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William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

TaxFacts Intelligence November 15, 2021

Posted by William Byrnes on November 15, 2021

The IRS finally cleared up the issue of when initial COBRA premium payments are due under the extended deadlines provided in various COVID-19 relief laws. The SSA also announced a historic increase in the cost of living adjustment for Social Security recipients–so what does that mean for your taxes in 2022?  Finally, small business clients who are asking questions about vaccination status may want to think twice where job applicants are concerned.

By the way subscribers, the Texas A&M graduate program for tax, wealth, and risk management is accepting applications for spring. Maximum enrollment for a course section is 30 so that each student receives meaningful feedback throughout the course from the full-time academic faculty and renowned professional case study leaders, and each other. Learn more about it here: https://law.tamu.edu/distance-education

Prof. William H. Byrnes         Robert Bloink, J.D., LL.M.

Notice 2021-58 Clarifies Timeline for Making COBRA Premium Payments Under COVID-19 Relief Laws

In May 2020, the DOL and IRS extended certain COBRA timelines so that plans were required to disregard the period beginning March 1, 2020 and ending the earlier of (1) one year from the date relief became available or (2) 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 national emergency (the “outbreak period”). To date, the end of the outbreak period has not been announced.  Last week, the IRS released Notice 2021-58 to provide clarity about the disregarded period and deadlines for COBRA premium payments. Namely, the Notice provides that the tolling periods are to run concurrently. The Notice also provided transition relief so that the COBRA eligible individual cannot be required to make an initial premium payment before November 1, 2021, as long as the individual made the initial premium payment within one year and 45 days after the date of the COBRA election. Generally, with respect to the initial payment, the individual has one year and 45 days after the date of the election to make the payment if the election was made within the typical 60-day deadline. For elections made after that 60-day timeframe, the individual has one year and 105 days from the date the COBRA notice was provided (to reflect the one-year suspension of the 60-day election period and the 45-day grace payment period). For more information on the COBRA payment periods, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Social Security Administration Announces 2022 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Benefit Recipients

The Social Security Administration has announced the cost of living adjustments (COLA) applicable for 2022, including a 5.9 percent increase in monthly benefits paid to Social Security recipients (the COLA increase for 2021 was 1.3 percent). Social Security “COLA” adjustments are tied to the consumer price index each year. Based on the 5.9 percent increase, the SSA also announced that the annual Social Security earnings cap will be increased from $142,800 to $147,000 for 2021. This means that in 2022, each taxpayer’s first $147,000 in earnings will be subject to Social Security taxes. Social Security and SSI recipients should expect to receive information about their new benefit amount by mail beginning in early December (and can find their COLA notice online through their Social Security accounts at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount). For more information on the Social Security tax, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Asking for Vaccination Status? Remember, Different Laws Apply to Employees Versus Job Applicants

Small business employers can now be confident that they’re legally able to ask employees about vaccination status to protect worker safety.  However, those same clients should remember that different rules apply during the hiring process.  While the specific vaccine issue hasn’t been litigated, under existing law, potential employers are not permitted to ask a potential employee about any medical information during the hiring process under the ADA (employers shouldn’t worry about job applicants who volunteer information about their vaccination status, but they shouldn’t request the information). Even asking about vaccination status could prompt the job applicant to offer other medical information that the employer isn’t permitted to consider during the application process (for example, if it turns out the applicant isn’t vaccinated because of chemotherapy treatments). Once the individual has been offered a conditional employment opportunity, however, the employer is then permitted to ask questions about medical issues, assuming the same information is requested from all individuals receiving the job offer and the information isn’t used to discriminate. For more information on the tax credit for vaccine-related time off work, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Look in your Tax Facts Online app for our continuing analysis of 2021 legislative and regulatory updates, and the impact on 2022 client planning, as well as other weekly intelligence.

Wealth & Risk Management Degree for Industry Professionals – learn about the graduate degree here: https://law.tamu.edu/distance-education

Texas A&M, an annual budget of $6.3 billion (FY2020), is the largest U.S. public university, one of only 60 accredited U.S. universities of the American Association of Universities (R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity) and one of only 17 U.S. universities that hold the triple U.S. federal grant of Land, Sea, and Space! The law school has the #1 bar passage in Texas, and #1 for employment in Texas (and top 10 in U.S.)

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