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Payroll Professionals as Special Agents

Payroll professionals might not find themselves careening down the side of a mountain in frantic pursuit of the bad guys like England’s famous special agent, but that doesn’t mean they don’t face their own harrowing feats.

The theme for this year’s APA Congress was James Bond’s Pay Another Day, and just in the movies, there were some villains featured during the conference that Payroll professionals need to defeat.

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) not surprisingly was front and center at the conference this year. Companies already have incorporated the new tax tables into their payroll systems among other updates (including the taxability of moving expenses), but did you know that the IRS also has to update 140 IT systems and nearly 500 forms and publications for the new tax law?

While 2018 tax tables were updated early on, enabling the current W-4 to be used this year, the IRS is expecting to revamp the 2019 W-4 and its worksheets to align to the changes (elimination of personal exemptions, increased child tax credit, increased standard deduction, etc.). An early draft of the 2019 W-4 available was released recently and Payroll teams should prepare for the changes leading into 2019.

IRS Withholding Tax Calculator

A similar topic that created buzz at Congress was encouragement from multiple fronts to encourage employees to take advantage of the IRS Withholding Tax Calculator to ensure they have the proper withholding in place. Taxpayers who have claimed itemized deductions or credits like the Child Tax Credit in the past or are from two income families or have multiple jobs are especially encouraged to give their “Paycheck a Checkup.” For more information, see our article on CIC Plus’ new Compliance Corner.

Local Tax Requirements

APA Congress is a great place to take a deeper dive into local payroll tax jurisdictional requirements.  Many Payroll pros are familiar with navigating through the challenges of local income taxes, but we also need to understand all the local taxes we may encounter if employees live or work at business facilities in certain localities.  City service fees, city, county, and school district income taxes, expense taxes or head taxes (Hello Seattle!), occupational privilege taxes and transit taxes…the list seems never ending.  And as more employees work virtually from a home office, the need to accurately verify withholding for local employee and employer taxes increases. Be sure invest in the resources to monitor local tax regulations or consider working with an partner, like CIC Plus, to actively manage these locality tax situations for your organization.

I-9 & E-Verify

Heightened attention in Washington to immigration reform is shining a brighter light on how employers manage the I-9 process. Here are a few important reminders we picked up during Congress:

  • If you delegate an authority to complete the form as an agent, you, the employer, retains liability for any errors.
  • PO boxes, as well as a description of where the employee is residing if they don’t have a physical address at the time they complete the form, are acceptable.
  • If the employer is enrolled in E-Verify, then SSN for the employee is mandatory.  If not, it is optional.
  • Employers must remember to provide the list of acceptable documents to the employee and the employee must choose what they will provide, meaning, employers should not say, “Let me see your drivers license and Social Security card.”  It’s up to the employee to decide what to provide after they have been provided a list of acceptable documents.

Get Involved

APA Congress provides an unique opportunity for APA members to interact, learn about and join new committees. Our team at CIC Plus is well represented, including membership on committees such as the Government Relations Task Force (GRTF), IRS Issues Subcommittee and the GRTF State and Local Taxes Subcommittee (SALT). It’s a great chance to get involved and make sure you stay current on everything that’s happening in our Payroll industry.

That way we’ll all be ready to confidently tackle the challenges that lay ahead. We’ll see you at APA Congress in Long Beach next year!