Archive for September, 2011
Our firm recently established a Wellness Program for our employees. With this program, we hope to provide employees with health and fitness information and motivation to assist them in becoming healthier and happier people both at work and at home.
Why provide Wellness at Work? Most adults spend more their waking hours at work than anywhere else. Technology further blurs the line between work and personal time; with laptops and cell phones, we are always "on". We want to help our employees reduce stress and maintain a better work/life balance. Additionally, wellness programs have been demonstrated to lower absenteeism and healthcare costs while increasing productivity.
In August, we provided all employees who participant in our health insurance program with a free on-site comprehensive health screening. The objective was to provide employees with an overall snapshot of their health and to detect signs of any possible illness before they become serious. The results were strictly confidential and intended to identify existing health concerns so employees can manage them.
We are in the process of gauging interest in on-site exercise and stretching classes, a walking club at lunch, a healthy recipe club, and on-site Weight Watchers meetings.
It is important to remember that wellness is not just about physical fitness. Other aspects of wellness include spiritual wellness, emotional wellness, social wellness and intellectual wellness. It is important to have balance for optimum individual health.
Employees are the most valuable assets to any company. We hope that by improving wellness, we improve job satisfaction and the overall happiness of our employees.
Most adults have completed a beneficiary designation at some point. We complete the forms when we are hired or become eligible for the company 401(k) Plan and then we forget about them. But your beneficiary designation for your retirement plan is a critical part of your tax and estate planning. While many of us make sure that other important documents such as wills are updated on a frequent basis, we often overlook our retirement account beneficiary designations.
President Barack Obama submitted his American Jobs Act to Congress on Monday, and among its provisions are several tax items, including a temporary payroll tax cut, a limit on itemized deductions for certain high-income taxpayers, and a proposal to tax carried interests as ordinary income rather than capital gains.
The proposed bill follows the president’s pledge last week in a speech to a joint session of Congress to create more jobs. He has asked Congress to take up the measure promptly, but its fate in Congress is unknown.
Specific tax breaks in the proposal include the following:
Temporary payroll tax cut for employers, employees, and the self-employed: The current temporary reduction in payroll taxes would be expanded. For 2012, the employee’s portion of Social Security tax would be 3.1%; the employer’s portion would also be 3.1%, up to the first $5 million of wages paid by the employer. The tax on self-employed workers would be reduced to 6.2%.
Temporary tax credit for increased payroll: From Oct. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012, the proposed bill would provide a payroll tax credit to offset the employer portion of Social Security tax due to wage increases over the corresponding period in the prior year.
Extension of temporary 100% bonus depreciation for certain business assets: The proposal would extend 100% bonus depreciation under IRC § 168(k) through the end of 2012.
Delay in application of withholding on government contractors: The measure would delay the effective date of the 3% withholding requirement on payments to government contractors until after 2013.
Returning heroes and wounded warriors work opportunity tax credits: The measure would double the section 51(b) credit available for hiring certain unemployed, disabled veterans. It also would create two new credits: One for hiring veterans who have been unemployed for at least four weeks and another for hiring veterans who have been unemployed for at least six months.
Long-term unemployed workers work opportunity tax credits: Another credit would be available for employers who hire individuals who have been unemployed for at least six months.
The proposal also contains a number of tax-related revenue raisers:
28% limitation on certain deductions and exclusions: This provision would limit the value of deductions and exclusions to 28% of the taxpayer’s taxable income. This would apply to joint filers with adjusted gross income over $250,000 and single filers with adjusted gross income over $200,000.
Tax carried interest in investment partnerships as ordinary income: This provision would change the rules regarding partnership interests transferred in connection with performance of services and would add a new Code section with special rules for partners providing investment management services to partnerships. The effect would be to tax carried interests at ordinary income rates instead of as capital gains.
Buffett Tax Increase: Last week the President also proposed a tax increase for individuals making more than $1,000,000. The timing is controversial, and even though it makes sense to look at this, it should be done as part of a tax overhaul.
Change corporate jet depreciation: Under this provision, corporate jets would be depreciated over the same seven-year period as other aircraft.
Repeal oil subsidies: Various deductions and credits available to oil and gas producers would be repealed.
The bill also would make changes to the foreign tax credit rules and the treatment of taxes paid on foreign oil and gas income.
If you have any questions about the specific tax breaks or other tax questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 317.241.2999.
Source: Journal of Accountancy, September 12, 2011
by Brandon Cook, CPA | Partner, Tax Services Group and Member of the Construction Services Group
The IRS has once again postponed the effective date on the implementation of mandatory 3% withholding on payments to businesses that contract with the federal, state, and/or local government entities. The effective date is now for payments made after December 31, 2012.