Acuity Blog

2022 Q1 Tax Calendar: Key Deadlines for Businesses and Other Employers

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the first quarter of 2022. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.

January 17 (The usual deadline of January 15 is a Saturday)

• Pay the final installment of 2021 estimated tax.
• Farmers and fishermen: Pay estimated tax for 2021.

January 31

• File 2021 Forms W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,” with the Social Security Administration and provide copies to your employees.
• Provide copies of 2021 Forms 1099-MISC, “Miscellaneous Income,” to recipients of income from your business where required.
• File 2021 Forms 1099-MISC, reporting nonemployee compensation payments in Box 7, with the IRS.
• File Form 940, “Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return,” for 2021. If your undeposited tax is $500 or less, you can either pay it with your return or deposit it. If it’s more than $500, you must deposit it. However, if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time, you have until February 10 to file the return.
• File Form 941, “Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return,” to report Medicare, Social Security and income taxes withheld in the fourth quarter of 2021. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until February 10 to file the return. (Employers that have an estimated annual employment tax liability of $1,000 or less may be eligible to file Form 944, “Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return.”)
• File Form 945, “Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax,” for 2021 to report income tax withheld on all nonpayroll items, including backup withholding and withholding on accounts such as pensions, annuities and IRAs. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time, you have until February 10 to file the return.

February 28

• File 2021 Forms 1099-MISC with the IRS if: 1) they’re not required to be filed earlier and 2) you’re filing paper copies. (Otherwise, the filing deadline is March 31.)

March 15

• If a calendar-year partnership or S corporation, file or extend your 2021 tax return and pay any tax due. If the return isn’t extended, this is also the last day to make 2021 contributions to pension and profit-sharing plans.
© 2021


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Helping Your Employees Make the Most of Email

Once a revolutionary breakthrough in communications technology, email is now an afterthought for many people. But that can cause problems for businesses: Servers get filled up, messages get lost, and employees’ productivity isn’t quite what it could be.

Although doing so may seem superfluous or antiquated, providing employees with some retraining or upskilling on proper email usage can improve efficiency and morale. Obviously, you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money on this, but a “lunch-and-learn” seminar or a series of quick meetings could prove effective and affordable.

Here are some email management tips that you might want to consider:

Set up project-specific folders. Too many users still store emails in one of three places: the in-box, the “Sent” folder or the “Deleted Items” folder. Creating job-specific folders allows employees to more easily find what they need and to periodically purge unneeded emails once a project or period ends.

Regularly check junk mail folders and adjust filters as necessary. Like many companies, yours has probably set up junk mail folders to cut down on the number of useless and potentially dangerous emails launched at your staff.

Bear in mind that you may need to periodically adjust the filter settings to ensure employees aren’t inadvertently blocking legitimate messages. Ask staffers to check their junk folders and see whether anything important is in them. Once an acceptable sensitivity level is set, establish an automatic archiving process to systematically purge junk emails.

Encourage employees to hit the unsubscribe button. They’re technically not spam but eventually end up that way. The e-newsletters, bulletins and other regular messages that employees signed up for years ago, but no longer use, can clutter up in-boxes and distract workers from their current job duties. Ask every employee to review their subscriptions and get rid of any they’re no longer using.

Refine distribution lists. Most businesses long ago established companywide and departmental email distribution lists. But, again, project-specific lists can greatly benefit the work groups that spring up in the normal course of operations. Remind users how to create their own distribution lists and, equally important, establish a policy for deleting these lists and the emails associated with them at the appropriate time.

Set daily times to check email. In the old days, employees might have hovered over their in-boxes, anxiously awaiting new messages and replying to nearly everything that came in. Now the problem may be the opposite.

With the popularity of texting and instant messaging, not to mention video calls and meetings, staff members may ignore their email for long periods. Recommend that they check their in-boxes at several specified times during the workday. This way, email won’t be a distraction, but it also won’t be a source of missed communications.

Discuss timely email responsiveness. How quickly one should respond to an email depends on various factors. However, if employees are too lax in their response times, it can have a negative impact on the company.

Customers, of course, won’t appreciate a business that takes too long to answer questions or address issues. Employees may also grow frustrated with each other when internal emails are left unread or not replied to.

If necessary, set company policies regarding responsiveness. Generally, business-related emails should be replied to within 24 to 48 hours, but you may want to tighten up that time frame for customer-facing staff.
© 2021


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IRS Announces Adjustments to Key Retirement Plan Limits

In Notice 2021-61, the IRS recently announced 2022 cost-of-living adjustments to dollar limits and thresholds for qualified retirement plans. Here are some highlights:

Elective deferrals. The annual limit on elective deferrals (employee contributions) will increase from $19,500 to $20,500 for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, as well as for Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pensions (SARSEPs). The annual limit will rise to $14,000, up from $13,500, for Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLEs) and SIMPLE IRAs.

Catch-up contributions. The annual limit on catch-up contributions for individuals age 50 and over remains at $6,500 for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, as well as for SARSEPs. It also stays at $3,000 for SIMPLEs and SIMPLE IRAs.

Annual additions. The limit on annual additions — that is, employer contributions plus employee contributions — to 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans will increase from $58,000 to $61,000.

Compensation. The annual limit on compensation that can be taken into account for contributions and deductions will increase from $290,000 to $305,000 for 401(k)s and other qualified plans. This includes Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs) and SARSEPs.

Highly compensated employees (HCEs). The threshold for determining who is an HCE will increase from $130,000 to $135,000.

Key employees. The threshold for determining whether an officer is a “key employee” under the top-heavy rules, as well as the cafeteria plan nondiscrimination rules, will increase from $185,000 to $200,000.

Participation in a SEP or SARSEP. The threshold for determining participation in either type of plan will remain $650.

Business owners, along with their HR and benefits staff or providers, should carefully note when the new limits and thresholds apply. Sometimes the answer isn’t obvious. For example, the 2022 compensation threshold used to identify HCEs will be generally used by 401(k) plans for 2023 nondiscrimination testing, not 2022.

Review your employee communications, plan procedures and administrative forms, updating them as necessary to reflect these changes. Whether your company offers a 401(k) or another type of defined contribution plan, we can provide further information on the applicable tax rules.
© 2021


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Use Change Management to Brighten Your Company’s Future

Businesses have had to grapple with unprecedented changes over the last couple years. Think of all the steps you’ve had to take to safeguard your employees from COVID-19, comply with government mandates and adjust to the economic impact of the pandemic. Now look ahead to the future — what further changes lie in store in 2022 and beyond?

One hopes the transformations your company undergoes in the months ahead are positive and proactive, rather than reactive. Regardless, the process probably won’t be easy. This is where change management comes in. It involves creating a customized plan for ensuring that you communicate effectively and provide employees with the leadership, training and coaching needed to change successfully.

Prepare for Resistance

Employees resist change in the workplace for many reasons. Some may see it as a disruption that will lead to loss of job security or status (whether real or perceived). Other staff members, particularly long-tenured ones, can have a hard time breaking out of the mindset that “the old way is better.”

Still others, in perhaps the most dangerous of perspectives, distrust their employer’s motives for change. They may be listening to — or spreading — gossip or misinformation about the state or strategic direction of the company.

It doesn’t help the situation when certain initial changes appear to make employees’ jobs more difficult. For example, moving to a new location might enhance the image of the business or provide more productive facilities. But a move also may increase some employees’ commuting times or put them in a drastically different working environment. When their daily lives are affected in such ways, employees tend to question the decision and experience high levels of anxiety.

Make Your Case

Often, when employees resist change, a company’s leadership can’t understand how ideas they’ve spent weeks, months or years carefully deliberating could be so quickly rejected. They overlook the fact that employees haven’t had this time to contemplate and get used to the new concepts and processes. Instead of helping to ease employee fears, leadership may double down on the change, more strictly enforcing new rules and showing little patience for disagreements or concerns.

It’s here that the implementation effort can break down and start costing the business real dollars and cents. Employees resist change in many counterproductive ways, from intentionally lengthening learning curves to calling in sick when they aren’t to filing formal complaints or lawsuits. Some might even quit — an increasingly common occurrence as of late.

By engaging in change management, you may be able to lessen the negative impact on productivity, morale and employee retention.

Craft Your Future

The content of a change-management plan will, of course, depend on the nature of the change in question as well as the size and mission of your company. For major changes, you may want to invest in a business consultant who can help you craft and execute the plan. Getting the details right matters — the future of your business may depend on it.
© 2021


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