Updates

IRS warns of “Tax Transcript” email scam; dangers to business networks

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service and Security Summit partners warned the public of a surge of fraudulent emails impersonating the IRS and using tax transcripts as bait to entice users to open documents containing malware. The scam is especially problematic for businesses whose employees might open the malware because this malware can spread throughout the network and potentially take months to successfully remove. This well-known malware, known as Emotet, generally poses as specific banks and financial institutions in its effort to trick people into opening infected documents. The Summit partnership of the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry remind taxpayers to watch out for this scam. However, in the past few weeks, the scam masqueraded as the IRS, pretending to...

Minimum wage in Minnesota

Minimum-wage rate will be adjusted for inflation on Jan. 1, 2019 Minnesota’s minimum-wage rates will be adjusted for inflation Jan. 1, 2019, to $9.86 an hour for large employers and $8.04 an hour for other state minimum wages. Under Minnesota law, the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry is required to determine and announce the inflation-adjusted minimum-wage rate each year by Aug. 31. This year, the change in the price index used for this purpose is an increase of 2.16 percent.  Read news release here. Minimum-wage rates Provision Amount as of Jan. 1, 2018 Amount as of Jan. 1, 2019 Large-employer wage $9.65 an hour $9.86 an hour Small-employer wage $7.87 an hour $8.04 an hour 90-day training wage (under 20 years of age) $7.87 an hour $8.04 an hour Youth wage (under ...

Building a Digital Defense Against Payroll Phishing Scams

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center is out with a new warning about fraudsters who are targeting your paycheck via direct deposit. Any worker can be affected by this scam, but the industries getting hit the hardest include education, health care, and commercial airway transportation. Here’s what happens: the bad guy uses your work login info to get into your employer’s HR system to replace your direct deposit information with his own. It starts when an employee receives an email that looks just familiar enough that he doesn’t question it too much. The email includes a link or web address that the user clicks on. Once he clicks, he will be directed to a fraudulent site or portal where the victim will be asked to enter his work credentials to confirm his identity. The bad guys use that...

Minnesota Department of Revenue Updates 2019 Filing Season

Minnesota Department of Revenue Updates 2019 Filing Season for Tax Year 2018 FAQ Since the end of the 2018 Legislative Session, the Minnesota Department of Revenue has been working to update the state tax filing systems for taxpayer use in 2019. This process happens annually, starting after the end of the legislative session. This year, they are updating the tax filing systems to accommodate the differences between the federal and Minnesota tax laws.  There were significant revisions to the federal tax laws, but Minnesota’s tax laws have not significantly changed. As they update the tax system to accommodate the differences between federal and Minnesota tax laws, they are gathering your frequently asked questions about the 2019 filing season. They have updated our their website’s Tax Law C...

We’re MOVING!

We’re packing all of our stuff and taking you with us! Okay, not really.  It’s just our mailing address has changed. For those of you that send your payments for registration in the mail, please update your contact information for us to: APA NORTHSTAR CHAPTER P.O. BOX 16311 ST. LOUIS PARK, MN 55416 board@apanorthstarchapter.com SHARE

Trending Employment Laws in 2018

When a city or state passes a new kind of employment law or practice, you can expect other locations to follow their lead. We’ve seen this with paid sick leave, ban the box, social media privacy laws, and other legislation.This year will have its own trending employment laws and best practices. Here are a few to keep your eye on: Sexual harassment prevention: With the public hearing every day about new harassment allegations, employers are looking for better ways to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Training is necessary and important—and sometimes required by law—but it’s only one preventative step. Accountability is also a must, as is a culture of trust so when harassment happens, victims know their reports will be addressed and the harassment will stop. Bans on salary history ...

Updated Withholding Calculator, Form W-4 Released; Calculator Helps Taxpayers Review Withholding Following New Tax Law

IR-2018-36, Feb. 28, 2018 WASHINGTON –The Internal Revenue Service today released an updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and a new version of Form W-4 to help taxpayers check their 2018 tax withholding following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December. The IRS urges taxpayers to use these tools to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks. “Following the major changes in the tax law, the IRS encourages employees to check their paychecks to help ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their personal situation,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the child tax credit, limiting or ...

BREAKING NEWS! Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Law

On December 22, President Trump signed H.R. 1, also known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, into law. The legislation will affect payroll by changing the taxability of two fringe benefits and affecting income tax withholding in 2018 and beyond. Because this tax legislation was passed so late in 2017, the IRS will not issue withholding guidance for 2018 until January. Fringe benefit changes Qualified moving expenses. Through 2017, the Internal Revenue Code provides an exclusion from employees’ income for qualified moving expense payments and reimbursements made by employers. This fringe benefit will be suspended, except for military-related moving expenses, for tax years 2018 through 2025. Qualified bicycle commuting costs. Through 2017, there is a qualified transportation fringe benefit for bi...

UPDATE: MN Minimum Wage Rate Adjusted for Inflation – Jan. 1, 2018

Minnesota’s minimum-wage rates will be adjusted for inflation beginning Jan. 1, 2018, to $9.65 an hour for large employers and $7.87 an hour for other state minimum wages. State and Federal Minimum Wage Law The state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, so employees who are covered by both laws must be paid the higher state minimum wage. Minimum-wage rates apply to all hours worked, whether part time or full time. Employees must be paid at least the current minimum-wage rate, no matter how they are paid. Tip credit No employer may take a tip credit against minimum wages in Minnesota. An employee must be paid at least that minimum wage per hour plus any tips the employee might earn. Exempt employees A partial list of exempt employees includes:  bona fide executive, administ...

BREAKING: SSA corrects 2018 Social Security Wage Base

SSA lowers the 2018 Social Security wage base from what was previously announced On November 27, 2017, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that due to its receipt in late October 2017 of approximately 500,000 Form W-2 corrections for tax year 2016, it has now lowered the 2018 Social Security taxable wage base to $128,400, down from the $128,700 it originally announced on October 13, 2017. The revised 2018 wage base of $128,400 is lower than the $130,500 projected in the July 2017 Annual Report of The Board of Trustees. The Medicare tax rate for 2018 remains at 1.45% of all covered earnings for employers and employees. For wages in excess of $200,000, the Additional Medicare Tax of 0.9% applies to earned income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing joint)...

BREAKING NEWS: Court Invalidates DOL Overtime Rule

On August 31, a Texas federal district court ruled that the U.S. Department of Labor’s rule, which would have increased the minimum salary threshold for exempt “white collar” employees from $455 to $913 per week, is invalid [Nevada v. U.S. Department of Labor, No. 4:16-CV-731 (E.D. Texas, 8-31-17)]. In doing so, the court confirmed a preliminary order issued last November that had temporarily blocked the rule from taking effect. The court said that the higher salary level impermissibly undercut the effectiveness of the duties test. The court also found that the mechanism that would have adjusted the salary level for inflation was invalid. Earlier in the legal proceedings, the DOL signaled that it would revise the regulation and has published a request for information in the Federal R...

“Don’t Take the Bait.”

Think a data breach can’t happen to you? Think again… “Don’t Take the Bait.” Tax professionals increasingly are targets of national and international cybercriminal syndicates that are well funded, digitally adept and tax savvy. Each week the IRS receives three to five reports of data breaches at tax professionals’ offices. That rate is not sustainable. To assist tax practitioners to better protect themselves, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, partnering as the Security Summit, have launched a 10-week “Don’t take the Bait” campaign detailing specific scam tactics and how to counter them.  These news items are being issued each Tuesday. Here are the first three news releases plus an associated fact sheet. IRS Newswire Don’t Take the Bait, Step 1: Avoid Spear Phishing Emails (...

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