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2018 - 07/24






Employers generally pay federal unemployment tax (FUTA) of 6% on the first $7,000 of covered wages of each employee each year. That’s offset by the state unemployment insurance (UI) tax paid. States that can’t meet their obligations to pay UI benefits may borrow funds from the federal government. If the loans aren’t repaid, employers in the state may be subject to “credit reductions,” resulting in higher FUTA until loans are paid off. According to the U.S. Labor Dept., only the Virgin Islands is currently subject to a credit reduction, with FUTA increased by 2.4%.



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Is now the time to start offering paid parental leave?

Paid parental leave isn’t required under federal law. This means the United States is among only a few developed nations without a mandate for employers to offer compensated time off to mothers and fathers following the birth or adoption of a child. (Some states do have laws on the books.) Prevailing public opinion and the recent moves of some large employers, however, indicate a rising interest in this benefit.

For example, 82% of respondents to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll said mothers should receive paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. (Sixty-nine percent said the same of fathers.) Meanwhile, mega-employer Walmart just launched an expanded parental leave policy this year. It features 10 paid weeks off for birth mothers and six weeks for other new parents, applicable to both hourly and salaried workers.

Potential advantages for employers

Is now the time for your organization to offer paid parental leave? Although it helps employees, of course, parental leave can al…

Haven’t filed your 2017 income tax return yet? Beware of these pitfalls

The federal income tax filing deadline is slightly later than usual this year — April 17 — but it’s now nearly upon us. So, if you haven’t filed your individual return yet, you may be thinking about an extension. Or you may just be concerned about meeting the deadline in the eyes of the IRS. Whatever you do, don’t get tripped up by one of these potential pitfalls.

Filing for an extension

Filing for an extension allows you to delay filing your return until the applicable extension deadline, which for 2017 individual tax returns is October 15, 2018.

While filing for an extension can provide relief from April 17 deadline stress and avoid failure-to-file penalties, there are some possible pitfalls:


If you expect to owe tax, to avoid potential interest and penalties you still must (with a few exceptions) pay any tax due by April 17.


If you expect a refund, remember that you’re simply extending the amount of time your money is in the government’s pockets rather than your own. (If you’re owed a …

Assessing the S corp

The S corporation business structure offers many advantages, including limited liability for owners and no double taxation (at least at the federal level). But not all businesses are eligible - and, with the new 21% flat income tax rate that now applies to C corporations, S corps may not be quite as attractive as they once were.

Tax comparison

The primary reason for electing S status is the combination of the limited liability of a corporation and the ability to pass corporate income, losses, deductions and credits through to shareholders. In other words, S corps generally avoid double taxation of corporate income — once at the corporate level and again when distributed to the shareholder. Instead, S corp tax items pass through to the shareholders’ personal returns and the shareholders pay tax at their individual income tax rates.

But now that the C corp rate is only 21% and the top rate on qualified dividends remains at 20%, while the top individual rate is 37%, double taxation might b…