E-ssentials Bulletin

E-ssentials Bulletin

General Business, Management & HR Issues

Could your office benefit from a brainstorming session?
Innovation is key in today's rapidly changing business climate. Whether you're thinking about new products and services or new internal processes, coming up with ideas to move the business forward can be a challenge. Brainstorming tools can help.

'Cadillac' tax looms large for employers
More than one in four employers will be affected by the so-called "Cadillac" tax, a nondeductible 40 percent excise tax set to take effect on high-cost healthcare benefits in 2018. A survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans puts the percentage much higher at nearly 60 percent.

Building leaders in the Millennial Generation
Just over half of millennial age workers - born between 1980 and 2000 - are already in leadership positions, with about 40 percent having four or more direct reports, recent studies show. Alarmingly, most of them are not receiving much leadership training.

Wealth Advice, Retirement & Estate Planning

File-and-suspend Social Security eliminated
The file-and-suspend Social Security strategy that many Americans had worked into their retirement plans has quietly gone away for future retirees in a little-known section of the budget act passed by both houses and signed into law by President Obama on Nov. 2. The bill slipped through Congress with no public hearings or fanfare.

Tax strategies for high-income individuals
There are several provisions in the U.S. income tax laws that make high-income individuals also high income tax individuals. Among the most common culprits are graduated rates, the alternative minimum tax (AMT), the additional Medicare tax, the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) and phaseouts.

Foreign bank accounts and U.S. taxes
If you have an interest in a foreign bank account, you may be subject to reporting requirements. FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) requires that certain financial accounts based in foreign countries be reported. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires payment of taxes on income from foreign investments.

Washington Tax Update

Contribute tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses

With rising healthcare costs, you may want to check into whether your employer offers a tax-beneficial flexible spending arrangement to cover certain medical expenses.

IRS to test new W-2 verification code

The IRS has come up with a new idea to help combat identity fraud. For the 2016 filing season, the IRS will test the capability to verify the authenticity of Form W-2 data. This test is but one way the IRS is trying to combat tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. The objective is to verify Form W-2 data submitted by taxpayers on e-filed individual tax returns.

Reliance on attorney didn't excuse estate's late filing

Relying on an attorney's or an accountant's advice may not win over the IRS if you fail to pay your taxes in a timely manner. It all depends on "reasonable cause." The family of a decedent was reminded of this painful fact in a recent U.S. Tax Court case.

Tips for well-organized tax records

The IRS has issued a fact sheet that discusses basic record-keeping tips, including what records are needed to prepare a return and how to keep them.

The technical information here is necessarily brief. No final conclusion on these topics should be drawn without further review and consultation.

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