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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law


On April 1, 2014, New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law went into effect.  If the law applies to your business you must be aware of three dates:

·         April 1, 2014:  Existing employees began accruing sick leave.  Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

·         May 1, 2014:  You must give existing employees the Notice of Employee Rights.

·         July 30, 2014:  Existing employees can begin using accrued sick leave.  New employees begin using accrued sick leave 120 days after their first day of employment. 


Employers Who Must Provide Sick Leave
Number of Employees 
Amount of Sick Leave per Calendar Year
Paid or Unpaid Sick Leave
Rate of Pay
5 or more

Must work 80+ hours a calendar year*
Up to 40 hours
Paid
Regular hourly rate but no less than $8 per hour (minimum wage)
1-4

Must work 80+ hours a calendar year
Up to 40 hours
Unpaid
Not Applicable
1 or more domestic workers

Must work 80+ hours per calendar year and have been employed by the same employer at least 1 year
2 days
Paid
Regular hourly rate but no less than $8 per hour (minimum wage)


Go to nyc.gov/PaidSickLeave for more information.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Year End Tax Tips

·        Review your portfolio.  Consider taking a loss if you have substantial capital gains. 

·        Review tax refunds.  Are you loaning your money to the government tax free?

·        If you owe state income taxes, consider contributing to a 529 College Savings Plan for your grandchildren.  NY allows a deduction up to $5,000 (or $10,000 for married filing joint filers) for contributions made by an account owner to an account belonging to NY’s 529 plan.

·        Plan your itemized deductions.  If you are on the border for itemizing deductions focus on bundling.  Time deductible expenses to produce lean and fat years.  The goal is to surpass the standard deduction amount. Standard deduction rates for 2013 are $12,200 for married taxpayers filing joint and $6,100 for single taxpayers.  The additional standard deduction amount for the aged or blind is $1,200.   

Monday, September 9, 2013

Internet Sales Tax

In May 2013, the US Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act which would require online retailers to collect sales tax for the states to which they ship goods.  The act has to be passed by the House before it becomes law.   The discussion is quite heated.  When it will be passed or if it will be passed is difficult to call.

The issues…
As online commerce grew, shoppers often did not pay sales tax.  Online retailers were required to collect taxes only in those states where they had a physical presence: a retail store, a distribution center (brick & mortar).  It wasn't that sales tax wasn't due, but that it was too complicated to collect. States, counties, and other municipalities have varying rates and tax different items.  Keeping track of all the tax details was considered a burden for businesses. Most states require shoppers to keep track of online purchases and report and pay sales tax through their state income tax filings. Many taxpayers are either not aware of this requirement or choose to ignore it.  Online commerce has grown exponentially.  Uncollected sales tax is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars; revenue sorely needed by the states.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA


Back in 2011, when New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, we discussed the issues particularly as they related to the Federal law, Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).   For Federal purposes, DOMA defined marriage as between a man and a woman and allowed states which do not allow same sex marriage to not recognize same sex marriages performed in other states.  On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court decided that much of DOMA is unconstitutional, since same sex married couples were not being treated equally under the law. Specifically, Section 3 of DOMA, which allowed the Federal government to deny benefits to same sex couples, was invalidated.  However, Section 2, which allows states to decide who may marry and which marriages to recognize, is still law.
This means that same sex couples married in New York and living in New York can expect the same rights as heterosexual married couples.  However, some issues remain murky, particularly for those same sex couples married in one state and now living in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage.  Benefit eligibility is often governed by the state in which a couple lives as opposed to the state in which the couple was married.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nearing Retirement

If you are hoping to retire in two to five years, what should you be doing now to make it happen?  As in all things financial, you must have a plan.  In retirement, especially in the later years, there is little you can do to increase income.  Additionally, there are significant expenses over which you’ll have little control (medical costs).  An assessment now will help toward understanding if you will be financially prepared for retirement.