Payroll Audits Put Small Employers on Edge
According to the Wall Street Journal, the appeal of using outside workers is growing as many small businesses struggle to stay lean. Some employers also are turning to contractors to avoid hitting the 50-employee threshold that would require them to pay for employees’ health insurance, starting next year, under the federal health-care law, or pay a penalty.
State studies have shown that local businesses misclassify anywhere from 10% to more than 60% of their workers as independent contractors. Many business owners blame the complex tax code, which doesn’t offer black-and-white standards for telling the difference. The distinction is based on the employer’s degree of control over a worker, the length of the relationship and a series of other factors. But such factors are open to interpretation. Past court cases on the issue have had different outcomes, providing little guidance.
US SEC stumbles in Deloitte’s Chinese audit case
As reported by Reuters, U.S. securities regulators faltered at times in federal court on Wednesday as they sought to convince a judge to force a Chinese unit of audit firm Deloitte to hand over documents in connection with a fraud investigation.
It is unclear whether the Securities and Exchange Commission’s halting performance in U.S. district court could hurt its efforts to pursue fraud investigations into Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges.
But it raises questions about the agency’s ability to handle the complex and delicate legal matters when it comes to China.
Google Puts the Kibosh on Google Reader RSS Service
According to ABC, Google’s doing some spring cleaning, again. The company, as it has in years past, is killing some of its services, most notably its RSS Web application Google Reader.
The service, for those who never used it, allows you to view all your RSS feeds – headlines and articles from news organizations – in one central spot. Come July 1, though, you won’t be able to read anything using the application; you won’t be able to use it at all.
While the 7-year-old service is one of the most popular RSS services on the Web, Google says the number of users has declined. It also says it would prefer to focus on fewer products.
Senate begins bipartisan meetings on tax reform
As reported by the Washington Post, the parties may be at war over the federal budget, but Republicans and Democrats are locking arms over taxes: Key committees in the House and now the Senate have launched a bipartisan campaign to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code.
On Thursday, the full membership of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee will hold the first of more than a dozen private meetings to review options for overhauling the code, with the hope of producing legislation later this year.