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Governor Declares Apprenticeship Week in Alabama

  • November 21st, 2017

I.R.S. Starts to Enforce Health Law’s Rule That Employers Offer Insurance

  • November 20th, 2017

As Republicans and the Trump administration continue trying to chip away at the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service has begun, for the first time, to enforce one of the law’s most polarizing provisions: the employer mandate.

Thousands of businesses — many of them small or midsize — will soon receive a letter saying that they owe the government money because they failed to offer their workers qualifying health insurance. The first round of notices, which the I.R.S. began sending late last month, are being mailed to companies that have at least 100 full-time employees and ran afoul of the law in 2015, the year that the mandate took effect.

Large companies, defined in the law as those with 50 or more workers, are required to offer their employees affordable insurance or pay stiff tax penalties. The I.R.S. held off for years on assessing those fines, saying that it needed more time, and money, to build its compliance systems.

Now, the agency says it is finally ready to go after scofflaws.

“As the I.R.S. has publicly stated, the agency is obligated to enforce the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility provision,” said Bruce Friedland, an agency spokesman.

Ten months ago, in his first executive order, President Trump directed government agencies to waive, defer or delay carrying out as much of the law as possible. This week, the Treasury Department said that it objected to the employer mandate but was legally compelled to enforce it.
“Treasury lawyers see no ground for the secretary to direct the I.R.S. to not collect the tax,” the agency said in a written statement. “The A.C.A.’s employer mandate unfortunately remains the law of the land.”

Senate Republicans plan to include a repeal of the law’s individual mandate in their tax cut bill. Eliminating that mandate, which requires people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, would free up hundreds of billions of dollars that could be redirected to tax cuts. The I.R.S. recently indicated that it would tighten enforcement of that provision as well.

The employer mandate, which would be unaffected by that proposed change, is lucrative for the government. It is expected to bring in penalty payments of $207 billion over the next decade, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office.

When the health law was passed, lawmakers feared that without an employer mandate, companies would cancel their insurance benefits and send large numbers of employees to the health care law’s insurance exchanges, where many people qualify for government subsidies. Employees who are offered health insurance through their jobs are ineligible for the subsidies.

The law’s exact rules are complex, but businesses will generally incur fines of around $2,000 per employee (excluding the first 30) if they do not offer qualifying coverage to nearly all of those who work an average of 30 or more hours a week. The penalty is activated if at least one employee then buys insurance on the health law’s marketplace and receives a subsidy for it.

The per-employee fine increases each year, and can add up quickly: A company with 100 workers that ignored the law this year would owe a penalty of more than $158,000.

To prove their compliance, businesses are required to send the I.R.S. a report on their employee head count and the health care coverage that they offered. The tax agency began requiring those forms two years ago, but it repeatedly ran into problems processing them.

That delayed efforts to identify, and fine, companies that did not offer their workers adequate insurance. The bottleneck largely came down to money, according to the agency.

“For the past four years, the I.R.S. has received almost no funding for implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” John A. Koskinen, then the agency’s commissioner, told Congress last year. (Mr. Koskinen’s tenure at the agency ended this month, but no change in the enforcement of the mandate is expected.)

A recent audit by the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration found that the I.R.S. had “delayed, not initiated or canceled” crucial systems needed to enforce the employer mandate. Other systems “did not function as intended,” causing confusion both for the agency and for companies trying to comply with its reporting requirements.

Accountants and others familiar with the process say they are bracing for more problems.

“Our belief is that very few of these are going to be accurate,” Roger Prince, an accountant and lawyer with the consulting firm BerryDunn in Portland, Me., said of the penalty notification letters being sent out.

Those letters are based on the reporting forms companies submitted for 2015 — the first year that they had to complete the new, and complex, disclosures.

“Every single one we looked at for our clients was wrong,” Mr. Prince said. “We always had to send them back corrections.”

Large companies are generally taking the process in stride, trade group representatives said. They are accustomed to back-and-forth discussions with the I.R.S. over their tax bills and have teams of experts to handle complicated compliance issues.

But for smaller companies, the ones most likely to owe penalties, the mandate’s slow and messy enforcement has raised concerns. Nearly all large employers offer their employees insurance, but among companies with 50 to 199 workers, around 8 percent do not, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual employer survey.

“It’s been very obscure and confusing,” Kevin Kuhlman, the director of government relations for the National Federation of Independent Business. “The lag time is worrisome. We’re talking about penalties for 2015, and here we are almost in 2018.”

R. Pepper Crutcher Jr., a lawyer in Jackson, Miss., who works with midsize employers, said he thought many companies would be “blindsided” by the notification letters.

Even companies that fully comply with the mandate have struggled to master its complicated reporting rules, Mr. Crutcher said. And the I.R.S. has also struggled to correctly analyze the returns, the inspector general’s audit found.

The agency said companies that disagreed with its penalty notifications must contact it within 30 days to document their dispute.

But simply pleading confusion or financial hardship will not work, the agency has indicated.

Representative Bill Huizenga, a Michigan Republican, contacted the agency recently on behalf of an employer in his district that expected to owe a penalty payment. It had not complied “for both financial and religious reasons,” the employer said.

The I.R.S. said it would still have to pay.

“The legislative provisions of the A.C.A. are still in force until changed by the Congress,” the agency said in its reply to Mr. Huizenga. “Taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe.”

Original article from The New York Times.

Governor Declares Small Business Saturday in Alabama

  • November 13th, 2017

Attend Shoals-area State Tax Seminar on Nov. 15

  • November 1st, 2017

Business Owners – Be ADOR’s B.E.S.T.

Attend Shoals-area State Tax Seminar on Nov. 15

 

FLORENCE, Nov. 1, 2017 – State tax obligations can sometimes confuse business owners. Licenses, sales tax, property tax, etc. – business owners are responsible for many details. To make that task easier, the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) invites business owners to come learn the “B.E.S.T.” ways to handle state taxes at ADOR’s free Business Essentials for State Taxpayers Seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 9:30 a.m. in Florence.

 

The seminar will be held at the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, Shoals Center for Business and Economic Development, 20 Hightower Place.

 

ADOR specialists conduct B.E.S.T. Seminars, which include a brief but comprehensive overview of Alabama’s business taxes, the business owner’s tax obligations, and the forms that are required, as well as information on electronic filing and other requirements. Presenters cover a variety of state tax information topics, including employer withholding taxes, state and local sales taxes, property taxes, and business licensing requirements. The B.E.S.T. Seminars help new business owners navigate through unfamiliar tax complexities while updating current business owners on tax law changes.

 

Seminar attendees receive ADOR’s “Starting a New Business” guide and information about Alabama’s ONE SPOT, a free Internet filing and payment portal that allows business taxpayers to file and pay state, county, and city sales, use, and rental taxes all in one place!

 

While there is no charge to attend the B.E.S.T. Seminars, reservations are required to ensure adequate space is available. To make your reservation for the Shoals B.E.S.T. Seminar, contact Jason Jones at 256-383-4631, ext. 1099.

 

For more information on B.E.S.T. Seminars and other B.E.S.T. resources, visit our website at https://revenue.alabama.gov/taxpayer-advocacy/b-e-s-t-seminars/. B.E.S.T. Seminars are two hours long plus additional time for questions and answers. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled seminar.

Attend Mobile-area State B.E.S.T. Tax Seminar on Oct. 12

  • October 6th, 2017

Business Owners – Be ADOR’s B.E.S.T.

Attend Mobile-area State Tax Seminar on Oct. 12

 

MOBILE, Sept. 28, 2017 – State tax obligations can sometimes confuse business owners. Licenses, sales tax, property tax, etc. – business owners are responsible for many details. To make that task easier, the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) invites business owners to come learn the “B.E.S.T.” ways to handle state taxes at ADOR’s free Business Essentials for State Taxpayers Seminar on Thursday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. in Mobile.

 

The seminar will be held at the Mobile Taxpayer Service Center, Bel Air Tower, 851 E. I-65 Service Road South.

 

ADOR specialists conduct B.E.S.T. Seminars, which include a brief but comprehensive overview of Alabama’s business taxes, the business owner’s tax obligations, and the forms that are required, as well as information on electronic filing and other requirements. Presenters cover a variety of state tax information topics, including employer withholding taxes, state and local sales taxes, property taxes, and business licensing requirements. The B.E.S.T. Seminars help new business owners navigate through unfamiliar tax complexities while updating current business owners on tax law changes.

 

Seminar attendees receive ADOR’s “Starting a New Business” guide and information about Alabama’s ONE SPOT, a free Internet filing and payment portal that allows business taxpayers to file and pay state, county, and city sales, use, and rental taxes all in one place!

 

While there is no charge to attend the B.E.S.T. Seminars, reservations are required to ensure adequate space is available. To make your reservation for a Mobile B.E.S.T. Seminar, contact Jerlean Hudson at 251-344-4737, ext. 3539.

 

For more information on B.E.S.T. Seminars and other B.E.S.T. resources, visit our website at https://revenue.alabama.gov/taxpayer-advocacy/b-e-s-t-seminars/. B.E.S.T. Seminars are two hours long plus additional time for questions and answers. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled seminar.

Attend Huntsville-area State B.E.S.T. Tax Seminar on Oct. 17

  • October 6th, 2017

Business Owners – Be ADOR’s B.E.S.T.

Attend Huntsville-area State Tax Seminar on Oct. 17

 

HUNTSVILLE, Oct. 3, 2017 – State tax obligations can sometimes confuse business owners. Licenses, sales tax, property tax, etc. – business owners are responsible for many details. To make that task easier, the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) invites business owners to come learn the “B.E.S.T.” ways to handle state taxes at ADOR’s free Business Essentials for State Taxpayers Seminar on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. in Huntsville.

 

The seminar will be held at the Huntsville Taxpayer Service Center, 4920 Corporate Drive, Suite H.

 

ADOR specialists conduct B.E.S.T. Seminars, which include a brief but comprehensive overview of Alabama’s business taxes, the business owner’s tax obligations, and the forms that are required, as well as information on electronic filing and other requirements. Presenters cover a variety of state tax information topics, including employer withholding taxes, state and local sales taxes, property taxes, and business licensing requirements. The B.E.S.T. Seminars help new business owners navigate through unfamiliar tax complexities while updating current business owners on tax law changes.

 

Seminar attendees receive ADOR’s “Starting a New Business” guide and information about Alabama’s ONE SPOT, a free Internet filing and payment portal that allows business taxpayers to file and pay state, county, and city sales, use, and rental taxes all in one place!

 

While there is no charge to attend the B.E.S.T. Seminars, reservations are required to ensure adequate space is available. To make your reservation for a Huntsville B.E.S.T. Seminar, contact Jane Richardson or Dicillia Holman at 256-837-2319.

 

For more information on B.E.S.T. Seminars and other B.E.S.T. resources, visit our website at https://revenue.alabama.gov/taxpayer-advocacy/b-e-s-t-seminars/. B.E.S.T. Seminars are two hours long plus additional time for questions and answers. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled seminar.

Attend Montgomery-area State Tax B.E.S.T. Seminar on Oct. 19

  • October 6th, 2017

 

Business Owners – Be ADOR’s B.E.S.T.

Attend Montgomery-area State Tax Seminar on Oct. 19

 

MONTGOMERY, Oct. 5, 2017 – State tax obligations can sometimes confuse business owners. Licenses, sales tax, property tax, etc. – business owners are responsible for many details. To make that task easier, the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) invites business owners to come learn the “B.E.S.T.” ways to handle state taxes at ADOR’s free Business Essentials for State Taxpayers Seminar on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m. in Montgomery.

 

The seminar will be held at the Montgomery Taxpayer Service Center, 2545 Taylor Road.

 

ADOR specialists conduct B.E.S.T. Seminars, which include a brief but comprehensive overview of Alabama’s business taxes, the business owner’s tax obligations, and the forms that are required, as well as information on electronic filing and other requirements. Presenters cover a variety of state tax information topics, including employer withholding taxes, state and local sales taxes, property taxes, and business licensing requirements. The B.E.S.T. Seminars help new business owners navigate through unfamiliar tax complexities while updating current business owners on tax law changes.

 

Seminar attendees receive ADOR’s “Starting a New Business” guide and information about Alabama’s ONE SPOT, a free Internet filing and payment portal that allows business taxpayers to file and pay state, county, and city sales, use, and rental taxes all in one place!

 

While there is no charge to attend the B.E.S.T. Seminars, reservations are required to ensure adequate space is available. To make your reservation for the Montgomery B.E.S.T. Seminar, contact Amanda Turner at 334-242-2677.

 

For more information on B.E.S.T. Seminars and other B.E.S.T. resources, visit our website at https://revenue.alabama.gov/taxpayer-advocacy/b-e-s-t-seminars/. B.E.S.T. Seminars are two hours long plus additional time for questions and answers. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled seminar.

New Form I-9 Required by September 18, 2017

  • August 21st, 2017

Small businesses must comply. There is no exception.

new version of the Form I-9 has been issued and businesses must use it on or before September 18, 2017. Published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on July 17, 2017, the new I-9 form has a revision date (shown on the bottom of the form) of 07/17/17.

The form, used by employers to verify employment eligibility, should be completed for all active employees hired after November 6, 1986, and retained for former employees for the longer of one year from termination or three years from hire.

There is no small-business exception for the Form I-9. Although an independent contractor does not need to complete a Form I-9, all employers must complete and retain Forms I-9 for every person they hire for employment, which includes:

  • The owner of a business if the owner is employed by the business and was hired as employee after November 6, 1986; and
  • An owner hired by a partnership.

Changes on the form

The new I-9 has made very small changes to the form’s instructions and the list of acceptable documents. The revisions slightly modify USCIS’s List of Acceptable Documents and specifically update List C to reflect the most current version of the certification or report of birth issued by the U.S. State Department.

Switch to new form, now

Although the changes might be imperceptible, employers still need to switch to the form with the revision date of 07/17/17. Technically, employers can continue to use the previous Form I-9 through September 17, but immigration experts recommend that employers immediately download and start using the new form and recycle any blank November 2016 or older versions.

Failure to comply by the September 18, 2017, deadline can result in significant fines. The U.S. Department of Justice announced increases in fines for Form I-9 violations last year, which range from $216 to $2,126 per form.

Businesses with questions can contact the NFIB Small Business Legal Center at (800) NFIB-NOW or visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Governor Ivey Signs Bills to Improve Alabama’s Business Climate

  • June 7th, 2017

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey recently signed into law Senate Bill 316, House Bill 242 and House Bill 390. All three bills, improve Alabama’s business climate by reducing regulation and by making it easier for small businesses to operate in the state.

“From day one, my quest has been to ensure the world knows Alabama is open for business. By removing burdensome regulations on small businesses we are sending that signal loud and clear,” Governor Ivey said. “When businesses spend less on overhead and government regulation, they can invest more in hiring; that’s good for all Alabamians.”

“I am thankful for the work of the legislature in passing these bills, especially the sponsors, Senator Sanford, Representative Garrett, and Representative Carns,” Ivey added.

“NFIB Alabama members appreciate Governor Ivey’s support of the small business legislation that was signed into law. Governor Ivey has always been a great supporter and champion for small business,” said Rosemary Elebash, Alabama State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Senate Bill 316 protects small businesses which are licensed in one municipality or county from being forced to buy a license in a second location just to make deliveries to that area. House Bill 242 clarifies the state’s workers’ compensation law and makes it easier for small businesses to comply with the law. House Bill 390 protects franchise parent companies from law suits initiated against the organization’s franchisees, thereby allowing for the expansion of franchise opportunities in Alabama.

“My goal since entering the legislature in 2009 has always been to limit the size and scope of government, while also making Alabama a business-friendly sate. Senate Bill 316 accomplishes that on both fronts,” SB316 sponsor Senator Paul Sanford commented.

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To view the original press release, visit the newsroom of the Governor.

2017 National Small Business Week

  • April 25th, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes the fact that small business owners are the heart and soul of the economic community, and often have little time to learn more about taxes. As a result, to make taxes less taxing a new series of online educational tax discussions is being piloted called “IRS Tax Tools in 10…” give us 10-minutes, and we’ll give you the tax tools to help meet your Small Business needs. The dates and times of each roundtable discussion is below:

May 1st – Worker Classification – 10am & 1pm – Central

May 2nd – 3rd Party Payers – 10am & 1pm – Central

May 3rd – Sharing Economy – 10am & 1pm – Central

May 4th – Online Resources – 10am & 1pm – Central

May 5th – Small Business ID Theft – 10am & 1pm – Central

Attendance is limited, so please register by providing your name, e-mail, session date and time by e-mail to SBSE.SL.Web.Conference.Team@irs.gov . Closed Captioning will be available.