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March 2, 2011
Marriage - Where Does It Stand?
Even without a full blown philosophical discussion of the meaning of marriage, the issues surrounding this concept are fraught with uncertainty. On February 23, 2011, in a letter to John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and by an Official Statement, Attorney General Eric Holder, on behalf of the Department of Justice (DOJ), indicated that the DOJ will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA is a federal law, enacted in 1996 (codified at 1 U.S.C. §7 and 28 U.S.C. §1738C), that defines marriage as, “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife”.
February 9, 2011
COBRA Process Important
Several recent court decisions remind us of how important it is to have a COBRA procedure that is well documented and followed meticulously.
Benefit Plans Impacted by Evolving World of Recognized Relationships
The landscape of recognized relationships continues to evolve. Illinois becomes the newest in the line of states sanctioning “alternative relationships” to traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
January 31, 2011
2010 Tax Relief/Job Creation Act
January 10, 2011
HRB 30 - Limited Relief for Debit Card Purchases of OTC Medications
January 5, 2011
Extension of Health Coverage Tax Credit Available for Certain Individuals
The Trade Act of 2002 established a premium assistance program to individuals whose jobs are lost due to foreign trade-related agreements, with the purchase of COBRA or other health coverage. The assistance is in the form of a refundable tax credit, equaling 65% of the health premium. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) increased the tax credit from 65 to 80%, and provided an extension of the credit through December 31, 2010. Two days before the credit would have expired, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Omnibus Trade Act of 2010 (H.R. 6517) extending the HCTC provision through February 13, 2011.
Qualified Transportation Limit Clarified
Shortly after last month’s Benefit Beat was published, President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-312; enacted 12/17/10). This law extends the mass transit benefit that was enhanced by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, through 2011. What this means is that the mass transit benefit amount mirrors the qualified parking amount through December 31, 2011. This was followed by an IRS pronouncement (Revenue Procedure 2011-12) which clarifies that the exclusion amount for transportation in a commuter highway vehicle, any transit pass, and parking for 2011 is $230.
2010 Form M-1 Filing
The DOL has released the 2010 edition of the Form M-1 Filing Packet. If you sponsored a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) in 2010, make certain that you file the Form M-1 annual report by March 1, 2011 (an automatic 60-day extension to May 3, 2011 can be requested).
December 23, 2010
HRB 29 - Agencies Issue Additional PPACA Clarifications
HRB 28 - Implementation of Salary-based Discrimination Rules Delayed