2020 can mean a profitable approach for your business

It’s hard to believe there is less than six weeks left of this decade. Not just this year, but this DECADE! I have written multiple end-of-year blogs (It’s that time of year again) because goal-setting is my favorite topic for discussion. It’s a great time to reflect on where we are and where we want to go.

So, what will be different for your business in the coming year? Why will it be different? And how will it be different?

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Workers value employer-provided financial guidance

Last month we learned that although general retirement confidence by several measures has improved a lot in recent years, many Americans are still worried about old-age financial security.

A lack of savings is one of the biggest factors underlying such concerns, and for a large number of people debt is the main obstacle preventing them from regularly setting more money aside.

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More programs offered to help employees with life situations

We are seeing a trend in businesses offering employee assistance programs to their employees and BCN Services has such a program available to help employees cope.

These employer-sponsored programs help employees resolve personal problems that may affect work performance and they include free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services.

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In the new year, update addresses and be sure benefit elections are accurate

Happy New Year! After family gatherings, company parties, school breaks and other celebrations, it’s time for most of us to get back into our regular routines. The start of the year is also a great time for employees to do an audit of their W2 address information and new benefit plans, as well as finalize any benefits spending from the previous year.

Here are a few suggestions that can benefit all employees at any employer.

W2 forms for 2018

The federal government requires all employers to mail or electronically provide W2s to current and former employees who worked for them in 2018 by January 31, 2019. For employees not signed up for an electronic W2, be sure to update your home addresses, if needed, with current and former employers.

BCN Services employees who use the online portal option can change their addresses online at any time. All others can email address changes to hr@bcnservices.com, including their full name and the last 4 digits of their Social Security number. Every year, hundreds of W2s are returned to BCN Services due to outdated addresses. While it’s best to update the addresses before the W2s are sent, if an employee updates an address at a later time, we sent them right back out using the updated address.

Even with correct addresses, sometimes W2s don’t arrive at an employee’s home or they are misplaced. It’s important that employees wait long enough to give the U.S. Postal Service time to deliver them, but also not to wait until the tax deadline if they need an additional copy of the W2. BCN Services employees who don’t receive a W2 for any reason can contact BCN Services (email hr@bcnservices.com) to receive a free re-print of their W2 between February 11 and March 7. If requesting a copy, include the full name of the employee and the last 4 digits of the Social Security number.

2018 Benefits – FSA

Employees who have Flexible Spending Account plans with money left from 2018 have until March 15, 2019 to incur reimbursable expenses and until March 30, 2019 to submit receipts for payment from their FSA account. In 2018, this process moved from paper to a more convenient online process for BCN Services’ employees. We encourage all BCN Services employees with FSA accounts to view their account balances and submit reimbursement requests through the website or Wage Works app (www.wageworks.com) prior to the March 15 and March 30 deadlines.

2019 Benefits Contributions

Many employees have updated their benefits elections as of January 1, 2019. It’s a good idea for all employees to review their pay stubs to ensure that deductions coming out of your pay match the elections you’ve made. For the final checks of 2018, employees should generally expect to see deductions that match the 2019 medical, dental and vision plan elections. Employees’ first paychecks of 2019 should reflect those plan elections, as well as 2019 FSA and Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions, Aflac supplemental insurance, life insurance and disability, and prepaid legal plans.

Not a BCN employer?

Taking these actions are excellent practices for all employees. This article highlights a few of the many services BCN Services offers to our clients. To learn more about the full package of services offered and for more information about how these can work for your business, call us at 734-994-4100.

Trisha Crigger, Human Resources Generalist

Consider year-end payroll as you make holiday plans

The holiday season will soon be here and while most people are thinking of planning holiday parties and gift-giving, it is also important to think about your end-of-year payroll now.

Both the year end and holiday payroll processing can be stressful between planning for business closures and compiling end-of-year financials. Starting to think about the topic now and communicate with your BCN Payroll Specialist early to alleviate stress and make this busy time of year go smoothly.

Some things to consider:

Business closure dates: What dates will your business be closed over the holidays? Will you need to receive any payroll deliveries early? How will this impact your employees’ pay?

Pay date changes: Do you have any pay dates that should be changed due to the holidays? Have you reviewed your payroll processing schedule to determine the dates the banks will be closed when you will not be able to issue funds?

Bonus payments: Do you plan to pay any employees a bonus? When do you want that bonus payment to be made? Do those checks need to be printed on paper for you or will they be paid through employee direct deposit?

Fringe benefits: Are there any fringe benefit amounts that need to be reported? By what date do those need to be processed?

Once you have begun planning, it is crucial to involve your BCN Payroll Specialist in this conversation as early as possible. Even before you have amounts and final details, your Payroll Specialist can help answer questions and give advice on your plan. This will also allow them to start planning the processes they must have in place to ensure all your requests can be met in a timely manner.

BCN Services sends communications about all closures and holiday scheduling to help make your season run as smoothly as possible. Please call us at 800-891-9911 so we can assist with your holiday and year-end planning.

Dani Austin, Payroll Supervisor

What to expect from your BCN Services Accounting Department

One of the most important aspects of running a business is making sure that your taxes are filed correctly and that they are paid on time. BCN’s dedicated accounting team works hard to ensure that you no longer need to worry about this aspect and can focus on other areas of your business.

Below is a list of the tax-related matters that BCN will handle on your behalf, whether you are a PEO or HRO client:

  • IRS Form 941 employer quarterly tax filings and semi-weekly deposits.
  • Federal Unemployment administration, including annual Form940 annual unemployment tax filing and quarterly deposits.
  • Forms W-2 and W-3 preparation and distribution.
  • Withholding tax filings and deposits. We handle state, city, county and school district withholding tax filings and payments.
  • State(s) Unemployment Insurance SUI quarterly tax filings and payments.
  • State(s) Unemployment Insurance account, rate update verifications and rate negotiations as needed. We are also available to assist with any client-level unemployment registrations you may need.
  • Any employment-related IRS compliance/correspondence.

If you have any questions regarding how the BCN accounting team can help alleviate the stress of employment taxes, or have other questions about these topics, please give us a call at 1-800-891-9911.

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Amy Miller, Staff Accountant

Still Room For Improvement In Americans’ Saving Habits

Saving For RetirementMany financial advisers recommend carrying 3-6 months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund, but only 39 percent of Americans would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 outlay with their short-term savings, according to a recent Bankrate survey. Another new poll conducted by Bankrate similarly found that only around half (58 percent) of consumers currently have more emergency savings than what they owe in credit card debt. At the same time, 12 percent of respondents reported having no credit card debt but no savings either.

That agrees with an earlier study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which asked U.S. adults to list their biggest barriers to retirement saving and found that one of most frequent responses was “I prioritize(d) paying down debt.” As for generational differences, Millennials in the Bankrate survey as expected are more likely to have greater credit card debt than savings, but these young adults also appear determined to improve their financial standing. In fact, 61 percent of Gen-Y respondents said that boosting their emergency fund is a top financial priority, including 63 percent of younger Millennials (18-27).

Such statistics are encouraging because the earlier a person can learn the importance of setting money aside for the future the better. Further, having an adequate emergency fund helps decrease the likelihood of being forced to dip into one’s retirement savings early. That is especially important since many Americans are at risk of retiring broke, according to a new report from GoBankingRates. Specifically, 42 percent of surveyed U.S. adults said that they currently have less than $10,000 set aside for retirement, including 14 percent of respondents with absolutely no long-term savings.

On the bright side, those figures are marked improvements from prior surveys, and the percentage of Americans with large savings account balances has grown. Moreover, 57 percent of surveyed Millennials said that they have less than $10,000 in retirement savings, down from 71 percent in 2017, and the percentage of Gen-Y respondents with $300,000 or more set aside has increased from 5 percent to 9 percent. For those whose savings are still lacking, the report’s authors suggest reviewing your spending to see what nonessential expenses can be cut and increasing 401(k) contributions with each pay raise.

 

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Copyright @ 2018 Slavic Investments (http://blog.slavic401k.com/still-room-for-improvement-in-americans-saving-habits)Republished with permission.

HR areas likely impacted with results of recent General Election

It has been just over a month since the historic November General Election.  The results, a Republican president-elect and Republican-controlled U.S. Congress, signal that a lot of changes will be coming to Human Resources laws and regulations, affecting both employers and employees.

Here are a few of the areas that may see significant changes soon:

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) – President-Elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal and replace the ACA within his first 100 days in office. While experts do not believe the Act will be totally repealed, it is likely that Republican legislators will negotiate with fellow Democrats and recommend a change to the law and get the required 60 Senate votes to pass it.  Some of the current law provisions targeted for change include:
    • The Employer Mandate (organizations with 50 or more full-time employees or equivalents must provide ACA-compliant health care coverage to employees averaging at least 30 hours per week) and
    • The Cadillac Tax (40-percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health-care coverage that exceeds pre-defined benefit thresholds). Trump also supports increasing the flexibility of Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements.
  • Immigration Reform – The centerpiece of the Trump campaign was immigration reform and control. Experts believe that employers may see many changes as a result of this initiative, including:
    • increased audits of Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9,
    • required use of an E-Verify system (comparing employee information on an I-9 to federal records) and
    • changes to the H-1B Visa program for non-immigrants, in which non-U.S. workers are employed in specialty occupations.
  • Maternity Leave – During his campaign, Trump outlined a plan that would guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave to new mothers after childbirth paid for through savings in the unemployment insurance program. This proposed policy would not offer benefits to fathers or parents of adopted children.

BCN Services will keep you up-to-date as changes unfold.  If you have additional questions, contact your Human Resources Representative at 1-800-891-9911.

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Alicia Freeman, Operations Manager

Employers should be thinking now about these health care requirements

Recently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) survived a judicial challenge when the US. Supreme Court ruled in King v. Burwell that individuals who reside in states that have federal exchange programs are eligible for ACA tax credits.

Although this ruling changed nothing for employers, many slowed down or held off implementing changes, while waiting to see the outcome of the case.

Listed below are a few things employers should be thinking about now relating to the ACA:

Shared Responsibility

The shared responsibility section of the ACA, also known as “play or pay,” does not require employers to provide health care insurance for their employees. Rather, it requires employers to share health care responsibility by offering coverage or paying a penalty.

Under this provision, large employers with between 50 and 99 employees may face penalties beginning in 2016. Employers should review their health plan options now to avoid penalties in the future.

Reporting Requirements

The ACA has prompted changes to the Internal Revenue Code to require reporting that will allow the IRS to collect data and enforce the “play or pay” provision. IRC Section 6055 is used for reporting by providers that offer minimum essential coverage to individuals, including, in some cases, employer-sponsored plans.

If the employer is not considered a large employer, and only sponsors a fully-insured plan, they are not subject to reporting under IRC 6055. Section 6056 applies to large employers who offer health insurance under employer-sponsored plans.

Large employers offering a self-insured health plan must provide an individualized statement to each covered employee enrolled in a healthcare plan during the 2015 tax year. In some cases, insurers are responsible for issuing the statements for fully-insured plans.

Cadillac Tax

The Cadillac Tax, effective in 2018, is a 40 percent, non-deductible excise tax imposed on company-sponsored plans with total values exceeding $10,200 for single coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. The tax will be based on the total cost of coverage that exceeds the threshold, and includes employer and employee contributions toward the cost of coverage.

Employers would calculate the tax for fully-insured plans and the insurer would pay. Under a self-insured plan, the employer would calculate and pay the tax. According to the IRS notice released in February 2015, additional regulatory clarification may be provided in the future.

What’s Next?

As we all know, the ACA is ever-changing and can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially for small employers with limited resources. All employers should be planning how to address these changes and will need to closely monitor ACA regulation changes to ensure that they remain compliant.

BCN Services is here to help. If you would like more information or have questions or concerns on ACA, please contact us.

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Danette Townsend, Benefits Administration Manager

Delta Dental suggests you ‘rethink your drink’ and consider healthy options

Summer’s almost here and it’s time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. This is also the time of year when consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increases, and Delta Dental and BCN want you to “rethink your drink” this summer.

Let’s not sugarcoat it

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are beverages with added sugar. These include soda pop, juice/fruit drinks, sweetened teas/coffees, flavored waters, chocolate milk, and sports and energy drinks. Consumption of SSBs can lead to tooth decay and other health issues in both children and adults.

In fact, drinking soda pop nearly doubles the risk of cavities in children.

Further, the sugar in SSBs feeds the bacteria that produce acid in your mouth, which attacks and dissolves tooth enamel. It’s also important to know that, despite having more nutrients and containing only natural (not added) sugar, 100-percent fruit juice typically contains as much sugar and calories as soda pop.

So, when you or your children are thirsty, reach for a cold glass of water instead of a sugar-sweetened beverage!

How Much Added Sugar is Too Much?

Here are the recommended daily limits:

  • Newborns and Infants: None
  • Toddlers and Preschoolers: 4 tsp. (16g)
  • Children Ages 4-8: 3 tsp. (12g)
  • Pre-teens and Teenagers: 5-8 tsp. (20-32g)
  • Adult Women: 6 tsp. (24g)
  • Adult Men: 9 tsp. (36g)

Did You Know?

  • Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon.
  • A typical 20-ounce soda pop or juice/fruit drink contains 15-18 teaspoons of sugar — the same as in three candy bars!
  • Drinking one 12-ounce soda pop each day increases a child’s chances of becoming obese by 60 percent.
  • People who drink one or two cans of soda pop a day have a 26 percent greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Some tips for sipping

So how do you encourage kids (and adults!) to put down the soda pop and make a better choice?

  • Reduce the number and portion size of SSBs — drink them only once in a while, and only 8 or fewer ounces.
  • Freeze 100-percent fruit juice in an ice cube tray, and then add one frozen cube to a glass of water.
  • Add a splash of 100-percent fruit juice to plain water.
  • Add zest to your water with fresh fruit slices such as lemon or lime.
  • Stock the fridge with a jug of cold water and bottled water for those on the go.
  • Choose water or milk (1 percent or nonfat for those older than age 2).
  • Don’t let babies and toddlers carry sippy cups or bottles containing SSBs (and no bottles in bed).
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once a day.

If your business doesn’t offer dental coverage for you and your employees, contact BCN Services to learn more about why a comprehensive dental plan is an important benefit. We have several affordable plan options available. Contact us for more information or call 800-891-9911.

Source: Delta Dental

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