Posts Tagged ‘Tax Credit’

Small Businesses and the Affordable Care Act

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Health Care ReformYou know the value of providing health insurance to your employees but it can be a real challenge for small businesses. On average, small businesses pay about 18% more than large firms for the same health insurance policy because small businesses lack the purchasing power that larger employers have. The Affordable Care Act provides tax credits, and soon, the ability to shop for insurance in Exchanges that may help close the gap.

Top Things to Know for Small Businesses

  • For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities.
  • If you have up to 25 employees, pay average annual wages below $50,000 per employee, and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits) to offset the cost of your insurance.
  • Employer-based plans that provide health insurance to retirees ages 55-64 can now get financial help through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. This program is designed to lower the cost of premiums for all employees and reduce employer health costs.
  • Starting in 2014, the maximum small business tax credit increases to 50% for qualifying businesses, (35% for non-profits).
  • In 2014, small businesses with generally fewer than 100 employees can shop in an Affordable Insurance Exchange, which are designed to make buying health coverage easier and more affordable.
  • Exchanges will offer a plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards and can help you look for and compare private health plans, get answers to questions about your health coverage options, determine tax credit or health program eligibility, and will allow you to enroll in a health plan that meets your needs.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from new employer responsibility policies.

Here are two great resources for more information:

Health Care Law and You

Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

What You Need to Know about the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Heath Care Tax CreditIRS Newsroom Article #223666

How will the credit make a difference for you?

For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities. An enhanced version of the credit will be effective beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Additional information about the enhanced version will be added to IRS.gov as it becomes available. In general, on Jan. 1, 2014, the rate will increase to 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Here’s what this means for you. If you pay $50,000 a year toward workers’ health care premiums – and if you qualify for a 15 percent credit, you save … $7,500. If you save $7,500 a year from tax year 2010 through 2013, that’s total savings of $30,000. If, in 2014, you qualify for a slightly larger credit, say 20 percent, your savings go from $7,500 a year to $12,000 a year.

Even if you are a small business employer who did not owe tax during the year, you can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. Also, since the amount of the health insurance premium payments are more than the total credit, eligible small businesses can still claim a business expense deduction for the premiums in excess of the credit. That’s both a credit and a deduction for employee premium payments.

There is good news for small tax-exempt employers too. The credit is refundable, so even if you have no taxable income, you may be eligible to receive the credit as a refund so long as it does not exceed your income tax withholding and Medicare tax liability.

And finally, if you can benefit from the credit this year but forgot to claim it on your tax return there’s still time to file an amended return.

Click here if you want more examples of how the credit applies in different circumstances.

Can you claim the credit?

Now that you know how the credit can make a difference for your business, let’s determine if you can claim it.

To be eligible, you must cover at least 50 percent of the cost of single (not family) health care coverage for each of your employees. You must also have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). Those employees must have average wages of less than $50,000 a year.

Let us break it down for you even more.

You are probably wondering: what IS a full-time equivalent employee. Basically, two half-time workers count as one full-timer. Here is an example, 20 half-time employees are equivalent to 10 full-time workers. That makes the number of FTEs 10 not 20.

Now let’s talk about average wages. Say you pay total wages of $200,000 and have 10 FTEs. To figure average wages you divide $200,000 by 10 – the number of FTEs – and the result is your average wage. The average wage would be $20,000.

Also, the amount of the credit you receive works on a sliding scale. The smaller the business or charity, the bigger the credit. So if you have more than 10 FTEs or if the average wage is more than $25,000, the amount of the credit you receive will be less.

If you need assistance determining if your small business or tax exempt organization qualifies for the credit, try this step-by-step guide.

How do you claim the credit?

You must use Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, to calculate the credit.

If you are a small business, include the amount as part of the general business credit on your income tax return.

If you are a tax-exempt organization, include the amount on line 44f of the Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return. You must file the Form 990-T in order to claim the credit, even if you don’t ordinarily do so.

Don’t forget … if you are a small business employer you may be able to carry the credit back or forward. And if you are a tax-exempt employer, you may be eligible for a refundable credit.

Links to Prior Articles:

January, 2011 Article

September, 2010 Article

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Are You Missing Out?

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

HIRE ActThroughout the week, we’re in contact with many prospects and customers of PCS and we have the opportunity to ask them if they’ve been taking advantage of the HIRE Act.  In almost every case, we’re met with a blank stare and the response, HIRE Act?  What’s that?

The HIRE Act is arguably the highest POSITIVE impact legislation for business launched in 2010.  Eligible new hires are EXEMPT from Employer Social Security Tax for the 2010 tax year (for wages paid after March 18th of 2010) – a savings of 6.2% of eligible employee taxable wages.

However, most businesses aren’t aware the “holiday” on this tax is available.  Indeed, even though PCS has sent out multiple notifications, only 25% of our customers have taken the steps necessary to take advantage of the savings which can be as much as $7,621.60 per eligible employee.

THE DETAILS

On March 18, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act .  The HIRE Act provides tax credits for employers willing to expand their workforce by hiring individuals who are unemployed or only working part time. This law provides two opportunities for tax savings:

  • Social Security Tax Holiday – Employers who hire unemployed workers this year (after February 3, 2010 and through December 31, 2010) may qualify for a 6.2-percent payroll tax incentive, in effect exempting them from their share of Social Security taxes on wages paid to these workers after March 18, 2010. This reduced tax withholding will have no effect on the employee’s future Social Security benefits, and employers would still need to withhold the employee’s 6.2-percent share of Social Security taxes, as well as income taxes. The employer and employees’ shares of Medicare taxes would also still apply to these wages.
  • General Business Tax Credit* – In addition, for each worker retained for at least a year, businesses may claim a general business tax credit, up to $1,000 per worker, when they file their 2011 corporate income tax returns.  The employee must be hired after February 3, 2010 and be employed for at least 52 consecutive weeks. Wages during the last 26 weeks must be at least 80 percent of the wages paid for the first 26 weeks.
    *PCS does not apply this credit as it is a credit on your business tax return.

The credit is available for eligible new hires made between February 3, 2010 and December 31, 2010. All credits must be applied to 2010 check dates. The maximum credit for each employee is $6,621.60 (Social Security wage max $106,800 x 6.2%).

An employee is eligible if he/she:

  • Begins employment between February 3, 2010 and December 31, 2010. Additionally, only the wages earned with a check date of March 19, 2010 to December 31, 2010 are eligible for the credit.
  • Has not been employed for more than 40 hours during the previous 60 days. The individual must sign a W-11 Form Affidavit of Employment, under penalty of perjury, attesting to the employer this fact. To get the W-11 form, click here.
  • Is not hired to replace another employee unless the previous employee was separated from employment voluntarily or for cause. Additional restrictions may apply for seasonal employment.
  • Is not related to the employer in one of the following ways: son, daughter, or descendant of either; stepson or stepdaughter; brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister; father, mother, or ancestor of either; stepfather or stepmother; niece or nephew; aunt or uncle; or the following in-laws: son, daughter, father, mother, brother, or sister.

Businesses, agricultural employers, tax-exempt organizations, tribal governments and public colleges and universities all qualify to claim the payroll tax exemption for eligible newly-hired employees. Household employers and federal, state and local government employers, other than public colleges and universities, are not eligible.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

1.      Ask all new hires if they have worked for anyone more than 40 hours during the 60 day period ending on the day they began employment with you.  If they have not worked during this time frame, have them sign the affidavit Form W-11 and keep it on file.

2.      Look back at all new hires since February 3rd of 2010 that have received payroll checks dated after March 18th, 2010.  Find out if they would qualify based on the above criteria and if so, have them complete the Form W-11.  If you find that you have eligible employees, but have not been taking advantage of the HIRE Act, you will need to amend the affected 941 returns filed to date.

HOW TO CLAIM THE TAX EXEMPTION

If you are a PCS Client: Contact your Client Account Manager, they will guide you through the process.

If you are not a PCS Client: Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, revised for use beginning with the second calendar quarter of 2010, will be filed by most employers claiming the payroll tax exemption for wages paid to qualified employees. The HIRE Act does not allow employers to claim the exemption for wages paid in the first quarter but provides for a credit in the second quarter. The instructions for the new Form 941 explain how this credit for wages paid from March 19 through March 31 can be claimed on the second quarter return.

The HIRE Act requires that employers get a signed statement from each eligible new hire, certifying under penalties of perjury, that he or she was not employed for more than 40 hours during the 60 days before beginning employment with that employer. Employers can use new Form W-11, Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act Employee Affidavit, released last month, to meet this requirement. Though employers need this certification to claim both the payroll tax exemption and the new hire retention credit, they do not file these statements with the IRS. Instead, they must retain them along with other payroll and income tax records.

These two tax benefits are especially helpful to employers who are adding positions to their payrolls. New hires filling existing positions also qualify as long as they are replacing workers who left voluntarily or who were terminated for cause and otherwise are qualified employees. Family members and other relatives do not qualify for either of these tax benefits.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

HIRE Act and COBRA Update

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Health CareThe IRS has released a number of updates over the past month including additional clarification on the HIRE Act and COBRA extension. It contains details on how to receive the credit for wages/tips paid to qualified employees after March 18th and before April 1st, 941 filing instructions and additional information on the COBRA premium assistance and extension.

Qualified employer’s social security tax credit.  Qualified employers are allowed a credit in the second quarter of 2010 for their share (6.2%) of social security tax on wages/tips paid to their qualified employees after March 18, 2010 and before April 1, 2010.  The credit will be taken on lines 12c through 12e on the 941 where the employer will enter the number of qualified employees for the period, the exempt wages/tips and compute the social security tax exemption for the period of March 19-31, 2010.  This amount will be treated as a deposit of taxes on April 1, 2010 and must not be used to adjust line 17 (Tax Liability for Quarter) or Schedule B (Report of Tax Liability for Semiweekly Schedule Depositors).

Qualified employer’s social security tax exemption.  Qualified employers are allowed an exemption for their share (6.2%) of social security tax on wages/tips paid to qualified employees after March 31, 2010 and before January 1, 2011.  The exemption is taken on lines 6a through 6d on the 941 where the employer will enter the number of qualified employees first paid exempt wages/tips in the quarter, the total number of qualified employees paid exempt wages/tips in the quarter, the exempt wages/tips paid during the quarter, and the social security tax exemption.  The tax exemption listed on line 6d will directly impact the total taxes before adjustments listed on line 6e of the 941 return.

Payroll Control Systems (PCS) has been following the updates from the IRS closely with regard to the HIRE Act.  We have the systems and procedures in place to assist our customers with receiving this credit.  If you are not a PCS customer and would like further assistance, please call 763.513.5951 or email us at info@pcspayroll.com.  If you are a current customer and have further questions, please contact your Client Account Manager directly.  To access our prior releases on the HIRE Act which include a wizard for determining new hire eligibility and the W-11 form the employee must sign, click here.

COBRA premium assistance credit extended.  The credit for COBRA premium assistance payments has been extended.  It now applies to premiums paid for employees involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and May 31, 2010, and to premiums paid for up to 15 months.  Congress may take additional legislative action that extends the credit further.  Stay tuned for further updates from PCS or you can monitor the progress at the IRS website, enter keyword COBRA.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney or an HR Professional.