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The IRS gave us all a nice new year’s present in the form of newly released guidelines for employers on Health Care Reform

 

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Internal Revenue Service

26 CFR Parts 1, 54 and 301

[REG-138006-12]

RIN 1545-BL33

Shared Responsibility for Employers Regarding Health Coverage

 

They are accepting comments now through March 18, 2013.

 

I would encourage you to take the time to review this document.  It covers items such as:

  • Transition relief for plans that do not renew on the calendar year - they do not have to make changes mid year.
  • Look back periods for determining if employees are full time
  • Transition periods for smaller employers who pass the 50 employee threshold
  • Who employers have to offer coverage to
  • Formally establishes the safe harbor for affordability
  • Safe Harbor for employers who offer coverage to full time employees – you must cover 95% of them
  • Common ownership rules for applying penalties
  • Clarifies that there is more guidance to come

 

You can submit your comments on regulations.gov

 

In a rare New Year’s Eve/Day session Congress passed the bill to make sure we did not go off the “fiscal cliff”.  The bill contains several things that are important to HR.

  • Permanently extends  employer-provided education assistance (Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code), which allows an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 per year in educational assistance at the undergraduate and graduate level regardless of whether the education is job-related.
  • Permanently extends the increase in the monthly exclusion for employer-provided transit and vanpool benefits.
  • Extends federal emergency unemployment benefits for one year.
  • Reinstates and extends the Work Opportunity Tax Credit through 2013.
  • The legislation does not include an extension of the 2 percent payroll tax cut of the Social Security (FICA) employee tax.

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