FROM: Sloan, Montgomery, Gregory & Hall, Inc.
SUBJECT: New Year Reminders
DATE: January 1, 2019
The age for receiving full retirement benefits in 2019 is 66 for persons born from January 2, 1943 to January 1, 1955. The full retirement age for persons born in 1955 is 66 years and 2 months. The full retirement age will increase by two additional months each successive year until reaching 67 years for those born in 1960 or later.
Persons receiving early retirement benefits who are at least 62 years of age but are under the full retirement age can earn $17,640.00 per year ($1,470.00 per month) in 2019 without losing benefits. One dollar ($1.00) in benefits will be withheld for every two dollars ($2.00) earned above the limit.
Persons who reach full retirement age in 2019 may earn $46,920.00 per year ($3,910.00 per month) in the months prior to reaching full retirement age. The penalty for earnings in excess of $46,920.00 is $1.00 for every $3.00 earned over the limit. There is no earnings limit beginning the month a person reaches full retirement age.
The 2019 earnings base for Social Security (old-age, survivors, and disability insurance – OASDI) tax will increase to $132,900.00, and the base for the Medicare part of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax will have no limit. As always, employers must match the tax payments withheld.
The maximum monthly Social Security benefit for an employee retiring at full retirement age is $2,788.00.
Mileage Reimbursement Rate for Business Use of Personal Vehicle
The mileage rate an employer may reimburse an employee for business use of a personal vehicle will increase from 54.5 to 58 cents per mile in 2019. The mileage allowance is intended to cover fuel, taxes, depreciation, insurance, and maintenance associated with operating a personal vehicle for business purposes.
The 2019 rate for miles driven for medical or moving purposes is 20 cents and 14 cents per mile for miles driven in service of charitable organizations.
Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)
The federal tax rate remains at 6.0% on the first $7,000.00 of wages earned for 2019. However, with a federal credit of 5.4% for businesses that pay their state unemployment taxes on time and in full, this results in a net tax rate of 0.6%. This equates to $42.00 per employee who earns at least $7,000.00.
South Carolina Unemployment Insurance
For 2019, unemployment tax rates will decrease for all but the lowest and highest tax classes. The lowest rate will remain at $8.40 while the highest will be $764.40 for each employee who earns the full base wage of $14,000.00. New accounts will initially be assigned a rate of $121.80.
The current maximum weekly unemployment benefit is $326.00 and claimants who are eligible without disqualification will receive benefits chargeable to a liable employer for up to 20 weeks.
North Carolina Unemployment Insurance
The maximum weekly benefit amount remains at $350.00 and can be drawn from 12-20 weeks, dependent on the state’s unemployment rate.
Rates for employers range from $14.10 to $1,353.60 per employee who earns the full wage base. The taxable wage base increases from $23,500.00 to $24,300.00 for 2019. New accounts will initially be assigned a tax rate of $243.00 per employee who earns the full wage base.
Georgia Unemployment Insurance
The Georgia Department of Labor announced recently that it will not mail the Employer Tax Rate Notice (form DOL-626) to employers starting with the 2019 tax rates. Instead, employers have access to these documents online through the employer portal https://eresponse.gdol.ga.gov/idp/sso/employer/login. Click on the link called Establish Administrator Access and follow the prompts.
The taxable wage base will remain at $9,500.00 for 2019. Rates for employers will range from $3.80 to $769.50 per employee who earns the full wage base. Newly established accounts are assigned a beginning rate of $256.60.
The current maximum weekly benefit amount is $330.00 and can be drawn from 14-20 weeks, dependent on the state’s unemployment rate. Increases, if enacted, usually take effect on July 1st.
OSHA Form 300 Must Be Posted by February 1, 2019
The revised OSHA Form 300 and instructions are available at OSHA’s website www.osha.gov. Illnesses and accidents which occurred in the workplace in 2018 must be recorded and posted on the OSHA Form 300. This summary should be posted by February 1, 2019, and should remain in place until April 30, 2019. The form should then be kept on file for five (5) years.
Companies with 10 or less full or part-time employees at any one time in the previous calendar year are normally exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements. Several industry groups, including automobile dealerships and lumber and building supply dealers, were previously exempt from these requirements but are subject to the recordkeeping requirements as of 2015. A complete listing of companies that are subject to or exempt from the recordkeeping requirements can be found at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping.
Harassment/Discrimination Training Available for Managers and Employees
Over the past year, many of our clients have scheduled Harassment and Discrimination awareness training sessions for employees as well as prevention and response training for managers and supervisors. Although not mandatory in the Carolinas or Georgia at this time, such state level training requirements are becoming more common. In addition, the EEOC and the federal courts have made it clear that employers who provide periodic training will be viewed more favorably when a claim of harassment or discrimination is filed.
The consultants at Sloan Montgomery have been conducting this training with clients for years. Contact our office for additional details and to obtain a quote on this service, which will be based on the number of sessions and locations involved.
If you have questions regarding the topics covered in this Information Release, you may contact our firm, Sloan, Montgomery, Gregory & Hall, Inc., at (803) 782-9246.
This bulletin is provided as a service to clients and is only to give information of a general nature. It is not intended as, nor should it be considered, legal advice or opinion.