Monday, September 10, 2012

President Obama's Health Care plan and some different ways to comply!

The IRS expanded and revised optional safe harbors on which applicable large employers may rely in complying with requirements starting in 2014 to provide health insurance coverage to their full-time employees.

The safe harbors provide methods of determining the full-time status of seasonal employees and those with unpredictable work schedules for purposes of the “shared responsibility” requirements.
Generally, for months beginning after Dec. 31, 2013, the law requires employers with at least 50 full-time employees on average during the preceding calendar year to sponsor and offer full-time employees and their dependents health coverage meeting certain requirements or else pay an assessment. [I wonder if this going to put a premium on single workers over marriied workers because a single policy is less than a family policy] The law defines full time as working on average at least 30 hours per week, but Congress left it to the IRS, along with the U.S. Department of Labor, to prescribe how that average is computed and applied.
A lookback “measurement period” safe harbor for averaging hours of ongoing employees and a “stability period” to which the average applies. For new hires an initial measurement period of between three and six months for workers with variable or uncertain hours.

The IRS expanded the measurement period for new variable-hour and seasonal employees to the same as for ongoing employees, between three and 12 months. The stability period must be at least as long as the initial measurement period and no less than six months.  The measurement and administrative periods combined must not extend beyond the last day of the first calendar month that begins on or after the first anniversary of the employee’s start date.


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

IRS Streamlining taxpayers with various locals...

The IRS has issued new procedures to help nonresident U.S. taxpayers, including dual Canadian citizens, comply with U.S. tax laws.

The new rules, which were announced last Friday, eliminate civil penalties and make life easier for taxpayers who follow the IRS’s streamlined disclosure process. The program also provides retroactive elections for certain retirement plans and adds relief for Canadian citizens in the U.S.
The streamlined procedure is designed for taxpayers who present what the IRS considers to be a low compliance risk. 
Submissions that present higher compliance risk are not eligible for the streamlined processing procedures and will be subject to a more thorough review and possibly a full examination, which in some cases may include more than three years, in a manner similar to opting out of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.  That statement leaves a lot of wiggle room for the IRS!
The streamlined version of the 2012 program imposes no penalties and only requires the submission of three years of tax returns.
The streamlined procedure generally requires a submission of a questionnaire, along with the filing of federal income tax returns 2009-11 and submission of FBARs for the last six years.
Canadian citizens also benefit from the IRS’s new policy.
The new procedures are for nonresidents, including, but not limited to, dual citizens who have not filed U.S. income tax and information returns. They are available for nonresident U.S. taxpayers who have resided outside of the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2009 and who have not filed a U.S. tax return during the same period.