Alerts Archive

  • Jul 15 2015

    On July 15, 2015, the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL) issued guidance regarding the proper classification of workers as independent contractors. The DOL claims that they are issuing the guidance because they are concerned that too many companies are misclassifying employees to escape overtime requirements, worker’s compensation and payroll taxes. The guidance is a reminder to employers that the DOL interprets ...

  • Jul 06 2015

    Today the United States Department of Labor (DOL) published proposed rules that will dramatically change which employees are exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed rule changes are projected to increase the number of workers eligible for overtime from approximately 5 million to, in some estimates, 15 million. Under the proposed rules, it is possible that only those workers who earn at least $50,440 per ...

  • Jun 02 2015

    On Monday, June 1, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision (EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.) that retailer Abercrombie & Fitch violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it applied its “look policy” to a Muslim woman who wore a head scarf when she applied for employment. The applicant wore the head scarf (Hajib) for religious reasons. Abercrombie’s “look policy” was intended to maintain the retailer’s East Coast ...

  • May 28 2015

    Over the past few years, there has been an increasing amount of litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). A lot of those disputes have centered on issues plaguing the industry, such as whether certain software is an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS), whether calls were made with express consent, and how a consumer can revoke consent. Case law has developed on both sides of these types of issues which has resulted in numerous ...

  • May 26 2015

    On March 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted final amendments to Regulation A, one of the key exemptions from the general requirement that securities be registered before sale. The amendments were adopted in response to changes in the Securities Act passed by Congress as part of the JOBS Act of 2012. How those amendments work, and how they create a pathway for growing companies to access capital markets, will have a significant impact on how ...

  • May 20 2015

    This alert follows up on the March 26, 2015 alert, titled “Employee Benefit Plan Filing Deadlines” regarding upcoming employee benefit plan deadlines. As a reminder, the following deadlines are the most common deadlines applicable generally to calendar year plans for June and July.

    June 30: Deadline for processing corrective distributions for failed ADP/ACP test from a 401k plan with eligible automatic contribution arrangement without 10 percent excise ...

  • Mar 26 2015

    This alert follows up on our previous alert on February 13, 2015, titled "Upcoming Filing Deadlines," regarding upcoming employee benefit plan deadlines. The following deadlines are the most common deadlines applicable generally to calendar year plans for April, May and June.

    • April 1: Deadline for distributing prior year's required minimum distributions for participants who reached age 70 and a half or older and terminated employment in ...

  • Mar 19 2015

    Many HR Professionals don't worry about the NLRB. And why should they? Their employees don't have a union, no union has ever tried to organize their workforce, and unions haven't been active in their region or business sector. Actually, those managers probably don't need to worry too much­­--until they do.

    All it takes is one disgruntled employee stumbling upon the NLRB's web site to get the ball rolling. Say an employee is fired for insubordination. Then, somehow ...

  • Mar 06 2015

    The IRS has two offshore disclosure programs to bring taxpayers with undisclosed foreign accounts into compliance with the tax laws: The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) and the Streamlined OVDP procedures. Rather than cumulative penalties for failure to disclose the offshore account the taxpayer pays one penalty of 27 and a half percent of the highest outstanding balance of undisclosed assets. Penalties in the Streamlined OVDP for U.S. resident ...

  • Feb 13 2015

    A number of clients have asked about upcoming employee benefit plan deadlines for 401(k) and other "tax qualified" plans, which has prompted us to prepare this alert on generally applicable deadlines for the remainder of February and for March and April for these kinds of plans which operate on a calendar year basis.

    February 16 Deadline to furnish 4th quarter 2014 statements to participants on fees charged to their "self-directed" accounts in defined contribution ...
  • Oct 23 2014

    Today the IRS announced the cost of living adjustments for 2015 with respect to dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items. For example, participants in 401k plans can contribute up to $18,000 next year, and 401k catch-up contributions for participants age 50 and over will increase from $5,500 to $6,000. Although the limitations are not yet posted on the IRS' website, click here to view the IRS' newswire listing all of the updated ...

  • Sep 30 2014

    Yesterday, in Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc. v. Mais, No. 13-14008 (11th Cir. Sept. 29, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a clear and decisive victory for the collection industry under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In general, the TCPA is a consumer protection statute that prohibits certain telephone solicitations and automated telephone equipment. Although many TCPA cases involve the use of automatic dialing ...

  • Sep 04 2014

    On July 31, 2014, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (FPSW Executive Order). The crux of the FPSW Executive Order is that it requires federal government contractors (including subcontractors) to disclose labor law violations. The disclosure applies to any "administrative merits determination, arbitral award or decision, or civil judgment" related to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the ...

  • Aug 07 2014

    An employer's obligations to pregnant employees are often confusing and an area where employers make mistakes. The following are guidelines to follow should a pregnancy issue arise. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) requires that a covered employer treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions in the same manner as other applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work. The PDA covers all aspects ...

  • Jul 25 2014

    This alert is intended to address the general misconception that the Obamacare effective date for a fiscal year group health plan automatically will be deferred to the first day of the plan's 2015 fiscal year. There are transition rules which can defer the effective date for a fiscal year plan to the first day of its 2015 fiscal year, but the deferral is not automatic. There are several conditions to the deferral, two of which put a price tag on the deferral--the large ...

  • Jul 22 2014

    Youth programs should conduct criminal background checks for all volunteers and employees. If your program is subject to regulation as a day care program from Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), then it must complete a national background check. Even if your organization is exempt from DECAL rules, however, requiring background checks is a bedrock practice that should be part of your organization's child protection ...

  • Jun 30 2014

    The United States Supreme Court earlier today handed down its decision in Hobby Lobby and two companion cases, each of which involved a question of religious freedom for closely held corporations and the Obamacare mandate that group health plans offer 20 different kinds of birth control. Here the Court specifically held that, very briefly, religious freedom trumped the Obamacare mandate on birth control for these closely held corporations. But, equally ...

  • Jun 20 2014

    Many employers use an automatic time deduction for employee meal breaks. Most systems deduct either 30 minutes or an hour for a meal break, and the employee is responsible for notifying the employer if the meal break is not taken. This timekeeping system has the benefit of not requiring employees to clock in and out during their breaks-only at the beginning and end of each shift. These automatic deductions have led to many lawsuits, including class actions, where ...

  • Jun 12 2014

    The need to adequately and thoroughly investigate and respond to a charge of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has always been important in defending against accusations made by a current or former employee. That need has become even more critical given new tactics that are being used by EEOC investigators which may prejudice employers. Recently, the EEOC District Office in Atlanta began tape-recording statements of ...

  • Jun 09 2014

    The Eleventh Circuit's recent opinion in Osorio v. State Farm Bank, F.S.B., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5709 (11th Cir. Mar. 28, 2014), could have profound consequences for businesses that are subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In general, the TCPA is a consumer protection statute that prohibits certain telephone solicitations and automated telephone equipment. Although many TCPA cases involve the use of automatic dialing programs/systems, the ...

  • Jun 03 2014

    The Georgia Department of Revenue has proposed new rules to address the application of sales and use taxes to purchases and sales made by restaurants and similar establishments that sell prepared food. These new rules will likely provide significant tax savings to many companies in the industry.

    Some examples of non-taxable purchases by restaurants set forth in the new rules are as follows:

    a) Disposable food packaging used to contain food provided to the customer ...

  • May 31 2014

    The jury's verdict in the case of Carl R. Zwerner, rendered on May 28, 2014, and the Credit Suisse AG guilty plea entered on May 19, 2014, demonstrate that the IRS is tightening the noose around those individuals with offshore accounts who have still failed to come forward to declare the offshore funds. The IRS is not just targeting Swiss accounts. They are seeking information about the accounts of US citizens and residents in financial institutions around the globe and ...

  • Apr 16 2014

    By now you have read and heard much news coverage of the "Heartbleed" Internet security bug discovered last week.  The headlines are dominated by the large companies known to be vulnerable to the bug -- Amazon, Google and Yahoo! among them.  No matter what the size of your business, however, you should be aware of the issue and take steps to protect yourself if you depend on secure Internet connections for your operations or communications. WHAT IS IT? Heartbleed affects ...

  • Apr 01 2014

    Contractors who agree to abide by minimum coverage requirements on an Owner's Controlled Insurance Policy ("OCIP") may at the same time be unwittingly agreeing to provide insurance for all down-stream contractors and subcontractors on a project, according to some recent Georgia court decisions. A general contractor unsuccessfully appealed a judicial decision holding the general contractor liable to an injured worker of a subcontractor on the project under the ...

  • Mar 07 2014

    FYI the IRS late yesterday afternoon released two sets of final regulations on the Obamacare tax information returns which now will be required to be filed for calendar year 2015 and thereafter. One set is for insurers and others who provide healthcare coverage to individuals (click here to see TD 9660), which is 50 pages, and the other set is for employers who are subject to the Obamacare employer mandate (click here to see TD 9661), which is 84 pages. Note that neither set ...

  • Feb 25 2014

    The purpose of this Client Alert is to call to the attention of clients, large and small, one significant and undisputed tax fact in the highly publicized Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius case--employers, large and small, which provide group health plan benefits to their employees are at risk for a significant excise tax if their plan fails to provide all of the health care benefits mandated under Obamacare, a number of which first became effective on January 1 ...

  • Feb 12 2014

    Late afternoon on Monday, February 10, 2014, the IRS released final regulations on Obamacare's employer mandate--the provision in the tax law that requires employers with 50 or more full time or full time equivalent employees to provide health care coverage to their full time employees or pay a penalty tax. The final regulations are approximately 227 pages. Click to view. The IRS also released a fact sheet and a press release on the final regulations. Click to view ...

  • Jan 03 2014

    Joseph M. English jenglish@taylorenglish.com 678.336.7137 Many of us make New Year's Resolutions, but too few of us carry through with them long-term even though we know that keeping the resolutions will have a positive impact. Here are some New Year's Resolutions for Human Resources professionals designed to promote good health for your company in 2014 and beyond. The challenge is to stick with the resolutions! In 2014, I resolve to:Conduct or arrange for ...

  • Nov 04 2013

    Authors: Jonathan B. Wilson and Melissa E. McMorries On October 23, 2013 the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") issued proposed regulations (the "Proposed Rules") with respect to crowdfunding as contemplated by Title III of the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the "JOBS Act"). The Proposed Rules are open for comment for 90 days from the date of publication in the federal register (a period that will likely run to the end of January, 2014). While ...

  • Nov 01 2013

    On October 31, 2013, The IRS announced the COLA adjustments for the caps on various employee benefit related provisions of the tax code. Click here to view the caps for 2014. Please contact Jan Marsh (678.336.7135) if you would like to discuss the caps for 2014.

  • Nov 01 2013

    On October 31, 2013, the IRS announced a modification to the nearly 30 year old "use it or lose it" rule for flexible spending arrangements ("FSAs").  A carry forward of up to $500 a year now will be permissible starting (subject to some conditions) with the 2013 plan year. Click here to view the IRS announcement and click here to view the related IRS fact sheet. Please contact Jan Marsh (678.336.7135) if you would like to discuss this modification to the "use it  or lose it ...

  • Oct 14 2013

    As with much of the hospitality industry, adult entertainment establishments are ripe to be hit with wage and hour cases. From tip pooling to contractor vs. employee misclassification issues, “strip clubs” are an industry that is seeing increasing litigation filed by workers at the clubs. Last month, the Judge in the case Sabrina Hart et al v. Rick's Cabaret International Inc., pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the ...

  • Sep 24 2013

    Have you ever been involved with a case where the EEOC's conciliation practices lacked key information sharing and other important settlement discussion substance?  If so, you may be interested in a new a set of cases coming from New York last week dealing another litigation blow to the EEOC.  In short, the court agreed that employers should not be forced to face a moving target during the conciliation process. Background Three women filed charges against Bloomberg L.P ...

  • Aug 29 2013

    On Thursday, August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury provided guidance on the recognition of same-sex marriages for tax purposes. Please click here to view the press release. Note that the links in the release to Revenue Ruling 2013-17, to a note on "frequently asked questions" and to Publication 555 currently do not work. The guidance will formally be effective on September 16, 2013, but taxpayers may elect to take advantage of this guidance at this time.

  • Aug 29 2013

    The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued updated guidance stating that the right to take leave to care for a spouse with a serious medical condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) now extends to same-sex spouses. The DOL guidance comes as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, striking down as unconstitutional a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, which provided, in part, that the federal government would not ...

  • Aug 29 2013

    On July 10, 2013 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rules[1] (the "Proposed Rules") that would:

    • Require the filing of a Form D in Rule 506(c) offerings before the issuer engages in general solicitation;
    • Require the filing of a closing amendment to Form D after the termination of any Rule 506 offering;
    • Require written general solicitation materials used in Rule 506(c) offering to include certain legends and other disclosures;
    • Require the ...
  • Jul 17 2013

    On July 10, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued final rules (the "New Rules") that: - Reverse its long standing ban on public advertising of private securities offerings, - Implement new reporting, notice and disclosure requirements for private offerings, and - Require issuers to perform due diligence for, and restrict the involvement of, felons and certain securities law violators ("bad actors") from being inside the issuer and part of its ...

  • Jul 10 2013

    On July 9, 2013, the IRS (click here to view a copy of IRS Notice 2013-45) confirmed that: 1. No penalty will be assessed against an employer or insurance company for failing for 2014 to satisfy the Obamacare tax reporting requirements under Internal Revenue Code §6055 and §6056. 2. No penalty will be assessed against an employer for failing for 2014 to provide healthcare coverage to its employees under the "pay" or "play" provisions of Internal Revenue Code §4980H. 3. An ...

  • Jul 09 2013

    On July 2, 2013, Taylor English reported that a senior Treasury Department official announced that the Obamacare tax reporting requirements for 2014 would be waived and, consequently, that the requirement that employers provide health coverage for their full-time employees or pay a tax penalty would be waived for 2014. At the end of last week, buried deep in more than 600 pages of guidance on other Obamacare provisions, the United States Department of Health and ...

  • Jul 03 2013

    On July 2, 2013, a senior Treasury Department official in a blog post (to read the original post, click here) announced that the Obamacare tax reporting requirements for 2014 would be waived and, consequently, that the requirement that employers provide health coverage for their full time employees or pay a tax penalty (commonly called the "play or pay" requirements) would be waived for 2014 since enforcing these play or pay requirements would be "impractical" in ...

  • May 09 2013

    Obamacare requires employers to provide a notice to employees regarding the opportunity to purchase health insurance through "exchanges" established by states (which currently will be 17) or by the federal government (which currently will be 33). The original deadline for the notice was March 1, 2013. The DOL late yesterday in Technical Release 2013-02 announced that the new notice deadline is October 1, 2013, which is the first day all 50 exchanges are scheduled to ...

  • Apr 19 2013

    Beginning on May 7, 2013, all U.S. employers must use the revised Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. The new Form is stamped with the date "03/08/13" on the lower left corner. Although employers should begin using the ...

  • Mar 07 2013

    Late last week, the DOL released a relatively short set of "tips" for plan fiduciaries on how to select and monitor target date funds. Target date funds have become a popular investment option for participants in 401(k) plans and other plans which provide for participant directed investments. A copy of these "tips" is attached. The "tips" address some of the investment issues unique to target date funds, and we assume that the DOL will use these tips as an audit checklist ...

  • Jan 31 2013

    One provision in the Obamacare legislation requires in relevant part that applicable employers in accordance with DOL regulations provide a written notice to employees no later than March 1, 2013 informing them about (among other things) the existence of healthcare exchanges established under Obamacare, the services provided by these healthcare exchanges and the manner in which employees may contact a healthcare exchange. Last week the DOL extended this March 1 ...

  • Jan 24 2013

    Although the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour this year, 10 states have increased their minimum wage rates above this level effective January 1, 2013. These changes are generally due to required annual adjustments based on raises in the Consumer Price Index or inflation. In addition, several cities across the country, such as Albuquerque, San Francisco, and San Jose, bumped up their minimum wage rates, albeit not all effective January 1. Listed below are ...

  • Jan 09 2013

    Beginning January 1, 2013, employers are required to provide a new version of the form entitled Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA (Summary of Rights) to individuals before taking any adverse action based on the contents of a consumer report. Fortunately, the adverse action process that employers are to follow under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has not changed, only the Summary of Rights form. To view a copy of the new Summary of Rights, Click here As a ...

  • Jan 03 2013

    The IRS last week released proposed regulations on the “employer shared responsibility” provisions of Obamacare which will become effective on January 1, 2014. See REG-138006-12. Very briefly, these provisions can subject a “covered” employer to a special tax if the covered employer does not offer “affordable health coverage” that provides a “minimum level of coverage” to its full-time employees and at least one of the covered employer’s ...

  • Oct 18 2012

    The IRS this morning announced the contribution and benefit limits for 2013. For example, the 401(k) contribution limit for 2013 has gone up from $17,000 to $17,500. The announcement notes that a number of the limitations have changed for 2013 because the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds needed for a change. To view the full announcement, Click here Please contact Jan Marsh 678.336.7135 if you want to discuss the IRS announcement in more detail.

  • Oct 16 2012

    The SEC Rule: On August 22, 2012 the SEC approved a Final Rule (Rule) requiring public companies to report and make public disclosure of so-called “Conflict Minerals”. The Rule was issued under the Dodd-Frank Act. The Rule will require publicly traded companies to adopt due diligence procedures for determining whether their products contain Conflict Minerals, and to make disclosure to the SEC and in its public reports if they do. While the Rule directly applies ...

  • Aug 28 2012

    We are sending this Alert to remind clients and friends that there is a window under the IRS's 409A correction program for correcting a 409A issue with respect to released-based severance without paying a 409A correction fee and, equally important, that this window will close on December 31, 2012. Very briefly, the IRS sees a 409A issue with any kind of open-ended provision for a released-based severance payment. For example, the IRS would see a 409A issue with the ...

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