CUFBL, a division of SACU, Wins Regional Lender Award For Second Straight Year

SACU logoCU Factory Built Lending (CUFBL) received the 2013 MHI Regional Lender of the Year Award for Manufactured and Modular Housing at the 2013 National Congress & Expo in Las Vegas, NV, winning the award for the second consecutive year.  A division of SACU (San Antonio Federal Credit Union), CUFBL specializes in financing for manufactured homes in more than 40 states.

Barry Noffsinger, Sales and Marketing Manager of the East Region, and John Walters, Sales and Marketing Manager of the West Region, accepted the award on behalf of CUFBL. The company received this honor because of their outstanding performance as the regional lender that best contributes to product innovation, provides the best response to meet customer needs, contributes to the well-being of the manufactured housing lending industry and demonstrates ethical and prudent lending practices.

CUFBL - 2013 Regional Lender of the Year Award 4-17-13

CU Factory Built Lending representatives (L) Barry Nofsinger, East Region Sales & Marketing Manager, and (R) John Walters, West Region Sales & Marketing Manager, accept the 2013 MHI Regional Lender of the Year Award at the 2013 National Congress and Expo for Manufactured and Modular Housing.

CUFBL was recognized for its continued focus on innovation by developing new programs such as The Equity Edge, which offers even lower rates for customers who have down payments greater than 35%, a Land in Lieu Program that allows customers to use the equity in their land toward their down payment, a Land/Home Program that eliminates the need for a construction loan , a Community Lending Platform that allows communities to continue to finance homes “in-house” while being SAFE Act compliant and a Park Model Program.

“CUFBL is extremely pleased to be recognized again for this prestigious award.  Our team of dedicated professionals continues to work very hard to serve the industry and ensure our loan products add to the value proposition of choosing manufactured housing.  We are excited to share this award with our team and remain appreciative of their efforts, which make this recognition possible.” Anthony Ross, SACU Senior General Manager of Indirect Lending, said.

Since 2003, CUFBL has helped meet the growing demand for financing in the manufactured housing market, with regional offices in Greensboro, NC; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; and Fairfax, VT; serving current and prospective manufactured home owners across the United States.

CUFBL is a division of SACU, a $2.9 billion credit union, serving more than 250,000 members in San Antonio and Houston, Texas, and in communities across the country through CUFBL, its manufactured housing division. For information, please contact Dave Soper, Sales and Marketing Analyst, at toll free 1-866-279-1899 Ext. 6683 or dsoper@sacu.com.

Free Trade Alliance Names Interim Vice President

FTA logo colorFree Trade Alliance San Antonio has named Rogelio Garcia as Interim Vice President. Rogelio has been a part of Free Trade Alliance since 2000 and has been involved in various activities for the organization such as developing and promoting the Alliance and its programs locally and internationally, coordinating trade missions and events, membership recruitment and services, providing international expertise to members, serving as the liaison between the organization and its members and providing oversight and guidance to projects of high importance.

Prior to this promotion to VP, Rogelio served as Director of Business Development and led the Alliance’s foreign direct investment initiatives with his team. Rogelio helped attract foreign based companies to invest and do business in San Antonio through the International Business Development Center (IBDC) program and other trade related services. Since 2003, he has also been an adjunct professor at the University of the Incarnate Word teaching the Importing & Exporting business course.

As Vice President, Rogelio will be the chief operating officer for staff. He will report directly to the President & CEO of the organization and serve as the senior Alliance staff member in his absence.

Methodist Healthcare Names Gabriel Marrufo as Chief Financial Officer at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital

Methodist stone oak hospitalMethodist Healthcare has named Gabriel Marrufo as chief financial officer at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital, a campus of Methodist Hospital.

Marrufo previously served as vice president, planning and business development at Las Palmas del Sol Healthcare in El Paso, Texas, where he was responsible for driving key strategic growth opportunities within the El Paso market. His 16-year career at HCA began at Las Palmas del Sol in 1997. He served as staff accountant and was promoted to accounting manager and then controller.

In 2011, he was selected as one of three candidates within HCA to participate in the CEO Executive Development Program.

A native of El Paso, he and his wife, Carol, have two sons, Vincent and Hayden.

Methodist Healthcare System – San Antonio
Methodist Healthcare System – San Antonio is the largest provider of health care in South and Central Texas with 26 facilities including nine hospitals serving 90,000 inpatients and 390,000 outpatients annually. The Methodist Healthcare team is comprised of 8,000 employees, making Methodist Healthcare the second largest private employer in San Antonio. In 2012, Methodist Healthcare was one of only two hospitals in Texas recognized by the Texas Medical Foundation with a Gold Award for Quality. Methodist Healthcare has won the National Research Foundation’s Consumer Choice Award for 13 consecutive years, more times than any other health care provider in Texas. For the past four years, Methodist Healthcare has received “Best Hospital” Gold Award by the San Antonio Express-News’ Readers’ Choice Awards. With more than 2,700 credentialed physicians, Methodist Healthcare provides the largest array of medical services in the region including neurosurgery, cardiovascular services, oncology and women’s services. Visit www.SAHealth.com to learn more.

Free Trade Alliance Recognizes Students that Compete and Collaborate Globally

FTA logo colorThe Free Trade Alliance Education Foundation hosted the awards ceremony luncheon for its 4th annual International Business Plan Program on Saturday, April 13, within the Rackspace Corporate Headquarters. Students from 23 countries and 30 universities came together to learn how their international business plan measured up in a field of over 140 globally minded students. Winners receive their share of the more than $20,000 prize fund. The four finalist teams from the graduate and undergraduate categories present to high level executives just before the luncheon. These tough and experienced celebrity finalist judges included: Preston Atkinson (Whataburger), Kirstin Silberschlag (Valero Companies), Jane Macon (Fulbright & Jaworski) Maria Lulu Sobrino (Lulu’s Dessert Corp.), Aracely Garcia-Granados (MATT Foundation), Paul Duran (GreenStar LED Products, Inc.) and Bjorn Dybdahl (Bjorn’s Audio Video).

The Alliance began the International Business Plan Program as a way to help students develop the skills to compete and collaborate globally, develop their global network, and foster international relationships and understanding. Kyle Burns, Free Trade Alliance President & CEO, stated that “Through the program, students work on cross cultural teams of 4-5 students with an executive level mentor in writing a 10-12 page business plan. This is the only program of its kind that brings students from around the world together on a cross-cultural team. Adding to its relevance and importance in today’s global economy, many of the students and mentors never meet in person, simulating a multi-national work environment.”

Many of the projects are for companies that intend to implement the project, adding to the real world education the students receive. Each team has been mentored and judged by executives from companies such as Boeing, HEB, Port San Antonio, Holt Cat, Dixie Flag Mfg. Co, Rackspace and many more. “This program is a perfect example of bringing education and business together to develop future global leaders and prepare students for a multi-cultural workforce” said Peter Albarian, Director of the Education Foundation. “These students are learning well beyond the book and have gained tremendous practical experience in solving real business issues and communicating across cultures and time zones.” The success of the program has led it to grow in size and diversity for each of its four years. “Programs like this and others we provide continue and grow, thanks in part to support and sponsorship from companies like H-E-B and Rackspace.” said Albarian.

Program sponsors include H-E-B, Rackspace, NuStar Energy, Barton, East & Caldwell, Anne Marie’s Catering, Palo Alto College and the Instituto Cultural de Mexico.

Security Service Federal Credit Union Launches Mobile App

Security Services Federal Credit UnionIn less than a month after the soft launch of Security Service Federal Credit Union’s (SSFCU) mobile app, more than 7,000 members have signed up and logged in on their iPhones and Androids. With the introduction of myBranch Mobile, members can now use their phones to check account balances, get transaction details, pay bills and transfer funds. The app also includes a GPS-based locator that provides details on the nearest branch or ATM.

“Our plan is to keep developing relevant mobile functionality as fast as we can to keep pace with our members’ on-the-go digital lifestyles,” says Mike Chapman, chief operating officer and executive vice president for SSFCU.

There are several safety features built in including the ability to send an alert when a charge to a credit card or ATM withdrawal exceeds a certain amount or when an account balance gets low. The ability to remotely deposit checks will be added to the iPhone and Android apps later this year.

SSFCU myBranch Mobile is available for download for iPhone and Android in iTunes or Google Play, as well as in a mobile browser version.

About SSFCU
Security Service Federal Credit Union offers competitive, affordable financial products and services designed to meet the needs of its members. Security Service is an industry-leading financial institution with more than $7 billion in assets and operates 70 locations in Texas, Colorado and Utah. Headquartered in San Antonio, the credit union is among the top 10 credit unions in the nation and is the largest in San Antonio. Security Service strives to be America’s best credit union and provides the true benefits of credit union membership with financial services of the highest quality and value. Learn more at www.ssfcu.org or call 1-888-415-7878.

SACU will host the 11th Annual Shred Day on Saturday, April 20

SACU logoSACU and ARMA volunteers will provide free secure shredding services to individuals at six SACU branches on Saturday, April 20, from 9 am – 12 noon, or until the trucks are filled. Branches include Main, 281/1604, Bandera, Ingram, Southside and Windsor. Visit sacu.com to find the branch location nearest you.

Sponsors with SACU are ARMA, WOAI News 4 and six commercial shred companies: Marshall Shredding, Iron Mountain, recall, Cintas, Ranger and Compass.

Shredding sensitive documents helps thwart ID thieves and benefits the environment by saving trees and reducing landfills. At Shred Day over the past 10 years, San Antonio residents  securely shredded 335 tons of paper. One ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space and enough energy to heat an average home for 6 months, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

SACU is a $2.9 billion credit union, with 16 locations in San Antonio and one in Houston. The credit union provides outstanding service at every touch point and convenience through GOTM, the mobile app from SACU, numerous online services and a network of ATMs in greater San Antonio. It provides benefits to members through competitive yields on savings, lower loan rates, and reasonably priced financial services. There are hundreds of ways to qualify for membership at SACU. Visit sacu.com, or call (210) 258-1234 or 1-800-688-SACU (7228) for information.

April 2013 Word from the Chairman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis year is off and running and it’s hard to believe we find ourselves starting the second quarter already. April brings many exciting initiatives, updates and opportunities to our membership. The North Chamber will be participating in Fiesta for the first time this year and we invite you to join us in that effort. Additionally, our Government Affairs Council endorsed the City of San Antonio’s local preference program, which passed in March, and North Chamber event season is in full swing.

Viva Fiesta!
The North Chamber is excited to be a non-profit member of the Fiesta Commission and to participate in San Antonio’s largest celebration of our community, culture and heritage. This year the North Chamber will offer our inaugural Fiesta medal sale – and our theme is “Buy Local. Buy North Chamber.” In support of our non-profit entity, medal proceeds will benefit Lead SA and help to sponsor scholarships to area colleges and universities, as well as grants for small business and non-profit members to attend various leadership and professional development programs offered by the North Chamber. Medals go on sale at the North Chamber office Wednesday, April 17, and are available for $10 each while supplies last. We will also participate in the Fiesta Opening Ceremony and Pin Pandemonium medal swap in Alamo Plaza on Thursday, April 18, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event is open to the public and we hope to see you there. To purchase medals, visit the North Chamber office or contact Yolanda Crittenden.

Buy Local.
While I encourage you to join a committee, volunteer and attend events – even if your schedule doesn’t permit extensive involvement, you can always rest assured that your North Chamber is working on your behalf regularly to advocate for business and other quality of life issues.

As you know, I am spending this year promoting commerce among members as a top priority for 2013. Through our “Buy Local. Buy North Chamber.” campaign, we’re encouraging members to do business with one another and search our Find A Member online membership directory when considering suppliers for purchasing needs. So when the City Council considered a resolution to conceive a local preference program, our Government Affairs Council Chair, Rob Killen, brought the issue before the North Chamber board of directors and members voted to endorse the program.

Rob, our CEO Duane Wilson and others spoke before Council in support of the ordinance and we’re proud to announce its passage by a unanimous Council vote. Effective May 1, 2013, specific City of San Antonio contracting categories will carry a predisposition to “Buy Local.”

Mark Your Calendar
Wednesday, April 17, is a big day for the North Chamber Technology Council. We will participate in the Innotech Conference & Expo at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and we will present the luncheon CIO Panel program: New CIO – Got the job! What’s first? from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attend the Expo and join us for lunch.

I hope you’ll join us for a little friendly competition and a day on the green at the Annual Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 9, at the beautiful and challenging TPC San Antonio. We’re getting an early start this year with tee time starting at 7:30 a.m. As we anticipate a bright sunny day, you can still register for a foursome or join Dahill in sponsoring the tournament.

Finally, on behalf of our North Chamber staff and board of directors, I thank you for your continued membership, involvement and support. We appreciate all you do to keep Bexar County strong, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Health Care Act Tax Overview

TravisWolff logoEmployers: Don’t let tax-related compliance requirements take your organization by surprise

With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding most provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and President Obama being re-elected, it appears that the act is here to stay. Employers face a variety of tax-related compliance requirements under the act, perhaps the most notable of which is the “play or pay” provision that goes into effect in 2014. Certain small organizations, however, may be eligible for a tax-saving opportunity — even before 2014. Many of the health care act’s tax-related provisions require employers to act this year and next. So it’s important to take time now to determine what you need to do now and in 2014.

Here’s a closer look at key tax provisions and proposed IRS guidance (which can be relied on for filing purposes). Additional rules apply, so consult your tax advisor to determine exactly how your organization will be affected.

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“Play or pay” provision
The shared responsibility provision, commonly referred to as “play or pay,” is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2014. It doesn’t require employers to provide health care coverage, but it in some cases imposes penalties on larger employers that don’t offer coverage or that provide coverage that is “unaffordable” or that doesn’t provide “minimum value.”

Although the shared responsibility provisions don’t take effect until 2014, employers will use information about the workers they employ in 2013 to determine whether they’re subject to the provisions and face the potential for penalties in 2014.

Shared responsibility basics
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the health care act requires “large” employers to offer a “minimum value” of “affordable” health coverage to their full-time employees or risk a penalty if at least one of their full-time employees receives a premium tax credit for purchasing individual coverage through one of the new affordable insurance exchanges. (Under the health care act, premium tax credits are available to employees who meet certain income requirements and don’t have access to a minimum value of affordable employer-provided insurance.)

A large employer is one with at least 50 full-time employees, or a combination of full-time and part-time employees that’s “equivalent” to at least 50 full-time employees. A full-time employee is someone employed on average at least 30 hours per week. The monthly equivalent of 30 hours per week is 130 hours of service in a calendar month.

Determining large employer status
Large employer status is determined in part by calculating full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). For a given calendar month, this requires totaling the hours of service for all part-time employees, and dividing that figure by 120.

For hourly employees, the hours should be calculated based on records of hours worked and hours for which payment is made or due for vacation, holiday, illness, incapacity (including disability), layoff, jury duty, military duty or leave of absence.

For salaried employees, there are three methods of determining the hours:

  1. The same method used for hourly employees,
  2. A days-worked equivalency method (each worker is credited with eight hours for each day worked), or
  3. A weeks-worked equivalency method (each worker is credited with 40 hours for each week worked).

You can apply different methods for different classifications of non-hourly employees, so long as the classifications are “reasonable and consistently applied.”

Employers must determine annually, based on their employees’ actual hours of service, whether they’ll be considered a large employer for the next year. For 2014, however, there’s transitional relief: Rather than considering all 12 months of 2013, you can use any six-consecutive-month period, subject to certain constraints. That means you could select six months toward the beginning of the year and use the remainder of 2013 to determine whether you need to offer coverage in 2014 and, if so, establish a compliant plan.

Assessing affordability and minimum value
A large employer that offers health coverage could nonetheless be subject to penalties if at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit because the coverage offered to the employee either wasn’t affordable or didn’t provide minimum value.

Generally, if an employee’s share of the premium would cost that employee more than 9.5% of his or her annual household income, the coverage isn’t considered affordable. There are three safe harbors that employers can use to satisfy the affordability requirement. An employer will avoid a penalty if:

The cost of the coverage won’t exceed 9.5% of the Form W-2 wages the employer pays the employee that year,

The employee’s monthly contribution amount for the self-only premium is equal to or lower than 9.5% of the computed monthly wages, or

The employee’s cost for self-only coverage doesn’t exceed 9.5% of the federal poverty line for a single individual.

The affordability test applies to the lowest cost option available to the employee that also meets the minimum value requirement.

Under the minimum value requirement, a health plan must cover at least 60% of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan. The IRS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will make available an online minimum value calculator where employers can enter certain plan information and obtain a determination of whether the plan provides minimum value.

Calculating penalties
For large employers that don’t provide at least 95% of their full-time employees (and, after 2014, their dependents, defined as an employee’s children under age 26) with health coverage and have one or more of these employees who receive a premium tax credit, the annual penalty is $2,000 per full-time employee in excess of 30 full-time employees. Note that there’s an exception for certain employers that don’t meet the 95% requirement but exclude no more than five employees.

For large employers that do provide at least 95% of their full-time employees (and, after 2014, their dependents) with coverage but this coverage is deemed not to be affordable or not to provide minimum value, the penalty is the lesser of $3,000 for each employee receiving a premium tax credit or $2,000 for each full-time employee beyond the first 30 full-time employees.

For purposes of penalty calculations, full-time employees don’t include FTEs, but only actual full-time employees (again, those averaging 130 hours or more per month). Penalties will increase annually based on premium growth.

Moving forward
Some employers may opt to simply pay the penalties because the increased costs due to the broader scope of coverage now required (for example, coverage of dependents up to age 26) may be greater than the penalties. These employers could incur other costs, though, such as lost tax benefits (unlike health care benefits, penalties aren’t deductible) and the costs to remain competitive in the labor market. Other employers may consider making adjustments to their workforces in an effort to reduce their FTEs and avoid being considered a large employer. But this may be easier in theory than in practice. (See the Case Study below.) •

Case Study — Reducing FTEs to avoid “play-or-pay” provision
If you’re over — but not too far over — the 50 full-time equivalent employee (FTE) threshold for the play-or-pay provision, you might be able to make some adjustments to your workforce to avoid hitting the threshold and being at risk for penalties. But it’s not as simple as reducing employees’ hours and hiring more part-timers.

For example, a grocery store with 40 part-timers who average 90 hours per month would have 30 FTEs (40 × 90 = 3,600; 3,600/120 = 30) who must be added to the number of full-time employees (those working at least 130 hours during the month) when determining whether the 50-FTE threshold is met. If the store reduced the average hours by half and doubled its part-time workforce in order to cover the same hours, the result would be the same 30 FTEs (80 × 45 hours = 3,600; 3,600/120 = 30).

In other words, when it comes to part-time employees, it’s the total number of hours worked by all part-timers that is critical, not the number of part-timers or how many hours each part-timer works.

Converting some full-time employees to part-timers also might not have as much of an impact as you’d think. For example, if a business converts five full-timers to part-timers by reducing their average hours from 130 to 96 hours per month, that would still be 4 FTEs (5 × 96 = 480; 480/120 = 4). So the business would have only 20% fewer FTEs even though it reduced hours by about 26%. If the full-timers had been working 40 hours per week, the hour reduction would be even greater yet produce the same 20% reduction in FTEs.

So before cutting employee hours in an effort to avoid penalties, it’s important to look carefully at the extent to which doing so would actually reduce your FTEs — as well as the other ways the reduction would affect your organization.

Changes to the health care coverage credit
While smaller employers don’t have to worry about the penalties going into effect in 2014, some do need to be aware of changes to the health care coverage tax credit that also take effect in 2014. And if your organization is eligible for the tax credit but hasn’t taken advantage of it, you should consider doing so in 2013 — and see if you can file an amended return to claim the credit for previous years.

The credit through 2013
The health care act provision providing tax credits to qualifying small employers took effect in 2010. Employers with fewer than 25 FTEs and average annual wages of less than $50,000 that pay at least half of the cost of health insurance for their employees may qualify.

Through 2013, the credit for businesses, which reduces income tax liability dollar-for-dollar, is for up to 35% of the cost of group health coverage. For nonprofits, the benefit is a little different:

  • The maximum credit is 25% of qualified costs through 2013.
  • Because nonprofits generally don’t pay income tax, the credit offsets their withholding tax liability.

Whether business or nonprofit, qualifying organizations with 10 or fewer FTEs and average annual wages of less than $25,000 can claim the maximum applicable credit. Qualifying organizations that exceed either threshold are entitled to partial credits on a sliding scale, and the credit is phased out altogether when an organization reaches 25 FTEs or average annual wages of $50,000.

The number of FTEs is determined slightly differently than for play-or-pay provision purposes, by calculating the total hours of service for which your organization pays wages to employees during the year (but not more than 2,080 for any one employee), and then dividing that figure by 2,080.

Only the employer’s portion of health insurance premiums counts in calculating the credit. And that amount is further limited to the amount the employer would have paid based on the average premium for the small group market in the employer’s state or area, if it’s less than the actual premium. (See the Case Study below.)

2014 and later
After 2013, some additional changes to the credit go into effect:

Coverage must be purchased through a state (or federal) exchange. The health care act intended that state governments would establish and run the affordable insurance exchanges, but the federal government agreed to launch and handle them in states that couldn’t (or wouldn’t) set one up. The federal government may, in fact, end up running about half of the exchanges nationwide. Only qualifying employers that purchase coverage through an exchange will be eligible for the credit.

The maximum credit increases. It can be as much as 50% of a business’s contributions toward the health insurance premiums. For nonprofits, the maximum credit becomes 35%.

The credit can be taken for only two years. There is no requirement as to which two years must be chosen. Thus, some planning should be involved in determining when to claim the credit. That is, if the credit will be reduced in a particular year due to one or more of the various limits that apply, the employer may be better off waiting until the next year to see if the credit will be more valuable. •

Case Study — Calculating the health care coverage credit
For the 2013 tax year, Acme offers its employees a group health plan with single and family coverage and pays 50% of the premiums. Acme has 10 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages of $23,000. Six employees are enrolled in single coverage and four are enrolled in family coverage. Total premiums are $4,000 a year for single coverage and $10,000 a year for family coverage.

Average premiums for the small group market in Acme’s state are $5,000 and $12,000, respectively. Acme’s premium payments ($2,000 for single coverage and $5,000 for family coverage) don’t exceed 50% of these averages, so it computes the credit based on its actual premium payments of $32,000 (6 × $2,000 + 4 × $5,000). Acme’s tax credit is $11,200 ($32,000 × 35%).

Increased Medicare tax withholding in 2013
Under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), wages are subject to a 2.9% Medicare tax — 1.45% paid by the employers and 1.45% withheld from the employees’ wages. Under the health care act, starting in 2013, taxpayers with FICA wages over $200,000 per year ($250,000 for joint filers and $125,000 for married filing separately) must pay an additional 0.9% Medicare tax on the excess earnings.

Unlike regular Medicare taxes, the additional Medicare tax doesn’t include a corresponding employer portion. But employers are obligated to withhold the additional tax to the extent that an employee’s wages exceed $200,000 in a calendar year.

Withholding requirements
You aren’t required to begin withholding additional Medicare tax until the pay period in which you pay wages in excess of $200,000 to an employee. But the $200,000 threshold applies without regard to the employee’s filing status or income from other sources.

So in some cases you’ll be required to withhold the tax from wages paid to employees who aren’t liable for it — because, for example, their wages, together with those of their spouses, don’t exceed the $250,000 threshold for joint filers. In this situation an employee can’t ask you to stop withholding the tax. Rather, the employee can recover the tax by claiming a credit on his or her income tax return for the year.

It’s also possible that no additional Medicare tax will be withheld from employees who are liable for the tax. This could occur if the combined earnings of a married couple filing jointly exceed $250,000 but neither spouse’s wages are more than $200,000 or if an individual has two jobs and neither job pays wages in excess of the threshold.

Employees who anticipate additional Medicare tax liability can’t request that you withhold additional amounts specifically for the tax. They can, however, use Form W-4 to request additional income tax withholding sufficient to cover their liability for the additional Medicare tax.

Adjustments and refund claims
It’s critical to follow the withholding requirements, because an employer that fails to do so is liable for additional Medicare tax, plus all applicable penalties. If the employee pays the tax, the employer is relieved of liability for the tax but may still be subject to penalties.

You can make interest-free adjustments in the event of underpayments or overpayments of additional Medicare tax compared to your withholding obligations. Generally, this is done by filing the appropriate corrected return (for example, Form 941-X) and reimbursing overpaid amounts to the employee or collecting underpaid amounts from the employee’s wages before year end.

Underpayments may be adjusted only if the error occurs during the same year the underlying wages were paid (with certain exceptions, including underpayments attributable to administrative errors or IRS examinations). You’re liable for the correct amount of tax, even if you’re unable to deduct the underpaid tax from the employee’s wages.

Overpayments may be adjusted if you ascertain the error in the year the wages were paid and reimburse the employee for over-collected amounts by year end. If you’re unable to reimburse the employee by year end, you shouldn’t make an adjustment. Instead, you should report the amount withheld on the employee’s W-2 so the employee can obtain a credit on his or her individual income tax return.

You can claim a refund of overpaid additional Medicare tax, provided you didn’t deduct or withhold the overpaid amounts from the employee’s wages. 

Other changes going into effect in 2013
Some other tax-related health care act provisions go into effect in 2013 that you need to be aware of.

W-2 reporting
A requirement that may already have affected your organization is related to W-2 reporting: Employers that filed 250 or more 2011 W-2 forms must begin reporting the cost of employer-provided health care coverage on the forms beginning with the 2012 tax year — that means the W-2s distributed in January 2013.

As explained in IRS Notice 2011-28, the new requirement calls for informational reporting only — it doesn’t cause excludable benefits to become taxable or change the tax treatment in any way. The purpose of the requirement is “to provide useful and comparable consumer information to employees on the cost of their health care coverage.”

If the IRS decides to extend the reporting requirement to smaller employers for the 2013 W-2s that will be furnished in January 2014, it must issue guidance before June 30, 2013.

FSA compliance
Health care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow employees to redirect pretax income to an employer-sponsored plan that pays, or reimburses them for, qualified medical expenses not covered by insurance. Through 2012, employers offering health care FSAs had been allowed to set whatever employee contribution limit they wished. But starting in 2013 the maximum limit is $2,500. Employers can set a lower limit, however.

According to the IRS, the new limit applies on a plan year basis. Thus, non-calendar-year plans must comply for the plan year that starts in 2013.

Employers will need to amend their plans and summary plan descriptions to reflect the $2,500 limit (or a lower one, if they wish) by Dec. 31, 2014, and institute measures to ensure employees don’t elect contributions that exceed the limit. Note that there will continue to be no limit on employer contributions to FSAs. 

This publication was developed by a third-party publisher and is distributed with the understanding that the publisher and distributor are not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and recommend you consult an attorney, accountant, tax professional, financial advisor or other appropriate industry professional. This publication reflects tax law as of Feb. 15, 2013. Some material may be affected by subsequent changes in the laws or in the interpretation of such laws. Therefore, the services of a legal or tax advisor should be sought before implementing any ideas contained in this publication. ©2013

Construction Milestone Celebrated with “Topping Out” Ceremony for North Central Baptist Hospital

baptist hcs logoExpansion to Meet the Stone Oaks area’s growing need for women’s services.

A major construction milestone has been reached at North Central Baptist Hospital. On Monday, March 18th the last steel beam was hoisted into place on the hospital structure. A “Topping Out” ceremony commemorated the day for hospital employees, physicians, construction team and community leaders. All in attendance had the opportunity to sign the final steel beam before it was raised into place.

Beam3 Beam

The additional hospital floors will increase medical and surgical unit capacity with spacious, beautifully-appointed patient rooms. It also will expand the already comprehensive labor and delivery, postpartum and anti-partum beds, obstetrics pre-op area, nursery and neonatal care unit (NICU) beds and outpatient areas. Specifics include the new 60-bed NICU which will offer private rooms, including around 11 rooms that will be available for parents who wish to spend the night with their babies in intensive care. Expectant parents can continue to rely on the fact that North Central operates the highest level NICU in the Stone Oak area, for an extra measure of care if needed.

“As the first hospital system to invest in the Stone Oak area in the early 1990s, we are excited to continue to grow with this community and accommodate the needs with our facility expansions,” said Graham Reeve, President and CEO of Baptist Health System. “This means our physicians will have additional access to modern, state-of-the-art facilities to practice in and ultimately provide the best patient care for you and your loved ones.”

This investment has been made to meet the Stone Oak area’s growing need for patient services and is expected to open in fall 2013. In addition, it is providing additional jobs to local and regional contractors and sub-contractors, as well as jobs to San Antonio healthcare workers.

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About Baptist Health System
Baptist Health System is a trusted provider of health care in San Antonio and South Texas. The System includes five acute-care hospitals (Baptist Medical Center, Mission Trail Baptist Hospital, North Central Baptist Hospital, Northeast Baptist Hospital, and St. Luke’s Baptist Hospital) which offer 1,674 licensed beds. All five hospitals have earned Accredited Chest Pain Center designation, as well as Primary Stroke Center Certification. Medicare has designated each as Texas’ only Medicare Value Based Care Centers.

The system also includes Baptist Regional Children’s Center, Baptist Breast Center, Baptist Cancer Center, HealthLink wellness and fitness center and physical rehabilitation centers. Other entities include Baptist M&S Imaging Centers, community health and wellness programs, ambulatory services, medical office buildings and School of Health Professions. Baptist Health System supports the work of Faith Family Clinics, Baptist Emergency Hospitals, San Antonio AirLIFE air medical transport and other health-related services and affiliations. The system is part of Vanguard Health Systems, based out of Nashville, Tennessee.

CPS Energy records second year of top performance

CPS workersCPS Energy’s electric reliability is within the top tier of the industry, its employees have increased safety to a record high for the second year in a row, and customer satisfaction remains high.

That’s what the San Antonio City Council heard at its April 3 work session from CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby, who also offered an update on the state of the energy industry and the city-owned utility’s overall strategic plan.

Beneby also touched on the utility’s finances, which remain strong, and the continued job creation from its New Energy Economy partners.

“I can’t point to any one factor as the driver of CPS Energy’s success,” Beneby said. “It takes a committed team of employees doing a hundred different things well to get these kinds of results. And when we deliver the basics reliably, it gives us an opportunity to look for other ways to be of value to our customers—through economic development and support for education initiatives.”

Diversification and risk management remain the cornerstone of CPS Energy policy, Beneby said. That includes continuing to reduce the carbon intensity of the utility’s generation fleet, by moving away from unscrubbed coal and increasing the use of natural gas, clean coal and solar power.

CPS Energy also continues to invest in innovative technologies, such as LED lighting, electrical grid upgrades and demand management technologies. Those investments all have a strong economic development component, as CPS Energy continues to leverage its investments to bring good-paying, clean energy jobs to the region.

Customers continue to give the utility high marks, Beneby told the council.

Since 2009, customer satisfaction has inched upwards from 79 percent to 81 percent, according to the annual Residential Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Beneby has set a goal of 83 percent satisfaction by 2015, he told the council.

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CPS Energy ranks number one in overall customer satisfaction among large southern utilities, according to J.D. Power and Associates, topping a list that includes Florida Power & Light, Alabama Power, Oklahoma Gas & Electric and South Carolina Electric & Gas.

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Customer satisfaction has dipped recently, as CPS Energy deals with a temporary increase in estimated billing, the industry-wide practice of estimating some bills, then adjusting them to the actual meter reading at a later date.

That has led to an increase in customer service calls and longer wait times for those trying to sort out their bills.

CPS Energy has since hired additional readers and has sped up the implementation of meters which can be read remotely, meaning readers don’t have to go on a customer’s property to get a reading.

“And to help with high call volumes, we’re encouraging our customers to use more of our online service features, especially during the upcoming summer months when we experience the highest volume of customer calls,” said Maria Koudouris, senior vice president of customer service.

Customer satisfaction remains high when it comes to reliability. Both the length and frequency of outages has declined; in 2009, the average length of interruption was more than two hours; last year it was just over an hour, putting CPS Energy in the top ten percent for utility reliability.

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For all the good news, Beneby is perhaps most proud of CPS Energy’s safety record. He has consistently said that he considers safety — getting employees home safely to their families every night — to be his top priority.

For the second year in a row, CPS Energy employees have met the challenge, resulting in the best safety performance in the company’s history. Reported safety incidents have dropped from 120 in 2009 to 48 last year. Beneby has set even more stringent goals, to reduce incidents even more by 2015.

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Turning to the company’s financials, Beneby told councilmembers CPS Energy is recognized as having the premier credit rating in the industry by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, a position bolstered by a continued focus on cost efficiency and process improvements within the company.

As a result, operations and maintenance costs per CPS Energy customer has dropped, from $368 to $345 per person, with a goal of $333 per person by 2015. At the same time, employees continue to work more efficiently. That has resulted in a leaner workforce, from a high of almost 4,300 in 2001 to about 3,400 today.

Beneby also highlighted CPS Energy’s stepped-up commitment to economic development. The utility’s New Energy Economy partners, which include OCI Solar Power, GreenStar, Silver Spring Network and Consert, among others, have made $88 million in investments in the San Antonio region to date, including the creation of 154 jobs and $1.5 million that has been donated to local educational initiatives.

Those partners are on track to meet their commitments to create more than 1,000 jobs by 2018, Beneby said, with investments topping $974 million.

Councilman Reed Williams, a former energy industry executive, said he was pleased by what he heard.

“I think we’re in a great position,” he said, referencing the utility’s increased use of natural gas as part of its effort to diversify fuel sources. “Keeping costs down, safety up — these are good things.”

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