Friday, March 19, 2010

Is your company considering hiring new employees?

If so, there is now a tax credit that companies can take advantage of through the Hiring Incentive to Restore Employment Act (HIRE). Employers are encouraged to make hiring, pay and retention decisions as soon as possible, as the HIRE Act provides greater benefits to those employers that hire early and that substantially maintain their new hires’ wages.

On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed the Hiring Incentive to Restore Employment Act. Intended to spur employment, this statute creates significant tax incentives for employers to hire and retain workers. It applies to all for-profit and non-profit employers, regardless of size, and including public institutions of higher education. The HIRE Act exempts employers from Social Security taxes in 2010 with regard to each new employee who meets the following criteria:

• Begins employment after February 3, 2010 and before January 1, 2011;
• Certifies by signed affidavit, that he or she has not been employed for more than 40 hours during the 60-day period ending on the date when he or she begins the new employment.

The HIRE Act also increases the current year business credit with respect to each new hire who is retained for a full year, provided that the employee:

• Was hired by the taxpayer on any date during the taxable year ending after March 18, 2010;
• Was employed by the taxpayer for a period of not less than 52 consecutive weeks; and
• Whose wages during the last 26 weeks of this employment equal at least 80% of the wages for the first 26 weeks of this employment.

The tax credit for each retained worker is increased by 6.2% of the wages paid to the retained worker during the consecutive 52-week period. If an employer paid an employee $53,400 from now until the end of the year, it could save a maximum of $3,310. An additional $1,000 income tax credit is available to employers for every new employee retained for 52 weeks, to be taken on the employer’s 2011 income tax. Please contact your tax advisor or Ipswich Bay Advisors (978-777-6554) with any questions.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Additional COBRA Subsidy Extension - 2010

On March 2, 2010, President Obama signed the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (H.R. 4691), which extends the eligibility period for the COBRA premium subsidy through March 31, 2010. The eligibility period, as previously extended by the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-118), had expired on February 28, 2010.

The law also expands the definition of "assistance eligible individual" to include as a qualifying event the loss of health care coverage because of a reduction in hours followed by involuntary termination of employment. The Act provides that individuals who had a reduction of hours between September 1, 2008 and March 31, 2010, followed by an involuntary termination of employment on or after March 2, 2010, shall be treated as incurring a qualifying event on the date of termination of employment. As a result, these individuals will be eligible for the COBRA subsidy. The period of COBRA continuation coverage, however, is determined as though the qualifying event was the reduction of hours. Group health plans must notify affected individuals within sixty (60) days following their termination of employment of their right to the COBRA subsidy.

The Temporary Extension Act also provides short-term extensions of several authorities, including those related to unemployment compensation, Medicare physician payments, Medicare therapy caps, surface transportation programs, flood insurance programs, retransmission of television broadcasts, Federal poverty guidelines, and Small Business Administration loan guarantees.