EverythingPeople This Week!

Published on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Quick Hits - January 9, 2019

Author: ASE Staff

IRS releases new travel rates:  The IRS has released the optional standard mileage rates for 2019. The standard mileage rates for 2019 are 58 cents per mile for business uses, 20 cents per mile for medical uses, and 14 cents per mile for charitable uses. Taxpayers may use these rates, instead of their actual expenses, to calculate their deductions for business, medical, or charitable use of their own vehicles. For purposes of the fixed and variable rate (FAVR) allowance, the maximum standard automobile cost for vehicles placed in service after 2018 is $50,400 for passenger automobiles and trucks and vans. Employers can use a FAVR allowance to reimburse employees who use their own vehicles for the employer’s business. The standard mileage rate for the moving expense deduction is 20 cents per mile. To claim this deduction, the taxpayer must be: a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, on active military duty, and moving under a military order and incident to a permanent change of station.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 suspended the moving expense deduction for all other taxpayers until 2026.  Source: IRS Notice 2019-02, I.R.B. 2019-03, January 14, 2019

E-Verify is not funded currently, what do I do?  With the government shutdown, E-Verify is currently unavailable.  For more information, click here.

Michigan new minimum wage increases:  Now signed into law, the minimum wage starting in 2019 will increase to $9.45; $9.65 in 2020; $9.87 in 2021; $10.10 in 2022; $10.33 in 2023; $10.56 in 2024; $10.80 in 2025; $11.04 in 2026; $11.29 in 2027; $11.54 in 2028; $11.79 in 2029; and $12.05 in 2030.  If you need posters, go to www.govdocs.com, and at checkout use the code gn-ase for discounted pricing.

Michigan Wage Statements due 1/31/19:  For corporate and personal income tax purposes, the Michigan Department of Treasury has announced the modified due date for employers to submit wage statements. As per the new law, the taxpayer must submit their wage statements on or before January 31, 2019. All employers may electronically upload their wage statements by using Michigan Treasury Online. Employers with more than 250 employees must file their wage statements electronically. The Form 5081, Sales, Use and Withholding Taxes Annual Return, remains due February 28, 2019. Source: Press Release, Michigan Department of Treasury, December 6, 2018

Snyder signs bill protecting LGBTQ rights: Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive order on December 28, 2018 providing protections from some discrimination for the LGBTQ community. His order to all state departments prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in procurement contracts as well as loan and grant programs. The directive states that all State of Michigan departments and agencies that perform procurement functions and provide loans and grants to local units of government and private entities must not discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation.  The departments also must include language in contracts, loans, and grants that the contractors and loan and grant recipients cannot discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While Snyder also advocated for the expansion of the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in hiring and housing, to include sexual orientation, Republicans in the state Legislature have blocked such expansion for at least the last four years.  Source: Detroit Free Press 12/28/18

IRS issues 2019 withholding tables and W-4 rules: The IRS has issued the 2019 withholding tables. Publication 15 includes the 2019 Percentage Method Tables and Wage Bracket Tables for Income Tax Withholding. Previously released IRS guidance (Notice 2018-92, IRB 2018-51) provides that until April 30, 2019, an employee who has a reduction in a claimed number of withholding allowances solely due to changes from the new tax legislation enacted on December 22, 2017 (P.L. 115-97, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act), isn't required to give his or her employer a new Form W-4 until May 10, 2019 (10 days after April 30, 2019). However, if an employee no longer reasonably expects to be entitled to a claimed number of withholding allowances because of a change in personal circumstances not solely related to changes made by P.L. 115-97 (for example, an employee's child no longer qualifies as the employee's dependent because of the child's change in residence), the employee must furnish his or her employer a new Form W-4 within 10 days after the change.   In addition, if an employee who claimed married filing status on Form W-4 becomes divorced from his or her spouse, the employee must furnish his or her employer a new Form W-4 within 10 days after the change. 

Craig Leen named Director of OFCCP:  As reflected on OFCCP’s website, OFCCP Acting Director Craig Leen has been officially named Director of OFCCP.  When the position was vacated last July, Leen, who was Senior Advisor at the time, was made Acting Director.  During his time as Acting Director, OFCCP issued ten new directives. Director Leen has also continued to change the approach of OFCCP basing it on four pillars of transparency, certainty, efficiency and recognition.    Source:  Jackson Lewis 12/27/18

Is a two week notice a thing of the past?  Once taken for granted as a professional courtesy, the two-week notice standard is losing relevance in an economy where practically everyone is hiring, analysts say. More jobs are open in the United States right now than there are people looking for work. Workers have less incentive to respect the old norm, said David Lewis, chief executive of Operations Inc, a national human resources consulting firm. Over the past year, he has seen a 20% upswing in employees departing less than two weeks after they give notice.  “It’s absolutely being directly impacted by the unemployment level, the lack of available talent and the number of positions companies are trying to fill,” Lewis said.  Others are skipping even text resignations. The Chicago Federal Reserve noted in a December report more employees are “ghosting” their jobs — or quitting without telling anyone and becoming “impossible to contact.” Only a tiny share of workers in the United States have signed contracts that compel them to extend an advanced warning — mostly teachers and other professionals who agree to special terms, said Austin Kaplan, an employment lawyer in Texas.  Contrary to popular belief, he said, workers do not carry a permanent record of their exits, friendly or otherwise.  Source: Washington Post 12/18/19

Disclosure of confidential personnel files not protected activity: An employee, a black and Muslim woman, worked for the sheriff’s office for approximately 19 years, most recently as a detention services supervisor. For more than 16 years, she maintained an unblemished disciplinary record. However, in April 2014, she received a disciplinary sanction that barred her from testing for a promotion. She filed timely complaints with the sheriff’s office and EEOC alleging that similarly situated officers, who were neither black nor Muslim, had not been similarly disciplined. The employee acknowledges that she knew that the files were confidential but nonetheless did not seek permission from the five employees or her own supervisors to copy and disclose them. Additionally, she gave copies of all five files to the EEOC and the lawyer representing her in this suit. During discovery, her attorney provided copies of the files to the sheriff. This led the sheriff’s attorney to inquire how the employee obtained the files. The employee admitted she copied them.  The employee was terminated for disclosing the files.  The trial court dismissed all her claims.   Finding that the employee’s unauthorized review and duplication of confidential personnel files did not constitute protected opposition or participation activity, the appeals court affirmed the judgment of the district court.  Source:  CCH 12/20/18, Netter v Barnes, No. 18-1039 (U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 11/15/18)


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