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Get an Early Tax “Refund” by Adjusting Your Withholding  Each year, millions of taxpayers claim an income tax refund. To be sure, receiving a payment from the IRS for a few thousand dollars can be a pleasant influx of cash. But it means you were essentially giving the government an interest-free loan for close to a year, which isn’t the best use of your money.

Fortunately, there’s a way to begin collecting your 2018 refund now: You can review the amounts you’re having withheld and/or what estimated tax payments you’re making, and adjust them to keep more money in your pocket during the year.

Choosing to adjust

It’s particularly important to check your withholding and/or estimated tax payments if:

  • You received an especially large 2017 refund,
  • You’ve gotten married or divorced or added a dependent,
  • You’ve bought a home,
  • You’ve started or lost a job, or
  • Your investment income has changed significantly.

Even if you haven’t encountered any major life changes during the past year, changes in the tax law may affect withholding levels, making it worthwhile to double-check your withholding or estimated tax payments.

Making a change

You can modify your withholding at any time during the year, or even more than once within a year. To do so, you simply submit a new Form W-4 to your employer. Changes typically will go into effect several weeks after the new Form W-4 is submitted. For estimated tax payments, you can make adjustments each time quarterly payments are due.

While reducing withholdings or estimated tax payments will, indeed, put more money in your pocket now, you also need to be careful that you don’t reduce them too much. If you don’t pay enough tax throughout the year on a timely basis, you could end up owing interest and penalties when you file your return, even if you pay your outstanding tax liability by the April 2019 deadline.

Getting help

One timely reason to consider adjusting your withholding is the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act late last year. In fact, the IRS had to revise its withholding tables to account for the increase to the standard deduction, suspension of personal exemptions, and changes in tax rates and brackets. If you’d like help determining what your withholding or estimated tax payments should be for the rest of the year, please contact us.

Policies Renewed Under Extended Transitional Policy Must End by December 31, 2019.

A previously extended transitional policy which allows health insurance issuers, at their option, to continue group coverage that would otherwise be terminated or cancelled has been further extended to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2019, provided that all policies end by December 31, 2019. Health insurance issuers that renew coverage under the extended policy are required to provide standard notices to affected small businesses for each policy year.

Policies subject to the transitional relief will not be considered to be out of compliance with key Affordable Care Act provisions, including:

  • The requirement to cover a core package of items and services known as essential health benefits;
  • The requirement that any variations in premiums be limited with regard to a particular plan or coverage to age, tobacco use, family size, and geography;
  • The requirements regarding guaranteed availability and renewability of coverage; and
  • The requirements relating to coverage for individuals participating in approved clinical trials.

Click here to review the extended transitional policy.

Members Only: Visit our ACA by Year & Company Size section for an overview of other requirements related to Health Care Reform.

If you have questions about coverage or payroll concerns for your business, give us a call. We work with small- to mid-sized businesses in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

RBSK Payroll Is On A Roll
Click to view the full magazine.

RBSK Partners has offered payroll services for much of the 52 years it’s been in business, but three years ago, the payroll department branched off and became a branded division on its own. Its name, RBSK Payroll, retains the reputation of its parent company and alerts customers to the specific services it provides.

Clients that use RBSK Payroll get the benefit of handing off a task that can be complex and time-consuming.

Starting Off Right

When RBSK Payroll began, explains Managing Partner John Seale, the company made some technology improvements. First, it started using a new software system capable of handling much larger volumes. “We can now handle about 100 accounts per payroll professional,” says Seale.

Services and Locations

RBSK offers its services in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, and primarily works with businesses that have between one to 100 employees, though the team has the capacity to serve a company with up to 1,000 employees. Clients are from many industries including manufacturing, agriculture, the service industry, and nonprofit organizations.

RBSK Payroll also offers related services like background checks, labor law posters, and an HR library that includes laws, templates, and other information for HR professionals.

Continue reading about RBSK Payroll by downloading the Enhanced Connections Spring 2018 edition published by Enhanced Telecommunications Corporation.

HHS Issues Key Rule for 2019

A new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) addresses, among other things, the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that non-grandfathered group health plans limit annual out-of-pocket cost-sharing for coverage of essential health benefits under the plan. Under the rule, these out-of-pocket expenses may not exceed $7,900 for self-only coverage or $15,800 for family coverage in 2019.

No Kidding: Child Credit to Get Even More Valuable

The child credit has long been a valuable tax break. But, with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) late last year, it’s now even better — at least for a while. Here are some details that every family should know.

Amount and Limitations

For the 2017 tax year, the child credit may help reduce federal income tax liability dollar-for-dollar by up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under age 17. So if you haven’t yet filed your personal return or you might consider amending it, bear this in mind.

The credit is, however, subject to income limitations that may reduce or even eliminate eligibility for it depending on your filing status and modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). For 2017, the limits are $110,000 for married couples filing jointly, and $55,000 for married taxpayers filing separately. (Singles, heads of households, and qualifying widows and widowers are limited to $75,000 in MAGI.)

Exciting Changes

Now the good news: Under the TCJA, the credit will double to $2,000 per child under age 17 starting in 2018. The maximum amount refundable (because a taxpayer’s credits exceed his or her tax liability) will be limited to $1,400 per child.

The TCJA also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. That’s because, beginning in 2018, the credit won’t begin to phase out until MAGI exceeds $400,000 for married couples or $200,000 for all other filers, compared with the 2017 phaseouts of $110,000 and $75,000. The phaseout thresholds won’t be indexed for inflation, though, meaning the credit will lose value over time.

In addition, the TCJA includes (starting in 2018) a $500 nonrefundable credit for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children (for example, a taxpayer’s 17-year-old child, parent, sibling, niece or nephew, or aunt or uncle). Importantly, these provisions expire after 2025.

Qualifications to Consider

Along with the income limitations, there are other qualification requirements for claiming the child credit. As you might have noticed, a qualifying child must be under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year in question. But the child also must be a U.S. citizen, national or resident alien, and a dependent claimed on the parents’ federal tax return who’s their own legal son, daughter, stepchild, foster child or adoptee. (A qualifying child may also include a grandchild, niece or nephew.)

As a child gets older, other circumstances may affect a family’s ability to claim the credit. For instance, the child needs to have lived with his or her parents for more than half of the tax year.

Powerful Tool

Tax credits can serve as powerful tools to help you manage your tax liability. So, if you may qualify for the child credit in 2017, or in years ahead, please contact our firm to discuss the full details of how to go about claiming it properly.

The New Deal on Employee Meals (and Entertainment)

Years and years ago, the notion of having a company cafeteria or regularly catered meals was generally feasible for only the biggest of businesses. But, more recently, employers providing meals to employees has become somewhat common for many midsize to large companies. A recent tax law change, however, may curtail the practice.

As you’re likely aware, in late December 2017 Congress passed and the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The law will phase in a wide variety of changes to the way businesses calculate their tax liabilities — some beneficial, some detrimental. Revisions to the treatment of employee meals and entertainment expenses fall in the latter category.

Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers generally could deduct 50% of expenses for business-related meals and entertainment. But meals provided to an employee for the convenience of the employer on the employer’s business premises were 100% deductible by the employer and tax-free to the recipient employee. Various other employer-provided fringe benefits were also deductible by the employer and tax-free to the recipient employee.

Under the new law, for amounts paid or incurred after December 31, 2017, deductions for business-related entertainment expenses are disallowed. Meal expenses incurred while traveling on business are still 50% deductible, but the 50% disallowance rule now also applies to meals provided via an on-premises cafeteria or otherwise on the employer’s premises for the convenience of the employer. After 2025, the cost of meals provided through an on-premises cafeteria or otherwise on the employer’s premises will be completely nondeductible.

If your business regularly provides meals to employees, let us assist you in anticipating the changing tax impact. Give us a call. 

 

(c) Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with permission.
RBSK Payroll
RBSK Payroll Partners