grows, in the hustle and fight, Viventium by your side, making it right. No more worries, in the payroll chain, In it with you, time and time again.

In the Arms of Geo Tax - Lyrics

Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, we all aim to thrive, Year after year, our dreams taking flight. But as we soar higher, we start to see, More money, more problems, just like B.I.G. Outgrowing our shell, it’s an exciting phase, But it brings with it some challenging days. Solutions we had, now show their flaws, As we push the boundaries, breaking through the walls.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

VERSE 2
Employees across states, in different localities, Tax laws aplenty, creating complexities. Our old software’s limits, we’ve begun to see, Scaling up our business, we need to break free. Calculating pay and taxes, where it all begins, Errors in this process, lead to countless sins. Employees rely on us, trust in our might, To withhold what’s needed, get it just right.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

BRIDGE
Taxes, they’re not simple, that’s for sure, A world of complexity, there’s always more. But Viventium stands with us, in this fight, Geo Tax, our ally, making everything right.

VERSE 3
CPAs may struggle, and admins too, Keeping up with taxes, what can they do? The rules keep changing, it’s hard to keep pace, But Viventium’s here, in this challenging space.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

OUTRO
So relax, dear business, and set your mind free, With Geo Tax on our side, we’re the best that we can be. Viventium’s got us, in this tax-filled fight, No more worries, no more sleepless nights.

REPEAT CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

Payroll Grid Serenade - Lyrics

Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 1
In the world of admin tasks, where changes often arise, There’s a tool that’s been a savior, under office fluorescent skies. With flexibility and precision, it eases their daily strife, Let’s sing about this feature, it’s the pulse of our work life.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 2
Admins wear many hats, in their daily grind, Sometimes they need to adjust, leave no errors behind. Adding extra hours, bonuses, or fixing pay, They need a simple method, to make it all okay.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

BRIDGE
Custom views and filters, tailor it to your need, Focus on the important, no need for needless speed. A hundred-dollar bonus, a few clicks and it’s in flight, Admins get it done, making sure it’s right.

VERSE 3
In the admin’s world, where numbers have their say, This tool steps in gracefully, making tasks less gray. An interface so intuitive, like an Excel sheet, Changing data effortlessly, making work complete.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

OUTRO
So here’s to Payroll Grids, in our song of praise they gleam, For admins working diligently, they fulfill a dream. In the world of office hustle, they bring much-needed light, Let’s tip our hats to this tool, and its invaluable might.

Automation Anthem - Lyrics

Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

VERSE 1
In the world of payroll, a daily task we face, Admins work hard, in this complex space, They handle policies, with attention and care, But there’s a solution that’s beyond compare.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, your role’s crucial and true, But there’s a tool we’ve got, just for you, Let’s explore rule-based automation, my friend, With Viventium, your tasks will gently mend.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

VERSE 2
Standardize policies, that’s the key, For tenure, role, union status, you’ll see, PTO, bonuses, pay rates defined, Automation makes your workload more aligned.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, the burden’s a load, But rule-based automation lightens the road, No more tiresome chores, no more dread, With Viventium, it’s smoother ahead.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

BRIDGE
In the world of payroll, where tasks repeat, We’ve got the solution, it’s oh so neat, “If this, then that,” it’s simple and sly, With Viventium by your side, you’ll reach for the sky.

VERSE 3
Tenure-based PTO, a common request, With Viventium, it’s passed the ultimate test, Set it up once, and then you’ll see, Automation handles the chore, oh so free.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, payroll admins, take a breath, take a pause, With Rule-Based Automation, you’ll find no flaws, It’s easy, it’s simple, no programming in sight, Viventium’s got you covered, day and night.

CHORUS
Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

OUTRO
So if you’re a payroll admin, feeling the weight, Let Viventium’s Rule-Based Automation be your fate, No more worries, no more strife, With Viventium, you’ll transform your work life.

The Data Groove - Lyrics

Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, it’s a complex game, With factors and figures, it’s never the same. Decisions are key, they’ll determine your fate, So listen up closely, don’t be a bit late.

PRE-CHORUS
Gather your data, don’t let it fade, In the depths of spreadsheets, don’t let it cascade. Your HCM software, is it up to the task? To capture and store, to help you unmask.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

VERSE 2
Once the data’s collected, it’s time to report, But it can be daunting, that’s the common retort. Pre-built solutions, they’re your guiding light, Turning raw data into visions so bright.

PRE-CHORUS
No more manual hours, no errors in sight, With report library’s might, everything’s right. Payroll summaries, tax liabilities, and more, All in a flash, you’ll have what you adore.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

BRIDGE
Viventium’s here, with a passion so true, Constantly improving, for folks just like you. A Report Library, a gift from the stars, For data-driven dreams, it’ll take you far.

CHORUS
Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

OUTRO
So remember this lesson, in the business terrain, It’s all ’bout decisions, don’t let ’em wane. With data as your guide, and Viventium’s grace, You’ll conquer the challenges you’ll face.