Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Two charts explain your taxes in 2014

The 2013 tax deadline is just around the corner. While you might still be recovering from gathering all the necessary paperwork, answering a plethora of confusing questions and racing to beat the clock, the time to start thinking about 2014 tax planning is actually now.

In order to qualify for the most deductions and reduce your tax bill, you should already start planning for next tax season today.

In order to help you do that, we compiled the two charts below that detail the marginal tax rates for individual taxpayers and married couples filing jointly.

Hopefully this will help you get a head’s start on your 2014 tax planning and give you a bit more insight as to what and where you’re paying taxes this year.

¹Phaseouts are tax effected, e.g., 3% itemized
²Phaseout is $254,200 for 2014
³Exemption completely phased out
Excludes taxpayers filing as Head of Household or Surviving Spouse

¹Phaseouts are tax effected, e.g., 3% itemized deduction phaseout * 33% marginal tax rate = 1%
²Phaseout is $305,050 for 2014
³Exemption completely phased out
Threshold applies separately to taxpayer and spouse

Thursday, April 3, 2014

CBIZ’s employment index reports first hiring increase of 2014

After two months of declines, the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI) entered positive territory, increasing by 1.01 percent during March. Historically for the SBEI, the month of March has reported hiring increases.

With staffing declines in January and February, we looked to the uncertainty surrounding areas like the Affordable Care Act as something that could be impacting small business hiring. Taking the March reading into account, it seems as if employers are becoming more comfortable with these regulations.

The graphic below highlights trends and results from the SBEI. In addition, more information on the SBEI findings can be found here.

The SBEI illustration is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Women in business: Time to look down the ladder

Women and workplace equality -- we have been talking about this issue for decades and still have not witnessed a truly equal setting. My CBIZ colleague, Priya Kapila, recently wrote about women and parity, covering to the ever-present pay gap.

We are still talking about the same problems when it comes to the corporate world, but not seeing real solutions. Why is real change not happening?

One reason, I believe, is because everyone is very focused on the “top” -- who is running the firm, who has a seat at the boardroom table. This is vital, of course, and I myself place a lot of emphasis on getting more equality for women in senior positions. However, a lot of times we tend to forget the middle managers, who ultimately are the future of the C-suite.

I encourage employers to shift their focus to a new issue -- the thin pipeline of women at their companies. This pipeline needs to become and remain robust if we ever want to see a significant movement of the needle and more balanced numbers. Advancement and advocacy need to be at the helm of firms. Advancement refers to the pipeline, while advocacy relates to building it. Consider these steps to building a better pipeline for women and your business:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Does your wellness program follow ACA guidelines?

As the spring weather draws more and more people outdoors, we can expect to see more gym memberships dusted off and outdoor activity picked up in anticipation of healthy summer living. To this extent, businesses will likely see more action on the parts of their employees, something that is encouraged by many employers through the implementation of wellness programs in the workplace.

As you prepare to kick-off your wellness program this spring, it is important that you take a few things into account. Namely, business owners must ask themselves: “Is our wellness program ACA-compliant?”

To answer this, we must consider the ways that the Affordable Care Act categorizes these programs. Under the ACA regulations, there are two types of platforms:
  1. Participatory: This is centered solely on employee participation, not a specific outcome. Rewards can be offered to encourage employees to participate, such as reimbursing workers for the cost of a monthly gym membership. 
  2. Health-contingent: This platform requires the employee to meet a specific goal in order to obtain a reward. Subcategories include “activity only” (an example of this is walking 30 minutes a day) or “outcome based” (like achieving and maintaining normal range for blood pressure). 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to protect yourself against tax refund fraud

A new, alarming trend that should concern everyone -- especially during tax season -- is identity theft targeted at generating fraudulent tax refunds.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported last September that the number of confirmed tax return filings involving identity theft increased from 1 million returns for the 2011 processing year to 1.8 million returns for the 2012 processing year. TIGTA estimated that about 1.1 million potentially fraudulent tax returns went undetected in 2012, resulting in fraudulent refunds of more than $3.5 billion!

How does this fraud occur? Criminals will illegally obtain names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers through a variety of primitive or sophisticated ways. Once they have that information, they have everything they need to file a tax return in someone else’s name and obtain the refunds through direct deposit or debit cards.

Tax refund fraud normally occurs early in the tax season before most taxpayers file their returns and before businesses file W-2s and 1099s with the IRS. The IRS does not delay the payment of tax refunds until the data reported on the tax return can be matched with what is reported on information returns; usually this doesn’t occur until several months into the filing season. So the crooks don’t even need the information on your W-2!

On a slightly more positive note, the IRS has become better at preventing fraudulent tax refunds from being issued. Its success rate increased from nearly $8 billion to over $12 billion. Clearly, the IRS needs to do more to stop tax refund fraud, but ultimately its success will depend in part on your help. The infographic below outlines seven steps you can take now to proactively prevent thieves from stealing your identity -- and tax refund.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Infographic: 2013 CBIZ Social Media All Stars

The Human Capitalizing blog is a forum for some of our best industry insights and opinions on the issues affecting employers, employees and business management.

In addition to disseminating information on the blog, many CBIZ professionals actively share information and trends on other social platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Some CBIZ professionals have taken to social media (and blogging) like a duck to water to interact with clients, influencers and the media, and they’re setting the bar high for the rest of us. I wanted to take some time to recognize our Social All Stars. Be sure to check out the infographic below and to visit our All Stars’ social presences (links are in the graphic).

If you’re not already, you can follow CBIZ on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or spend some time on our YouTube and SlideShare pages.

Congrats to all of our 2013 Social All Stars!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Slow start for 2014 hiring: CBIZ’s employment index reports second monthly decline

For the second consecutive month, the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI) reported a hiring decrease (-.40 percent) in February. This slight dip in employment matches up with lower-than-expected results from ADP, which reported that 139,000 employees were added in the private sector while economists initially called for 158,000 new jobs to be created in February.

With a slow start to 2014, in terms of hiring growth, the areas that seem to be impacting the small business owner are all on uncertain grounds. Consider the below:

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA): There are aspects of the ACA, such as specific deadlines, that are continuing to alter. Without full clarity on the act’s details, business owners may hold back on investing in employees, since they do not know how health care legislation will impact their businesses in the future. 
  • Global issues: Problems not only in the U.S. but around the world, like what we are seeing in Ukraine, may not directly impact one’s company, but can drag down the general business mood and ultimately affect the sector’s growth. 
  • Policy changes: The government’s push for a minimum wage hike, and whether or not this will happen across the nation, creates yet another reason for employers to be hesitant about adding to their employee headcount, or decide that staff cuts are necessary.

As these are important factors -- impacting not only the small business space but the nation as a whole -- we can expect to see some hesitation in hiring until we have more clarity.

The graphic below highlights trends and results from the SBEI. In addition, more information on the SBEI findings can be found here.

The SBEI illustration is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.