File 2015 Taxes Now to Protect Your APTC for 2017 Coverage!

APTC

If an individual benefitted from the advance premium tax credits to help him/her pay for health coverage for the year 2016 and possibly he/she applied for an extension of time to file 2015 federal taxes, then, to continue to receive the advance payments for the next open enrollment period for 2017 health coverage, he/she must file his/her tax returns as soon as possible.

The Health Insurance Marketplace reviews the advance payments of the premium tax credit for the next calendar year during their annual re-enrollment and income verification process. If an individual fails to file returns or reconcile, then he/she might not become eligible for advance payments for 2017.

Here are a few questions answered for individuals on why and what they need to file tax returns and reconcile the advanced payment for premium tax credits:

#1. If the extension is filed, why you need to file the taxes before October 17 deadline?

You must file your 2015 taxes as soon as possible even if you received a 6-month extension of time in order to report advance premium tax credits you received for 2016 and maintain eligibility for future premium assistance. This will help you pay for your insurance since marketplace will not review you eligibility unless the taxes are filed.

On the basis of the actual income and size of the family, your eligibility will be determined. An individual may receive a big amount as tax credit or need to pay back some when the withholdings are compared to their tax liability.

#2. How the Advanced Premium Tax Credit can be reported?

If you have received APTC, Form 8962 will be used to reconcile the difference between the advance payments made to pay for health coverage and the actual amount claimed on the returns. When the insurance is purchased from the Marketplace, the purchaser receives a Form 1095-A (Health Insurance marketplace Statement) that carries all the information such as date of coverage, insurance premium amount and APTC applied to the insurance. This information will help in completing Form 8962.

#3. How APTC can be reconciled with actual premium tax credit?

When an individual completes the process of filing tax returns, he/she will figure out the credit amount and compare it to the amount of APTC on Form 8962. If the APTC amount exceeds the actual allowable credit on the returns, then the difference will be deducted from the refund or added to due balance and vice versa in case allowable credit exceeds APTC amount.

Apart from filing the returns, individuals must also take into account about reporting any changes that might have occurred during the year so that APTC amount could be revised. These changes could also make you eligible for any possible tax penalty exemptions. Therefore, in order to continue to take the benefit of APTC to pay for health coverage for future years, individuals must file their 2015 tax returns as soon as possible.

Boost Your Employees’ Productivity By Going Non-Traditional!

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Offering your employees beyond usual is definitely a morale booster for them. Especially when you are giving them something beneficial and enticing that other employers are failing to provide. For example, if any of your worker performs best in the team, and you bestow him/her with some rewards such as weekend shopping vouchers or two dining passes in some beautiful restaurant, then this will certainly make them happy and will encourage them to perform better.

What it signifies?

This simply means moving beyond conventional employee benefits will make you stand apart and will help you promote a healthy work culture, and win enhanced employee engagement and loyalty. Incorporating some specialty programs in your health benefits offerings will work like an icing on the cake such as surprise perks for best performers, discount on some learning classes and providing good fitness programs. Let’s find out some to start with:

Think About Employees’ Families As Well!

Addressing the personal needs of employees especially about their families will help you win their trust and loyalty towards your company. For example, if an employee is working with your company for more than five years, then you can offer them with exciting benefits & perks such as a week family holiday to some exotic place or give them family outing packages or shopping vouchers. This will show that you care for your employees as well as their family members and value their contributions to the team.

Show Interest In Their Professional And Career Development!

You can’t make your employee get fully engaged in the work until or unless you ensure them about their growth and progress. As an employer, you must keep the career and professional development of your employees as a priority. Many organizations allow their employees to choose some kind of course or certification that will be reimbursed once the employee clears it successfully. This will not only benefit the employees as individuals but also help your company to have a pool of skilled and competent workforce.

Give Your Employees Flexibility At Work!

Most of the employees especially the millennials, want to work at the time of their choices. Providing flexibility and freedom to your employees will not only make them satisfied but will also increase their productivity.

These days, many options such as work for home or telecommuting, etc. are available that allow employees to manage work-life balance. Telecommuting is a great flexibility option for most of the employees and reduces work-life balance conflicts and employee turnover. But, if providing telecommunicating jobs to your employees is not possible for you, then try to give them flexibility over work timings. This will motivate them to show their gratitude towards your company for such flexible work arrangements.

To Conclude:

Non-traditional benefits can promote a positive and healthy work culture, increase employee happiness and productivity. This will not only help you retain your talent pool longer but will constitute a great business sense by attracting most talented and competitive workers. Above are the few unusual benefits described that you can consider incorporating in your benefits offerings.

What Makes An Automated Payroll System A Real Bankable Deal?

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Whether it is a small sized business or big corporate house, managing HR functions and payrolls are highly critical to every organization on the whole. Payroll directly affects a company’s net worth and taxation in a serious way and any discrepancy in the payroll data may cost you higher as a business is always subjected to get regular audits from the legal departments.

Since calculating payroll is not an easy task and loaded with many complex protocols that need to be followed before the generating the paychecks of your employees, therefore, it is very much required that your HR & Payroll professionals need access to the right tools and resources in order to perform their tasks more efficiently without making any errors.

How Payroll Software Can Help Your HR People?

Maintains Track-Record Of Your Employee Database:

An automated payroll system helps your HR pros to maintain employees’ data from their on-boarding till they leave the organization. Also, it stores the employee’s personal details that can be used for future references. The system provides self-service for employees by which they can apply for leave or shift rosters, etc. without striding towards the HR cabin. Moreover, your HR team can easily track the performance of your assets to map their career advancement as well as plan training and development programs.

Helps Keep An Eye on Financial Matters & Position of the Company:

It eases your finance pros’ job by keeping proper records of all the deductions in accord with the latest rules and regulations without giving any room to errors. It aids in the taxpaying procedures of the company and even manages the revenue.  A good system, once done with the salary computation, tax deduction and other processes, maintains records and data sheets for finance department (to track the expenses) as well as for employees. Hence, payroll software is a great tool to pull down the chaos of your HR team and helps them to get rid of the hassle.

Fast Processing With No Redundancy!

No doubt, with automated processing, there is no likelihood for delays or discontinuity in the process. The system takes care for all the backend calculations and generates periodic paychecks and reports much faster as compared to manual inputs. Also, it interconnects the different departments and brings them on the single page. For example, if your HR and payroll department is not integrated properly then you have to regularly initiate transfer of data between the two, this will consume more time and efforts, making your processing sluggish. A good software will eliminate these loopholes with better turnaround time.

Security-Accuracy Combo!

Manual inputs can be easily riddled with human errors and mistakes, and may question the authenticity of the data. But with an efficient payroll software, you can easily be assured of complete accuracy and data integrity maintained at all levels. Moreover, it maintains the security of your sensitive data with multi-layered security channels and parameters that allow only nominated people to access the information eliminating risk of any unauthorized access to the sensitive data.

The Bottom Line:

Having automated payroll software to run your employee payrolls can boost your system efficiency and data accuracy. It will save you from non-compliance issues and help you adhere to the changing federal rules and regulations. Above are a few benefits mentioned that you can reap if you consider implementing one.

How Automated Time & Attendance System Helps Growing Your Business Exponentially.

Grow Your Business with Automated Time & Attendance System

Managing employee time and attendance has always been one of the prime concerns for businesses. If they have a manageable workforce, then maybe they don’t the feel the need to get an automated system, but even with a small workforce, companies must adopt an automated time and attendance management system to avoid any time keeping errors.

According to a recent survey, around 65% of the organizations are using automated time & attendance system to save themselves from the terrible losses due to manual timekeeping errors. Inaccurate timekeeping can lead to costly non-compliance issues, and can affect the organization’s production and profitability to a great extent. Therefore, Manual time-tracking has become an unfit approach for growing businesses.

Having an automated time tracking system at your workplace maintains accurate and reliable data, which makes labor management a lot more manageable. Let’s know how

Smoothen Your Progress

If you are a growing company and your employee size is expanding at a faster pace, then your HR department can easily be overwhelmed with the flow of work that will come along. In that case, relying on the traditional manual handling of HR tasks will certainly hinder the efficiency, and can make your growth stagnant. An automated system to track and manage employee time hours will help you streamline the process effectively without making any errors.

Strengthen Your Attendance Policies

When dealing with large teams, maintaining strict attendance policies is not an easy task. This may lead to increased absenteeism that can eventually affect your financial and administrative costs. Making your “sincere” employees work for longer hours won’t come economical, and will shoot your payroll costs to heights. Thus, an automated software will not only have well-built attendance policies, but also make employees follow the policies strictly as their payrolls will directly be generated through their attendance data. Moreover, your employees will have a real-time access to their schedules and avoid turning up late to office.

Easy Schedule and Shift Management

With just a few clicks, you can easily streamline your employee scheduling, assign hours to specific tasks based on pay rates, skills sets, and employee’s availability. Also, you can keep track on shift swaps, workloads, and budgets by departments. This will also make it easier for your employees to keep track of their shifts and schedules.

Avoid Non-Compliance Issues

Automated Time tracking can also help organizations stay confident about labor compliance. With a system in place, you can ensure that you have compliant labor practices and avoid any lawsuit or penalty. The software’s ability to provide quick data and reports will be your best tool to safeguard your company from the consequences of Department of Labor (DOL)’s audits as well.

Improve Workplace Productivity

By reinforcing your attendance policies and scheduling process, you will impart a sense of satisfaction among your employees that there are no errors in their timesheets and payrolls are generated on the basis of their recorded attendance data. Thus, this will help your employees focus more on their work leading to better productivity, engagement and will substantially cut down the cost of replacement and new hiring. This will also help your HR teams to focus on creative tasks rather than on tedious and error-prone recordkeeping work.

Proper workforce management and processing payrolls accurately begin with reliable data. In the absence of these, your organization can face non-compliance issues, decreased workforce productivity, and increased employee turnover.  With automated time and attendance system, you can prevent error-prone breakdowns due to inaccurate record keeping and can reap the above-mentioned benefits effectively.

How keeping proper timesheets helps your business in a big way?

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Keeping the right time & attendance records of employees is one of the important tasks an employer should do efficiently in order to tap their productivity. But to get this task done effectually, relying on the obsolete method of spreadsheets and entering the data through manual processes is a big NO-NO!

Managing paper timesheets in order to track your employees’ time and attendance is prone to many errors and very much open to non-compliance with the legislation. Therefore, to protect your workplace with productivity issues and to ensure proper legal compliance, there are few things that you should incorporate into your business.

But before arriving at the solutions, first make yourself aware of the reasons & consequences that you can face if your business is still running with manual time & attendance processes:

Incorrect Work Hours: This is the most common mistake while calculating the work hours for the employees. Also, chances are there that your employees may enter incorrect work hours by mistake. This can lead to unjustified overtime pay.

Wrong Data Entry: In case you have a separate payroll software and attendance data has to be entered manually into the system, then this makes it more error-prone. So, it’s better to avoid re-entering your employees’ time and attendance by getting an automated solution beforehand.

Favoritism: If the manager or supervisor likes or gives special “privilege” to any one of the employees who can be his friend, family member or relative, then it can lead to biasness and some employees may get benefit in many areas such as overtime pay or pay for non-worked hours.

Errors While Filling Pending Timesheets: This is again one of the common mistakes that can occur while calculating the attendance of employees. When the employees fill their timesheets at the last moment after a long gap, say after a week or month, then it is not an easy task for the manager to check each and every detail, especially in case of larger teams.

What Should Be Done to Bring Efficiency to the Process?

Use Digital Medium: Instead of relying on old and painstaking manual processes, use electronic timesheets for better transparency and accuracy. It will reduce administration’s load and increase payroll accuracy, ensure compliance and will generate the payroll according to “approved working hours” only.

Update Your Timesheet on a Regular Basis: Filling the timesheets in “one go” for the last 20 or 30 days will certainly create an error. To avoid it, better maintain attendance properly. Make it easier for your employees to enter, and supervisor to approve or reject the working hours. The quicker your procedure will be, more accurate it will become.

Keep Close Eye on Employees’ Activities: By having an effective and automated system in place, you can easily track the activities of your employees and get reports of the same. This will help you analyze your employee costs, overtime hours, and time spent on particular activity correctly.

In short, even small errors can lead to big losses in a long run. So, it is better to minimize human errors as much as possible. Having an automated time and attendance management at your workplace will certainly help you build an error free procedure. It will also help you in management reporting so that issues such as wrong work hours, overtime pay, payroll inconsistency etc. can be resolved quickly.

Learn About HIPAA Implication for Completing Forms 1095-C

ACA Reporting HIPAA Implications

2016 is the year of ACA Reporting! All the employers have reporting requirements at the top of their priority list and leaving no stone unturned to execute it perfectly!

Thus, you must be extra cautious while completing and submitting the reporting forms-1094/95. Form 1095-C is the crucial one as it is used by the employers to report their minimum essential coverage offerings to employees (Part I and II), as well as to report the employee enrollment in self-insured minimum essential coverage (Part III).

The employer’s medical plan is a covered entity that is subjected to HIPAA security, privacy and breach notification rules. In case the plan is insured, then the carrier will be liable to comply with the HIPAA rules (but, the employer must not receive any Protected Health Information (PHI), except for a few limited reasons). Whereas, if the plan is self-insured, then the plan is subject to HIPAA rules and not the employer. Thus, it must depend on members who are involved in plan administration and TPAs for administering the plan.

The employee information cannot be considered as PHI if the employer extracts information from general employee records and not from the self-insured medical plan records. Moreover, if the employer is handling the medical plan enrollment activities for employees, then it is not PHI and is not subjected to HIPAA. This is known as enrollment exception and must be well understood before using it in the form. For any information to get subjected to HIPAA depends on how the employer obtained it and what part of the information is used in the Form.

The information related to employee’s enrollment in medical plan coverage is put in Part III and is considered enough to be called PHI. Also, if the information is obtained from any medical plan information or a TPA medical plan administrator and not from the general employment database, then it will get subjected to HIPAA. Similarly, demographic details of employee (Part I) and offered coverage information (Part II) is not subject HIPAA depending on source of information.

Self-insured employers who need to complete Part II for enrollment in coverage should, preferably, consider the data to be filled in as PHI. Thus, such employers must follow the following considerations to stay HIPAA compliant while completing the Forms 1095-C:

  • Educate the employees on HIPAA compliance and how to complete the Forms.
  • To make sure that you complete, distribute and file forms accurately, take assistance from the experts and consultants who will help you get the job done efficiently.
  • Ensure that the forms are well-placed in a secured environment with limited access.
  • In case, any error has occurred such as the Form is delivered to wrong recipient or is lost or stolen, then you must notify the HIPAA privacy and security officials who will further look into the matter.

These are a few HIPAA implications while completing the IRC Section 6055 and 6056 reporting forms. In order to stay compliant, you must learn about the privacy, security and breach consideration of the data and should take care of them while completing the forms.

April 18 is this Year’s Tax Day! Tips to Consider Before Filing Returns

To give a little relief to tax payers who have still not filed their returns, this year’s tax deadline for Federal, State and City of Detroit income tax returns is shifted from the traditional April 15 to April 18.

The new deadline has been announced due to an overlap of the tax deadline and Federal/State Holidays. Emancipation Day, which is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and falls on April 16, has been shifted to April 15. This is why tax returns will be due on Monday, April 18, 2016.

April 18 is this Year's Tax Day-Recovered

In addition to it, it is Patriot’s Day in Maine & Massachusetts on April 18, so the tax payers of respective regions can file their returns by following day, i.e. April 19, 2016.

Well! Such extensions are always welcomed by the individuals who have a habit of filing their returns only at the 11th hour!

Here are a few tips for filing tax returns for the tax year 2015:

Tip #1: If you are not able to File on Time, File an Extension Request

In case, it is not possible for you to file your returns on time, make sure that you file a 6-month extension request. However, if you owe any dues, then you are not getting any extension on that. Thus, if you have any dues, try pay them on time as even if you get extension on filing returns you will have to pay interest on past-due tax and can even get subjected to pay penalty for late-payment.

Related –FAQs On Late Payment & Late Tax Filing Penalties

Tip #2: Use Options provided by IRS to Pay Your Dues, Even When Filed Extension

With the help of IRS Direct Pay, tax bills can be paid electronically as it accepts fund transfer from bank accounts, debit card or credit card. Tax payers can even make payments via phone. The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System accepts the payments but requires enrollment. It is a more preferable option for business owners.

Moreover, if you wish to pay using money order or check, send it to the address as mentioned on Form 4868.

Related –Before E-filing Your ACA Returns, Learn About These Terms & Facts

Tip #3: Cross-Check the Details Before Filing

Before filing your returns, make sure you cross-check the figures and related details such as Social Security numbers of themselves, their spouses or children; bank account numbers in case DD’s are used for the refund. Make sure you duly sign the return as IRS does not accept an unsigned tax return. Thus, you and your spouse must sign a joint return.

Though you’ve got an extended deadline to file your returns, these are a few considerations that you must take in account before filing your tax returns. Make sure you adhere to the IRS requirements in order to avoid any unwanted penalties.