Posts Tagged ‘Small Business’

Grants Money

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Investing $1 Million in Worker Safety and Health
MIOSHA is offering matching grant awards of up to $5,000 per employer to improve workplace safety and health!

October 7, 2014 – In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Michigan’s program for workplace safety and health, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is offering matching grant awards of up to $5,000 to improve workplace safety and health. The grants are open to qualifying employers to purchase safety and health-related equipment. The goal of this special grant program is to create safer and healthier work environments and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan.

“We are encouraging employers to step up workplace safety and health during MIOSHA’s 40-year anniversary,” said Martha Yoder, MIOSHA Director. “We are pleased to partner with small employers by offering matching grants of up to $5,000 to make improvements in workplace safety and health. With a total of $500,000 available from MIOSHA, that’s a $1 million investment in keeping Michigan’s workers safe and healthy.”

To qualify for the MIOSHA Safety and Health Improvement Program (MiSHIP) Grant, an employer must meet the following conditions:
• Have 250 employees or less.
• Come under the jurisdiction of MIOSHA.
• A qualified safety professional or a safety committee must have conducted a site-specific evaluation, and there must be a written report with recommendations based on the evaluation unless the project is for lifting equipment in residential care facilities, or fall protection equipment in residential construction.
• The grant project must be consistent with the recommendations of the safety and/or health evaluation and must directly relate to improvements that will lead to a reduction in the risk of injury or disease to employees.
• The employer must have the knowledge and experience to complete the project, and must be committed to its implementation.
• The employer must be able to match the grant money awarded and all estimated project costs must be covered.
The MiSHIP Grant requires that an eligible project is one designed to reduce the risk of injury to employees as identified in a site-specific safety and/or health evaluation conducted at the site. The site-specific evaluation must identify the injury and illness risks associated with a work task or area, and the recommended actions of the grant project must directly relate to eliminating or minimizing the risks. Please note that requests for residential fall protection and lifting equipment for in-home care or residential care facilities do not require a hazard evaluation to be performed.

The MiSHIP places priority on those projects that impact employment sites that provide goods, manufacturing or processing jobs for the majority of workers; businesses within the current MIOSHA Strategic Plan and other high-hazard workplaces.
Some examples include:
• Residential Fall Protection Systems
• Lifting Equipment or Portable Lifting Equipment for In-home Care or Small Nursing/Residential Care Facilities
• Monitoring Equipment for Confined Space Entry
• Noise Reduction Engineering Controls
• Lock Out/Tag Out Systems
• Cooling Systems for Agriculture-based Worksites
• Eyewash Stations for the Accommodations Industry

A limited number of MiSHIP Grants will be available to training organizations. To be eligible, the training organization must make the equipment available to its members for use.

For more information about the MiSHIP and how to apply, please visit http://www.michigan.gov/mioshagrants.
For more information about MIOSHA, please visit http://www.michigan.gov/miosha

In an article appearing in PCWorld, reporter Lucian Constantin outlined a new phishing campaign targeted to Apple iCloud users. The complete article can be found at http://www.pcworld.com/article/2604060/hackers-launch-apple-id-phishing-campaign-playing-on-icloud-security-worries.html. The Chamber would like to remind members that phishing schemes can lead to identity theft, computer and network crashes, and loss of vital information.

Microsoft has provided a good overview of information on how to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls and what to do if you have been subject to phishing.

What does a phishing email message look like?
Here is an example of what a phishing scam in an email message might look like.
phishing_email_example
To view the complete article – http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/phishing-symptoms.aspx

Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with some of the ways to recognize these malicious attacks and protect your information.

We all win by voting “YES” on Proposal 1!

Proposal 1 will make sure 100 percent of the estimated lost revenue will be reimbursed to communities when the Personal Property Tax (PPT) is eliminated.

Eliminating the PPT is expected to create up to 15,000 jobs and increase business investment by $450 million.

As you know, Proposal 1 would end the unfair and antiquated double tax (also known as the personal property tax) small businesses pay every year on the equipment they already own, while stabilizing funding for police, fire, jails, roads, schools, senior services and other important municipal services.

Business Leaders for Michigan recently produced a short, simple video explaining how Proposal 1 would benefit all of Michigan. Watch the new video here:

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce urges you to vote Yes on Proposal 1. Please share this information with your voting friends and acquaintances.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is proud to support Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities’ campaign to protect local community services and help small businesses create jobs – without increasing taxes for anyone.

This important proposal will be on the August 5 primary ballot across Michigan. We encourage you to learn more about this proposal and to vote YES in August.

This proposal would create 15,000 jobs in Michigan by eliminating the personal property tax on small businesses. Businesses must pay this tax every year on every piece of equipment they own, which is unique to Michigan and puts our state at an economic disadvantage when competing for new businesses and jobs. This proposal would immediately eliminate the personal property tax on small businesses and phase it out over nine years for larger businesses.

Many communities rely on revenue from the personal property tax to fund local services like police, fire, ambulances, jails, roads, schools, parks and libraries even though it is an unreliable revenue source. This referendum guarantees that 100 percent of the money a community loses from the elimination of the personal property tax will be replaced using the more stable State Use Tax.

This proposal is not a tax increase – for anyone. It is paid for by eliminating special corporate tax breaks that the legislature has voted to end, and by establishing a statewide Essential Services Assessment paid only by manufacturers receiving a personal property tax reduction.

We strongly encourage you to sign up for Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities’ email alerts at www.strongandsafecommunities.com to receive updates from this important campaign to strengthen Michigan communities and help local small businesses create jobs.

Reform-Alert-Header-2014

On Feb. 10, the final regulations for the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions (also referred to as the “employer mandate”) under the Affordable Care Act were released by the Internal Revenue Service and Department of the Treasury.

These final regulations provide different types of safe harbors to employers in 2015, depending on the type of employer or plan offered. The triggers for the tax penalties also vary depending on the type and timing of the safe harbor option an employer may qualify for (and chooses to implement).

Key safe harbors for 2015 are outlined below:

Applicable large employers with 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees may not be subject to the employer mandate requirements until the first day of their 2016 plan year.

An applicable large employer is not subject to tax penalties for any calendar month in 2015 (and for the portion of the 2015 plan year that falls in 2016 if it has a non-calendar plan year) if it meets all three major requirements and certifies that it qualifies for this safe harbor:

  1. An applicable large employer has at least 50 and no more than 99 full-time equivalent employees during 2014 so that it meets the workforce size requirements.
  2. There are no reductions to an employer’s workforce size or overall hours of service between Feb. 9, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014.
    • However, reductions made due to “bona fide” business reasons are allowed. The regulations provide examples of “bona fide” reasons that include changes in the economic marketplace, sales of business divisions or other similar reasons.
  3. An applicable large employer must maintain the health coverage it previously offered between Feb. 9, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2015 (or on the last day of the 2015 plan year).

An employer will certify its eligibility requirements on designated IRS forms (1095-C for self-funded large employers and 1094-C for fully insured large employers) by Jan. 31, 2016. These forms have not yet been issued by the IRS.

Applicable large employers with calendar or non-calendar plan years and new employers may qualify for this safe harbor.

Percentage threshold to offer coverage is 70 percent for all applicable large employers

For all applicable large employers in 2015, including employers with 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees that do not qualify for the safe harbor described earlier, the employer will be liable for tax penalties only if:

  1. The applicable large employer does not offer coverage to at least 70 percent of full-time employees and their dependents (unless the employer qualifies for the 2015 safe harbor for dependent coverage described later in this alert), and at least one of the full-time employees receives a premium tax credit to help pay for coverage on a Marketplace (Exchange); or
  2. The applicable large employer offers coverage to at least 70 percent of full-time employees and their dependents (unless the employer qualifies for the 2015 safe harbor for dependent coverage), but at least one full-time employee still receives a premium tax credit to help pay for coverage on a marketplace.
    • This may occur because the employer did not offer coverage to that employee or because the coverage that was offered to that employee was either unaffordable to the employee or did not provide minimum value.

This percentage threshold only applies for 2015. The percentage of employees that must be offered coverage to limit employer mandate liability increases from 70 to 95 percent in 2016.

Change in 2015 tax penalty calculation for employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees

An employer with 100 or more full time equivalent employees during 2014 is still subject to the tax penalty in 2015 for not offering health coverage to at least 70 percent (will increase to 95 percent in 2016) of its full-time employees and their dependents. This means a tax penalty will be assessed if the employer (a) does not provide health coverage at all, or (b) the employer does not offer coverage to at least 70 percent of its full-time employees and at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit on the Marketplace.

For 2015, this tax penalty calculation is different. The tax penalty will be calculated by subtracting 80 full-time employees (instead of 30):

  • 2015: Annual penalty calculation is $2,000 x (number of full-time employees minus 80)
  • 2016: Annual penalty calculation is $2,000 x (number of full-time employees minus 30)

This safe harbor is only available for each calendar month in 2015 (and for any months that fall in 2016 for a 2015 plan year). For example, a group with a July 1 plan year would be able to use the tax penalty calculation above for July 2015 through June 2016.

Applicable large employers with non-calendar year plans

An applicable large employer may receive relief from tax penalties for any month prior to the first day of the 2015 plan year if it meets the following requirements:

  1. Maintained a non-calendar plan year as of Dec. 27, 2012 and not changed its plan year after this date to begin later.
  2. Meets one of the following three tests:
    1. offers affordable coverage meeting minimum value requirements to its eligible employees (under the terms of the non-calendar plan as of Feb. 9, 2014) by the first day of the 2015 plan year
    2. covered at least 25 percent of all employees on any date between Feb. 10, 2013 through Feb. 9, 2014, or offered coverage to at least 33 percent of all employees during the most recent open enrollment period ending before Feb. 9, 2014
    3. covered at least 33 percent of its full-time employees as of any date between Feb. 10, 2013 through Feb. 9, 2014, or offered coverage to at least 50 percent of full-time employees during the most recent open enrollment period ending before Feb. 9, 2014
  3. Offers coverage to at least at least 70 percent of full-time employees and their dependents (unless the employer qualifies for the 2015 safe harbor for dependent coverage) as of the first day of the 2015 plan year.

Note that the relief does not apply to employees also eligible for or covered under a calendar year plan offered by the applicable large employer.

Dependent coverage safe harbor

Another safe harbor is available for applicable large employers with 2015 plan years where dependent coverage:

  1. Is not offered,
  2. Does not meet minimal essential coverage requirements, or
  3. Is offered to some, but not all, dependents

This applies to employers that take steps during 2015 (or the 2015 plan year) to extend coverage to dependents that were previously not offered coverage during the 2013 and/or 2014 plan years. This is not an option for employers that offered, but then dropped, dependent coverage during the 2013 and/or 2014 plan years.

Under the employer mandate a dependent is a biological and/or adopted child of an employee who has not reached age 26. This excludes foster children and stepchildren (only for the employer mandate). It also excludes an employee’s spouse being considered as a dependent.

Points for clarification

The employer shared responsibility provision does not apply to employers with less than 50 full-time equivalent employees.

Employers affected by the employer mandate are encouraged to seek their own legal counsel as each employer’s situation will be unique to the type of safe harbor that an employer may qualify for.

More information can be found at:

Additional guidance is pending.

 

*Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is not responsible for the content or practices of the destination website.

The information in this document is based on preliminary review of the national health care reform legislation and is not intended to impart legal advice. The federal government continues to issue guidance on how the provisions of national health reform should be interpreted and applied. The impact of these reforms on individual situations may vary. This overview is intended as an educational tool only and does not replace a more rigorous review of the law’s applicability to individual circumstances and attendant legal counsel and should not be relied upon as legal or compliance advice. As required by US Treasury Regulations, we also inform you that any tax information contained in this communication is not intended to be used and cannot be used by any taxpayer to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.

For the 2014 tax year, legislation was passed that exempts certain “Eligible Personal Property” from taxation. Businesses that own personal property of less than a true cash value of $80,000 ($40,000 assessed value) may be entitled to an exemption for the 2014 tax year. To qualify for the Eligible Personal Property exemption, the qualifying business MUST FILE Form 5076 with the local assessor by February 10, 2014. If the business fails to file the Form 5076, the local assessor is obligated to place an assessment, even if the assessor’s estimate is less than the $80,000 true cash value threshold.

Personal Property Statements were mailed to taxpayers shortly after January 1, 2014. If you have questions regarding this issue, please contact your local assessor.

Reform-Alert-Header

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advised Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, individuals will have an extra week to enroll in coverage effective Jan. 1, 2014. The delay is to account for technical issues experienced with the healthcare.gov website. The original Dec. 15 deadline for people to apply for coverage effective Jan. 1 has been extended to Dec. 23.

The President’s announcement came in response to concerns expressed by individuals and groups who had received notification that their current plan would be discontinued because it was not compliant with Affordable Care Act requirements.

The delay does not change the 2014 open enrollment period which began Oct. 1, 2013, and runs through March 31, 2014.

For 2015 coverage, HHS announced applicants can sign up starting Nov. 15, 2014, rather than Oct. 15, 2014, and have until Jan. 15, 2015, rather than Dec. 7, 2014, to complete the process.

The extension will allow the federally run Marketplace more time to prepare for the next open enrollment period and allow insurers to make appropriate rate decisions.

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found at healthcare.gov.*

*Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is not responsible for the content or practices of the destination website.

The information in this document is based on preliminary review of the national health care reform legislation and is not intended to impart legal advice. The federal government continues to issue guidance on how the provisions of national health reform should be interpreted and applied. The impact of these reforms on individual situations may vary. This overview is intended as an educational tool only and does not replace a more rigorous review of the law’s applicability to individual circumstances and attendant legal counsel and should not be relied upon as legal or compliance advice. As required by US Treasury Regulations, we also inform you that any tax information contained in this communication is not intended to be used and cannot be used by any taxpayer to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.