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

TaxFacts Intelligence: December 12, 2022

Posted by William Byrnes on December 12, 2022

The Texas A&M Master and LL.M. programs (e.g. international tax, transfer pricing, wealth management, or risk management) are accepting applications from financial professionals and from lawyers. Over 850 enrolled, the enrollment for a course’s section is kept to between 20 and a maximum of 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 via teamwork and peer review. https://law.tamu.edu/distance-education

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

This week, we have some planning pointers for employers who are planning to continue allowing employees to work remotely on a more permanent basis, as well as an update on the new independent contractor standard that the DOL is working on.  On another note, we have coverage about what those post-SECURE Act lifetime illustrations on your next 401(k) statement really mean. Read on for more.

Are Your Small Business Clients Required to Reimburse Remote Employees for Work-Related Costs?  Recent lawsuits have brought one remote-era working environment issue to the forefront: whether employers must reimburse remote workers for internet, cell phones and even utilities.  Some state laws (including California law) require employers to reimburse all employees for any work-related expenses.  Now that many employees are working remotely and plan to continue working remotely, some have sued their employers to be reimbursed for a portion of their utility costs.  Employers who plan to continue to allow remote work should check their state laws to ensure they are in compliance.  In all cases, the employer should adopt a clear policy on which expenses will and will not be reimbursed.  The employer should also consider a clear statement on when only a portion of certain expenses will be reimbursed (for example, expenses that have both business and personal elements, such as internet and a cell phone).  For more information on the tax impact of reimbursing employees’ expenses, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More 

DOL Announces Intent to Reform the Current Independent Contractor Test.  Under current law, a Trump-era test for determining independent contractor status applies.  That rule was designed to make it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors, rather than traditional employees, by focusing on whether workers are economically dependent upon an employer—or in business for themselves.  The current test prioritizes (1) the worker’s degree of control over the work performed, and (2) the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss.  Biden’s DOL initially found that prioritizing these factors undermined the longstanding balancing approach of the economic realities test and court decisions requiring a review of the totality of the circumstances related to the employment relationship.  Several business groups filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the Biden administration’s acts.  The court vacated the Biden administration’s rule and reinstated the Trump-era rule on procedural grounds. Now, the DOL has informally stated that it intends to again attempt to reform the test in the coming months.  For more information on the current rule, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More.

Understanding the Changes to Your Next 401(k) Statement.  Starting at the end of June, 401(k) participants will begin to see the SECURE Act’s lifetime income illustrations on their statements. That illustration shows the amount of monthly income the participant would make based on their current account balance. Those illustrations shouldn’t cause your clients to panic. Those illustrations reflect only the current account balance, without considering the earnings that the account funds will accumulate over time. They also don’t account for Social Security or any other type of savings vehicle the client may have. Clients should also be advised that the illustrations aren’t required to factor in the client’s age, meaning that younger participants could see illustrations that are much lower than what they would realistically receive far into the future.  For more information on the lifetime income illustrations, visit Tax Facts Online. Read More

Look in your Tax Facts Online app for our continuing analysis of 2022 and 2023 legislative and regulatory updates, weekly intelligence, and the impact on planning for a client’s wealth preservation and growth.

Texas A&M, operating budget of $9.6 billion (FY2022) and capital budget of $1.9 billion, is #1 for U.S. public universities, 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, ranked in the 1st tier of law schools and is ranked in the top 10 for the employment of its graduating law students among U.S. law schools.

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