Business Insights, Research & Perspectives

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September 19, 2012

Court of Appeals Agrees that Severance Payments Are Not Subject to FICA (article)

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court decision that severance payments made to employees pursuant to an involuntary separation from employment due to a reduction in workforce are not subject to FICA taxes. Employers that have been forced to downsize their workforce in the current economy should consider filing protective refund claims to recover these taxes.

September 12, 2012

Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax (MCTMT) Ruled Unconstitutional, Remains in Effect (article)

A New York court has ruled that the metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax (MCTMT) was unconstitutionally passed by the New York Legislature. The tax, which is also referred to as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) payroll tax, applies to certain employers and self-employed individuals engaging in business within the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD). (Mangano v. Silver, Supreme Court, 10th Judicial District (New York), No. 14444/10, August 22, 2012)

September 12, 2012

“Go-Shop” Provision Does Not Change Bright-Line Date for Capitalization of Merger Costs (article)

IRS Chief Counsel has concluded that a "go-shop" provision allowing a merger candidate to continue to look for another acquirer was just another term of the merger and did not change the "bright-line date" (CCA 201234026). Thus, certain merger costs paid or incurred after a March 31, 2012 bright-line date must be treated as facilitating the merger and must be capitalized.

September 6, 2012

Massachusetts: Legislative Changes to Fair Share Provisions

In 2006, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted a universal health care coverage law.  This law consists of an individual mandate which requires all Massachusetts residents aged 18 and over to obtain and maintain health coverage, or lose their personal tax exemption.

September 6, 2012

Reminder: Distribute Medicare Part D Notices by October 15th

The annual Medicare Part D open enrollment period for the 2013 year begins October 15, 2012 and runs through December 7th.  The Medicare Part D Notice of Creditable or Non-creditable Coverage must be provided to Medicare-eligible individuals at least annually, prior to the Medicare Part D open enrollment period.  This means that all Medicare Part D notices of creditable or non-creditable coverage must be provided prior to October 15, 2012. Below are links to the CMS model notices:

September 6, 2012

FMLA Litigation Offers Important Reminders

Recent litigation relating to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers important reminders about the significance of scrupulous compliance.  One case addresses the issue of what constitutes return to the same or equivalent position; the other relates to providing information about how to retain health coverage. 

September 6, 2012

San Francisco HCSO Expenditure Rates for 2013

Covered employers who are subject to San Francisco’s Ordinance are required to make health care expenditures (HCE) to, or on behalf of, their covered employees.  These expenditure amounts are adjusted annually, in accordance with the San Francisco Ordinance.  Nonprofit entities with fewer than 50 employees, and small employers (those with fewer than 20 employees) are exempt from these provisions. 

September 6, 2012

DOL Issues Revised Medicaid/CHIPRA Notice

A few years ago, two additional HIPAA special enrollment events were added to the law by the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA).  These special enrollment events relate specifically to Medicaid.  One special enrollment event arises if an individual loses eligibility for Medicaid.  The other arises when an individual becomes eligible for premium assistance through Medicaid.  “Premium assistance” means that a State’s Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will pay all or a portion of the employer-provided coverage.  Employers sponsoring health plans are obligated to annually provide a premium assistance notice to their workforce.  This notification can be accomplished by using a model notice provided by the Department of Labor (DOL).  

September 5, 2012

Nonrefundable Fee Was Not Success-Based; IRS Bars Safe Harbor Deduction Election (article)

IRS Chief Counsel has concluded that $2 million in nonrefundable milestone fees paid for services to facilitate a merger were not success-based fees and, therefore, did not qualify for the safe harbor deduction election under Rev. Proc. 2011-29 (CCA 201234027). Even if creditable to a success-based fee, such payments would not themselves be success-based fees. 

September 4, 2012

HRB 55 - Guidance Issued Relating to 90-day Waiting Period and Defining Full-time Employee

September 4, 2012 -- On the eve of the Labor Day holiday, the Agencies issued some health care reform guidance specifically relating to the 90-day waiting period and the definition of full-time employee for purposes of the shared responsibility provision. This guidance, while not in the form of final regulation, can be relied upon through 2014.  The guidance makes it clear that plans are not obligated but may rely on this guidance, and any future guidance will be prospective in nature. 
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