The calendar won't be the only thing changing for small businesses when the clock strikes midnight this New Year's Eve. According to Paychex, a leading provider of payroll, human resources and employee benefit services, small businesses will have to look out for 12 regulatory changes in 2012 that will change the way they operate.
"Some of these issues will lead to changes that are made legislatively, and others may be changed through simple rule modifications," said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. "Regardless of the level of attention they receive, changes to each of these issues could require business owners to make significant adjustments to the way they manage their businesses."
According to Paychex, the following areas where regulatory changes may occur are:
- Job Creation Changes - The recent extension of payroll-tax cuts for an additional two months highlights the potential changes surrounding job creation, as it includes a recapture provision for employees earning more than $18,350 in wages during the two-month extension. Additionally, new legislation under President Obama's Jobs Bill may go into effect in the new year that would help fund infrastructure projects and encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to start up by allowing access to capital.
- Worker Classification Changes - In 2012 several states will be enacting stricter legislation to more-heavily fine companies for misclassified workers.
- Deficit Reduction Changes- Business- and personal-tax reforms may be put into place in the new year as the government tries to reduce record spending.
- Immigration Reform Changes -In the new year, efforts aimed at cutting down on the employment of illegal immigrants will increase. Many state laws will require private sector employers to use the federal E-verify system to determine employment eligibility.
- Employment Law Changes - The United States Department of Labor and many states are considering enacting new laws aimed at clarifying minimum wage and overtime requirements on the part of employers so workers better understand what they are owed.
- Security and Privacy Changes - With incidences of cybercrimes on the rise in recent years, many states are enacting privacy and security measures to prevent further breaches in companies.
- Dodd-Frank Changes - New financial regulations may hurt small businesses as banks may limit the availability of credit or capital. These regulations could also create higher fees for businesses that borrow, as a result of limited availability.
- Health Insurance Changes - With the outcome of the Affordable Care Act still unknown, as it is being debated in the Supreme Court, many businesses may be greatly affected by the potentially new legislation.
- Unemployment Insurance Changes - If Congress reinstates the federal unemployment surtax, as it is considering doing, many businesses would see higher unemployment-tax costs. Additionally, many states may add more-detailed employer reporting requirements as they attempt to decrease unemployment insurance fraud.
- 401(k)Benefit Changes - The new year will also bring added fee disclosures for 401(k) providers. Additionally new laws will broaden who can be considered a plan fiduciary, make advice more accessible and restrict how many loans an employee can take from their 401(k).
- Tax Changes - 2012 will bring tax changes ranging from a higher Social Security wage base to transportation and adoption-assistance-benefit limits.
- W-2 Form Changes - In 2012, employers filing 250 or more W-2 forms in the past year will need to include the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on the 2012 W-2 form.