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5 Top Regulatory Issues for Small Businesses in 2017

President Donald Trump has just been sworn into office, and with a new president comes many things – including some dramatic shifts in policy.

That policy will affect just about every corner of America, from the federal government to energy to law enforcement to the military … and, of course small businesses.

From tax reform to increases in the minimum wage, small businesses likely will face a host of new or changing regulatory issues in 2017. Payroll and human resources provider Paychex recently compiled a list of these regulatory issues, and we’re taking a look at what some of them mean for you.

The Biggest Regulatory Issues for Small Businesses

1. The Affordable Care Act: Shortly after taking the oath of office, Donald Trump signed an executive order directing his agency heads to ease “the burden of the Affordable Care Act.” Even before he became president, Congress set up the ground work to undermine the ACA. What does this mean for small businesses? Per Paychex: “In the interim, even if legislative action is taken early in the year, many ACA requirements will likely remain, including the Employer Shared Responsibility filing, although the IRS has extended the date for furnishing Forms 1095-B and C to employees and indicated the continued application of the ‘good faith effort’ standard to avoid related penalties for both furnishing statements to employees and filing statements and returns with the IRS.”

2. Wages/Hours Compliance: About midway through 2016, businesses prepared for a hard new reality concerning overtime rules from the Department of Labor. Namely, the threshold for employees who qualify for overtime was going to leap from $23,600 to $47,476 as of Dec. 1, 2016. As a result, many businesses were forced to either “downgrade” salaried employees to hourly, or absorb heavy costs to bring these salaried workers above the threshold. An 11th-hour injunction stopped the ruling, however, and now this sits in limbo, with the overtime bar reverting back to $23,600. In the meantime, states and cities are battling over rules concerning raising minimum wages, and Washington’s stance on the issue seems uncertain, as Trump’s support for an increase likely will butt heads with Congressional GOP leadership.

3. Other Employment Issues: Paychex also points out a few other battleground issues, including equal pay, paid sick and family leave laws. For instance, “President-elect Trump voiced general support for a federal paid maternity leave program, although the GOP-led Congress may be less than enthusiastic with this proposal.” Also, unions could take a hit via rollbacks of executive orders from former President Barack Obama.

4. Payments: On the upside, payments should become even faster and safer in 2017. But this won’t happen on its own. Small businesses that already haven’t will need to implement EMV standards (card chip readers), or else they “will be held liable for fraudulent transactions made with a chip-enabled card.” Paychex also points out that some payments providers will be able to offer real-near-time solutions this year.

5. Cyber Security: While you might not have thought much about cyber security solutions in the past, that might change at some point over the course of the Trump administration, if not this year. According to the Paychex report: “Growing national security concerns over foreign cyber activity may lead the new administration to impose stricter requirements on businesses to install stronger security and report breaches.” Regardless of any government action, the ongoing stream of business hacks – not just large companies like Target and Yahoo!, but small businesses, too – should have you thinking more about protecting your information.

These and other regulatory issues could mean big things – specifically, big changes, and big expenses – for your company. Fortunately, McManamon & Co. offers consultancy services to small and medium-size businesses covering a wide range of issues, from tax planning strategies to loan packages to recruiting. We can also make sure you’re on the right side of compliance when the government changes up the rulebook.

Don’t let regulations and policies catch you flat-footed – give us a call at 440.892.8900, or contact us online, to find out more about our wide range of small business services.

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