2011 Filing Cabinet

December 2011 Monthly GLO Report

Social Security News

There is no real news on the Social Security website this month… but that does not mean Social Security is not in the news.  In fact, it will be a topic of interest for Payroll professionals all month.  President Obama is counting the seconds http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/jobs/we-cant-wait, where you can also see how much he thinks your taxes will go up if Congress doesn’t act!

From the IRS

• The Internal Revenue Service announced it is looking to return $153.3 million in undelivered tax refund checks. In all, 99,123 taxpayers are due refund checks this year that could not be delivered because of mailing address errors.  Undelivered refund checks average $1,547.  Taxpayers who believe their refund check may have been returned as undelivered should use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov. 
• The Internal Revenue Service is moving into the next phase of its effort to improve the tax preparation industry by launching the new Registered Tax Return Preparer competency test. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=249970,00.html 
• The Internal Revenue Service announced the standards to become an IRS-approved Continuing Education (CE) Provider and the requirements to become an IRS CE Accrediting organization.  The guidance paves the way for the implementation of new CE requirements for certain tax return preparers starting next year. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=250724,00.html

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement

This month’s newsletter is focused on helping Veterans.  I hope you excuse my fascination with the different collection programs, but this month’s featured program – the Passport Denial Program – included several payments by employers desiring to send their employee on assignments overseas. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2011/csr/csr1112.pdf  They’ll get you coming or going.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is in the post-development testing phase of a new system that will transform our paper-based agency into an electronic, online organization.  This is an unprecedented step for the world’s largest and most complex immigration system.  http://blog.uscis.gov/2011/12/uscis-develops-transformation-system.html

Health and Human Services

Health insurer charging unreasonable rate increases to small businesses - Everence Insurance of Pennsylvania is charging small businesses unreasonably high premium increases, according to the first federal rate review under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced.  Under the ACA, HHS, in conjunction with the states, is charged with establishing an annual review process, which will require insurers to submit a justification for any unreasonable premium increases (Public Health Service Act Sec. 2794(a)).  Proposals to raise rates by 10% or more will be reviewed.http://companyprofiles.healthcare.gov/

The U.S. Department of the Treasury

Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin testified before a Senate Banking Committee on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He discussed progress made on the core elements of the law and reiterated the Administration’s commitment to implementing reform fully, quickly and carefully. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/news/Pages/120611-Wolin-Testimony.aspx

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

All’s quiet at The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN. http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/

The Department of Homeland Security

DHS has been working on air travel security.  Look athttp://www.dhs.gov/index.shtm   to follow Secretary Napolitano’s travels to Paris, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai.

Small Business Association

• According to The Senior Source, in 2005, 15 percent of working people expect to start their own businesses when they retire. But how do retired and senior entrepreneurs access the capital they need?  Starting a Business Later in Life? Financing Options for Retirees and Seniors  
• On November 26, we celebrated Small Business Saturday® - a day aimed at encouraging shoppers across the country to support their community businesses. To show support for the idea, President Obama took his daughters to a local bookstore.  Supporting Local Economies Across the Country 

From the US Department of Labor

• This month whole industries were the “bad guys”… Long Island, NY pizza and pasta establishments ($2.3 million in back wages), South Florida buffet restaurants ($682,000) and NJ gas stations($1million in back wages).  But the big winners were security guards in MD ($8million in back wages, benefits and 401k plan assets).  
• Locally, an Atlanta roofing contractor was fined nearly $185,000 for OSHA violations.  
• A grant for $10 million was awarded to combat child labor in Ethiopia.  
• And  Secretary Solis discussed the urgency of extending the payroll tax cuts and continuing federal funding for unemployment insurance benefits during a visit to Capitol Hill. "With so many working families hurting, we need to put more money in their pockets, not less”. http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/

From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portalhttp://www.usa.gov/

This month USA.gov offers you 12 Days of Holiday Tips, the ability to track Santa real time courtesy of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and information on Protecting Your Child’s Personal Information at School.

In Georgia

Quietly, without fanfare, the Georgia Tax Center changed their programming and all their screen layouts.  https://gtc.dor.ga.gov/_/#1   Thank you (not!) very much!

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 October 2011 Monthly GLO Report

Social Security News

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (“the Council”) took a step forward to monitor and mitigate potential threats to U.S. financial stability and protect the American taxpayer by releasing details on the proposed process it will follow to determine whether a nonbank financial company should be subject to enhanced supervision, an important component of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“the Dodd-Frank Act”)..http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1321.aspx

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

FinCEN Proposes Reporting Requirement of International Transport of Certain Prepaid Access Products at U.S. Borders.  The proposal would add devices such as general use prepaid cards, certain gift cards, and potentially cell phones to the list of other monetary instruments that must be aggregated to determine if they exceed more than $10,000 and included on the Currency and Monetary Instrument Report (CMIR).  http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/nr/pdf/20111012.pdf

The Department of Homeland Security

DHS seems like they spent the last month testifying before every committee in Congress.http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/  President Obama signed a proclamation designating October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/cyber-education-workforce-development.shtm

Small Business Association

The President’s proposed American Jobs Act contained a number of provisions that would affect payroll.  The SBA has a good summary…  http://www.sba.gov/about-sba-services/199/23001  .

From the US Department of Labor

This month outflow definitely outpaced income for the DOL.  Sure you had your fines – Tyson Fresh Meats settles for $2.25 million(sex discrimination); trailer manufacturers in Sumner, TX $950,000 (OSHA violations); and Bank of America $930,000 in violation of the whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for improperly firing an employee.http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20111351.html  The outflow?  27 million for opportunities for workers with disabilities, 32.5 to combat exploitative child labor, and 500 million to community colleges for job training and workforce development.  Oh yes, and 1.5 million to improve labor relations… in Vietnam.  http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/

From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal http://www.usa.gov/

This month USA.gov is running a contest…  faq.challenge.gov Create a video that helps people understand how to get the government benefits and services they need, and you could win $1,000.  They also tell us that apple juice is safe to drink (according to the FDA), and celebrate October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  I have worked for a job placement company for workers with disabilities; they are incredible, capable people.  Many employers don’t know how to attract, hire, and retain disabled workers. The free reference guide Diversifying Your Workforce explains the business advantages of hiring disabled people.

In Georgia

The deferred income received by a nonresident of Georgia, who regularly engaged in employment, trade, business, professional or other activity for financial gain or profit in a prior year within Georgia and whose deferred income exceeds the lesser of 5% of the income received from all places during the taxable year or $5,000, shall be subject to taxation in Georgia as provided in O.C.G.A. § 48-7-30.  https://etax.dor.ga.gov/inctax/newregs/9-12-11_Adopted_Reg__560-7-4-_05_-_Deferred_Income_and_Stock_Options_of_Taxable_Nonresidents.pdf

The Georgia Supreme Court has approved Advisory Opinion No. 2010-1, which concludes that a non-lawyer, such as a clerical employee of a corporation, who answers for a garnishee other than himself in a legal proceeding pending with a Georgia court of record is engaged in the unlicensed practice of law.  http://gabar.org/public/pdf/upl/upl_advisory_op_2010-1.pdf  The Garnishment Subcommittee of the APA’s Government Affairs Task Force is working with lawmakers on legislation to change this.
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July 2011 Monthly GLO Report

Social Security News

The Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds.  They report the combined Trust Funds will be exhausted in 2036, one year sooner than projected last year.  The Disability Insurance fund is not expected to make it past 2018 and needs legislative help.  The trustee report can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/pr/trustee11-pr.html

From the IRS

IRS Marks Small Business Week by Showcasing Tools, Resources; During Small Business Week, May 16-20, the Internal Revenue Service encouraged the self-employed and small business owners to learn about IRS resources available to them.  The Small Business Tax Center (www.irs.gov/smallbiz) has links to some of the most useful tools the IRS offers, including the Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop, a downloadable tax calendar, common forms and their instructions and help on everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to engage with the IRS in the event of an audit.

OCSE to hold Employer Symposium on Child Support

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is inviting experts on employer/child support issues to attend the Employer Symposium on Child Support to be held at the Hilton Atlanta in Atlanta Georgia on August 3-4, 2011.  At this invitation-only symposium, leading executives, business practitioners, payroll professionals and judicial representatives from around the country, as well as state and federal child support program professionals, will come together in a group setting to identify both short- and long-term solutions to topics of mutual concern:
Recent revisions to the Income Withholding for Support Order (IWO), 
Electronic business practices, including electronic income withholding orders (e-IWO), Improving communication between stakeholders, 
Reporting and Withholding from lump sum payments, and 
New business trends.

Recommendations from the discussions will be compiled and shared with state child support agencies, representatives of the employer community and the judiciary.

OCSE issues Revised Income Withholding for Support (IWO) Form to be put immediately into use.  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pol/AT/2011/at-11-05.html
 
For IWOs issued on or after 05/31/11 (i.e., new IWOs) 
1)  If the IWO is not directed to the SDU as required by federal law then the employer should reject the IWO and return it to the sender, effective immediately. 
2)  If the employer receives a document to withhold income that is not issued on the OMB-approved IWO form as required by federal law then the employer must reject the document and return it to the sender, effective 05/31/12.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Sends Op-Ed to Washington Post: ‘A Rescue Worth Fueling’

On May 24 Chrysler Group LLC repaid its outstanding Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) loans. Chrysler’s repayment comes six years before the scheduled maturity of those loans in 2017.  I guess with no sign of action on the debt limit by Congress Secretary Geithner still needed to write something, so he wrote to the Washington Post. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1195.aspx

USCIS Launches I-9 Central on USCIS.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today launched I-9 Central, a new online resource center dedicated to tips and guidance to properly complete Form I-9 and better understand the Form I-9 process.  USCIS also offers free webinars on completing Form I-9.
www.uscis.gov/I-9central.

From the US Department of Labor

News from the DOL is if nothing else consistent.  This month the “bad guys” they caught include AstraZeneca ($250,000 to settle sex discrimination suit), El Matador Inc. and El Caporal Inc. restaurants in Decatur, IL ($1,149,702.50 in back wages and damages) and Global Horizons ($347,000 in back wages and penalties to 88 temporary agricultural workers from Thailand employed in Hawaii).  On the grant front they are helping storm victims in Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.  And they are helping Homeless Vets, people with disabilities, and inmates returning from serving time in justice facilities.  All this and they still had time to campaign against child labor, inspect American mines, and oversee a new union election in Illinois.  http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/

From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal

This month USA.gov offers advice on how to save money at the gas pump using FuelEconomy.gov.  A map interface similar to the GSA per- diem site leads to an impressive compilation of gas price web sites.http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/gasprices/states/index.shtml  This month USA.gov also offers the guidelines for an emergency plan and celebrates Men’s Health Week and Father’s Day.  There are resources for travel planning by land, sea or air.  And certainly you can’t blame USA.gov for looking forward to July 4th, the 235th birthday of the United States of America. http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Independence_Day.shtml

In Georgia

E-Verify Requirement Phasing in - Use of E-Verify has been a requirement for governmental agencies in the state for a several years now, but starting in 2012 the requirement will be phased in for the private sector as well.  Effective Jan 1 all employers with 500 or more employees will be required to register and use E-Verify; the requirements expand to employers with 100 or more July 1 and to employers with 10 or more employees July 1 of 2013.

And finally… Georgia has made changes to their references to Internal Revenue Code so that they now conform to the federal tax treatment of healthcare for adult children.
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April 2011 Monthly GLO Report

April 18 Deadline Approaching.

With the personal tax filing deadline of April 18th less than a week away, the IRS naturally dominates this month’s report.  Among the dozen IRS releases in the past two weeks are the timely April 18 Filing Deadline Approaching; IRS Offers Tips to Taxpayers, April 18 Deadline Approaching; Check IRS Payment Options, and Can’t File on Time? Get an Extension until Oct. 17 and the self serving Winter 2011 Statistics of Income Bulletin Now Available,  Don’t Fall Prey to the 2011 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams,  IRS Reminds Taxpayers to Use the IRS2Go App to Check Refunds; Downloads Top 250,000.  

But there were some very significant releases mixed in.  The most important was IR-2011-31 announcing the Interim Guidance on Informational Reporting of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage.  The Internal Revenue Service issued interim guidance to employers on informational reporting on each employee's annual Form W-2 of the cost of the health insurance coverage they sponsor for employees. The IRS is also requesting comments on this interim guidance. The IRS emphasized that this new reporting to employees is for their information only, to inform them of the cost of their health coverage, and does not cause excludable employer-provided health coverage to become taxable; employer-provided health coverage continues to be excludable from an employee's income, and is not taxable. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=237870,00.html

If you are the type who is interested in how the IRS thinks, you’ll enjoy IR-2011-38 Prepared Remarks of IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman at the National Press Club.  This transcript of a speech includes the view of the future as presented by the Commissioner.  If this becomes reality it could have a dramatic effect on the world of payroll.  Just think about due dates for W-2s and 1099s moving to early January… http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=238204,00.html

US Senate Votes to Repeal Expanded 1099-MISC Reporting.

On April 5th the US Senate voted 87-12 to pass H.R.4 - the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011 without amendment.  This allows the bill to be passed to the President for his signature; which he is expected to do.  
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR00004:@@@L&summ2=m&#summary

US Department of Labor debars Seattle-based federal contractor for violating minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping laws.

SEATTLE — The U.S. Department of Labor has debarred HWA Inc., President John Wood and Vice President Barbara Wood from future government contracts for three years, due to significant and repeated violations of the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. Seattle-based HWA provided security services as a contractor to various federal facilities, government offices and public works projects in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Missouri and New York.

This debarment action is based on HWA's history of violations concerning the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the SCA and CWHSSA. Since 2001, the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division has conducted more than 15 investigations of HWA, finding significant back wages were owed to hundreds of workers nationwide.  11-0262-NAThttp://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20110262.html

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Sends Debt Limit Letter to Congress

Secretary Geithner sent a letter to Congress on 4/4/2011 regarding the debt limit.  The treasury Department projects the debt limit will be reached no later than May 16th.  He outlines some “extraordinary measures” that may be taken by the Treasury to temporarily postpone the date, but those would only extend the date to about July 8th.

“As Secretary of the Treasury, I would prefer to avoid resorting to these extraordinary measures. The longer Congress fails to act, the more we risk that investors here and around the world will lose confidence in our ability to meet our commitments and our obligations.

If Congress does not act by May 16, I will take all measures available to me to give Congress additional time to act and to protect the creditworthiness of the country.”  Read the letter here http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/letter-to-congress.aspx

From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal

On the lighter side of government, USA.gov offers a variety of items of interest.  This month for example you can read tips for Spring Break Travel Abroad, learn your Rights under the New Healthcare Law, watch NASA video of the Discovery launch or get some gardening tips.  Did you know it has been 150 years since the American Civil War began? The link is on USA.govhttp://www.nps.gov/features/waso/cw150th/index.html

I must bring forward a day that has become very important for me – April 22nd – Earth Day.  USA.gov has a link to every Earth Day celebration in the countrWhen my wife and I were married 22 years ago we were blissfully unaware of Earth Day.  We have come to enjoy the whole Earth celebrating with us !)

In Georgia

This week the APA released a Special Update on States Conforming to Federal Tax Treatment of Health Care Benefits for Adult Children.
More states have moved to conform to the federal tax treatment of health care benefits for employees' children under age 27.  This leaves six nonconforming states: Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. 

Georgia DOR to Launch Debit Card Pilot Program

ATLANTA—The Department of Revenue announced today (April 5th) it will launch a Debit Card Pilot Program later this week that it anticipates will eventually replace mailing of Georgia income tax paper refund checks.  The debit cards will be mailed to select taxpayers who elected to receive a 2010 Georgia income tax paper refund check. Taxpayers who chose electronic direct deposit of their income tax refund will continue to receive their refunds electronically. https://etax.dor.ga.gov/pressrel/DORrel4511.pdf
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November 2011 Monthly GLO Report

Social Security News

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012.  Based on the increase in average wages, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $110,100 from $106,800.  Of the estimated 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum. http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/pr/2012cola-pr.html

From the IRS

• For tax year 2012, personal exemptions and standard deductions will rise and tax brackets will widen due to inflation. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=248485,00.html 
• The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $16,500 to $17,000.  The catch-up contribution limit for those aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=248482,00.html

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement

Its Native American Heritage Month.  The newsletter is about helping inmates be better parents (a real problem for the incarcerated?) and a $231,362 payment of 20 years of child support. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2011/csr/csr1111.pdf

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Nicaragua and Honduras for an additional 18 months, beginning Jan. 6, 2012, and ending July 5, 2013 News Update.  Also check out the E-Verify Connection, with info on how to get a free I-9 Handbook, access their free E-Verify Webinar and an updated map of available self-check states.

Health and Human Services

Health reforms long term care provisions will not be implemented…  Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, told Congressional leaders in a October 14 letter I do not see a viable path forward for implementation at this time.  The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Program, was intended to be a national voluntary, consumer-funded insurance program. Under the law, HHS was required to design a plan that would be actuarially sound and financially solvent for at least 75 years.  According to Sebelius, actuarial analysis presented to Congress does not identify a benefit plan that I can certify as both actuarially sound for the next 75 years and consistent with the statutory requirements.  So, now we have no CLASS…  http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/letter10142011.html .

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposed regulations that would require government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks to develop anti-money laundering (AML) programs and file suspicious activity reports (SARs) with FinCEN. http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/nr/html/20111103.html

Small Business Association

November is National Entrepreneurship Month and the SBA celebrates entrepreneurship in a number of ways:
•the Student Startup Plan helps college graduates learn how to lower their loan payments to get “breathing room” to start a business.
•Young Entrepreneurs Series (YES) helps more young people come together, exchange ideas, and get on a path toward building a viable business. 
•kicking off the “Apps for Entrepreneurs Challenge,” which runs through Nov. 20.  It has $20,000 in prizes for the best mobile apps that help America’s entrepreneurs tap into federal programs to help them grow a business and create jobs.  http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USSBA-194fe2 .

From the US Department of Labor

No million dollar fines this month, but significant fines were handed out to Caviness Beef Packers ($600,000 to resolve allegations of hiring discrimination), Hilton Reservations Worldwide ($715,000 in minimum, overtime back wages), and an Illinois pet food production and packaging company ($750,000 for 23 health and safety violations). There were grants for those affected by Texas wildfires and California storms.  And OSHA encourages major retailers to provide crowd management measures to protect workers during major sales events.  http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/

From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal http://www.usa.gov/

This month USA.gov invites you to test your Flu I.Q., honor all Vets on Veterans Day, winterize your home and advises how to Feast Without Fear .

***In Georgia

The Georgia Supreme Court has approved Advisory Opinion No. 2010-1, which concludes that a non-lawyer, such as a clerical employee of a corporation, who answers for a garnishee other than himself in a legal proceeding pending with a Georgia court of record is engaged in the unlicensed practice of law. http://gabar.org/public/pdf/upl/upl_advisory_op_2010-1.pdf  The Garnishment Subcommittee of the APA’s Government Affairs Task Force is working with lawmakers on legislation to change this.

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September 2011 Monthly GLO Report

Social Security News

On August 2nd Social Security announced that payments would go out on time… and their press group has had nothing else to say!

From the IRS

• The Internal Revenue Service is providing tax relief to individual and business taxpayers impacted by Hurricane Irene.  Tax filing and payment deadlines are postponed to Oct. 31, 2011. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=245004,00.html  
• IRS is giving a one-week filing extension to taxpayers who’s Preparers were affected by Hurricane Irene.
• The Internal Revenue Service today released specifications for the competency test individuals must pass to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer.

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement

The (OCSE) newsletter this month had a story that caught my attention promoting the Insurance Match Program.  Individuals owing past-due support are cross-referenced with information maintained by insurers (or their agents) concerning insurance claims, settlements, awards and payments. California gets 1million a month this way.http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2011/csr/csr1108.pdf

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

(USCIS) announced that Self Check, a free online service of E-Verify that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status, is now available in Spanish and accessible to residents in 16 states.  For more information visitwww.uscis.gov/selfcheck.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury

The Treasury received more than $886 million in gross proceeds from TARP repayments and related sales, so we (the taxpayer) have recovered $314 billion (76 percent) compared to the $413 billion disbursed to date for the program.http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1282.aspx  The Treasury also announced that an additional 50 community banks across the country received a total of $767 million as part of the next wave of funding provided through the Small Business Lending Fund, bringing the total up to $1.8 billion. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1284.aspx 

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

FinCEN shows identity thieves prefer to use stolen account identifiers to take over existing legitimate accounts rather than to set up new unauthorized accounts.  http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/nr/html/20110906.html

The Department of Homeland Security

At the direction of President Obama, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano reached out to officials from regions impacted by Hurricane Irene to discuss ongoing coordinated federal, state, and local response and recovery efforts. http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/20110829-napolitano-calls-governors-mayors-irene-efforts.shtm  Next – preparations for 9/11.

Small Business Association – I don’t remember signing up for this government site, but they are very active with email updates. I enjoyed the story on the SBA 100… 100 small businesses that created 100 jobs spotlighting a Dairy Queen franchise in Alaska. I want to talk to the person selling that much ice cream up there!  http://www.sba.gov/sba-100/list  They also had good disaster preparedness stories out – ahead of the hurricaneshttp://www.sba.gov/content/disaster-preparedness .

From the US Department of Labor

Well, of course the DOL is celebrating Labor Day with Secretary Solis’s “State of the American Worker”.  This month injuries in Ohio at Anchor Hocking and Ohio Aluminum brought in a couple hundred thousand, a Florida Tree Service Company kicked in $150k more and they sued the United Employee Benefit Fund in Northbrook, Ill., and its trustees to recover 1 million+ in assets.  The Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and its Wage and Hour Division began assisting individuals in 12 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia impacted by Hurricane Irene...  And that smell at cheese producer Leprino Foods was hiring discrimination. http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/

From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal http://www.usa.gov/

This month USA.gov features the National Hurricane Center and Irene recovery, the Apps Against Abuse challenge encourages the development of applications that provide college students and young adults the tools to prevent violence and abuse, and celebrates Labor Day.  Nothing about National Payroll Week?!  I’ve become too big a fan to let them off the hook on this one!

In Georgia

Ok… we had to vote again, but now the new License plate design is official! https://etax.dor.ga.gov/TagContest.aspx   Also not really news on the website, but they have finally started processing W-2’s.  I found out when my file was rejected!  If you haven’t been there in a while you may want to check the Georgia Tax Center - http://gataxinfo.org/ .
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May 2011 Monthly GLO Report

The wave of IRS notices crested with the tax filing deadline, where Taxpayers Set e-File Record as Tax Deadline Approaches; More than 100 Million e-Filed Returns So Far This Year .  Then it was on to prosecuting those who didn’t do it right! IRS Begins Enforcement of New Return Preparer Rules;  IRS Office of Professional Responsibility Prevails on Appeal Against CPA  Then it was time to look forward to the real heavy lifting.

Treasury, IRS Seek Public Input on Certain Employer Provisions of the Affordable Care Act

In IR-2011-50 the “how to” of the Healthcare Reform provisions that come into effect in 2014 are the topic – and the IRS is listening.  Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time employees that do not offer affordable health coverage to their full-time employees may be required to make a shared responsibility payment.  By soliciting comments and feedback now, Treasury and IRS are giving all interested parties the opportunity for input before proposed regulations are issued at a later date.  If you want to add your input, go tohttp://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=239023,00.html .  

The deadline for comments is June 17, 2011.

President Obama Signs Law Repealing Expanded 1099-MISC Reporting.

IRS Releases Draft of Revised Form 941-X.

The IRS has released a draft version of revisions to Form 941-X, Adjusted Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return or Claim for Refund. The current form is being revised in light of legislative and regulatory developments since it was issued in September 2010.

Supreme Court sets "fair notice" standard for complaints

Employees are now three-for-three in Supreme Court employment law cases this term, now that the High Court has ruled that an employee’s Fair Labor Standards Act complaints don’t have to be written to be protected from retaliation by their employers.  Oral complaints are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) antiretaliation provisions the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 opinion (Kasten v Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Dkt No 09-834, March 22, 2011, Breyer, S). Resolving a conflict among the circuits, the majority found the scope of the statutory term "filed any complaint" found in FLSA, Sec. 215(a)(3), encompasses oral as well as written complaints. The Court vacated a Seventh Circuit decision that held a discharged employee did not engage in FLSA-protected conduct when he made a verbal complaint about the location of the employer's time clocks, which prevented employees from getting paid for time spent donning and doffing protective gear --in violation of the Act.  Justice Scalia dissented, joined by Justice Thomas. Justice Kagan did not participate.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-834.pdf

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Sends Debt Limit Letter to Congress…Again

Secretary Geithner sent a letter to Congress on 4/4/2011 regarding the debt limit.  On 5/2/2011 he sent another letter.  The Treasury Department still projects the debt limit will be reached no later than May 16th.  As he has seen no action in Congress, the “extraordinary measures” he mentioned last month are going into effect 5/6/2011.  He does add that stronger than expected tax receipts should allow them to extend the date to about August 2nd.

“While this updated estimate in theory gives Congress additional time to complete the work on increasing the debt limit, I caution
strongly against delaying action… Delaying action risks a loss of confidence and accompanying negative economic effects.” 

http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Documents/FINAL%20Debt%20Limit%20Letter%2005-02-2011%20Boehner.pdf

USCIS Issues Final I-9 Rule Requirements

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a final rule requiring unexpired documents to prove work authorization.

From the US Department of Labor

News from the DOL will always include some company with some kind of violation and fines.  This month I wanted to bring out something different.  ETA News Release: US Department of Labor provides grant to help Alabama residents recover from severe storms - 11-0653-ATL - [05/04/2011]  WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $10 million National Emergency Grant to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts in the wake of the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that struck Alabama last month.

"The scenes of devastation in Alabama are heartbreaking," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Today's grant will help 
the people of Alabama get back on their feet. I am pleased that my department has the opportunity to offer assistance to 
clean up and repair the affected communities."

National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines.

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20110653.html

From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal

This month USA.gov tells us how to find a farmer’s market, and to Celebrate Older Americans Month.  This week is also Women’s Health Week.  The month ends with Memorial Day.  Did you know that a new celebration was initiated in 2001 called the National Moment of Remembrance?
Join other Americans in a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time. If you are driving, turn on your lights.
http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Memorial_Day.shtml

In Georgia

Georgia DOR is looking to change the rules for Electronic Funds Transfer, Credit Card Payments, and Electronic Filing

An Income Tax Division Rule is being proposed by the Department - Rule 560-3-2-.26, entitled "Electronic Funds Transfer, Credit Card Payments, and Electronic Filing."   Interested parties seeking to comment on the proposed Rule should review the notice for further guidance.
The notice and an exact copy and synopsis of the proposed Rule may be found on the Georgia DOR’s website at:
https://etax.dor.ga.gov/inctax/new_regulations.aspx
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June 2011 Monthly GLO Report

Social Security News

Effective June 25, 2011, SSA is changing the way Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are issued. This change is referred to as "randomization."http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/randomization.html  Some previously unassigned area numbers will be introduced for assignment.  Numbers beginning with 000, 666 and 900-999 will still be invalid.

From the IRS

•  As part of its new oversight program of the nation’s tax return preparation industry, the IRS will send letters to approximately 100,000 tax return preparers who prepared returns in 2011 but failed to follow new PTIN requirements. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=241931,00.html 

•  The .2% FUTA surtax expired on June 30th.  Employers will need to separately track FUTA taxable wages paid before July 1st and after June 30th.

• The IRS announced the increase of the standard mileage rate to 55.5 cents per mile. 
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/a-11-40.pdf  “This modification results from the recent increases in the price of fuel.”  “Recent”?!  Where have they been…?  The new rate were effective July 1st

• The Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) released its 2011 Annual Report to Congress to Congress during a public meeting.

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) had a bunch of news last month.  This month… well here is their monthly newsletter.  It is interesting to see what some look at as newsworthy. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2011/csr/csr1107.pdf

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Meets the Press and Faces the Nation

Now that he has the full attention of Congress and the President, Sec. Geithner takes his message to TV on Meet the Press and Face the Nation.  That message is still the same. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1225.aspx

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

FinCEN offers its Quarterly report on Mortgage Loan Fraudhttp://www.fincen.gov/news_room/nr/html/20110628.html and proudly announces the sentencing of a former banking chairman.  He had to forfeit $38.5 million for his role in a $2.9 billion fraud scheme… Sounds like he got a good deal to me, except the 30 years in jail part.  http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-crm-862.html.

The Department of Homeland Security is hard at work protecting our Maritime Borders.http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/testimony/20110712-zukunft-protecting-maritime-borders.shtm   http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/20110707-maritime-operations-plan.shtml

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) celebrated our nation’s birthday with Naturalization Ceremonies. http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=c462c38bafcd0310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD

From the US Department of Labor

This month the “bad guys” they caught include Prince George County (MD) ($4.2mil back wages in H-1B case), Farmers Insurance ($1.5mil in back wages to 3500 employees) and P. Gioioso & Sons ($354,000 for repeated OSHA violations).  Secretary Solis released statements on the excessive heat in the country and the June employment numbers (not related).  Grants went to tornado victims in Joplin MO and Massachusetts, Vermont and Illinois for flood victims, laid off workers in CA, and high risk youth in underserved communities.  And the DOL proudly declares they are “undeterred by the Supreme Court’s recent decision to halt the Wal-Mart class action equal pay case”. http://www.dol.gov/_sec/newsletter/
From USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official web portal

This month USA.gov offers advice prescription drugs, remembers the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and offers advice on applying for American citizenship.  They also are encouraging kids to read this summer at Kids.gov (I know I have, though it has not done much good).  And it is summer, so there are swimming safety tips.

In Georgia

There’s some new Sales and Use tax rates, but the most interesting thing out here to me is they are about to announce the new License plate design! https://etax.dor.ga.gov/TagContestNotice.aspx________________________________