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IRS Issues Maximum Individual Mandate Payment for 2017

Guidance Provides 2017 Monthly National Average Premium for Bronze Plans The IRS has released the 2017 monthly national average premium for a bronze level health plan offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace, which is used to determine the maximum individual mandate penalty. New Guidance According to the new IRS guidance, the monthly national average premium for qualified health plans that have a bronze level of coverage and are offered through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2017 is: $272 per individual (up from $223); and $1,360 for a family with five or more members (up from $1,115). The guidance is effective for taxable years ending after December...

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Ensuring a peaceful succession with a buy-sell agreement

A buy-sell agreement is a critical component of succession planning for many businesses. It sets the terms and conditions under which an owner’s business interest can be sold to another owner (or owners) should an unexpected tragedy or turn of events occurs. It also establishes the method for determining the price of the interest. This may sound cut and dried. And a properly conceived, well-written buy-sell agreement should be — it is, after all, a legal document. But there’s a human side to these arrangements as well. And it’s one that you shouldn’t underestimate. Turmoil and conflicts A business owner’s unexpected death or...

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Protect Your Organization This Hurricane Season

Tips on Preparing Your Business for a Natural Disaster With the start of peak Atlantic hurricane season this month comes the risk of losing essential business records, files, and other materials to floods or damaging winds. To reduce your damage costs and hasten your return to normal business operations, follow the following tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Confirm your insurance:  Review the details of your flood and other hazard insurance policies, paying close attention to which items are covered and under what conditions. If you have questions, contact your insurance agent. Back up essential files:  Regularly back up important electronic files...

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DOL Releases Updated Model CHIP Notice

Model Notice Informs Employees of Eligibility for Premium Assistance Under Medicaid or CHIP An updated model notice for employers to provide information on eligibility for premium assistance under Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is now available for download from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Click here to download the latest employer CHIP notice in PDF format. A Microsoft Word version is also available. Annual Notice Requirement Employers that provide health insurance coverage in states with premium assistance through Medicaid or CHIP must provide employees with the employer CHIP notice annually before the start of each plan year. An employer can...

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IRS: Health FSAs Cannot be Used for Insurance Premiums

Payments for Medicare Premiums Also Prohibited A recently released IRS letter reaffirms the agency's view that funds from a health flexible spending arrangement (health FSA) may not be used to reimburse health insurance premium payments or Medicare premium expenses. Certain Premiums May be Deducted The IRS letter points out that health insurance premium payments, including those for Medicare, may be considered medical expenses for purposes of the itemized deduction for medical expenses. However, only premiums for which the taxpayer is not claiming a separate credit or deduction can be included as part of a medical expenses deduction. Additional restrictions apply to this deduction....

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Top 3 Emerging Benefits

Use Popular Benefits to Lure Top Talent Benefits are a key factor in attracting and holding onto the best and brightest people for your organization. To make sure you're keeping up with the competition, consider offering these emerging popular benefits to your employees. Telemedicine and On-Site Clinics: Millennials demand and value convenience, in health care as in all else. Adding a telemedicine service to your health plan allows employees to consult with medical professionals remotely via video services like Skype. Even more convenient is placing a health care clinic at the worksite, another benefit some employers are starting to offer. Student Loan Assistance:...

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4 tough questions to ask before expanding to a new location

Is business going so well that you’re thinking about adding another location? If this is the case, congratulations! But before you start planning the ribbon-cutting ceremony, take a step back and ask yourself some tough questions about whether a new location will grow your company — or stretch it too thin. Here are four to get you started: 1. What’s driving your interest in another location? It’s important to articulate specifically how the new location will help your business move toward its long-term goals. Expanding simply because the time seems right isn’t a compelling enough reason to take on the risk. 2....

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Fine-tuning your company’s compensation strategy

As a business evolves, so must its compensation strategy. Hopefully, your company is growing — perhaps adding employees or promoting staff members who are key to your success. But other things can spur the need to fine-tune your compensation strategy as well, such as economic changes or the rise of an intense competitor. A goal for many businesses is to provide equitable compensation. Do your research One aspect of equitable compensation is external equity; in other words, making sure compensation is in alignment with industry or regional norms. The U.S. Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics have a wealth of...

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Reminder: Small Businesses Can Qualify for Health Care Tax Credit

Overview of Eligibility Requirements for Small Employers The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is designed to encourage small businesses and small tax-exempt employers to offer health insurance coverage to their employees. The credit can be worth up to 50% of the amount a small business contributes toward employees' premiums (35% for tax-exempt small employers). In general, an employer may be eligible for the credit if it: Had fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees; Paid an average wage of less than $52,000 a year; Paid at least half of its employees' premium costs; and Paid premiums on behalf of employees enrolled in a qualified health plan...

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USCIS Releases Updated Form I-9 Handbook for Employers

Provides Guidance on Completing and Retaining Form I-9 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released an updated M-274, Handbook for Employers, which provides guidance for complying with the requirements of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Updated Handbook Among other things, the updated handbook provides information and answers on the following topics: Completing Form I-9; Retaining Form I-9; Unlawful discrimination and penalties for prohibited practices; and Acceptable documents for verifying employment authorization and identity.   Click here to access the updated handbook....

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