Vision Payroll

November 8, 2018

New Massachusetts Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) Form

Massachusetts DOR Releases Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) Form.

The Department of Revenue has made the new 2018 Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) form available to taxpayers through the MassTaxConnect (MTC) web portal.

What is the HIRD Form?

The HIRD form is a new state reporting requirement for Massachusetts Employers in 2018. The HIRD form collects employer level information about your employer sponsored insurance (ESI). The HIRD reporting is administered by MassHealth and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) through the MTC web portal. The HIRD form will assist MassHealth in identifying members with access to an ESI who may be eligible for the MassHealth Premium Assistance Program.

Who is required to complete the HIRD Form?

State law requires every employer in Massachusetts with six or more employees to submit the HIRD form annually. If you are an employer who currently has or had six or more employees in any of the past 12 months, you are required to complete the form.

When will the form be due?

The form will be available beginning November 1 and must be completed by November 30. The form must be filed electronically through your MTC account and the state will not accept paper forms.

How do I submit the HIRD form?

The HIRD reporting is administered by the DOR through the MTC web portal. The MTC is where employer-taxpayers file returns, forms, and make tax payments. To file your HIRD form, login to your MTC withholding account, on the Accounts tab choose Withholding Tax, and select the “File health insurance responsibility disclosure” hyperlink under the “I Want To” column. If you do not have an MTC account, or if you forgot your password or username, you may follow the instructions provided on the MTC web page or contact the DOR at (617)466-3940.

Can Vision Payroll help me with this filing?

The HIRD Form contains very specific information regarding your employer sponsored health insurance plan including eligibility criteria, employment categories, enrollment periods, and plan year dates. Unfortunately, Vision Payroll does not have access to the required benefit information. Furthermore, as we are a bulk filer of Massachusetts taxes, we do not have access to individual MTC login information. For help with your login credentials, please call the DOR at (617)466-3940.

If you do need assistance with the electronic filing of the form we are offering two options to our clients:

  1. If you are required to file the HIRD Form (any employer with more than 6 employees at any time over the past 12 months) but do not offer an employer sponsored plan, we will file the form electronically on your behalf. Please complete all of Part 1 and Part 2, Question 1 of the 2018 HIRD Paper Form. Sign and date the form.
  2. If you are required to file the HIRD Form and do offer an employer sponsored plan, Vision Payroll will file the electronic version of the form with all the relevant information about your employer sponsored health plans that you provide to us on the 2018 HIRD Paper Form.

Please note: the state will not accept a paper copy of this form.

The fee schedule to have Vision Payroll file on your behalf is on the 2018 HIRD Paper Form.

For more information about the new HIRD form reporting requirements, please contact us at (978)840-1635.

April 24, 2018

Massachusetts DUA Releases EMAC Supplement Determinations

The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has made available its 2018 Quarter 1 Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) Supplement Determinations. The EMAC Supplement is determined by multiplying a subject employee’s wages by 5%, up to a maximum tax per employee per year of $750.

Vision Payroll will submit the payment on your behalf only upon your request. Please contact Vision Payroll for further details on this option.

A sample notice is reproduced below:

Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) Supplement Determination

The Department of Unemployment Assistance EMAC Supplement unit has matched wage records against records maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, and has determined that for quarter 1 and year 2018 you are liable under G.L. c. 148, § 189A for the EMAC Supplement in the amount of $##,###.00  for XXX employees.

NOTE: The actual notice will contain your liability amount and number of subject employees.

Employer liability is determined as follows:

(1) Conditions under Which the Employer Becomes Subject to the Employer Medical Assistance

Contribution Supplement.

(a) Beginning with the first calendar quarter of 2018, any employer who employs six or more employees in any quarter is subject to the EMAC Supplement for each such quarter.

(b) An employer’s number of employees in a calendar quarter is calculated by dividing the sum of the employer’s three monthly employment levels for the quarter by three. An employer’s employment level for each month of the quarter is the number of employees who worked or received wages for any part of the pay period that includes the 12th of the month as reportable to DUA, pursuant to G.L. c. 151A, §14P.

(2) Liability for Employer Medical Assistance Contribution Supplement.

An employer subject to the EMAC Supplement for a quarter is liable for payment of the EMAC Supplement applicable to that quarter if one or more of its employees received health insurance coverage either through the MassHealth agency or through ConnectorCare for a continuous period of at least fifty-six days; provided, however, that an employer shall not be liable for the EMAC Supplement in a quarter for any of its employees who in that quarter have health insurance coverage through the MassHealth agency either on the basis of permanent and total disability as defined under Title XVI of the Social Security Act or under applicable state laws or as a secondary payer because such employees are enrolled in employer-sponsored insurance. You may obtain information regarding the identity of the individuals who have received coverage as described above or by logging on to your UI Online account or by calling 617-626-5975.

Request For Hearing

This determination will become final unless you request a hearing within ten days from the date on which you received the determination. You may request a hearing though your UI Online account, or by completing the information below and mailing this form to:

EMAC Supplement Hearings Department
Charles F. Hurley Building
19 Staniford Street
2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02114

A hearing will relate solely to the determination for which the hearing request is made. Any determination you wish to dispute must be the subject of a separate request for a hearing. I hereby request a hearing with regard to the EMAC Supplement Determination for quarter 1 and year 2018.

Employer Name: _________________________________________________
Employer Address: ________________________________________________
Signed by: ______________________________________________________
Title: __________________________________________________________
Organization (Employer or Authorized Agent): __________________________
Date: __________________________________________________________

Any hearing will be limited to the issues cognizable under the EMAC Supplement statute, G.L. c. 149, § 189A raised in this request.

Please circle the reason for the appeal. If the reason is Other, please explain:

  • Does the employer have more than 5 employees?
  • Are any of the individuals included in the determination as “employees” independent contractors?
  • Are the payments made to the employee “wages” for the purposes of UI?
  • Has the individual been on qualifying health care for a continuous period of 56 days?
  • Other: _____________________________________

June 19, 2015

Massachusetts Releases Final Regulations for Earned Sick Time

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — Vision @ 6:51 pm
Earned Sick Time Regulations Published

Earned Sick Time Regulations Published

The office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today published final regulations on the Earned Sick Time law today giving employers seven full business days to implement the regulations. The Earned Sick Time law, Question 4 on the November 2014 ballot, takes effect July 1, 2015.

All private employers, including not-for-profit organizations, maintaining an employee with a primary place of work in Massachusetts are required to allow almost all Massachusetts employees to accrue and use up to forty hours of earned sick time per benefit year. Employers who maintain an average of eleven or more employees are required to provide earned paid sick time.

All existing sick leave and paid time off policies should be reviewed and many will need to be amended to comply with the new law. As the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law is complex and penalties for non-compliance can be severe, Vision Payroll strongly recommends employers consult with an attorney specializing in labor law to help ensure compliance with the law and related regulations.

Vision Payroll will be providing a webinar on Friday June 26, 2015 at 11 am to provide further information on the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law. Although the webinar is free, space is limited and advance registration is required. Click here for further information and to register for this important webinar.

April 19, 2014

Important Notice for All Massachusetts Employers Regarding Unemployment Tax Rates


Release of Massachusetts Unemployment Rates Is Delayed

Release of Massachusetts Unemployment Rates Is Delayed

Due to late action by the Massachusetts legislature and the governor, unemployment rates will NOT be available by the legally mandated deadline of April 20, 2014.

At Vision Payroll, we will be submitting wage information by the filing deadline of April 30, 2014. Employer rates will not be available until May 19, 2014. Unemployment contributions must be paid by May 30, 2014.

Although the rate schedule used to determine the rates remains unchanged from 2013, most employers will have a different rate for 2014. That is because in addition to the rate tables, employer rates are determined by wages paid, unemployment benefits charged directly to your account, and the solvency assessment that the state charges employers to pay for benefits paid to the employees of other employers.

If your rate increases from 2013 to 2014, we will need to withdraw additional money beginning May 19, 2014 to pay the additional tax by the deadline. We will contact all employers with the additional amount due. Additionally, we will begin to collect with the new rate (higher or lower) with each payroll as soon as possible after rates are released. Further, with the last payroll of the second quarter, we will make the final adjustment for second quarter taxes.

Since we cannot finalize your first quarter quarterlies until the new unemployment rates are released, we are not going to post online or mail out quarterly packages for affected employers. If you need certain forms, e.g., for a workers comp audit, please contact our offices and we can make them available. Otherwise, we will be sending first quarter packages to affected employers in late May and early June.

Please contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions.

November 19, 2011

US Department of Labor National Emergency Grant to Assist Workers Affected by Layoffs at 12 Massachusetts Companies

US Department of Labor National Emergency Grant to Assist Workers Affected by Layoffs at 12 Massachusetts Companies
US Department of Labor National Emergency Grant to Assist Workers Affected by Layoffs at 12 Massachusetts Companies
The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced a $2,261,417 National Emergency Grant to provide re-employment services to about 365 workers affected by layoffs at 12 companies throughout Massachusetts, including four employee staffing businesses that provided workers for the other companies.

Layoffs Scheduled to Continue Through 2012

The layoffs, which began in May 2008 and are scheduled to continue until March 2012, are occurring at Biogen Idec in Cambridge, Commercial Sheet Metal in Canton, Covidien in Mansfield, EDO Fiber Innovations/ITT Corp. in Walpole, Henkel Corp. in Billerica, International Power America in Marlborough, Reveal Imaging Technologies Inc. in Bedford and Unilever-Breyers Ice Cream in Framingham. The staffing agencies include Kelly Services in Quincy, Randstad in Boston, Aerostek in Braintree and Total Technical Services in Waltham.

DOL Secretary Solis Comments on Grant

“This funding from the federal government is a step toward helping Massachusetts workers, who face a challenging market, find new employment,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The grant will support efforts to prepare these individuals for good jobs in high-growth occupations.”

Funds Are Awarded to the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development

Awarded to the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development, the grant will provide training and supportive services for affected workers. Supplemental services will be available to workers who also have been deemed eligible for benefits in the form of Trade Adjustment Assistance. Those who are not eligible for TAA will receive the full array of employment-related services available under this grant.

Additional Funding May be Available at a Later Date

Of the $2,261,417 announced today, $998,078 will be released initially. Additional funding up to the amount approved will be made available as the commonwealth demonstrates a continued need for assistance.

National Emergency Grants Are Part of Discretionary Fund

National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor’s discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state’s ability to meet specific guidelines.

October 3, 2011

Massachusetts DOS Releases Opinion Letter on Duration of Wage Rates for Multiyear School Bus Contracts

MA EOLWD Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein
The Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety (DOS) issues prevailing wage schedules to cities, towns, counties, districts, authorities, and agencies of the Commonwealth for construction projects and several other types of public work. These prevailing wage schedules contain hourly wage rates that workers must receive when working on a public project.

DOS Recently Released PW-2011-01-01.06.11 on Prevailing Wages

The DOS regularly issues Prevailing Wage Opinion Letters and recently released PW-2011-01-01.06.11. This letter confirms “the duration of wage rates issued for contracts between school districts and school bus companies.”

DOS Provides Analysis of Relevant Massachusetts Law

According to the DOS, the relevant law is contained in MGL c 71, §7A. “§7A provides, in relevant part, that: ‘no contract [for the transportation of pupils] shall be awarded except upon the basis of prevailing wage rates…’ §7A further provides that ‘[P]rior to awarding a contract, the school committee…shall request the commissioner…to determine the rate of wages to be paid to each person to be employed by the bidder under said contract, and shall forward to the commissioner a list of jobs to be performed under the contract.’ Because the statute specifies that a list of all jobs shall be provided to the commissioner and included in the prevailing wage schedule, those words should be given full effect by the commissioner in applying the statute. Accordingly, the plain language of the statute directs the commissioner to set wage rates for the bus driver and any other personnel that the bidder is required to provide under the contract.”

The DOS Interprets the Phrase “Contract Term”

According to the DOS, it “interprets the phrase ‘contract term’ with respect to the plain language meaning of the term. Accordingly, if the original term of a school bus contract is, for e.g., three years, then the wage rates contained on the wage schedule for the contract are applicable to that three year term. Any extension of the original term would therefore trigger the requirement to obtain updated wage rates. This is consistent with the way awarding authorities treat renewals/options to renew.”

Vision Payroll Assists Employers Preparing Certified Weekly Payroll Reports

Vision Payroll is ready to assist employers in gathering information for certified weekly payroll reports. Vision Payroll can also prepare the certified weekly payroll reports for submission to the proper authorities. Contact Vision Payroll today to get started.

October 2, 2011

New England Unemployment Rate Drops To 7.8 Percent in August

Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
The New England unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.8% in August, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently. Regional Commissioner Denis M. McSweeney noted that the over-the-year change in New England’s unemployment rate was not statistically significant. The national jobless rate was unchanged at 9.1%, but was 0.5 percentage point lower than a year earlier.

Pacific Division Continues to Report Highest Rate

New England is one of nine geographic divisions nationwide. Among the nine divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest unemployment rate, 11.2% in August. The West North Central again registered the lowest rate, 6.9%. Over the month, the East North Central was the only division to experience a statistically significant unemployment rate change (+0.2 percentage point). The East North Central also recorded the only significant rate change among divisions over the year (-0.6 percentage point).

Four New England States Have Significantly Lower Rates than Rest of Nation

In August, five of the six New England states posted jobless rates that were significantly different from that of the United States. New Hampshire (5.3%), Vermont (5.9%), Massachusetts (7.4%), and Maine (7.6%) recorded lower-than-average unemployment rates and were among 25 states in the country to do so. In fact, New Hampshire reported the fourth-lowest jobless rate nationwide. In contrast, Rhode Island (10.6%) had the highest jobless rate among the New England states and was among eight states and the District of Columbia with rates significantly higher than the national average. Connecticut was among the 17 remaining states that registered unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

No New England State Had a Significant Rate Increase in August

In August, seven states and the District of Columbia posted statistically significant rate increases from July. The six New England states were among the 43 remaining states that registered jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

Most States Had Minimal Change over the Last Year

Over the year, five states recorded statistically significant unemployment decreases. The District of Columbia posted the only significant rate increase from a year earlier (+1.3 percentage points). The six New England states were among the 45 states that registered jobless rates not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.

September 30, 2011

Question of the Week: What Are the IRS and DOL Doing About Workers Who Receive 1099s?

IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman
IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman
This week’s question comes from Steve, a small business owner.

Steve asks:

I’ve read about the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) and its application process with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). What are the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) doing about workers who receive 1099s?

Answer: The IRS and DOL are entering into agreements that include the IRS and DOL as well as several states to share information and coordinate enforcement of current laws and regulations.

Memoranda Signed at Washington Ceremony

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently hosted a ceremony at DOL headquarters in Washington to sign a memorandum of understanding with the IRS that will improve departmental efforts to end the business practice of misclassifying employees in order to avoid providing employment protections. In addition, labor commissioners and other agency leaders representing seven states signed memoranda of understanding with the department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and, in some cases, its Employee Benefits Security Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Office of the Solicitor. The signatory states are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Utah and Washington. Secretary Solis also announced agreements for the WHD to enter into memoranda of understanding with the state labor agencies of Hawaii, Illinois and Montana, as well as with New York’s attorney general.

DOL and IRS Will Share Information with Participating States

The memoranda of understanding will enable the DOL to share information and coordinate law enforcement with the IRS and participating states in order to level the playing field for law-abiding employers and ensure that employees receive the protections to which they are entitled under federal and state law.

Secretary Solis: We’re Standing United to End the Practice of Misclassifying Employees

“We’re here today to sign a series of agreements that together send a coordinated message: We’re standing united to end the practice of misclassifying employees,” said Secretary Solis. “We are taking important steps toward making sure that the American dream is still available for all employees and responsible employers alike.”

Commissioner Shulman: We Will Work Together More Efficiently to Address Worker Misclassification Issues

“This agreement takes the partnership between the IRS and DOL to a new level,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “In this new phase of our relationship, we will work together more efficiently to address worker misclassification issues, and better serve the needs of small businesses and employees.”

Misclassification Can Create Economic Pressure for Law-Abiding Business Owners

Business models that attempt to change, obscure or eliminate the employment relationship are not inherently illegal, unless they are used to evade compliance with federal labor laws — for example, if an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor and subsequently denied rights and benefits to which he or she is entitled under the law. In addition, misclassification can create economic pressure for law-abiding business owners.

Memoranda Arose as Part of the Misclassification Initiative

These memoranda of understanding arose as part of the department’s Misclassification Initiative, which was launched under the auspices of Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force with the goal of preventing, detecting and remedying employee misclassification.

Contact Vision Payroll Today

Contact Vision Payroll if you have further questions on the memoranda of understanding.

September 24, 2011

Back-To-Back—Vision Payroll Wins Prestigious National Award for Second Consecutive Year!

For the second straight year, Vision Payroll has been selected as an Outstanding Achievement Award winner by Payroll Associates, the leading payroll software provider in the country. The platinum level award, the highest honor given, was announced at the annual users’ conference held recently in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Customer Service Is a Top Priority at Vision Payroll

“Many companies claim to make customer service a priority,” said Anne Leader, president of Vision Payroll. “To receive a platinum-level award and be one of only four companies from among hundreds of eligible companies to win in consecutive years proves that we at Vision Payroll make customer service our top priority every day.

“Our customers recognize this dedication and that’s why each year hundreds of them choose to use Vision Payroll for their payroll and other employer services.

“We thank our employees for their hard work and customer focus that puts a human face on our leading-edge technology. We also want to thank our business associates, whose belief in us is evidenced by their many referrals each year that allow us to grow our business successfully. Finally, we say thank you to our customers for their on-going support. The gratitude and loyalty our customers show Vision Payroll make awards like this possible.”

Vision Payroll Offers a Superior Solution in Payroll and Other Employment-Related Areas

Vision Payroll of Leominster, Massachusetts provides payroll processing, human resource management, time and attendance, recruiting, employee screening, and talent management and collaborates with the top providers in other related areas to deliver a superior solution for the employee-related needs of today’s employers.

September 10, 2011

MA Taxpayers Affected by Tropical Storm Irene Receive Extension of Time to File Returns and Pay Taxes

Hurricane Irene, Courtesy of NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Hurricane Irene, Courtesy of NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Due to the damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in Massachusetts beginning on August 27, 2011, President Barack Obama declared the following counties a federal disaster area: Berkshire and Franklin. Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief.

Declaration Leads to Extension of Payroll Tax and Other Deadlines

Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced recently that it will waive failure to deposit penalties for employment and excise taxes due after August 26, 2011 and before September 13, 2011 as long as the deposits are made by September 12, 2011. In addition, affected taxpayers have until October 31, 2011 to file most tax returns.

Vision Payroll Is Here to Help Affected Taxpayers with Payroll Tax Issues

Contact Vision Payroll if you were affected by Tropical Storm Irene and need further information on the relief provided by the IRS.

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