Alert Bulletins

Employee Benefits

Congress Allows Small Employers to Pay for Individual Policies of Insurance

One of the lesser known, but critically significant, changes ushered in by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) was a general prohibition on employers reimbursing the cost of their employees’ individual health insurance policies.  The failure to adhere to this rule triggers substantial excise taxes that can break the back of many employers.  But in a Continue Reading

IRS Extends Both Deadline for Furnishing 1095-C Statements and Good Faith Transition Relief

It has long been a practice of the federal government to dump bad news on the public on Friday afternoons.  So when we received an email on the afternoon of Friday, November 18, 2016, that the IRS was announcing changes to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) health care reporting requirements, we were naturally apprehensive.  It Continue Reading

Telemedicine Arrangements: Beware of Inadvertently Dialing Up An Excise Tax

A growing number of employers are adding telemedicine arrangements to their overall benefits package.  The reports we are receiving from employers and participants alike are that these programs are both popular and beneficial.  Unfortunately, there is a broad array of legal pitfalls dotting the telemedicine landscape.  Employers who fail to structure their offerings in just Continue Reading

New HIPAA Audit Program for Group Health Plans: Don’t Get Caught Unprepared

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced in March that, as part of its continued efforts to assess compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, it is beginning a new phase of audits of covered entities and their business associates.  Although your eyes may have Continue Reading

Affordable Care Act Compliance Update: Employer “Pay or Play” Penalties and “Affordability” Percentages Both Increased for Inflation

Although the regulatory environment surrounding the Affordable Care Act has been mercifully quiet this year – providing employers and employee benefit practitioners a brief chance to catch their breath – the IRS did announce a number of important changes late last year that affect all employers with at least fifty full-time employees (i.e., “Applicable Large Continue Reading

Employment Law

Overtime regulations on hold until further notice

November 23, 2016 – Jim Spencer Late yesterday afternoon, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction on the Department of Labor’s overtime regulations that were set to take effect on December 1, 2016. The injunction is nationwide. Preliminary injunctions are immediately appealable, so we would not be surprised if the Department of Labor Continue Reading

7th Circuit: Sexual Orientation not Protected Category under Title VII

July 30, 2016 – by Jim Spencer For several years, the EEOC has interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) as forbidding any employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The EEOC’s position is that even though Title VII doesn’t say anything about sexual orientation, the prohibition against sex discrimination is Continue Reading

New OSHA Regulations – Action Required by 11/1/16

July 29, 2016 – by Jim Spencer By now, most of us are tired of hearing about new federal regulations on employers. But the regulators in Washington aren’t getting tired.  Instead, they’re picking up steam during the last months of the current administration. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is joining in the fun Continue Reading

New Overtime Regulations – Effective December 1, 2016

May 18, 2016 – Jim Spencer After months of anticipation and dread from employers, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced the content of its updated regulations governing the exemption of executive, administrative, and professional (“EAP”) employees from minimum wage and overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The new rules go into Continue Reading

New definition of “Spouse” for FMLA

Earlier today, the Department of Labor announced that the definition of “Spouse” under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is changing, effective March 27, 2015.  The current definition of “Spouse” looks to the place of residence – i.e., where an employee lives – in determining whether an employee is married.  The new definition of “Spouse” Continue Reading

Estate Planning

New Treasury Regulations Target Valuation Discounts

“The biggest loophole in the gift and estate tax system is the uncertainty in value of the family controlled business entity” A large percentage of high net worth estates consist of closely-held business entities. Many of these business entities are operating businesses, while some are holding companies for investment assets. When parents transfer partial interests Continue Reading

Planning for the New Death Tax

“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change” – Charles Darwin Formula estate tax clauses in trusts have long been a staple planning strategy to protect families from the estate tax. With recent tax law changes, these Continue Reading

UPDATE: End of Year Planning – Qualified IRA Charitable Rollovers Made Permanent

In prior years, Congress allowed IRA qualified charitable rollovers on a temporary basis.  The IRA qualified charitable rollover permits a taxpayer over the age of 70 ½ to direct the IRA provider to distribute up to $100,000 of the taxpayer’s IRA directly to most public charities.  If the charitable qualification requirements are met, the rollover Continue Reading

Protecting Charitable Gifts from a Charity’s Creditors

An unfortunate, but increasing reality is that some charities are electing to file for bankruptcy to deal with creditors. Sometimes these creditors arise from unexpected litigation and others from declines in revenue and weakness in the economy. Unlike businesses, charities cannot be forced into bankruptcy by their creditors, they must elect to file bankruptcy to Continue Reading

End of Year Planning – Qualified IRA Charitable Rollovers

Over the last several years, Congress has extended the IRA qualified charitable rollover for another year. It is anticipated to extend it again this year. The IRA qualified charitable rollover permits a taxpayer over the age of 70 ½ to direct the IRA provider to distribute a portion of the taxpayer’s IRA directly to most Continue Reading

Litigation & Product Liability

Hinkle Law Firm Member assists with $1.45B Halcón Resources deal.

Member John Broomes assisted Houston-based oil and gas explorer Halcón Resources with a $1.45B acquisition in the Bakken Shale. Halcón bought producing and undeveloped oil and gas assets in North Dakota’s Williston Basin from Petro-Hunt LLC. Broomes was one of several attorneys brought in to assist the internal legal team at Halcón. Click here for Continue Reading

Business Law & Litigation

Restraint on Trade

In February, a bill was introduced in the Kansas Senate to reform the Kansas Restraint of Trade Act in response to a May 2012 Kansas Supreme Court decision, addressing pricing agreements. The Bill was passed by the Senate in late February and heard in the House on March 13. The bill would adopt the Federal Continue Reading

Helping You Do Business In Today’s Legal Environment

Hinkle has a national reputation for helping clients with every facet of business litigation. We also can help you before litigation ever arises and, in many cases, help position you to avoid litigation events through strategic planning. As a part of our service to you, we will be sending out this monthly bulletin with newsworthy Continue Reading