WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – We’re All In Small Business Grants

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is opening up a second phase of We’re All In Small Business Grants, making available an additional $50 million of federal CARES Act funding to Wisconsin businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re All In Small Business Grant – Phase 2 makes federal funding available to Wisconsin small businesses that were unable to apply for Phase 1 of the program. And, it makes additional funds available to companies that were awarded Phase 1 grants.

The program aims to help Wisconsin’s small businesses get back on their feet while encouraging adoption of best practices to build confidence in reopening Wisconsin’s economy.  Grant recipients will pledge to observe health safety best practices in their facilities.  Industry-specific guidelines can be found at https://wedc.org/reopen-guidelines/ .

We’re All In Small Business Grants of $5,000 are available through this Phase 2 program to Wisconsin businesses with more than $0 but less than $1 million annual revenues (gross receipts less returns and allowances) and one to 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) in 2019. Additional eligibility requirements apply.

Applications for We’re All In Small Business – Phase 2 Grants will be available at https://www.revenue.wi.gov from 8 a.m., Monday, Oct. 19, to 11:59 p.m., Monday, November 2, 2020.

For more information about the eligibility requirements and limitations of the We’re All In Small Business – Phase 2 Grants, visit https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/FAQS/SmallBusinessGrantProgram.aspx#passive1

Please be prepared to apply for this funding opportunity when the application window opens October 19, 2020.

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Columbus Day – Now known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day??

           We just received notification from our ACH provider that no ACHes will go through on Monday, October 12, 2020 for Native American Day.  Native American Day??  How did we miss that?  Perhaps it was because we were amid our software conversion – but whatever the case we missed it.  So, here is what we have learned from Wikipedia.

Native American Day is a holiday celebrated across the United States in lieu of Columbus Day. In California and Nevada, the holiday is celebrated on the fourth Friday of September, whereas in South Dakota and Wisconsin, it falls on the second Monday of October. Within each of these states, Native American Day honors the cultural contributions of Native American communities to the respective state’s history, as well as to the overall country. The state of Tennessee observes a similar American Indian Day each year on the fourth Monday of September.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day[1] (Not to be confused with Native American Day) is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Many reject celebrating him, saying that he represents “the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere”,[2] and that Columbus Day is a sanitation or covering-up of Christopher Columbus’ actions such as enslaving Native Americans.[3]

Indigenous Peoples’ Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and then Governor Mr. George S. Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990.[4] It was instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, California, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up.[5]

It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee.[citation needed]

Wisconsin  In October of 2019, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order which formally replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day (celebrated on the second Monday of every October) to “recognize and appreciate our tribal nations and indigenous people and their resilience, wisdom and the contributions they make to our state”.[3] There are eleven federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin and the bill emphasize the sovereignty of the nations.

Washington  DC  Also, in October of 2019, the D.C Council voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in a temporary move that it hopes to make permanent.   Currently it coincides with Columbus Day.  Nothing further could be found on that. 

In a nutshell, we will not be scheduling any ACHes on Monday, October 12, 2020, because of Indigenous Peoples’ Day – not Native American Day, not Columbus Day.  We are moving toward celebrating people – specifically the Indigenous People of our Country.  How to celebrate?  Attend a local Indigenous People’s Day Event, read a book, cook an authentic meal.   In my humble opinion, any move to celebrate people is a good move.  #alwaysbekind

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – 2021 Personal Income Taxes & Unemployment Recipients

I just had a conversation with a friend whose husband was laid off during the CoVid19 epidemic. Financially, they did ok as he received the extra $600 per week under the CARES act. 

My friend mentioned that her husband received $600 per week – which led me to ask her if he had chosen to have income tax withheld.  Neither of them had any idea that the unemployment was taxable and that those benefits would be included in their taxable income – which would mean coming up with the extra tax before April 15, 2021.  The benefits are also taxable in states that have state income tax. The following is from the IRS website (please see your state website for more info on state rates):

By law, unemployment compensation is taxable and must be reported on a 2020 federal income tax return. Taxable benefits include any of the special unemployment compensation authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted this spring.

Withholding is voluntary. Federal law allows any recipient to choose to have a flat 10% withheld from their benefits to cover part or all of their tax liability. To do that, fill out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request PDF, and give it to the agency paying the benefits. Don’t send it to the IRS. If the payor has its own withholding request form, use it instead.

If a recipient doesn’t choose withholding, or if withholding is not enough, they can make quarterly estimated tax payments instead. The payment for the first two quarters of 2020 was due on July 15. Third and fourth quarter payments are due on September 15, 2020, and January 15, 2021, respectively. For more information, including some helpful worksheets, see Form 1040-ES and Publication 505, available on IRS.gov.

Recipients who return to work before the end of the year can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to make sure they are having enough tax taken out of their pay. Available only on IRS.gov, this online tool can help any worker or pension recipient avoid or lessen their year-end tax bill or estimate the refund they want.

In January 2021, unemployment benefit recipients should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments PDF from the agency paying the benefits. The form will show the amount of unemployment compensation they received during 2020 in Box 1, and any federal income tax withheld in Box 4. Taxpayers report this information, along with their W-2 income, on their 2020 federal tax return. For more information on unemployment, see Unemployment Benefits in Publication 525.

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – 2021 WI Unemployment Rates

The beautiful Fall colors serve as a reminder to those of us in the Payroll World that 2021 is just around the corner. 

You will be receiving your 2021 Unemployment Rates in the next couple of weeks.  Please be sure to forward those rates to us as soon as you receive them.  Following is the pop up that appears on the WI DWD website.  As an employer, if you believe you may qualify for relief of UI benefit charging, you can go to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uitax/ and click on Request Relief of Charging to keep your UI rates as low as possible.

I have had many flashbacks from 10 years ago when almost every state in the Union had to pay back the Federal Unemployment fund because of high numbers of people on unemployment.  We may not see increased rates in 2021 – but I will be very surprised if we don’t see a substantial increase in 2022 – not to mention paying back any loans from the Feds.  For the most part, our clients have bounced back and are almost all back to pre-March numbers of employees.  Keep up the good work!  #bettertogether

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Minimize Payroll Risks

 There is no argument that employees are one of a company’s most important resource and greatest asset.  With that said, employees are often the source of a company’s greatest loss.  While most employees are honest and true team players – there are those who, well, not so much.  Employee theft is one of the highest risks facing business owners today – whether it be merchandise theft, being paid for hours not worked, missing office supplies, or accounts payable fraud.   

 We are pleased to announce an important software update that will help minimize the risks of your payroll exceeding their maximum allowed thresholds – whether entered inadvertently or entered maliciously for purposes of fraud. 

 Our payroll software can monitor and warn about payrolls that exceed the Maximum Hours and the Maximum Dollars.  While these amounts can be overwritten, you will be made aware that there is a “higher than normal” check in your payroll records.   Our hope with rolling this out is to catch a payment issue prior to it becoming a[KM1]  payment issue.

After WI Pay sets the limits per your specifications, you will receive a warning when submitting your payroll.  This applies to all clients who are using online payroll to calculate their payroll.  If you are not using the online payroll (why not ask us about it), we can enter thresholds for you and advise you of any threshold overages.

Funny thing – employees will usually catch an underpayment but will often “miss” an overpayment.  Hmmm…


 [KM1]

“Dear, your boss just called to tell you there was a slight mistake on your paycheck.”

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Hands On & In Control

Part of our Vision Statement is to be using state-of-the-art technology as much as possible.  We are 95% paper free and have secured new online software for both payroll and property management functions.

In the “old” days, our clients created a spreadsheet and faxed their hours to us.  We keyed the hours into our software and faxed them a payroll register for their approval.  They would review the payroll register, mark any corrections, and fax it back to us.  We would then make the changes as we interpreted them to be (sometimes an 8 looks like a 3 on thermal fax paper) and send them a new payroll register.  The client would then review again, sign the bottom as approved and fax it back to us.  At that point, we could move ahead with processing the payroll.  

The next big technology change was email – which helped with 8’s looking like 3’s, but as we know was far from secure.  Even with this advance, payroll still took multiple hours from start to finish.

Welcome web-based technology!!! 

Our new software has the capability for you to log in (to the same site as you go to retrieve your payroll reports) and enter your employee’s hours directly into the software.  You can then calculate the payroll (this is a pre-process), review the payroll register and you are done.  No more waiting for us to get back to you and you have access to your payroll at your convenience 24/7!

This is fast becoming the payroll procedure of choice as it allows for your payroll to be done your way – on your time schedule.  We will continue to review, adjust, and make suggestions.  We will also set up all deductions, etc., so that the net pay continues to calculate correctly. 

   Please let us know when you are ready to be hands on and in control!

WI Pay Tip Of The Day – Know Who You Are Working With!!

In Business Planning Class 101, you will be instructed to create a Vision, Mission and Values Statement for your company.  

Our statements are in the front of our employee manual.   While updating our manual I took some time to contemplate our statements.  Happily, I still agree with them – even though they have been in effect for almost 16 years.   Some say I am predictable, in this case, that pleases me.   If you have not taken the time to put your company’s Vision, Mission and Values on paper, perhaps now is a good time to do so.  Following are ours.   Feel free to borrow them and change to make them your own.  They have withstood the test of time for us!

Vision

Wisconsin Pay Specialists will be recognized as a leader by revolutionizing the payroll, bookkeeping and property management industries through successful partnerships, local, personal service and state-of-the-art technology seamlessly integrating the entire payroll, bookkeeping, and property management processes.  When businesses in Northeast Wisconsin think to hire a payroll, bookkeeping, or property management service, they will want to hire us!

Mission

Our mission is to provide accurate payroll, bookkeeping, property management and business services that save our clients’ time, help them to be more aware of their business’s financial condition and become more profitable in a friendly manner exhibiting exemplary customer service at all times.

Values

We uphold the values of teamwork, accountability, integrity, responsibility, personal growth, respect, and efficiency in both our internal co-worker relationships and our external customer relationships.

W I Pay Tip Of The Day – Worker’s Comp Audits – UGH

Tired of Worker’s Comp audits?

Tired of paying high premium bills after an audit?

Wish there were an easier way?

Then today is your lucky day!  We offer a pay-as-you-go option, which is quite literally pay-as-you-go. 

After your payroll is run, a file is automatically uploaded to the worker’s comp carrier, who then ACH’s your worker’s comp insurance premium for that payroll only.  Done.  No more audits, no more big bills after the audit.  It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Let us know if you are interested in simplifying your days and we will put you in touch with a Worker’s Comp expert who will get you set up and the next time you run payroll, you will be on your way to hands off worker’s compensation coverage!

W I Pay Tip Of The Day – Referrals

We are in month 4 of managing our lives and businesses in the midst of CoVid-19.  For some, this has been business as usual; for others, it has been devastating.    Early on we saw lots of social media posts encouraging us to order take-out from our local restaurants and to purchase from mom and pop shops rather than the big box stores. 

Now, let’s talk about referrals!  It is the way that most small businesses grow their business.  I tell you, you tell your friend, who tells her sister, who tells her mom and pretty soon business is booming. 

I usually only do business with businesses that are referred to me.  I feel that if you are willing to recommend a business to me, that business must have done right by you and will therefore, do right by me. 

When I refer you to a business that I have worked with, I am doing so with confidence that you will be treated well and taken care of.    I also know that if things are not going well, I can call that business on your behalf and help to get things moving smoothly. 

I don’t know anyone who grows up thinking they want to run payroll.  But I do know people who wake up wanting to help people run and grow their businesses.  By making referrals, I am helping both the business I am referring to AND the business needing the service/product.  It is truly a win-win!

For the month of July – Wisconsin Pay Specialists is offering a $50 gas card for a referral that signs on with us to do payroll or bookkeeping!  Don’t keep us a secret.

W I Pay Tip of the Day – Unemployment Update

Now that things are opening back up, keep in mind that if you call an employee back work and they refuse to come back, they should no longer be receiving unemployment and you need to complete the WD0003 (yellow form) indicating that they refused work. 

If we manage your unemployment claims, be sure to let us know of any employees who are receiving unemployment and have refused your offer to return to work so that we mark the correct box on the form!

Best wishes to everyone – stay healthy and let’s get to work!!