Metlife recently surveyed small businesses and employees about these questions, and reported survey findings in the 2013 Study of Employee Benefits Trends. Richard Hammar discusses the new safety requirements for cribs for church nurseries and child care facilities. View the recording of the 2011 Tax Tip Briefing hosted by Richard Hammar and George Paul Wood. Richard Hammar discusses the latest tax updates that affect a minister's housing allowance. View the recording of the 2010 Tax Tip Briefing hosted by Richard Hammar and George Paul Wood. The credit is specifically targeted toward employers with low- and moderate-income workers. Pay average annual wages of less than $50,000 per FTE (inflation-adjusted to $50,800 for tax years beginning in 2014). A qualifying arrangement, further described below, generally is one in which the employer pays at least 50% of the premium cost for single (employee-only) coverage.
For tax-exempt small employers, the credit is also calculated on Form 8941 and is attached to Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return. Calculating the credit can be extremely complex and cumbersome, and often it does not seem cost-effective.
Following are some additional details on various aspects of qualifying for and calculating the credit. As previously indicated, the credit phases out as total FTEs rise between 10 and 25 and average wages increase from $25,000 (inflation-adjusted to $25,400 for tax years beginning in 2014) to $50,000 ($50,800 in 2014). There is no doubt that calculating the credit can be complicated and cumbersome, and it appears that the majority of claims may be limited to partial credits. In addition to the increase in the maximum credit to 50% in 2014, the average wage phaseout threshold increases to $25,400 due to inflation.
The GAO reported that far fewer small employers claimed the credit than were estimated to have been eligible. Small business representatives and tax preparer groups indicated that the credit was not large enough to encourage employers to begin offering health insurance, and, due to complex rules, the time needed to calculate the credit often deterred claims.
The GAO recommended that the IRS improve instructions to examiners reviewing credit claims and analyze the results to identify and address errors. The small employer health insurance tax credit entails often complex calculations but can be beneficial for qualifying employers, especially since the maximum credit has increased for 2014 to 50% of employer contributions toward premiums (from 35% earlier). A qualifying small employer must pay premiums for employee health insurance under a qualifying arrangement (generally one in which the employer pays at least half the cost of single coverage), have fewer than 25 full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs) for the tax year, and pay average annual wages of less than $50,000 (increased for 2014 to $50,800) per FTE.
The credit is subject to phaseout between 10 and 25 FTEs and average annual wages of between $25,000 and $50,000 ($25,400 and $50,800 in 2014).
One of the top issues for HR departments in 2015 was employee recruitment and retention; and this will continue to be a challenge into 2016. TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES CAN BRING LONG-TERM POSITIVITY TO YOUR COMPANY, BUT THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE BRINGING THEM ON.
Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are the core of the US economy, and present a significant market opportunity for health insurance brokers and agents.
This means that with the right health insurance solutions, such as defined contribution solutions, health insurance brokers have the right tools to diversify and grow their book of businesses in this changing health insurance market. SMBs make up the majority of US employers, with 77% of employers (5.7 million) employing fewer than 50 employees. Specific to health benefits, only 35% of US small and medium businesses offered health insurance in 2012 (< 200 employees). When surveyed, most small employers offer health insurance because of a moral obligation (44%) or to recruit and retain talented employees (33%). And, of the small businesses not offering health insurance, the majority (61%) say cost is the primary reason.
The SMB market offers huge opportunity for health insurance brokers who adapt, especially in the < 50 employee space. SMBs want to offer health benefits, but the cost of a traditional small group policy has been prohibitive to many SMBs. Health insurance brokers need new health benefits solutions, including defined contribution health benefits, to take advantage of the market opportunity. Download this guide to learn about the current landscape of employer health insurance, and how employer health insurance is changing.
Of those surveyed, 34% of employees strongly agreed that having to pay a larger share of their benefits premium costs would make them feel less loyal to their employer.

Since the recession, benefits cost-sharing has increased in response tighter budgets and the increasing costs of health care and group health insurance. According to the survey, 38% said that benefits were an important reason for remaining with the company. According to the survey, 61% of employees said that being able to customize benefits would increase their loyalty.
For example, 55% of Generation Y employees said they would bear more of the cost of benefits in order to have choice in benefits.
He is an attorney, CPA, and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy. Richard Hammar discusses some rules related to charitable donations near the end of the year. It is part of the general business credit, unused portions of which can be carried back one year and forward 20 years.
The credit is refundable and limited to the payroll taxes (federal income taxes withheld, Medicare taxes withheld, and employer Medicare taxes paid) for the tax year.
However, as financial advisers, CPAs need to attempt to calculate the credit whenever possible. The site’s homepage includes three sections explaining the tax benefits and responsibilities for individuals and families, employers, and other organizations, with links and information for each group. Currently, the estimator is extremely limited and is unable to take into account all of the various complexities and limitations involved in the average calculation. The health insurance provider must be either an insurance company or another entity licensed under state law to provide health insurance coverage. The number of FTEs is calculated by dividing the total hours of service for all employees during the employer’s tax year by 2,080 maximum hours. A sole proprietor must include both business and nonbusiness employees to determine FTEs, average annual wages, and premiums paid.
However, the minister’s gross wages are excluded from the total wages paid, resulting in a lower average annual wage base.
Therefore, gross wages per Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, are reduced by any pretax employee deductions, including the employee share of health insurance premiums paid. In addition, the credit may be further limited by the average state premium amount, as discussed above.
Using the other facts in Example 4 results in a maximum credit amount of $10,302 ($29,435 × 35%). However, resources are available to assist in the calculation, and the benefit to eligible small employers who already provide health insurance to their employees makes it worth the time it takes to make the calculation. The credit very well may be a considerable amount for a small employer who is eligible for the full credit, and it may be just enough to encourage employers to offer health insurance to employees. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2012 reported to Congress on the impact of the small employer health insurance tax credit for the 2010 tax year.
Depending on the estimate, only 4% to 12% of small businesses eligible for the credit claimed it in 2010. It also recommended that the IRS give greater attention to confirming eligibility for the credit taken by small employers with non-U.S.
Tax-exempt small employers may qualify for a refundable credit (increased for 2014 to 35% from 25% in prior years). However, new solutions such as defined contribution health benefits are opening the SMB market back up to health insurance brokers. Small businesses and medium businesses combined account for approximately half of all jobs, more than 40% of private sector payrolls, and 65% of new job creation. Many of these prospects just need to be presented the right solution, and many have offered health benefits in the past. Defined contribution provides SMBs an affordable health insurance solution, and provides health insurance brokers a new product for increasing individual health insurance sales. How should a small business design their health insurance offerings to match what employees value? Today, 50% of surveyed employers report that cost-sharing is a very important benefits strategy for their company compared with 33% in Metlife's 2012 Study.
Hammar takes a look at the latest tax information that churches and ministers should know about.
They can often rule out an employer’s eligibility with a quick calculation of average wages or FTEs before requesting the amount of insurance premiums paid. The site also provides information about other Affordable Care Act tax provisions in effect in 2014 and beyond.

The number of months covered under the plan and the employer percentage of premiums paid also must be factored into the calculation. This results in 6.07 FTEs, which when rounded down becomes six, as opposed to five in Example 1.
This maximum credit is partially phased out based on the ratio of excess average wages over $25,400 divided by $25,400.
In this case, the total hours worked is 14,700, average FTEs is seven, and average wages paid are $37,000. Most claims were limited to a partial credit amount by average wage and FTE limitations and state premium averages. Just like larger businesses, SMBs see health benefits as a key part of recruiting and retaining top employees. For example, in 2012 ~30% of businesses with less than 10 employees offered health insurance.
501(c) tax-exempt organizations afford the cost of providing health insurance coverage for their employees. To calculate the total number of hours of service, an employer can use the actual-hours-worked method, a days-worked equivalency method, or a weeks-worked equivalency method. The average annual wages paid by an employer for a tax year is determined by dividing total applicable wages paid by the total number of FTEs. However, since that number must be rounded down to the next lower whole number, the average FTEs for this calculation is five. The average wages paid is $43,000 (rounded down from $43,500), which is below the maximum wage threshold. The church pays $38,000 in health insurance premiums, $34,000 for the four employees and $4,000 for the minister. This means that ABC Church will have a total credit of $5,563 ($10,302 – $4,739), an increase of $1,736 over the 2013 credit amount.
In addition, the report, citing another study, indicated that only 17% of businesses that might have been eligible for the maximum credit offered health insurance to employees. The IRS agreed with these recommendations, and although additional instructions have been provided to examiners regarding some of the recommendations, not all have yet been implemented.
However, many potentially eligible employers that have gone through the relatively complex credit calculation have been dismayed to find that they were eligible only for a small credit or none at all.
The average premium for the small group market is determined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Once a standard template is set up for calculating the credit, the employer (or tax preparer) can enter wage and insurance data directly onto the template. The number calculated, if not already a whole number, is rounded down to the next lower whole number (or if less than one, up to one), which may or may not be advantageous to the employer, depending on the circumstances. This number is rounded down to the next lowest multiple of $1,000 (if not already a multiple), which is always advantageous to the employer because it results in a lower average annual wage base. The company pays $34,000 in health insurance premiums for four employees, two with family coverage and two with single coverage. Twenty-five percent, or $8,500, of the employees’ premiums is paid by employee contributions. Because the maximum potential credit increased for 2014, employers that take the time to make the calculation may find that they are eligible for a substantially larger credit than in prior years.
This should make the calculation easier to complete when preparing the tax return for the second year the business is eligible for the credit. Since this amount is greater than the maximum wage threshold of $50,000, the credit is totally phased out. Twenty-five percent, or $8,500, of the premiums is paid by employee contributions and 75%, or $25,500, is paid by the company. Assume the state average premium limit (75% of the State X average premium amount for the employees) is $24,448 for the four employees, so the maximum credit is $8,557 ($24,448 × 35%).
However, the total state average premium limit for the minister and the four other employees is $29,435 (75% of the State X average premium amount for the employees and 100% of the State X average premium amount for the minister). The maximum credit is $7,359 ($29,435 × 25%), based on the credit rate for tax-exempt organizations in 2013.

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