2020 brought many regulatory changes that affected small and large businesses alike, and the new year promises to be no different. From the ongoing Coronavirus crisis to the change in leadership at the presidential level, 2021 will likely see a slew of policy changes of which entrepreneurs should be aware. According to CPA Practice Advisor, here are ten to keep in mind as you create your business plan for the upcoming months.
- New COVID-19 Stimulus Package
We’ve detailed the newest Coronavirus-related stimulus package here, so be sure to check out our article if you haven’t already. In a nutshell, the government’s recent efforts to alleviate the strain that COVID-19 has had on both businesses and individuals includes extensions of many of the provisions of previous legislation such as the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) as well as loosening the requirements to receive several kinds of aid.
- Leave Policies
New regulations for offering paid family, medical, and COVID-19 related leave have been put into place. While tax credits for FFCRA leaves have been extended through the end of March 2021, offering paid Coronavirus leave is no longer mandatory for employers.
In the wake of the election of President Joe Biden, there are expected to be many changes made to existing tax rules and regulations. It is possible that employers will see higher tax rates to make up for money spent in stimulus packages now that many state trust funds have been depleted. Keep an eye on the IRS website to remain abreast of these upcoming changes.
- Safety Standards
Since President Biden has repeatedly mentioned creating new safety standards for the workplace as a result of Coronavirus risk, it is likely that we will see some legislative change in this area in the coming months at both the state and federal levels. Considerations will likely be made for vaccination, employee safety training, and record keeping for the purposes of contact-tracing.
- Telecommuting Guidelines
Since many businesses have adopted work-from-home policies due to social distancing, there have been several labor and tax ramifications. This year we expect clarification on tax laws that come into play when the employer and remote worker operate in different states, as well as hourly reporting requirements for non-exempt employees.
- Health Care
President Biden had shown his support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA,) which is currently under review by the Supreme Court, with a decision expected this Spring.
- Joint Employer Regulations
Keep an eye on the Department of Labor and National Labor Relations Board to learn about upcoming rulings on “when an employer can be held jointly liable for federal wage and hour obligations to the employee,” (CPA Practice Advisor.)
- Employee vs. Independent Contractor Classification
The Biden administration is expected to weigh in on the DOL Wage and Hour Division, which decides what criteria employers must meet in order to classify a worker as an “independent contractor” versus an employee of the company.
- Retirement Options
Recent legislation has brought many changes to existing laws regarding retirement funds, including the establishment of pooled employer plans (PEPs) by the SECURE Act of 2019 and the partial termination of retirement plan relief included in the last COVID-19 stimulus bill. In the upcoming year, the fates of the proposed Savers Act, which would raise the ceiling of retirement plan contributions threefold, and SECURE 2.0, which would aid small businesses in the process of establishing retirement plans for their employees, will be decided.
- Marijuana Legalization
Although marijuana has been legalized in several places, it remains an illegal drug in the eyes of many state governments. Keep an eye on your area’s regulatory changes in this area, especially if your business is directly affected by marijuana distribution in any way.
It’s difficult to keep track of federal, state and local changes, so be sure to talk with your CPA and human resource representatives to keep you in compliance with all regulatory changes that occur in 2021 and beyond.