making_egg_nogIt’s the holiday season. That means you have to start worrying about lists! Some of the lists that you are worried about this time of year include:

  • Naughty and Nice
  • Groceries – especially in the spice aisle (or the wine aisle – depending on the circumstance or number of family members you will encounter)
  • Packing – if you’re traveling (and, hopefully, it’s in January to somewhere fun!)

However, while the season gives us lots of lists that should be pleasant, we can thank the government for a myriad of additional items that business owners need to prioritize between now and Jan. 31.

First and foremost is the documentation of the simple and fundamental exchange between you and your diligent and loving employees (or non-employees, who still love you nonetheless).

Yes, the government – and you know this – requires you to document the money you compensated employees throughout the year. This is done through the W2 form, which is due no later than Jan. 31 to both the employee and government. If you provided income to non-employees, this is done with the 1099-MISC form, which also must be provided by Jan. 31.

Second, throughout 2015-2016 we heard President-elect Donald Trump talk a lot about America’s healthcare system, specifically the Affordable Care Act.  However, any notions of “repeal and replace” won’t happen until after inauguration day. So, it is highly unlikely to have faith that the government will suddenly hit the brakes on the current reporting process beforehand.

What we can count on for applicable large employers is that the government requires a 1094-C file and 1095-C form. These items, in a nutshell, basically say that you, the employer, offered insurance to an employee and shows the status of the employee’s healthcare situation. If an employer didn’t offer insurance, there will be penalties. If an employee chooses to go without insurance, there will be penalties. However, just to be clear, the 1095-C must be printed by Jan. 31 and filed by March 2.

Third, lots of firms are also renewing their myriad of insurances this time of year:  Worker Compensation, Crime, Employment Practices Liability (EPLI), Directors & Officers (D&O), Fiduciary Liability, Workplace Violence (WPV) and Data Breach coverage, just to name a few.  Further, a lot of focus has recently been applied to Cyber Crime which is generally a separate policy to consider. So, take the time to look at your insurance coverage before you encounter an issue.

Fourth, this time of year also brings out the new unemployment rates, and hopefully yours has gone down just like the national unemployment numbers.  Be sure to enter both your State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA) and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) ratings into COATS before running your first payroll of the new year, should your rates have changed.

Speaking of that first payroll, there are a couple of other items that are also likely to be encountered, regardless of what software system you use for tracking your associates. One is that it’s a general good practice to ensure you have your system updated with new tax tables and software upgrades. COATS offers this information to our clients via our website prior to that first payroll of the new year.  Second, as discussed above, in all likelihood Worker Compensation rates will have changed. Make sure those rates have been updated where applicable.

Finally, generally speaking, your CPA will also be doing the books for the year end and filing taxes. Here is a short list of items you can send to your CPA that COATS can produce easily to make this time of year go smoothly: The P&L, Balance Sheet, December Bank Recons, AR aging, AP aging, new asset details, 941’s, Unemployment Reports, and your Form 940.  All these reports will help your CPA and you round out hopefully another great year!

This list is not all-inclusive – for example,  don’t forget to dust-off your business plan and make your annual goals – but we hope it’s helpful. That said, if you are a COATS client, just like good egg nog, we’re sure COATS will help your year-end go smoother!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Speaking of lists, try Alton Brown’s Egg Nog Recipe:

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites

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