Overview: Most employers offer several different types of employee benefits, such as health insurance, sick pay, disability pay, workers' compensation insurance and retirement savings plans. Whether employer and employee contributions and benefit payments received by employees are subject to withholding for certain payroll taxes, such as federal income tax (FIT), Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes or federal unemployment (FUTA) tax, varies among benefit types.
Trends: The following important issues will affect the taxation of employee benefits in 2015!
Author: Rena Pirsos, JD, Legal Editor
The IRS has released the inflation-adjusted, calendar-year 2016 amounts for high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs), as determined under § 223 of the Internal Revenue Code.
This section helps HR and payroll professionals to understand how particular types of benefit plans must be structured and how to properly tax and report contributions, reimbursements and distributions in order to ensure compliance with the Internal Revenue Code.
This chart provides employers with a comparison of the current and prior year retirement plan cost of living adjustments and fringe benefit limitations. It helps employers ensure that they are withholding the correct amount of taxes from the pay of employees who receive various benefits. The chart will be updated annually when new amounts are announced by the Internal Revenue Service, which is usually by the end of October.
Some states that require employers to withhold income taxes from employees' wages tie their definitions of "wages" to the federal Internal Revenue Code (IRC). However, many states update their IRC references to a specific date every year or so, while others roll their references into the current version of the IRC. Even with IRC conformity, some states have important exceptions. This Quick Reference chart summarizes each state's IRC conformity reference.
This new Task guides an employer through the process of adding a new hire to the payroll, from verifying an employee's right to work to ensuring proper withholdings.
California employers seeking to indicate that they are compliant with legal requirements regarding same-sex couples and domestic partnerships and to provide a point of contact for employees in these relationships who have benefits-related questions should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
A federal district court has granted a request by the State of Texas to temporarily block implementation of a final Department of Labor (DOL) regulation requiring Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits to be extended to same-sex couples legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages, even if they live in a state that does not recognize such marriages. The final regulation would have gone into effect today if not for the stay granted by the court.
The Supreme Court has set April 28 as the date it will hear arguments that could decide the fate of same-sex marriage nationwide. The Court will hear four consolidated cases in Obergefell v. Hodges involving same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Employees often receive supplemental wages, which are taxable and subject to income tax withholding, FICA, and FUTA. For employees who receive up to $1 million a year in supplemental wages, employers have several different withholding methods from which to choose. This How To shows employers how to withhold on supplemental wages under the aggregate method.
HR guidance on the taxation of employee benefits.