Tag: business health insurance
Top Trends in Business Law that You Need to Know for 2017
Macy’s and Kmart are each closing a Lansing location – but did you know that retail spending is up?
It’s easier than ever to collect customer data, but business owners beware: you need to protect that data or you could be on the hook for a breach.
And, get ready, driverless cars are definitely coming – and sooner than you might think!
In what has quickly grown into one of the most popular presentations in the Lansing Regional Chamber’s Small Business Education Series, Fraser Trebilcock business attorney Mark Kellogg joined a panel of experts for a rapid-fire session on top business trends for the coming year.
“Business owners are busy enough running their businesses,” said Tom Donaldson, Regional Director of the Capital Area for the Small Business Development Center. “It’s hard to keep up with everything going on in the world, too.”
To give business owners a snapshot of what’s happening now and what’s to come in 2017, area experts provided: a look at legal and business changes, financial forecasting, technology trends, a public policy preview, and what’s on the horizon in marketing for small businesses.
Administrative Law & Regulatory Changes
As with any changes in leadership on Capitol Hill, small business owners can anticipate a number of administrative law and regulatory changes ahead in 2017. Attorney Mark Kellogg said that while President Trump has not discussed his plans in detail, the President has said that he will “unburden” small business owners.
What exactly does this mean? From changes to labor and employment laws to key legislation like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Mark said the only certainty we have is that change is coming.
Health Care Reform 2.0
Top of mind for many is health care reform. In January, President Trump signed an executive order titled, “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal”. Then, just last week, Republicans in Congress introduced the “American Health Care Reform Act of 2017” to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. The bill rolls back some of the ACA’s taxes, replaces insurance subsidies with tax credits, and makes big changes to Medicaid.
As the legislation evolves, Mark urged business owners to keep an eye on possible mandate changes, as the new administration modifies the Affordable Care Act. Updates are posted to our Fraser Trebilcock Employee Benefits Blog
Employee Overtime Rules
Changes once anticipated to labor and employment laws under the previous administration, may now be off the table. For instance, the rules that would have made more workers eligible for overtime is likely now to disappear altogether, said Mark. If the new administration decides to move forward with the change, he said the rules will likely be altered to include a lower salary cap than the original $47,476. This is something that our labor and employment attorneys will be watching closely.
Two-for-One Regulation Repeal
Another major change coming out of Washington, is a change to the process of how regulations are enacted. In an Executive order issued by President Trump, for every new regulation put into place, two old regulations must be repealed.
Attorney Mark Kellogg said this could have a big impact on emerging markets, such as drones rules and regulations. This is an area, he said, which will likely need more regulations as the technology evolves. However, in order to create these potential new regulations, the Federal Aviation Administration would need to repeal other rules.
Sick Leave Requirements
In the state of Michigan, changes to employee sick leave are also under consideration. Michigan lawmakers are debating a requirement for employers to give employees paid time off for sick leave. This could be especially critical for small business owners, Mark said. He shared that as a franchise owner himself, he will be watching this legislation closely as it develops in Lansing. With the current-make up of the State Legislature, this type of legislation may be difficult to advance at this time.
Businesses Succession & Sales
Expect to see more businesses for sale in 2017.
“10,000 people a day in the U.S. are turning 65,” said Mark, and as baby boomer business owners retire, we are finding that many do not have succession plans in place. Mark said that he has closed on three business sales transactions in just the last month and a half, a trend he expects to continue. He elaborates further in a recent article.
Data breach incidents continue to make headlines, and unfortunately this is a trend not likely to go away in 2017. Any company that stories sensitive information, like customer credit card data, driver’s license numbers, or social security numbers, is susceptible to theft. Mark explained that it’s important to have a plan in place in case that data is compromised. Michigan has specific breach notification requirements under Michigan’s Identity Theft Protection Act that all businesses, regardless of size, must follow. These steps are outlined for you in a recent blog post.
Despite the security considerations, data collection is more important now than ever, added panelist Amanda Stitt of Change Media Group. Collecting and using data about customers adds to the creation of more personalized marketing, she explained. For example, companies can create ads that target returning customers and then use data to make sure only returning customers will see that ad. If you have ever put something in your online shopping cart and decided not to buy it, then been haunted by advertisements for that product elsewhere online, you have experienced this kind of targeted advertising. She said that messaging has to be more authentic and demonstrate the values of the company, pointing to the 2017 Super Bowl ads as examples. And, If you’re a fan of long-form writing, you’re in luck. Amanda said we will see a resurgence in longer videos, news articles, and even social media posts.
Public Policy Preview
Public Sector Consulting’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Williams gave a deeper dive into upcoming public policy changes. This year, watch for major changes to come out of Washington. In the last several decades, he explained, we have seen the executive branch of government take more power; expect the legislative and judicial branches to respond with a push for a more equal division.
Next year, he believes the biggest changes for Michigan business owners will happen at the state and local levels. The state will elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and many new legislators, while Lansing will elect a new mayor. No matter where on the political spectrum you fall, Jeff said, it’s going to be a wild two years for all of us.
Technology: Protection is Key
Changes in technology have historically driven the evolution of business. Personal computers and the internet have forced most companies to move online, to change marketing and business strategies, and more. Now, according to Matt Scott of Dewpoint, business will begin driving changes in technology. As companies face the need to get more work done faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost, we can expect to see the tech sector working to create the products needed to make that possible.
Companies are also evolving the way they seek to solve problems. Matt believes that in 2017, more companies will look to outside tech experts to tell them how to develop new strategies, and to demonstrate what tech tools are needed to accomplish new goals. In that same vein, more businesses are looking to outsource complicated IT problems to technology specialists, instead of relying on in-house IT employees. All of these changes in technology will require small business owners to become more and more invested in technology.
Optimistic Economic Outlook
Fifth Third Bank Vice President Tom Ruis says there is a lot to be optimistic about with our current economy. Consumer confidence is up, as are retail sales and the stock market. What about big box stores closing locations? That’s all a part of the growth in online sales instead of the traditional storefront, he said, so don’t let it trick you into thinking that retails sales are down.
Tax reform that would reduce income taxes could help consumer spending increase even more, Tom said. Interest rates will probably increase slightly over the next year, and loans will get a little more expensive, he said, but he doesn’t think it will have a dramatic impact on small businesses.
One exciting innovation that’s closer to your driveway than you might think – self-driving cars.
“If you just bought a car, your next car will be almost fully automated in terms of parking and other features,” Tom said. He says virtual reality is making it much easier for automotive companies to test self-driving technology, and that will make road-ready versions available sooner than you might think. “Overall, this is a very positive, exciting time.”
Fraser Trebilcock is proud to co-sponsor the Business Education Series, along with Fifth-Third Bank. Programs are free for members of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. Click HERE to view upcoming events.
Attorney Mark E. Kellogg has devoted his nearly 30 years of practice to the needs of family and closely-held businesses and enterprises, business succession, and estate planning. In addition, Mark is a certified public accountant. Contact Mark at 517.377.0890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Client Alert: PCORI Payment Due July 31st
Reminder: Plan Sponsors of Certain Applicable Self-Funded Health Plans Must Make PCORI Fee Payment By July 31, 2015
Please let this serve as a reminder that the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) fee is due by July 31st and must be reported on Form 720. The fee will be used to partially fund the PCORI which was implemented as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Instructions are found HERE (see Part II).
The Form 720 itself is found HERE (see Part II).
Form 720, as well as the attached Form 720-V to submit payment, must be used to report and pay the requisite PCORI fee to the IRS. While Form 720 is used for other purposes to report excise taxes on a quarterly basis, for purposes of this PCORI fee, it is only used annually and is due by July 31st of each relevant year.
As previously advised, plan sponsors of applicable self-funded health plans are liable for this fee imposed by Code section 4376. For plan years ending on or after October 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014, the fee is $2.00 per covered life. For plan years ending on or after October 1, 2014 and before October 1, 2015, the fee is $2.08 per covered life. The fee increases per year and concludes with plan years ending on or after October 1, 2018 and before October 1, 2019. [For calendar year plans, the fee runs from 2012 through 2018 plan years.]
The fee is due no later than July 31 of the year following the last day of the plan year.
There are specific calculation methods to be used to configure the number of covered lives and special rules may apply depending on the type of plan being reported. For example, HRAs and health FSAs that are not excepted from reporting only must count the covered participant and not the spouses and dependents. The Form 720 instructions do not outline all of these rules.
For more information regarding this fee payment and how to report it appropriately, please contact Elizabeth H. Latchana at 517.377.0826 or email@example.com.
This correspondence is intended to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.
SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Decision May Impact Employee Benefits Plans
On Friday, June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the 5-4 landmark decision in Obergefell v Hodges striking down same-sex marriage bans across the country as unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. Continue reading SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Decision May Impact Employee Benefits Plans
Supreme Court of the United States Upholds Affordable Care Act Subsidies, Siding with the Administration in King v Burwell
In a historic 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court today upheld that the federal tax subsidies available to Americans who purchase health insurance through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Federal Marketplace) are legal under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Continue reading Supreme Court of the United States Upholds Affordable Care Act Subsidies, Siding with the Administration in King v Burwell
Accountable Care Organizations 2.0
Attorney Michael James spoke to the Michigan Association of CPAs yesterday on his presentation “Accountable Care Organizations 2.0”. The presentation addressed the hundreds of pages of recently proposed regulations related to ACOs that represent the most dramatic overhaul of the Medicare Shared Savings Program since its inception. Other insights in the presentation:
- Current Regulatory Environment for Integrated Models
- How the Environment Evolves Under Proposed Regulations
- Various Requirements Needed for ACOs
- Potential Risks Under Current ACO Models Continue reading Accountable Care Organizations 2.0
Client Alert: New Guidance Related to Wellness Programs Released
Employers and plan sponsors that maintain wellness programs need to carefully review those programs to ensure compliance with various employment and benefit laws, including recently released guidance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) and Title I of Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Nondiscrimination compliance issues surrounding employer wellness programs have been a hot topic since the issuance of the final regulations related to the prohibition against discrimination based on health status pursuant to the PPACA in 2013. Continue reading Client Alert: New Guidance Related to Wellness Programs Released
Client Alert: More Changes to the Summary of Benefits & Coverage (SBC)
Plan sponsors have work to do on their summary of benefits and coverage (“SBC”) in the coming months. The government recently published proposed regulations related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (“PPACA”) SBC requirement. The proposed regulations would modify the 2012 final regulations and are intended to streamline and shorten the SBC in order to make it more useful and user-friendly to individuals, issuers, and group health plans.
The proposed regulations also incorporate a number of clarifying FAQs released by the government after the adoption of the 2012 final regulations. In conjunction with the release of the proposed regulations, the government contemporaneously made available proposed revisions to the SBC template, Continue reading Client Alert: More Changes to the Summary of Benefits & Coverage (SBC)
Client Alert: Cadillac Tax on High Cost Employer Health Plans Approaching
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2015-16 commencing the regulatory process to develop guidance on what’s been called the Cadillac Tax, i.e., the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage.
Employers and plan sponsors, especially those with negotiated collective bargaining agreements, need to start actively planning now to mitigate exposure to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (“PPACA”) Cadillac Tax under Code section 4980I, which is scheduled to go into effect for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. Continue reading Client Alert: Cadillac Tax on High Cost Employer Health Plans Approaching
Client Alert and Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting Due, Disclosure Due to CMS for Medicare Part D
Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting on Aggregate Cost of Employer Sponsored Coverage
Unless subject to an exemption, employers must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage provided in 2014 on their employees’ Form W-2 (Code DD in Box 12) issued in January 2015. Please see IRS Notice 2012-9 and our previous e-mail alerts for more information.
For a helpful IRS link that includes a chart setting forth various types of coverage and whether reporting is required, click here. Please note this is a summary only and Notice 2012-9 should also be consulted. Continue reading Client Alert and Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting Due, Disclosure Due to CMS for Medicare Part D