Health Insurance

CONTRACTOR OR EMPLOYEE?

Posted on Sep 20, 2017

Knowing the difference is important Is a worker an independent contractor or an employee? This seemingly simple question is often the contentious subject of numerous IRS audits. As an employer, getting this wrong could cost you plenty in the way of Social Security, Medicare and other employment-related taxes. Here is what you need to know. As the worker: If you are a contractor and not considered an employee you must: Pay self-employment taxes (Social Security and Medicare-related taxes) Make estimated federal and state tax payments. Handle your own benefits, insurance and bookkeeping. As the employer: You must ensure your employee versus independent contractor determination is correct. Getting this wrong in the eyes of the IRS can lead to: Payment and penalties related to Social Security and Medicare taxes. Payment of possible overtime, including penalties for a contractor reclassified as an employee. A legal obligation to pay for benefits. Things to consider When the IRS recharacterizes an independent contractor as an employee they look at the business relationship between the employer and the worker. The IRS focuses on the degree of control exercised by the business over the work done and they assess the worker’s independence. Here are some of their guidelines: The more the employer has the right to control the work (when, how and where the work is done), the more likely the worker is an employee. The more the financial relationship is controlled by the employer, the more likely the relationship will be seen as an employee and not an independent contractor. To clarify this, an independent contractor should have a contract, have multiple customers, invoice the company for work done, and handle financial matters in a professional manner. The more businesslike the arrangement, the more likely you have an independent contractor relationship. While there are no hard-set rules, the more reasonable your basis for classification and the more consistently it is applied, the more likely an independent contractor classification will not be challenged. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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MEDICAL ACCESS DENIAL – WHAT EVERY COLLEGE STUDENT’S PARENTS SHOULD KNOW

Posted on Aug 9, 2017

Imagine your college-aged daughter has an accident while away at school and ends up in the emergency room. When you call the hospital, you are denied information about her care because you do not have the proper forms signed. HIPAA not so hip Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you no longer have legal access to your child’s health information after they reach age 18. This is the case even if they are still your dependent and their health insurance coverage is in your name. You would not have access to your child’s billing records nor would you be able to consult with medical professionals regarding your child’s health. To avoid this administrative nightmare, make sure you take these steps. Health insurance coverage. Before your child leaves for school, make sure your health insurance will cover your child at his or her new campus home. You may need to inform your insurance company, especially if your child is going out of state for school. Signed HIPAA authorization. Have your son or daughter sign a HIPAA authorization form allowing you access to their medical information. Medical power of attorney. Create a multipurpose medical power of attorney authorization. The medical power of attorney will not only give you authorization to help make medical decisions, it can also include an advance directive or living will. Each state has different requirements so you will need to ensure the correct forms are used. Durable power of attorney. This added legal step authorizes a parent or other agent to make decisions on the student’s behalf. It can be helpful if your student plans on studying abroad or if you will want access to the student’s accounts for possible billing information. Scan two copies of these documents — one for you and one for your child — and keep them in a secure place along with a copy of your student’s insurance card. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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IS YOUR HSA A RETIREMENT TOOL? THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

Posted on Aug 2, 2017

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are a great way to pay for medical expenses, and since unused funds roll over from year to year, the account can also provide a source of retirement funds in addition to other plans like 401(k)s or IRAs. But be aware that HSAs have significant disadvantages when compared to other retirement investment tools. The Good HSAs work best when they are used to pay for qualified medical expenses. Neither your original contributions to an HSA nor your investment earnings are taxed when used this way. There is no required distribution after you reach age 70½, like there is with 401(k)s and IRAs. The Bad You can only contribute to an HSA if you have a high deductible health insurance plan. This means you will pay more out of pocket each year when you need to use health services. Annual contributions to HSAs are limited to $3,400 a year for individuals and $6,750 a year for families (add $1,000 for people aged 55 or older). HSAs typically have fewer investment options compared with other investment tools including 401(k)s and IRAs. They also often have high management and administrative fees. The Ugly Before you reach age 65, non-medical withdrawals from HSAs come with a whopping 20 percent penalty, plus they are taxed as income. Even after age 65, both contributions and earnings are taxed when they are withdrawn for non-medical expenses. In this way, HSAs compare unfavorably with 401(k)s and IRAs, which end their early withdrawal period earlier, at age 59½. They also have lower early withdrawal penalties of just 10 percent. HSAs are a powerful tool to help manage the ever-rising costs of health care. Knowing the rules and the costs associated with them can help you position an HSA with your other retirement options. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Why you should consider using HRAs to help employees with medical costs

Posted on Feb 14, 2017

A health reimbursement arrangement, or HRA, is a benefit plan you can offer to your employees to reimburse them for medical expenses that are not covered by an insurance plan. HRAs offer tax benefits, including the deductibility of contributions you make to your employees’ accounts. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect, if you employed 50 or fewer workers, your ability to provide HRAs to your employees may have been limited. However, a law passed in December 2016 created a new type of HRA that you can offer if you do not provide group health insurance. The 21st Century Cures Act allows “stand-alone” HRAs if the accounts meet funding and other requirements. These new HRAs allow you to help your employees pay for medical costs, such as the reimbursement of premiums for policies purchased on the healthcare exchange. In addition, the Act extends relief from the $100 per day penalty for prior arrangements that did not meet Affordable Care Act rules. Please contact us for more information about this new employee benefit option. This discussion could be crucial given the uncertainty of future ACA rules. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Get ready for a higher social security wage base

Posted on Dec 1, 2016

If you’re an employer, you’ll need to withhold social security tax from a higher amount of your employees’ wages in 2017. The wage base for withholding social security tax from wages has increased to $127,200, up from $118,500 in 2016. The federal payroll tax rate remains 7.65%, a combination of social security tax withheld at 6.2%, and Medicare tax withheld at 1.45%. There is no wage base for the 1.45% Medicare tax. You’ll withhold that percentage on all wages you pay your employees. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.  ...

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Review health insurance marketplace notices promptly

Posted on Aug 30, 2016

Health insurance marketplaces are sending notices to employers this year when employees receive advance premium tax credits to help pay health insurance premiums. The notice itself does not assess a penalty, but if you get a notice, you’ll want to make sure the information is correct. You have 90 days to appeal if you believe you provide employees with qualified coverage. Contact us for assistance. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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