The Payroll Report: March 26-30


Here is a roundup of recently covered payroll issues:


Alabama extended state tax return filing deadlines for taxpayers in 27 counties that were affected by recent severe weather. Deadlines that originally were from March 20 to April 30 were automatically extended by two months.

On paper returns, taxpayers must indicate they are taking advantage of the extension, the state revenue department said. Taxpayers filing electronically must contact the department for guidance as to how to claim the extension, it said.

The filing deadline for West Virginia annual reconciliation returns was moved to Jan. 31 from Feb. 28 under a bill (S.B. 338) signed March 20 by Gov. Jim Justice (R).

The measure also requires employers to file withholding returns electronically if they are filing for at least 25 employees or use a payroll service, effective for tax periods starting Jan. 1, 2018, and later. The previous threshold was 50 employees.

The bill is to be effective June 1, the state legislature said on its website.

Oklahoma released a state Form OK-W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, March 29. Employers are required to use the new form; the state previously required the use of the federal Form W-4.

Two bills affecting youth employment were signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) March 29.

A.B. 326 allows minors age 15 and older to be employed as lifeguards. S.B. 420 allows a minor to be employed without a child labor permit in a private business owned in whole or part by one of their parents, guardians, or grandparents; previously, a permit was required.

Nevada’s hourly minimum wage and daily overtime rates are unchanged for 2018, the Office of the Labor Commissioner said.

The hourly minimum wage for employees who are offered qualified employer-provided health benefits remains $7.25, and the hourly minimum wage for employees who are not offered qualified health benefits remains $8.25.

Overtime must be paid for work done in excess of eight hours in a 24-hour period to employees who earn less than $10.875 an hour and receive qualified employer-provided health benefits, and to employees who earn less than $12.375 an hour and do not receive qualified health benefits.

The San Francisco tax office said the payroll expense tax is to continue for 2018 and later. The tax was scheduled to be phased out and replaced by a gross-receipts tax, but the city in February announced a provisional rate for the tax and said that the levy would apply in later years. The 2018 provisional tax rate was set at 0.448 percent.

The payroll-expense tax rate for 2018 would be calculated using tax data as of July 1, 2018, and is to be announced by Sept. 1, the office said, adding that the rate may range from 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent. The provisional rate may be used by taxpayers filing final returns or accrual obligations before the announcement of the 2018 tax rate.

The payroll-expense tax is paid by employers in four installments. For 2018, payments are due April 30, July 31, and Oct. 31. The fourth payment, due Feb. 28, 2019, would be at a different rate.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello (New Progressive Party) proposed an initiative to increase the territory’s minimum wage and implement a work bonus, but the required Christmas bonus would become optional and sick and vacation leave would be reduced.

Under the initiative, private employers could choose by 2021 to not grant a statutory Christmas bonus to workers or could choose to provide a different bonus amount. Employers also could offer other productivity bonuses.

The initiative would increase the minimum hourly wage to $7.75 by 2019, from $7.25, and to $8.25 by 2021.

The initiative would reduce vacation and sick leave to seven days each. Employees now receive from six to 15 days of vacation, depending on seniority, and 12 days of sick leave.

Qualifying workers would receive an earned income tax credit ranging from $300 to $2,000 as a work bonus.

The measure also would eliminate within three years a law, Act 80, providing protection to employees against unjust dismissals, in favor of at-will employment.

By Jamie Rathjen

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