In late February, the IRS released the updated 2018 Form W-4 and an updated tax withholding calculator. The calculator provides an opportunity for employees to check their 2018 tax withholding after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, prior to filling out a new Form W-4.
Do employee’s need to complete a new Form W-4 annually:
“Not necessarily. A W-4 form remains in effect until an employee submits a new one except when an employee claims to be exempt from income tax withholding.”
Employers should ensure they have new W-4s for:
- New employees. Employers should keep copies of the most current W-4s on hand.
- Employees who had a change in withholding events during the year.
- Employees claiming exemption from withholding. To continue to be exempt from withholding in the next year, employees must give employers a new W-4 claiming exempt status by Feb. 15 of that year. If an employee doesn’t give you a new Form W-4, employers must withhold tax based on the last valid Form W-4 for the employee that doesn’t claim exemption from withholding or, if one doesn’t exist, as if he or she is single with zero withholding allowances.”[i]
IRS Publication 15 provides guidelines for employers to remind employees before December 1 of each year to submit a new W-4 form if the withholding allowances changed or will be changing in the next year; due to added dependents, new tax legislation, etc. As employers, we need to ensure all of our new hire paperwork is up-to-date. This recent change should be noted as part of your organizations onboarding/new hire process.
NYC Evolving Legislative Changes:
The new law provides employees with additional rights to demand changes to their schedule. The law permits employees to demand two temporary schedule changes per calendar year for personal events. The definition of personal events is broad, which leaves room for interpretation. There are guidelines and certain exemptions to the new rule. However, it is broad and will cover many organizations.
This law codifies the organizations obligation to engage in a cooperative dialogue with any employee who may be entitled to reasonable accommodation. “Specifically, you will need to engage in a good faith written or oral “cooperative dialogue” with the employee addressing:
- The employee’s accommodation needs.
- Potential accommodations that may address the needs, including alternatives to an employee’s requested accommodation.
- The difficulties that such potential accommodations may pose for your business.
After a final determination is made at the conclusion of the “cooperative dialogue,” you must provide the employee requesting the accommodation with a final written determination as to whether or not the accommodation is granted.”[v]
The legislative changes in New York City will not impact employers in the Southern Tier, unless you have employees in the city. However, as we have seen in the past, changes in NYC make their way to Albany, which result in statewide sweeping legislative changes, which can and do impact organizations in the Southern Tier. Continue to watch for legal updates at the federal, state and local level. If you are confused, seek guidance. Legislative change is a continuous process and it can be complex. As society evolves, so do our laws and regulations. Asking questions, attending trainings, working with consultants and attorneys will provide you with a clearer picture of the evolving legislation.
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[iv] Burr Consulting, LLC, “3 Daylight Savings Time Wage & Hour Considerations”, Burrconsultingllc.com, November 6, 2017
-Matthew W. Burr