The Payroll Report: Aug. 6 to Aug. 10


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Here is a roundup of payroll issues covered in the past week:

Federal

A draft 2019 Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, was released Aug. 8 by the IRS and was unchanged from 2018.

Box 9, containing the form’s verification code, was retained, the agency said. Payroll service providers participating in the verification-code program, which began in 2016, include a 16-character code on the form that is used to match individual tax returns with the proper refund amount.

Verification codes appeared on about 59 million W-2s during the 2018 tax filing season.

The terminal charge portion of the Standard Industry Fare Level formula increased to $42.88 for the second half of 2018, compared with $41.71 for the first half of 2018, the Transportation Department said Aug. 6.

The rate for the first 500 miles of travel increased to 23.46 cents a mile from 22.82 cents a mile. The rate for miles 501 to 1,500 rose to 17.88 cents a mile from 17.40 cents a mile. The rate for distances of more than 1,500 miles increased to 17.19 cents a mile from 16.73 cents a mile.

The SIFL formula is used to calculate the amount of taxable income incurred by an employee who uses an employer’s aircraft for a personal or personal-business trip.

The IRS extended the filing deadline for employment tax returns for victims of California victims of wildfires and high winds that started July 23, the agency said. Employers with operations in Shasta County have until Nov. 30, 2018, to file employment tax returns, but must still make deposits on time, the IRS said.

State

Maryland updated its withholding guide Aug. 3 to reflect an increase in the state’s maximum standard deduction to $2,250 from $2,000 for tax year 2018.

Maryland’s standard deduction is calculated at 15 percent of gross income annually, with a minimum of $1,500.

The value of the state’s personal exemption remained $3,200 and the percentage methods of withholding were not changed.

Tennessee’s unemployment tax rates for the second half of 2018 are unchanged from the first half of 2018, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development told Bloomberg Tax Aug. 6.

From July 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2018, the tax rates are determined with Table 6 and range from 0.01 percent to 2.3 percent for positive-rated employers and from 5 percent to 10 percent for negative-rated employers.

The standard tax rate for new employers is 2.7 percent for fiscal 2019, unchanged from fiscal 2018.

Local

Voters in East Lansing, Mich., approved a ballot issue  Aug. 7 to establish a local income tax, the city said Aug. 9.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the income tax is to be implemented at a rate of 1 percent for residents and 0.5 percent for nonresidents. If a resident lives in East Lansing and works in another community with an income tax or works in East Lansing and lives in another community with an income tax, the resident would pay 0.5 percent to East Lansing and 0.5 percent to the community where they work or live, the city said on its website.

The income tax is to expire in 2031 unless reauthorized by voters, the city said.

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