Every year seems to bring new rules, new regulations and new forms. 2017 promises to be no different, especially for the IRS. Keeping up with these changes is part of the challenge for HR professionals.
Each year businesses across California and the nation are tasked with staying abreast of the myriad of regulatory changes, updates and revisions. From actual laws, to agency rules, and required forms, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming.
Key IRS Form Changes Recently Announced
Here are a few of the recent form changes or updates that the Internal Revenue Service has announced, along with a few related changes:
IRS Releases Form 8809 to Submit for Filing Time Extensions
The IRS has released a revised version of Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns, which is used to request extensions for certain information returns, including Forms W-2, 1042-S, 1099, 1094-C, 1095-B, and 1095-C.
The deadline for submitting Form W-2 to the SSA and Form 1099-MISC to the IRS has also changed significantly.
Beginning in 2017, for the 2016 reporting year, filers must send W-2 and 1099-MISC recipient copies and submit to the SSA/IRS by January 31, regardless of method (paper or e-file). The new filing deadline, as it relates to Form 1099-MISC, only impacts filers reporting non-employee compensation payments in box 7.
Although most 1099-MISC filers will report information in box 7, there may still be some confusion.
Extension requests for Form W-2 must be on paper and will be granted only if the reason is related to a catastrophe or disaster. The revised form has been posted to the IRS website.
IRS Releases 2016 ACA Reporting Forms and Instructions
Forms 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Returns, 1095-B, Health Coverage, 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, and their corresponding instructions have been posted to the APA website.
The 2015 calendar year forms have been updated. The revised 2016 Forms 1095-C must be provided to employees by January 31 and must be submitted to the IRS electronically by March 31 (for those with under 250 forms submitting on paper, the deadline is February 28).
The revised forms and instructions have just been released and, though the forms have only slight changes, the instructions have changed significantly. Penalties for failing to file a correct form with the IRS or an individual are now $260 for each. Some penalty caps and exceptions apply.
In addition are significant changes and clarifications related to the new codes for spouses who are offered coverage only under certain circumstances, such as having no coverage through their own employer. The reporting for those offered coverage under COBRA or otherwise after termination of employment has changed, as well.
The instructions also contain information on filing corrected forms. A direct link to the 1094 and 1095-C instructions is here.
IRS Issues Federal 'High-Low' Per Diem Rates Effective October 1
The IRS has issued its annual list of optional "high-low" per diem rates for travel to locations within the continental U.S. Notice 2016-58, which is effective for travel undertaken on or after October 1, 2016, has been posted on the APA website
IRS Notice 2015-63 includes special transportation industry meal and incidental expenses rates, the rate for incidental expenses-only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method.
The special meals and incidental expenses rates for taxpayers in the transportation industry are $63 for any locality of travel in the continental United States and $68 for any locality of travel outside the continental United States.
For purposes of the high-low substantiation method, the per diem rates are $275 for travel to any high-cost locality, up from $259 last year, and $185 for travel to any other locality within the continental United States, which increased from $172 for 2014-15.
The amount of the $275 high rate and $185 low rate that applies to meals is $68 for travel to any high-cost locality and $57 for travel to any other locality within the continental United States.
The rates are effective for per diem allowance for lodging, meal, and incidental expenses, or for meal and incidental expenses only, that are paid to any employee on or after October 1, 2015, for travel away from home on or after that date.
On a related note:
USCIS Announces Approval of New Form I-9
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, has been approved. USCIS must publish the revised form by November 22, 2016. Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 until January 21, 2017.
Some points about the new form that employers should consider:
Completing by Hand Rule - Starting with the use of the new Form I-9, policies that require all I-9s to be completed by hand may need to be revisited. According to a Lexology.com post:
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel published a rulemaking proposal that, while claiming to codify existing practices, also expands the definition of “document abuse” so far that it that could make rejection of employee-completed Section 1s to be considered a discriminatory employment practice.
You will need to have a mechanism in place to make sure that all Section 1s completed by hand have the
"Preparer/Translator" box checked, in addition to the other quality control checks already in place.
Looking for Professional Help With HR Compliance
An updated and streamlined reporting strategy will help your organization meet its obligations, while providing accuracy and timeliness. So take time to understand the new laws and prioritize accurate record keeping. In this way, you will make compliance a sure thing.
Another key step in maintaining HR compliance and increasing your company's cost-effectiveness is to consider outsourcing. A professional agency such a Accuchex can provide much-needed help with Human Resources needs and questions.
Accuchex is a full spectrum Payroll Management Services provider offering expertise in Time Management, Insurance and Retirement issues, as well.