By Peter Prychodko – CEO, Data Management Payroll Services

As we approach the tail end of the year, and open enrollment for many, it’s important to make sure your payroll information is up-to-date. Data Management Payroll Services, Doeren Mayhew’s preferred payroll provider, has compiled a list of things you should do now to get ready for payroll in 2018 and related upcoming compliance effective dates.

Audit Your Hiring Documentation

As you’re aware, employers must retain thorough payroll records for a variety of reasons. Applicable documentation related to payroll management includes hiring and ongoing records, such as Form I-9, time sheets, expense reports, Form W-2 and more. It’s important to do a periodic internal audit of these records to make sure they are in optimal shape. Some things to consider, among many others, include:

  • Is employee contact information up-to-date?
  • Do you need to schedule any special payrolls for seasonal or annual bonuses?
  • Are your records updated for any employees that left, and have they been paid out for any unused sick or vacation time?
  • Do you have the accurate taxation documentations on file for all employees for 2017?
  • Have you made updates to records to reflect contribution changes for retirement, health savings, employee benefit and childcare plans in the current year and next year? Check for excess contributions in the current year.
  • Have appropriate withholdings been made related to wages, tax and other categories for the year? If not, correct it by the final payroll of the year.

Beyond making sure your files are intact, make sure you are having employees complete the most up-to-date forms, as they may change from year-to-year. For example, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently updated the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, better known as Form I-9. The new form is mandatory for use by all new hires beginning after Sept. 17, 2018.

Keep Up With ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements are still in effect, and open enrollment is right around the corner. Get your documents in order ahead of time! You won’t want to risk getting penalized for filing your ACA documents incorrectly or late.

Large businesses, insurance companies and self-insured companies must file information returns each year if they offer health insurance to their employees. Also required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is the electronic filling of these returns through the ACA Information Return system, also known as AIR, if you have 250 or more to file.

When you’re preparing your ACA information for the year, don’t forget to take note of a few changes that have taken place, including:

  • A new template for the Summary of Benefits Coverage (SBC), an ACA requirement for disbursement with health plan documents for eligible employees.
  • Inclusion of depression screenings for adults, and low-dose aspirin for certain at-risk adults, as well as many others, under covered preventative services starting Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Inability for an employer to charge a full-time employee more than 9.56 percent of their household income for health insurance premiums in 2018, a decrease from 9.69 percent in 2017, based on the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision.

Get Your Classifications Right

While this is not new, it seems to be a hot topic since recent IRS crackdowns on companies that have been misclassifying employees as independent contractors. The effects of misclassifying an employee/contractor can be immense on payroll, as your business will be required to pay retroactive payroll taxes. Check your roster of independent contractors and compare their role in your business with the IRS’ definitions of contractor versus employee. Make any necessary corrections to your payroll records.

Remain Compliant

Stay in the know, or work with a third-party provider to relieve the burden, about the rules and regulations governing various aspects of the business that can affect your payroll management processes.

For example, The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) has new federal procedures that will extend some of the provisions related to its disability claims made on or after Jan. 1, 2018. Employers should identify and better outline their ERISA plans that provide disability benefits, especially text regarding provisions for short- and long-term disability plans.

Get Ahead

With some advanced planning, year-end payroll planning can help your reporting and compliance for the previous year go smoothly, as well as lay the foundation for a successful fiscal year ahead. If you’re inundated with the intricacies of paying your staff, withholding taxes, submitting the proper reports and  maintaining compliance with a myriad of regulations, let Data Management Payroll Services help you. Contact the team today to see how they can minimize your administrative payroll woes and give you a fresh start in 2018.