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June 27, 2016

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Hutchinson Business Solutions is very excited to announce the launch of our newly designed website with a brand new look. The site’s homepage features a clean design with the emphasis on our services to customers. The new website creates a faster, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly experience.
In today’s market, the competitive advantage belongs to businesses that find smart solutions to the challenges they face. It’s important for us to make information regarding solutions, service and trends accessible for our current and prospective clients. Our new site features an entire section dedicated to case studies and another on testimonials where you see first hand the difference that can be made in your company. If you’d like to know what Hutchinson Business Solutions can do for you, reach out today.
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Posted by: Mitchell Hirsch on Feb 17, 2011

As reported by Unemployedworkers.org

UPDATE: FEB. 17 – UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SOLVENCY BILL INTRODUCED IN SENATE
Senator Richard Durbin (IL), with Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Sherrod Brown (OH), today introduced the Unemployment Insurance Solvency Act of 2011, which offers immediate tax relief to cash-strapped states and employers, preserves UI benefit levels, and creates strong incentives for states to restore their UI programs to solvency while also rewarding states that have managed their UI trust funds effectively.

In a statement, NELP Executive Director Christine Owens said, “Jobless workers, and we hope employers too, should be grateful for the leadership of Senator Richard Durbin and his colleagues Sherrod Brown and Jack Reed on the issue of unemployment insurance solvency.  Following the President’s FY 2012 budget, the introduction of the Unemployment Insurance Solvency Act sets the stage for a serious conversation on how to make sure that the safety net tens of millions of Americans have counted on during the tough times of the last few years will be financially secure into the future.”

The new bill is similar to the plan outlined by President Obama in his remarks last week, but adds further protections for benefits and additional opportunities and incentives for states to return to solvency in the long run. 

Original Post: Feb. 11

Unemployment insurance is just that — insurance — and it’s financed by premiums paid on workers’ paychecks and deposited into a trust fund.  However, the unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds in many states are not only insolvent, but now face heavy debt burdens due to their increased need for federal borrowing during this prolonged period of high unemployment.  Restoring them to financial health is essential to ensure that unemployment insurance benefits are there for workers when they’re needed, both today and in the future.  The Administration has outlined a significant framework to address the problem, which would provide needed debt and tax relief to states and businesses.

A new plan from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) would build on that framework, further strengthening the long-term solvency of state UI systems while avoiding benefit cuts and employer tax increases.  Workers need to pay attention to this issue.  The last time UI trust funds got hit this hard, in the 1980s, 44 states cut back benefits for workers.

Many states UI trust funds have been hit in recent years by a double-engine freight train.  First, for years many states have inadequately financed their UI funds, both by keeping their taxable wage base for UI too low relative to inflation-adjusted dollar values, and by taking a dangerous “pay-as-you-go” approach, which failed to build adequate reserves during periods of economic growth.  The graph below shows the substantial erosion in the inflation-adjusted value of the wage base that is subject to the UI taxes that fund state systems.  What does this mean?  It means that the employer of a dishwasher pays the same unemployment premium as the employer of a banker.  It does not take a degree in actuarial science to know that this is not going to work.

Value of UI Taxable Wage Base, Adjusted

And oh yeah, second — well, then came the Great Recession with millions of workers’ jobs being lost and the vastly increased need for unemployment benefits to help sustain unemployed job-seekers and their families.

Now, 30 states have exhausted their UI trust funds and are borrowing from the federal government.

The lead editorial in The New York Times yesterday, titled ‘Relief for States and Businesses’, explained the need for the Obama administration’s approach.  Here are some excerpts:

So many people now receive jobless benefits that 30 states have run out of their unemployment trust funds and are borrowing $42 billion from the federal government. Three of the hardest-hit states — Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina — have borrowed so much that they triggered automatic unemployment tax increases on employers, and the same thing is likely to happen to 20 more states this year.

….

On Tuesday, the Obama administration unveiled a smart proposal to delay those tax increases and provide some relief to both employers and state governments. Congressional Republicans reflexively objected to the idea, which could produce higher taxes in three years, but this plan provides relief that might stimulate hiring now when it is most needed.

….

Under the plan, which is subject to Congressional approval, there would be a two-year moratorium on the increased taxes that employers would otherwise have to pay to support the unemployment insurance system, which could save businesses as much as $7 billion. During those same two years, states would be forgiven from paying the $1.3 billion in interest they owe Washington on the money they have borrowed.

….

In 2014, when the economy will presumably have recovered somewhat, employers will have to make up for the moratorium by paying higher unemployment taxes to the states. Specifically, they will have to pay taxes on the first $15,000 of an employee’s income, instead of the current $7,000. But, even then, unemployment taxes will be at the same level, adjusted for inflation, as they were in 1983, when President Ronald Reagan raised them.

The administration is proposing to cut the federal unemployment tax rate in 2014 so that employers would pay the same amount to Washington as they do now. States, if they choose to do so, could collect more from each employer to repay the federal government and restock their own unemployment trust funds.

….

The full details of the plan’s costs and benefits will be available when President Obama submits his 2012 budget to Congress next week. When he does, both parties should take a close look at the numbers and seize the opportunity to keep this fundamental safety net solvent.

“It is a major step forward for the President’s FY 2012 budget to address the UI trust fund crisis,” said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project and a co-author of the new joint NELP-CBPP policy proposal.  “Our proposal rests on the same core principles — giving employers and states relief now while taking concrete steps to restore the long term solvency of the UI trust fund as the economy recovers.  The plan endorses two key aspects of what the Administration’s proposal reportedly includes — raising the taxable wage base up from the inadequate, outdated level of $7,000 and endorsing a two-year moratorium on federal UI tax increases.”

The NELP-CBPP plan, detailed in a new report, would enable states to restore the solvency of their UI trust funds, avoid significant tax increases on employers during a weak economy, and prevent damaging cuts in UI eligibility and benefits for jobless workers, without increasing the deficit.  The plan also suggests additional debt relief for states and positive incentives for employers, rewards states that have maintained sound financing packages, and builds on existing federal protections of state benefit levels.

In a statement, the groups provide a summary of the plan:

• The federal government would gradually raise the amount of a worker’s wages subject to the federal UI tax (i.e., the FUTA taxable wage base). This would automatically raise the floor for the taxable wage bases in the states which by law cannot be lower than the federal wage base, helping those states rebuild their trust funds. (The federal UI tax rate would fall, however, so that overall federal UI taxes did not go up.)

• The federal government would provide a moratorium, until 2013, on state interest payments on their UI loans.

• The federal government would also postpone, for two years, the FUTA tax increases required to recoup the loan principal in borrowing states.

• The federal government would offer immediate rewards and future incentives for states that currently have and continue to maintain adequate trust fund levels.

• The federal government would excuse a state from repaying part of its loan if the state (a) enters a flexible contractual agreement with the U.S. Labor Department to rebuild its trust fund to an appropriate level over a reasonable number of years, and (b) agrees to maintain UI eligibility, benefit levels, and an appropriate tax rate over the loan-reduction period.

This plan would produce the following benefits:

• Employers would not pay higher federal UI taxes until the beginning of 2014, saving them $5 billion to $7 billion while the economy remains weak and $10 billion to $18 billion over the next five years. Also, employers would pay no additional assessments to cover interest payments in 2011 or 2012, saving them $3.6 billion.

• In addition, partial loan forgiveness that comes from a state’s commitment to build adequate trust funds would save employers about $37 billion by the end of the decade. Counting the interest payments on this principal as well, employers could save as much as $50 billion.

• All or nearly all states would assume a path to permanent solvency.

• Employers in responsible states would receive concrete rewards and a more level playing field between the states.

• Adequate trust funds would stabilize UI tax rates over time, avoiding the roller-coaster tax rates common in many states — very low during healthy economic times, rising rapidly during recessions — that harm businesses and the economy.

• States would maintain current UI benefit and eligibility levels.

• The federal deficit would not rise as a result of these policies.

“States face a tremendously urgent crisis when it comes to their unemployment insurance trust funds,” said Michael Leachman, assistant director of the Center’s State Fiscal Project and co-author of the report. “If federal policymakers address this crisis using our plan, employers could save as much as $50 billion in taxes and states would maintain the critical benefits they provide to people who lose their jobs.”

The Little Things

November 30, 2010

I was driving down the Garden State Parkway a couple of weeks ago and I was enjoying the full color spectrum of the fall trees. Some of the trees were beginning to lose leaves but looking on a mile or so ahead, it presented a beautiful view. 

I really love this time of year and how God uses the landscape to paint a perfect picture. 

Turning onto the Atlantic City Expressway, I started to notice that the picture was fading. No longer could I see the brilliant colors ahead, for the trees were almost bare once I got to mile marker 13.5. 

I was a little surprised, for you would think that the fall splendor is universal in the area? 

I didn’t realize that there exist little pockets; that have their own hours to shine. 

We all must exist on our own timeline! 

What made mile marker 13.5 the breakpoint? 

That started me thinking. All the little things we just take for granted on a daily basis. 

What made me stop and take notice of the difference? 

Why? 

Because that is part of my character and that is what we do here at HBS. 

We look at the little things, the cost that most companies just take for granted. 

Most of our items are just budgeted for. 

What did we pay last year and how much do you think it may go up? 

     Electric…. Natural Gas…. Voice… Data…. Unemployment Taxes…. Sales Tax 

Need I say more? 

We call these costs the unsung heroes! 

These are daily cost of doing business that most companies tend to ignore. 

We find many people are resistant to change but: 

The only thing constant in life is change!  

Each client is unique. 

Each opportunity opens the door to defining what the client is currently doing; 

Exploring various options and 

Providing solutions, designed to increase efficiency and savings. 

We understand that the current economic climate has been difficult for many businesses. 

HBS provides: 

Smart Solutions for Smart Business

Many times, it is the little things that provide the best opportunities. 

Would you like to know more? Email george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230.

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

by Jeff Rogyom

In today’s competitive business climate, businesses are paying more taxes than necessary and they do so at their own peril.  But when extra cash is needed, the company can hire tax professionals to recover those overpayments through refunds.

By conducting reverse audits on behalf of companies, we have rarely found a company whose tax department didn’t have some oversights, particularly regarding indirect taxes.  Likely targets for recoverable overpayments include the company’s indirect taxes, such as: sales & use taxes, value-added taxes, and excise taxes.  Certain state-specific taxes are also likely cash sources, such as the Maryland admissions and amusement tax which is levied upon the business not the customer.

Understandably, most companies’ tax staff tend to focus on federal and state income taxes.  Some companies even delegate indirect tax responsibilities outside their tax departments, such as to their accounts payable staff.  Focusing on recovering use tax overpayments and fine-tuning the accounts payable systems can create both immediate cash and long-term competitive advantages.

The process generally begins by the company sending accounts payable information to the tax consultant.  The tax consultant will evaluate the information based upon their knowledge of your company and industry.  The tax consultant will then request sample invoices based upon their analysis.  The consultant then indentifies areas with needed improvements and where refunds can be requested.  The refund recommendations may be limited to certain tax jurisdictions where refund benefits outweigh tax liability risks.

While larger companies provide more opportunities for tax recovery, some industries are particularly affected by indirect tax errors given their many available exemptions.  Companies in those industries include: manufacturers, contractors, service providers, non-profits, pharmaceuticals, and other high-tech companies.  There are many areas your company likely has not considered as tax refund sources.

With modern electronic accounting systems, the tax recovery process can be conducted with minimal burden upon company staff.  In addition, many tax consultants may agree to work on a contingency or a mixed-contingency basis.  Given the minimal risk, companies should not hesitate seeking tax recovery services.

Our Perspective:

This is a great article that outlines the opportunity for recovering overpayments of State Sales Tax. We have worked with many companies with great success in this area. Tax laws are very complicated. Let our team of professionsals help. For more information email george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230

Excerpts as reported by DEPARTMENT OF LABOR EMPLOYER

System controls and processes need to be improved to ensure t h a t e m p l o y e r experience rates are correct. Employer Experience Rates The unemployment, workforce development, healthcare subsidy and disability insurance tax rates are assigned on a fiscal year basis. The Department of Labor (DOL) uses the “reserve ratio method” in determining tax rates for employers. This method requires a record be maintained for each employer identifying the contributions paid, unemployment and disability benefits charged to their account, and taxable wages. The cumulative contributions less cumulative benefits results in the employer’s reserve balance. This reserve balance is then divided by either the three or five year average annual taxable wages, whichever is higher, to arrive at the employer’s reserve ratio. The reserve ratio is used to determine the employer’s contribution rates based on current rate tables.

A review of 47 of the state’s 250,000 employers’ experience rate calculations for fiscal year 2000 disclosed 12 (26 percent) employers with incorrect calculations, resulting in the wrong assigned rate for four (8 percent) employers. In addition, where problems were noted, we expanded our testing to include a review of rate calculations for fiscal year 2001. Details of our review are as follows:

Certain employer penalty rates need to be reassessed. Employers are assigned a new employer (basic) rate until they have established three consecutive full or partial years of contribution payment experience. Effective July 1 of the fourth year of subjectivity, rates are assigned based on the employer’s unemployment experience history. Specially assigned or penalty rates apply to employers who previously had sufficient experience to receive an experience rate but subsequently paid no contributions on wages for employment with respect to at least one of the last three calendar years used in the rate calculation.  Our testing identified two employers with basic rates in fiscal year 2000 who were assigned the penalty rate in fiscal year 2001 when the EAS failed to recognize contributions paid for the first quarter of operations. Since both employers had filed and paid contributions on time, they should have received a calculated rate. One employer’s unemployment rate increased from 2.8 percent (basic rate) to 5.4 percent (penalty rate). The employer’s unemployment calculated rate should have been 1.4 percent. Additionally, the employer’s assigned disability rate of 0.5 percent should have been reduced to 0.2 percent.

When notified, department management investigated this matter further and identified 9600 employers who had basic rates in fiscal year 2000 and penalty rates in fiscal year 2001. They examined 114 of these employers and found that 50 percent were improperly assigned penalty rates and would have to be manually adjusted. Based on this error rate, a potential 4800 employers could be affected.

System edits do not adequately preclude contributions from being credited to the wrong employer. One employer had contributions for three quarters posted to another employer’s account even though the returns (NJ-927) properly reflected the employer’s identification number, name control and quarter referenced in the encoded data line. This error occurred when DOR registered the employer under their corporation number. This number happened to be consistent with numbers previously used by the DOL for registration numbers. Although DOR subsequently assigned a proper employer identification number, this information was not updated timely in the EAS. When the returns were transmitted to DOL they were matched and were posted to another employer’s account under the old registration number. As a result, both employers were assigned incorrect experience rates.

 These errors could have been detected if: 

 • The DOL had an edit check for reasonableness. The returns incorrectly posted included taxable wages between $3 million and $16 million. The employer whose account they were posted to generally had $20,000 or less in taxable wages.

• The DOL’s edit check for name control had not been turned off. • The EAS was updated in a timely manner.

• The DOL had periodically sent out delinquency notices.

Department management estimates that between 3,000 and 4,000 employers are affected by this type of error and will have to be manually adjusted. The department has changed the EAS programming to eliminate the option to post transactions using either the employer identification number or the old registration number.

The computer system does not automatically adjust employer accounts following a retroactive rate adjustment.

 Manual adjustments to employer accounts are required following a retroactive rate adjustment. These adjustments are often due to employers making voluntary contributions to increase their reserve ratio and thus reduce their unemployment contribution rate. In one instance, an employer’s taxable wages were overstated by $653,000 and cumulative contributions were overstated by $17,000 resulting in the employer receiving a lower rate. This occurred when the employer’s contributions were not properly adjusted and reallocated after making a voluntary contribution.

 The Employer Accounts System is n o t p r o p e r l y i d e n t i f y i n g contributions to be included in the rate calculations. The EAS currently excludes late transactions from subsequent rate calculations.

We noted one employer whose fourth quarter of 1998 payment was received late and was properly excluded in the fiscal year 2000 rate calculation. However, this payment should have been included in the fiscal year 2001 rate calculation, but was excluded.

The fiscal year 2001 calculation should only include account activity attributable to quarters ending December 31, 1999 and prior. Employer contributions overpaid are not included in rate calculations since there are no associated taxable wages to include in the calculation. In one case, an overpayment ($99,000) received prior to December 31, 1999 was reallocated and applied to the second quarter of 2000 and mistakenly included in the employer’s rate determination.

Pr e d e c e s s o r ’ s accounts are not always included in the successor’s experience rate. When an entire organization, trade or business or substantially all the assets of an employer subject to the law are acquired by another entity, the unemployment tax rate of the acquired entity is transferred to the new employer. Thus the predecessor’s contributions paid, benefits paid and taxable wages paid are included in the successor’s experience rate calculation. The same is basically true for disability unless the employer had a private plan. In one case, the successor’s experience rate calculation for fiscal year 2001 did not include three quarters of contributions and associated taxable wages paid by the predecessor. As a result, the successor was improperly assigned a lower experience rate. Department management was unable to explain how this condition occurred. 

Recommendation We recommend the department: • continue their efforts to identify and correct employers who have been improperly assigned penalty rates, • implement additional edit checks to ensure that contributions are posted to the proper employer’s account, • develop a program to automatically update employer accounts following retroactive adjustments, • reprogram the EAS to properly identify and include contributions in the proper quarter when making experience rate determinations, and • modify procedures for successor employer accounts to determine why the EAS is not properly capturing and including all predecessor employer(s) account activity.

Our Perspective:

We have found many instancesthe state has incorrectly calculated the company’s unemployment rate. Many look at unemployment as the cost of doing business. The state will never contact you if they find you are overpaying taxes. The onus is on the company to provide proof of overpayment.

Hutchinson Business Solutions has great success validating the assigned rates are incorrect and securing refunds for our clients.

Is your rate correct?

We offer a free review of your existing rate.

Should we find that an error is made, we will contact the state and take the necessary steps to secure a refund.

Should you like to know more email george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230