January 11, 2018
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, creates a new business tax credit for eligible employers that provide paid family and medical leave to their employees. The tax credit is temporary, applicable to the 2018 and 2019 taxable years only (unless extended by Congress), and is equal to a percentage of wages paid to qualifying employees who are on family and medical leave.
To be eligible for the tax credit, an employer must have a written policy in place that provides at least two weeks of paid family and medical leave at a payment rate that is at least 50 percent of an employee's normal pay rate.
The tax credit only applies to leave that is taken for a reason permitted under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Paid leave that is provided as vacation leave, personal leave or sick leave is not taken into consideration.
Employers that want to take advantage of the new tax credit should review their leave policies to determine if they meet the requirements. It is likely that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will issue regulations on the tax credit in the future.
To be eligible for the tax credit, an employer must have a written policy in place that meets the following requirements:
The tax credit only applies with respect to employees who have been employed by the employer for one year or more and, for the preceding year, had compensation of no more than $72,000.
The amount of the credit is calculated based on a percentage of wages that are paid to qualifying employees for paid family and medical leave. The percentage amount, which begins at 12.5 percent and is capped at 25 percent, increases by .25 percent for each percentage point by which the rate of payment for paid family and medical leave exceeds 50 percent of the employee's normal wages.
The amount of an employee's paid leave that may be used to calculate the credit for a taxable year cannot exceed 12 weeks. Also, the tax credit with respect to an employee for a taxable year cannot exceed an amount equal to the employee's normal hourly wage rate multiplied by the number of hours for which family and medical leave is taken. If an employee is not paid an hourly wage, the employee's salary must be prorated to an hourly wage rate.
For purposes of the tax credit, family and medical leave means leave for one or more purposes permitted under the FMLA, regardless of whether the leave is provided under the FMLA or an employer's leave policy. If the paid leave is provided for other reasons (such as vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave), then it is not considered paid family and medical leave for purposes of the tax credit.
For additional information, please contact your Burnham Benefits Consultant or Burnham Benefits at 949-833-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Burnham Benefits does not engage in the practice of law and this publication should not be construed as the providing of legal advice or a legal opinion of any kind. The consulting advice we provide is intended solely to assist in assessing its compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other applicable federal and state law requirements, and is based on Burnham Benefit’s interpretation of federal guidance in effect as of the date of this publication. To the best of our knowledge, the information provided herein, and assumptions relied on, are reasonable and accurate as of the date of this publication. Furthermore, to ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any tax advice contained in this publication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of (i) avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any tax-related matter.