There were many legislative and regulatory changes affecting small business that occurred in 2013. To help navigate through all of the changes, Paychex, a leading provider of outsourced benefits for small to mid-sized companies, formulated a top 10 list of regulatory issues which small business owners must keep top of mind in 2014. What follows is a summary of the list and how they could affect your small business:
- Affordable Care Act: Although small business owners are not required to offer insurance to their employees, those who do must comply with reforms that occur in 2014. For example, employers offering flexible spending accounts must also begin offering group health insurance in 2014. Requirements for qualifying for the small business tax credit have also changed for companies that offer health care coverage for their employees. Learn more about these and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
- Federal Government Watch: With the next national debt increase quickly approaching (February 7), small business owners should follow the inevitable congressional debates to keep track of implications that might affect them, like possible changes in payroll tax obligations.
- Defense of Marriage Act: As a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling that expanded the definition of marriage to include same-sex spouses, several federal laws were affected including payroll tax, health insurance and the Family Medical Leave Act.
- Immigration and E-Verify: Immigration reform is expected to be the focus of many in Washington in 2014 and beyond. Proposed legislation of interest to small business owners includes mandatory E-verify for all employers and changes to the I-9 form.
- IRS Priorities: In January, the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on whether or not severance pay should be taxable. If the court determines it should not be taxed, the IRS will have to pay retroactive claims to those who were previously taxed.
- Retirement: Companies who offer retirement plans for their employees could be affected by important policy changes in 2014, like the release of fiduciary regulation by the Department of Labor.
- Employment Regulations: Under the leadership of a new Secretary, the Department of Labor is expected to remain aggressive in its enforcement efforts. Businesses should pay attention to these topics likely to be on the agenda in 2014: a workers right to organize, minimum wage and overtime provisions, and an increase in the federal minimum wage.
- Privacy and Data Security: A trend that is expected to continue in 2014 is the need for employers to strengthen security and privacy against cyber fraud of its employees.
- Mobile Technology: Many companies nowadays are allowing their employees to conduct business using their own mobile devices, which will likely increase the need for regulations and guidance surrounding employer-sponsored software, worker productivity, data security and employee compensation – just to name a few.
- Banking: The recent regulatory challenges of the banking industry are forcing financial institutions to impose stricter requirements for many small businesses, including the availability of credit and other services. It is predicted payroll cards will increase in popularity, therefore, businesses providing this option should make sure their financial providers are informed about the latest federal and state regulations.
“The Paychex Top 10 in 2014: Regulatory Changes Every Business Needs to Know About in the New Year”. Smallbiztrends.com. 12/20/2013.