The new year is all about resolutions and improvement strategies (has anyone else eaten a lot of kale lately?). Now is the time to make sure your business is ready for 2018 with this quick corporate checklist.
#1: Employee Posters and Handbooks
#TimesUp for putting “review breakroom posters” and “update employee policies” at the bottom of your to-do list. With nation-wide changes by the new federal administration as well as active courts, now is the time to make sure everything you have in writing for employees is compliant and workplace policies are clear.
For a quick cheat sheet on the main federal and Georgia employee posters, check out our blog article: https://morganeasley.com/breakroom-posters-cheat-sheet/.
If your handbook is a generic form you picked up somewhere (or maybe you don’t even have an employee handbook), give us a call and get the process rolling before it becomes an issue for your business.
#2: Corporate Annual Registration
Does your registered agent wait until July to ask you if you have updated your records?
If so, we can help – the deadline for businesses to file annual registrations with the Georgia Secretary of State is actually April 1, 2018. This annual registration must be filed regardless of the company’s legal entity (Inc., LLC, etc.) or tax structure (S-Corp, C-Corp, partnership, etc.).
You may have heard about a new law allowing businesses to register less frequently than annually. This law is not yet in effect. The law (http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20172018/HB/87) allows the Secretary of State to come up with rules and policies for multi-year renewals, but the Secretary of State’s office has not yet done so.
Bottom line? File on time. Or simply drop us a line and ask us to do it for you.
#3: Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance
If your business accepts debit or credit cards (and we know it does), do not forget to timely complete PCI’s annual compliance questionnaire. The specific compliance requirements depend on a number of factors, including the amount of credit card payments your business has processed, how your business accepts those payments, and whether the debit or credit card information is stored.
Using a third-party processor may make it faster or easier to mark “PCI compliance” off your to-do list, but you still have to do it.
Need more information (or find federal compliance law fascinating)? Peruse PCI’s Frequently Asked Questions at https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/faqs.
#4: EEO-1 Form
Not even the EEOC escaped the new federal administration’s massive overhauls. Federal law generally requires all private companies with 100 or more employees and certain federal contractors to file a Standard Form 100 (aka the “EEO-1 Form”) with the EEOC.
Unlike in previous years, the 2017 EE0-1 form will only collect data regarding employees’ race, ethnicity, and sex, and not their pay and hours worked. Because of this change, the deadline for the 2017 EEO-1 form has been extended to March 31, 2018. The employment data used for the 2017 EEO-1 report should be collected using a payroll period in October, November, or December 2017.
For more information, visit https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/index.cfm.
#5: Trademark Deadlines
January is a good time of year to check your upcoming trademark deadlines. Your trademarks and service marks are one of your most important pieces of intellectual property as they distinguish your goods and services from those of your competitors and provide a hook by which your customers remember you.
If you registered a federal trademark in 2013, its first, post-registration Statement of Use will be due this year (normally, you are required to file a new Statement of Use every ten years, but there is an interim filing required between years 5 and 6 for newly registered marks). If your trademark has just passed its 9th birthday, it is due for its first decennial (i.e., ten-year anniversary) filing. Not sure when you filed?
Worried that you have missed a deadline? Call us. We can help.
#6: New Partnership Audit Rules Become Effective January 1, 2018
Ok, we promised you five key pointer’s for your business this year, but diehards who have made it with us this far deserve a sixth. Hold on tight—this is going to get a bit wonky.
In the old days (i.e., up until, well, 2017), IRS audits of partnership-taxed entities were done at the individual partner level with individual partners paying any deficiency due to underreporting, etc. The newly reissued (it’s a long story… don’t ask) rules assess and collect tax at the partnership level (replacing the old audit procedures under the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, or TEFRA).
This makes sense for the IRS – a single audit instead of, well, how many partners do you have? But what happens if certain partners have left the partnership when the underpayment is discovered and assessed? Too bad. The remaining partners have to pay it (Huh? Not fair!)… unless… well, the law does contain an exception that permits a partnership to elect to have the partners in the partnership tax year to which the adjustment relates take into account the IRS’s adjustments and pay any tax due as a result. This (and other subtleties of the rules) may require an adjustment to your Operating Agreement.
And unless you eat tax rules for breakfast, that’s probably not something you want to do yourself! Call us. We can help.