Healthcare and Legal Changes Startups Will Need to be Aware of in 2017

Healthcare/Legal Changes Startups Will Need to be Aware of in 2017

What does 2017 hold for your startup?

Have you thought about the legal, human resources and healthcare regulations for the New Year when it comes to your employees?

Healthcare Law Changes

You probably already find the healthcare laws complicated and cumbersome.

Expect major changes as we move into 2017, especially with the inauguration of a new president.

You are probably worried about compliance with the Affordable Health Care Act. Assuming for now that nothing changes for a while, even though president-elect Trump has promised to repeal the law, here are some things to note when it comes to your startup employees:

  • The 2017 deadline for filing the Form 1095 (proof of insurance coverage) has changed. In the past, you could file as late as March 31, but in 2017, your deadline has been moved up to January 31. Why? This is to ensure your employees get this form right along with their W-2s.
  • You’ll also find that Forms 1094B (Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns)
    and 1095 A, B and C are due by February 28 by mail or March 31 electronically.
  • New options for health coverage are available to small business owners other than group plans.
  • If you have less than 50 full-time employees, you are not required by law to offer insurance to your employees.
  • The Internal Revenue Service recently announced a $50 increase for the annual contribution limit for healthcare and limited purpose flexible spending accounts. The means the limit has increased to $2,600 for 2017.

Remember – startups who outsource work are not liable for health insurance either. If you’re looking for ways to save money, this is one way.

Legal Changes

When it comes to legal changes, you’ll find a few tax change proposals on the books, but they aren’t yet official. Look for news of:

  • A tax change that simplifies small business accounting so you have an easier time managing regulations. You could then use the cash method of accounting to avoid complicated requirements.
  • You’ll appreciate that some tax breaks have been extended through 2017. This includes bonus depreciation on the full price of qualifying software or equipment purchased or leased in the tax year. Every deduction your startup can take is a bonus.

In addition to these changes, you’ll note some changes regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office effective January 14, 2017, as they are revising the fee schedule.

Most fees are increasing as the office tries to align their fees with the full costs.

You’ll also find their aim is to make electronic filing less expensive so more people will dispense with paper filing. Note the following:

  • If you file by paper, you’ll see an increase between $75-$225. This is again to incentivize lower cost electronic filings.
  • Some electronic filings will also increase in the smaller range of $25-$100.

Finally, if you choose to file a Petition to Cancel a trademark or Notice of Opposition to the registration of a published mark, you’ll pay $100 more in 2017.

Human Resource Changes

With regards to new information for your human resources department, for the 2017 plan year, you’ll find some new labor laws.

If you have more than one paid employee, you probably know there are specific signs you have to post at your startup. Here’s what you need to know about the changes.

  • If you bought your federal law posters before August 1, 2016, they are probably out of compliance due to three mandatory federal posting changes in 2016.
  • Every business must have posted updated versions of the Federal Minimum Wage (changes regarding rights of nursing mothers and independent contractor classifications) and the Federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act (a broader statement that the Secretary of Labor can assess civil penalties against violators) posters.
  • In addition, you must post an updated OSHA (new rule requiring employers to notify employees of their right to report work-related inquiries and illnesses free of retaliation) poster.

Finally, a new federal law went into effect on December 1, 2016, that pertains to your startup in 2017.

It concerns the Fair Labor Standards Act and overtime pay. This law changes the threshold for overtime pay to $47,500. If you have salaried workers who make less than that, they are eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week.

This means you may need to plan for higher payroll costs. This will show as either overtime pay or a raise in salaries so they hit the $47,500 and can become exempt employees not bound by overtime pay.

Final Thoughts

You can look for new changes to laws and regulations as each year ends and a new one begins.

If this sounds like a daunting task, you can always hire a company like Escalon to help you navigate your startup’s human resources and legal needs.

Are you a new startup ready to succeed? Are you looking to get your new business off the ground and watch it rise to success? We are here for you. We can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Outsource your HR duties, finances, payroll and more to us. Contact Escalon today to get started.

Image: Joseph Barrientos

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