New Year, New Changes

As always, the turning of that last page on the calendar brings legislative changes to the worlds of benefits and compliance. Here’s a look at highlights of the changes thus far for 2018:

Minimum Wage Changes in Many States

While the federal minimum wage rate remains at $7.25 per hour, some 20 states have adopted higher rates to begin in 2018, Maryland among them. On July 1, 2018, Maryland’s minimum wage will rise to $10.10 per hour ($3.63/hour for tipped employees).

The rates in other states vary widely, and both New York City and California are enacting wage structures that differentiate between large and small employers. In NYC that means 11 or more employees; in California, 26 or more. If you have operations in states other than Maryland, check with your benefits advisor for details on which states will be impacted by changes in 2018.

Note also that the dates of the changes are not consistent nationwide: New York’s changes went into effect on December 31, 2017, while 15 other states saw adjustments as of January 1. Only Maryland, Oregon and the District of Columbia will wait until midyear (July 1) to enact their minimum wage increases.

2017 ACA Reporting Deadline Delayed

On December 22, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2018-06 to extend the due date for filing forms under Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for 2017 by 30 days, from January 31, 2018 to March 2, 2018.

Those notices further extend good-faith transition relief from penalties related to 2017 information under those same Sections 6055 and 6056.

One important consideration: Notice 2018-06 does not extend the due date for filing forms with the IRS for 2017. The due dates for IRS filings under Sections 6055 and 6056 remain February 28, 2018 (for paper filing) and April 2, 2018 (for electronic filing).

The IRS continues to encourage businesses to file this information as early as possible. No request or other documentation is required to take advantage of the extended deadline.

Questions about benefits or compliance? Contact the experts at Consolidated Insurance.