Accountants: Keep an eye on these new small-business regulations in 2016
May 09, 2016

While April tax deadlines have come and gone, new laws and regulations continue to pop up in 2016 that will affect how accountants and bookkeepers work with and best serve their small-business clients. As such, it is a good idea for these accounting professionals to stay on top of these changes and communicate their effects clearly.

With that in mind, here are some of the biggest changes and accounting trends to keep an eye on in 2016:

Form 1099 just got more difficult
Some of the biggest tax changes accountants, bookkeepers and their small-business clients will need to pay attention to is in health care coverage. For starters, businesses that are subject to the health care mandate expands in 2016. Now, not only must companies with 100 or more full-time employees provide coverage, but smaller businesses that employ 50-99 workers must do so as well. 

However, as Small Biz Trends pointed out, providing coverage is not enough. The health insurance offered to employees must actually be affordable, which is determined by a set percentage of workers' wages that is not to be exceeded.

Another item that accounting professionals will want to be careful of when it comes to health coverage is a new reporting requirement - regardless of whether you provide insurance to employees or not. While small businesses and their accountants and bookkeepers may have come into contact with this requirement in early 2016, the rule's relative newness bears a reminder: All employees will need to fill out Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and employers will need to send these forms to the IRS.

These are by no means the only changes to how employers report and provide coverage, nor are they likely to be the last as lawmakers continue to refine and tweak Obamacare.

Understanding the salary threshold
On January 1, 2016, a new rule was proposed by the Department of Labor that would raise the salary threshold for overtime to $50,440. That means, employees that make at least this amount annually are exempt for overtime regulations. As such, employers do not have to pay them for that extra time.

However, following the rule's announcement, criticism has flooded in from employers and lawmakers, with many voicing concern that $50,440 was too big an increase from the previous threshold of $23,660. Since then, a revised number - $47,000 - has been proposed as the new threshold.

Once the final rule is published, employers will have 60 days before it becomes law. Working closely with an accountant or bookkeeper will help companies best prepare and integrate the change into their workplaces.

Nexus: G-WEBCD4