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FBI Warns About Phishing Emails for Employees’ Payroll Information

The FBI issued a public service announcement (PSA) encouraging employers to remind employees not to respond to phishing emails from cybercriminals who want access to employees’ payroll information [FBI, Alert No. I-091818-PSA, 9-18-18]. How the Scam Works The FBI said that cybercriminals are targeting employees through phishing emails designed to capture an employee’s login credentials to his or her employer’s self-service application. Once they obtain the login credentials, cybercriminals can change the bank account information to which the employee’s paycheck is deposited. The cybercriminals also change the alert settings so employees are not informed of the direct deposit changes. How Employers Can Help The...

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It’s National Estate Planning Awareness Week

The third week in October has been designated as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Estate planning is a vital component of every financial plan, regardless of the size of the estate. Unfortunately, it's also an area that is commonly overlooked. This often results in wasted dollars and emotional hardship that could otherwise be minimized with proper advance planning and action. By definition, estate planning is a process designed to help you manage and preserve your assets while you are alive, and to conserve and control their distribution after your death according to your goals and objectives. But what estate planning means...

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Several tax law changes may affect bottom line of many business owners

IR-2018-203, October 16, 2018 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded business owners that tax reform legislation passed last December affects nearly every business. With just a few months left in the year, the IRS is highlighting important information for small businesses and self-employed individuals to help them understand and meet their tax obligations. Here are several changes that could affect the bottom line of many small businesses: Qualified Business Income Deduction Many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations may deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income. The new deduction -- referred to as the Section 199A deduction or the...

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Workplace Bullying: More Common Than You’d Think

National Bullying Prevention Month is recognized every October. What many people don’t realize is that workplace bullying affects more than 35 percent of adult Americans. What is Workplace Bullying? Generally, workplace bullying is defined as the use of intimidation through power, influence, tone, or language to affect a person negatively. Often, bullying is intentional, but sometimes the bully is not aware of their hurtful actions or words. Workplace bullying affects safety, productivity, trust, and the workplace culture. What are the Signs of Workplace Bullying? Some common signs of workplace bullying include: Ignoring, isolating, or excluding an employee Reprimanding or humiliating an employee publicly Name-calling or insulting an...

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Open Enrollment Season is Around the Corner

Each year, once the dust of open enrollment settles, employers always ask, "What could we have done better?" The usual answer: employee communication. HR is in a unique position to talk about open enrollment because of their relation to employees and their extensive benefits knowledge. With this in mind, consider having HR distribute open enrollment communication through a multichannel approach. Reminder emails, text blasts, short explanatory videos, and posters in the break room are all great methods for reaching employees. Offering meaningful resources and reminders can boost employee engagement and retention, and improve workers' long-term health and wellness. Speak with one of SIMA's consultants...

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IRS Releases Forms 1094 and 1095 for Early 2019 Reporting

Form Instructions Also Released The IRS has released the Forms 1094-C, 1095-C, 1094-B, and 1095-B that employers will use in early 2019 to report on the group health insurance coverage they offered during the 2018 calendar year. Instructions on how to complete Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Forms 1094-B and 1095-B have also been released. As a reminder, employers with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) generally must furnish a Form 1095-C to all full-time employees by January 31, 2019, and file Form 1094-C and all Forms 1095-C with the IRS by February 28, 2019 (or March 31, 2019,...

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Help your employees manage workplace stress

Keeping Stress at Work in Check Helping your employees deal with stress in the workplace can ultimately lead to greater productivity as well as motivating employees to perform better. Stress can sidetrack employees and prevent them from doing their best. Stress at work may come from significant workload, pressing deadlines and time management issues. When workplace stress feels overwhelming, the following are some simple steps managers and employees can take to reduce the pressure. How Managers Can Help Their Teams Reduce Stress With so many responsibilities, projects and tasks to implement in a given day, it’s easy for employees to lose a sense...

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Market Update from SIMA Portfolio Manager, Ashley Vice, CFA, CFP®

Through the first half of the year, US stocks are mostly positive and are easily outpacing their international counterparts.  This is a reversal of last year’s trend, which saw international and emerging markets outperform the US by a fairly wide margin.  Part of the reason for this year’s divergence has been a stronger US dollar, which tends to favor domestic-focused small companies and hurt emerging market economies.  Since it is unclear if the dollar will be able to continue its recent run against other currencies, and since many areas outside the US are at more attractive valuations, we continue to...

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Reminder: Medicare Part D Notices Due by October 15

Notices Due to Medicare-Eligible Individuals Employers who sponsor group health plans that offer prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals are reminded that they must provide a Medicare Part D Creditable or Non-Creditable Coverage Notice to those individuals by October 15. This notice serves to inform Medicare-eligible individuals whether the prescription drug coverage offered is "creditable," meaning it is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage. For more information on this notice requirement, including links to downloadable model notices, click here. ...

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How TIGTA stymied an IRS impersonation scam

New technologies aided a massive phone scam, but investigators turned the tables on the scheme, which allegedly caused ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ in taxpayer losses. On Nov. 24, 2014, a woman named Diana received a menacing phone call in Hernando, Miss., a small city nestled in the northwest corner of the state. A caller purporting to be an IRS agent claimed she owed back taxes and told her that agents were waiting to arrest her unless she paid up immediately. The caller was insistent, threatening, and urging her to act quickly. The demands eventually produced the desired result: After the "agent"...

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