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The Benefits Game: How to win Clients, Employees, and Business Overall.

In the battle of attracting and recruiting, you’re only as strong as your benefit package. Compensation is very important to let potential employees and current employees know they are valued. Benefits can speak loudly as well.  They can only communicate their value to employees if they are clearly stated, however. This is the reason Focus OneSource walks individual employees through their benefit enrollment package with a sit down one-on-one meeting versus expecting every employee, on their own with a computer, to understand the benefits that are available. Understand, it starts well before the open enrollment meetings with employees. Focus OneSource...

A who-zee-what-sit? WOTC (watt-see) The Work Opportunity Tax Credit

If you are an employer and don’t know about WOTC, you may be doing a huge disservice to yourself. There is a tax credit out there that many employers do not take advantage of simply because they don’t know it exists. Have you made any new hires recently? If you have or are planning to, you need to familiarize yourself with the WOTC. In short, the tax credit is available when an employer hires from certain target groups: Veterans Long-Term or Short-Term Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Recipient Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recipient (Food Stamps) Designated Community Resident Vocational Rehabilitation...

DOL’s Fiduciary Rule helps protect your Savings

If you have heard rumblings today throughout the world of annuities, it is because things are changing. The department of labor released a new rule that holds financial advisers and brokers to the ‘fiduciary’ standard vs. ‘suitable’ standard. What does it mean? An adviser or broker is now required to put their clients’ best interest first before their own.   How do you know that your adviser or broker is working in your best interest? It’s fairly simple. Ask. The US Department of Labor in fact put out a fact sheet to help consumers know the right questions to ask. ...

Growing Burdens of being an employer. For example:

One thing remains constant when it comes to the landscape of being an employer, change. The growing responsibilities of employment laws and regulations since in the past 100 years. To just name a few changes since 2000, here are a few: ADAAA     AJCA     ARRA     ATRA     CHIPRA      EGTRRA     EO 13204     Frank-Dodd Act     GINA     HEART     LLFPA     Michelle’s Law     MSP National Defense Authorization Act (2010)     NTSSA     PFEA     PPA     PAACA     PSIA     SOX And people wonder why successful small businesses outsource administrative responsibilities to companies like...

March Madness: Are you Ready?

Sharpen your pencils and get ready for picking the perfect bracket. Remember, everyone has a chance until March 17th when the First Round begins.  If you are including the First Four in your bracket selection, we hope March 15th treated you fairly. Remember, you can catch some of the action in your backyard if you live in Des Moines! Not sure when to catch the games? The NCAA laid that all out for you in a handy quick view timeline. If you are one of those that like to follow along on Sunday and get started right away, here is an electronic...

March Madness: Have questions you are too embarrassed to ask? Here’s some help.

When it comes to brackets, most people are a little embarrassed to ask questions because they think everyone else knows. Do you know how it is decided what teams are selected? How are the teams seeded? Did you know there is a committee and who's on it? How does the at-large process work? All these questions and more are answered by NCAA, March Madness bracket: How the 68 teams are selected for the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament      

March Madness: How does upper management handle lack of productivity? Better yet, should they?

There is a situation lingering in the near future if you are responsible for employee productivity - March Madness. For anyone that lives under a rock in the United States, March Madness is a reference to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. It happens like this every week after Selection Sunday, employees are taking 4 hour lunches, talking about their brackets, the upsets, their plans to leave early to catch a game and every other thing BESIDES work. Is this really a bad thing? Take a moment to think about this. You have Joe and Sam who barely get...

The 1095 question addressed.

Unless you have an individual plan through the Marketplace, you do not need a 1095 form to file your taxes for the 2015 year. This means if you are insured through a group health plan with your employer, on a government program or on an individual plan not purchased through the Marketplace you are able to file your taxes without a 1095 form. If you were enrolled through the Marketplace this year, you will receive a 1095-A in the mail. If you have not received it or misplaced it, you can download a copy through your Marketplace account. The reason you need...

Want free assistance this tax season? Let’s talk VITA.

Many Americans do not know where to start during tax season. Many do not realize there is free assistance for some in certain circumstances. No, this is not some scam for some software that you will have to pay right before you hit the submit button. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program locations are in communities across the country in all 50 states and District of Columbia helping those with certain circumstances. The VITA program is an IRS initiative to promote and support free tax preparation services for the low-to-moderate income (usually up to $54,000), disabled, elderly and those that are...

2016 Iowa Caucuses. It’s the final countdown. What you need to know.

[caption id="attachment_555" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Picture from The Des Moines Register[/caption] My hope is, at least 2 people started singing Europe. At any rate, living in Iowa, there is a lot of excitement in the air. Presidential candidates running around our cities, interacting in our everyday lives acting like they enjoy our lifestyles, fighting for votes before we kick off the caucus that will help shape their political paths to an election day, inaugural day or back to tv shows. If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of one of your favorite candidates, you can always check out The Des...