In the never ending battle between classifying an worker as an independent contractor or as an employee, the state of Alabama has weighed into the ring. Officials of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the Alabama Department of Labor have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to protect the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as something other than an employee–such as an independent contractor. This MOU represents a new effort on the part of the agencies to work together to protect not only the workers’ rights but those of the employers who follow the regulations but may be undermined economically by employers who do not. This MOU is only the latest in a long string of 15 MOUs between the states and the DOL with the goal of preventing, detecting and remedying employee misclassification. States that have signed an MOU with the DOL include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Utah and Washington. For more information check out the Wage and Hour Division’s webpage on Employee Misclassification as Independent Contractors.
The New Hampshire governor’s office has announced that a “fund balance reduction” will go into effect for the fourth quarter of 2014. As a result, most positive-balanced and new employers will see a 0.5% reduction in their state unemployment insurance tax rates beginning this month. For more info see the governor’s press release.
It appears everybody is getting into the widget and webinars craze even the USCIS! The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released two new tools for employers. The Department has released a downloadable Form I-9 Desktop Widget that allows employers to automatically launch the Form I-9 from their desktop at any time. The Form I-9 Desktop Widget benefits include:
- Quick access to the current version of the Form I-9
- Quick access to learn about E-Verify
- Quick Access to Form I-9 and E-Verify free webinars schedule
The widget is available on the USCIS website.
The Department is also offering it’s first Form I-9 Webinar on Demand. Now you can watch the free Form I-9 webinar at any time. Choose the chapters of your choice or watch the entire 22 minute video in one sitting. You will see how to complete Sections 1, 2 and 3, best practices and much more. It is a great training tool.
The video is available on the USCIS website
In our post on Friday we listed the new 2015 minimum wage for CT to be $9.00 per hour. That was a error and we apologize! We did not list the later legislation which raised the rate instead to $9.15 per hour effective January 1, 2015. Thanks to our reader who caught our error. We strive to be as accurate as we can but even the best of us can make the “boo-boo” from time to time.
The minimum wage, whether federal or state, is one of those items that is basic to payroll. Right now it is really on the move and heading upwards! Some of the upward mobility is due to previous legislation kicking in for 2015 while others are leaving it up to the voters in the November elections. A few of the increases due to previous legislation include Montana going to $8.05 per hour and Connecticut increasing to $9.00 per hour. Both are effective January 1. New York will increase to $8.75 on December 31, 2014.
Just a reminder at least 11 states tie their minimum wage to the consumer price index including Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey Ohio and Washington. These states will be announcing their rates for 2015 sometime in October or November.
Still other states are putting the matter to the voters on whether or not to increase the minimum wage. States voting this November 4th to increase the minimum wage include Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Payroll is becoming political and payroll professionals need to watch elections closely to ensure compliance.
As I promised, I will be providing the 2015 state unemployment insurance (SUI) updates as I get them each week. I am going to try to do it at least once or twice a week as year end gets closer. So for this time around we have the following to report:
Colorado: The wage base will increase to $11,800. This is up from $11,700. but the rates are expected to range from 0.78% to 10.20% which is actually down a bit from 2014. The rate schedule will be finalized later this month and the tax rate notices will be mailed to employers in November.
Minnesota: The taxable wage base will be $30,000 for 2015. This is up $1,000 from the 2014 base of $29,000.
There are nine states in the country that do not have or require state income tax to be withheld. One of those is Tennessee. Although the state’s constitution does not forbid or preclude the state’s legislature from implementing a state income tax it has not done so. However, the voters of Tennessee are poised to vote on the issue. On the November 4th ballot is Amendment 3. Voters will be able to lower the risk of a new personal income tax or payroll tax by voting “yes” to the amendment. The amendment would prohibit lawmakers through a constitutional amendment, from levying, authorizing or permitting any state or local tax on payroll or earned personal income. Whether to pass the amendment or not is up to the voters of Tennessee and I would never get involved on either side. But it is one election payroll needs to watch.
In 2013 and at the beginning of this year we offered webinars on a variety of subjects. These webinars were also approved by the APA for RCHs. We have always felt that it was part of our mission to bring affordable payroll training to all payroll professionals especially those in need of RCHs. Unfortunately, although we only charged $65 for each webinar instead of the industry standard of over $200 for RCH approved webinars we found the attendance to our webinars totally wanting. Many even asked why we couldn’t make the webinars free of charge like the ones that I do for some payroll services. My answer to that is very simple. I am not a payroll service so I don’t have a marketing budget to offset the costs associated with offering a webinar. But I can reduce the price to cover the costs so as to offer it at the lowest price possible, which is what we did. But still we did not have the attendees we needed to continue the programs. Please don’t misunderstand, this blog is not about complaining but about explanations. Because once we discontinued the webinars on our webstore we began receiving emails asking why the webinars were no longer being offered.
In fact, over the course of the spring and summer months we have received numerous requests to offer the webinars again. In addition, we have also received requests to offer the webinars as on-demand webinars for RCH credits. We are going to do both. We will offer live webinars and on-demand webinars for the next several months to once again test the waters to see if the demand is there. As only the second company outside of the APA to offer on-demand webinars for credit, we will be offering 4 on-demand webinars in November and December. The live webinars will be on a variety of subjects such as child support and multistate taxation and will be submitted for approval to the APA for RCHs.
We are offering our live webinar Understanding and Mastering Child Support for 2014 and Beyond on October 31, 2014. Registrations are now open. The CD and on-demand version will be available after November 5th.
Well it is that time of year again. Time for the states to begin announcing their state unemployment insurance taxable wage bases. As they come in we will group them together into different single blogs. This time we have Vermont and Washington. The taxable wage base for Vermont will be $16,400. This is an increase of $400 over the 2014 base of $16,000. Washington will have a taxable wage base of $42,100. This is up $800 from the 2014 wage base of $41,300.
DeKalb, Hancock and Monroe counties have changed their county income tax rates. These changes take effect on Oct. 1, 2014.
The changes for DeKalb, Hancock and Monroe counties are as follows:
- DeKalb – The resident rate has increased from .015 to .02. The nonresident rate has decreased from .0075 to .005.
- Hancock – The resident rate has increased from .0165 to .017. The nonresident rate has increased from .0045 to .005.
- Monroe – The resident rate has increased from .0105 to .01095. The nonresident rate has increased from .002625 to .0027375.
Local income tax rates are established or adjusted by county officials and reported to the Indiana Department of Revenue, where they are cross-referenced to ensure they are supported by Indiana law.
The list of rates for all Indiana counties is available on the Indiana Department of Revenue’s website at http://in.gov/dor/reference/files/dn01.pdf. These rates affect businesses with employees who live or work in any of these counties and have income tax withholdings.
Employers with questions about these county income tax rates can contact the department at (317) 233-4016.