Americans are baffled by health insurance elections

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Employee Benefits, Small Business

149 million people representing 55% of working Americans are covered by employer sponsored health insurance plans. Yet the large majority have no access to advice or information other than provided by the employer, the company selling the insurance or the company handling the enrollment. As a result, many employees choose inefficient coverage options and a significant number elect […]

How I inadvertently contributed to incorrect tax treatment of HRAs

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Accounting, Employee Benefits, Tax Planning

Imagine that you are a mechanic and someone walks into your shop and asks you to put wings on his Honda Civic. You might say, “That’s silly, Civic’s don’t fly” and dismiss the request. Then three more owners walk in with the same question. You think about it some more and say “Well, it might look […]

Disagreements about taxation of individual health insurance in 2014

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Accounting, Employee Benefits, Tax Planning

It seems that the most confusing tax topic this year in the wake of the Affordable Care Act implementation is the taxation of individual health insurance when an employer is involved in the payment of the cost. No doubt other confusing issues are still on the horizon, but this one is here and now. Small business […]

Evolving risks of unauthorized practice of law

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Employee Benefits

revised March 10, 2016 This post contains information collected in several attempts to clarify and digest opinions about the unauthorized practice of law as it pertains to my own employee benefits practice.  I presented these issues to two of my own attorneys in 2013 and neither was able to offer an opinion at that time. I am looking […]

Script of new introductory video

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Computers and Internet, Employee Benefits, Financial Planning, Gardening, Hobbies, Small Business

This is the working script to my new personal introduction video that will be recorded soon and then made into a multi-media video some time after that: “Hello, this is accountant Tony Novak with a quick 10 point personal introduction: 1. The value I bring to clients today comes directly from experience and relationships built over several decades […]

Where is small business health insurance headed?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Employee Benefits, News and Politics, Small Business

This article was written for 2014 and then updated for 2017. Little has changed. These points are still not well understood or agreed upon by professionals in the small business health insurance field: Quality of information: Most of the information published in this field appears to comes from those with a vested economic interest and/or political […]

Whole life insurance revisited

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Employee Benefits, Financial Planning, News and Politics, Tax Planning

One of the most maddening topics for me as an adviser has been whole life insurance for working class clients. It is clear that whole life insurance is the #1 financial vehicle of choice for the “top 5 percenters” in the wealth scale, often through the corporate entities that they control, but what about the […]

Relief to small businesses that use safe harbor provisions in their employee benefit plans

Posted Posted in Employee Benefits

This excerpt by Cohen and Clark as printed in Employee Benefit News explains IRS’s new standard on softening of the allowance to suspend employer contributions to plans during difficult business conditions: “The final regulations modify the “substantial business hardship” standard for suspending or reducing safe harbor nonelective contributions, replacing that standard with an “operating at […]