One of the most pressing audit issues for large taxpayers today centres on the Internal Revenue Code Section 965 transition tax. The Internal Revenue Service has designated Section 965 as a campaign issue and is actively auditing taxpayers' transition tax calculations and positions, along with other tax reform items. The stakes are high, particularly given the potential to pay this tax over eight years.
With the COVID-19 vaccination process underway, employers are navigating unprecedented issues within their workforce. This article explores the most pressing questions that employers are asking – including whether employers can (and should) mandate vaccination – as well as other novel workplace challenges stemming from the roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine.
With the COVID-19 vaccination process underway, employers are navigating unprecedented issues within their workforce. This article explores employers' obligations when implementing mandatory vaccination programmes, issues concerning employee data that is provided as proof of vaccination or pre-vaccination screening and defining 'reasonable accommodation' and potential Americans with Disabilities Act concerns.
The US District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently ruled in favour of Exxon Mobil Corporation in its battle against the government over tax penalties. Exxon had filed amended returns for its 2006 to 2009 tax years seeking a $1.35 billion tax refund based on a change of character of certain transactions. The government disallowed the refund claims and imposed a $200 million penalty pursuant to Section 6676 of the Internal Revenue Code. Exxon paid the penalty and filed suit for a refund.
Employers can implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, subject to some conditions and exceptions. There are a number of factors that employers should consider when determining whether to make a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory or voluntary, including the administrative burden, legal exposure and public relations issues. This article answers employers' key questions on the matter.
California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently adopted emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention in the workforce. These temporary standards will require most Californian employers to implement a written COVID-19 prevention programme meeting certain criteria. While many employers have already followed Cal/OSHA guidance to minimise employees' exposure to COVID-19, the new requirements warrant an immediate review of current policies to ensure compliance.
President Donald Trump recently issued an executive order which prohibits federal contractors and federal grant recipients from conducting any workplace training that implies, among other things, reverse discrimination. This requirement applies to all contracts and grants entered into after the order's effective date and takes effect 60 days after the order's effective date, potentially affecting many organisations that currently receive federal assistance through contracts, grants or other programmes.
As students begin a new school year, employers face a new challenge – employee leave and accommodation requests. With widespread remote learning and evolving legal obligations to provide paid leave to working parents, employers must navigate unique staffing challenges while complying with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and other state and local leave laws.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 685 into law, which will come into effect on 1 January 2021. The law creates an enforceable state-wide standard for how employers should handle potential exposure to COVID-19 and outbreaks in the workplace and expands the power of California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health to enforce this standard and take action to protect employees, including shutting down worksites deemed to be an 'imminent hazard' due to COVID-19 risk.
Employers with more than 500 employees nationally, and employers of healthcare providers and emergency responders previously exempted from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act requirements, must provide Californian employees with two weeks' supplemental paid sick leave for specified COVID-19 reasons. In addition to providing paid leave, the law requires employers to comply with urgent notice and posting requirements that are administratively burdensome.
A troubling New Jersey financial transaction tax proposal, which appeared to be gaining popularity over the past few months, has reportedly been left out of the 2021 budget deal that Governor Phil Murphy recently struck with legislative leaders. The decision to drop the transaction tax from the deal came days after the Wall Street Journal reported that prominent stock exchanges with data centres in New Jersey were prepared to exit the state if the tax plan was adopted.
The US Department of Labour recently issued an information letter indicating that, in limited circumstances, it will allow defined contribution retirement plans (eg, 401(k) plans) to indirectly invest in private equity funds. Specifically, the information letter allows plans to offer their participants a professionally managed asset allocation fund with a private equity component as an investment option.
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued proposed regulations under Section 1061, a provision enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 that recharacterises certain net long-term capital gain with respect to applicable partnership interests as short-term capital gain. The proposed regulations provide clarity on some of the statutory provisions. This article discusses some of the noteworthy provisions in the proposed regulations.
Many employers that reopened recently are now facing a new challenge – employee off-duty conduct. At stake are both workplace and customer safety, as well as the company's reputation. This article highlights different scenarios that employers are likely to face and provides tips on how they can practically navigate and mitigate any potential risks when responding to off-duty conduct issues.
The US District Court for the Southern District of New York recently struck down four parts of the US Department of Labour's final rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA provides COVID-19-related sick leave and family leave to employees of businesses which have fewer than 500 employees. This article examines what this decision means for employers.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires plan fiduciaries to act prudently and loyally when making decisions about a plan. In a recent case, a federal district court held that the plaintiff's allegations about expensive record-keeping costs and imprudent investment options failed to give rise to an inference that the defendants had violated their ERISA obligations.
States have imposed their own obligations on employers as part of their reopening plans. Employer requirements and best practices depend on the employer's locations of operation and type of business but, at a high level, there are general trends with respect to state-imposed employer obligations, including maintaining safe working conditions and monitoring employee health, undertaking sanitisation efforts, requiring the use of personal protective equipment and promoting telework.
COVID-19 safety plans are a way for employers to demonstrate to their employees, the public (for public-facing businesses) and, in certain cases, state governments that they have considered the risks associated with COVID-19 in their respective workplaces and have developed a response to these concerns. This article answers FAQs for employers regarding COVID-19 safety plans, including whether state-specific guidance exists and when such plans should be updated.
The employment and business decisions made by employers under the spectre of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic are now being tested by opportunistic plaintiffs' lawyers. Employers of all sizes should expect a flood of employment litigation alongside ever-changing conditions, constantly updated guidance and, at times, conflicting state and local guidance. Litigation avoidance will require a team effort and proactive communication – both internally and externally.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on organisations of all sizes across all industries. The uncertainty of the new normal is leading some employers to consider extreme, and often unnecessary, new policies in anticipation of the eventual return to work. This article focuses on strategies for employers to anticipate and address future workplace problems which may arise once employees return to work.