Blog - 2018




    Yearend Checklist


    This year may feel like a blur, and it is quickly coming to a close.  The holiday season is upon us, and many of us are beginning to plan for next year.  Now is a great time to think about the goals we will be working on in 2019, from our sales and activity goals to our goals for our employee programs.  To help facilitate this process, we’re providing a list of reminders and common yearend tasks based on today’s regulations.  Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    Austin Paid Leave Ordinance Temporarily Suspended


    In February, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The ordinance was set to go into effect October 1.  Read more...


    BFG in the News

    BFG's Website is Live!


    Our new website is live!  We included new features in response to client feedback.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    New Rules: Trump's DOL Releases Rules on Association Health Plans


    On June 19, 2018, the Department of Labor released their final rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs).  This action is in response to an executive order that President Trump issued in October of 2017, which directed the Secretary of Labor to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance on AHPs.  The rule is 198 pages.  Today, we’d like to provide a high-level overview and begin to answer how this change may affect you.  Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Financial Planning

    The Tax Law Has Changed: You Should Review Your Estate Plan


    “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  Estate planning involves both of those certainties.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed the tax law as it relates to estate taxes, with lifetime exemptions doubling.  While these changes are set to expire in 2025, families could take advantage of the new tax law in the interim. Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    IRS Reduces 2018 Family HSA Contribution Limit


    On March 5, the IRS announced a change to the 2018 Family Health Savings Account (HSA) Contribution Limit: a $50 reduction to the amount they announced last year.  People with family coverage will need to adjust their withholding amount if they were attempting to make the maximum allowable contribution to their HSA.  Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates

    ICE Director Delivers on Promise of Increased Enforcement


    At a press conference in December, acting US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan announced that he would like to quadruple worksite enforcement: “I want to see a 400% increase in work site operations. We’re not just talking about arresting the aliens at these work sites, we are also talking about employers who knowingly hire people who are unauthorized to work.”  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    Budget Deal Includes Medicare Provisions


    Congress has just passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, a bill that will continue to fund the government through March 23, 2018. It also includes key Medicare provisions intended to help seniors by providing better and more coordinated healthcare services. The bill will arrive on President Trump's desk today and he is expected to sign it.  Read more...


    Financial Planning

    What does the Market Decline mean for you?


    Market drops are scary, especially when they come day after day. The decline on Monday, February 5, was particularly bad. In fact, it has been billed as the largest point drop ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Looking at that, it’s normal to think that the stock market is in a downward spiral. History shows, however, that this is often not the case. Although declines like we have seen in the past week are not fun, they generally are not reason to panic.  Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates

    Form I-9 Enforcement Increases in 2018


    On Wednesday, January 10, federal agents raided 7-Eleven stores across the nation. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made 21 arrests and served inspection notices at the franchise convenience stores.  This action comes after acting ICE Director Thomas Homan’s October announcement that he would increase the amount of time spent on worksite enforcement by four or five times.  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    AHPs Arrive in Texas


    They weren’t born in Texas, but they got here as fast as they could!  UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has introduced three geographically-based Association Health Plans (AHPs) that are now available in Texas.  UHC is offering some of their most popular plans to associations that would like to set up AHPs, and they anticipate premium savings for certain groups compared to the ACA’s adjusted community rating structure.  If we are your benefits consultant, we will review all of your options, including involvement in an AHP, as part of your renewal.  If you have recently renewed, we are also comparing your recent renewal against the new geographical-based AHPs available with UHC and will let you know if it is worthy of your consideration.  Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    San Antonio Passes Paid Leave Ordinance


    On Thursday, August 16, 2018, by a 9-2 vote, the San Antonio City Council passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  San Antonio is following Austin, which passed a very similar ordinance in February of 2018.  One difference is that San Antonio’s ordinance will not be effective until August 1, 2019, almost a full year after Austin’s ordinance. Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Human Resources & Payroll

    Update on Austin's New Paid Leave Ordinance: Will it Affect You?


    In February, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  Any employers whose employees work in Austin are affected, and advocacy groups anticipate similar action taking place in large cities across Texas.  Will you be affected?  Read more...


    Legal & Regulatory Updates, Employee Benefits & Insurance

    2019 HSA Contribution Limits


    The Internal Revenue Service has announced new contribution limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in 2019.  An HSA is a bank account that can be used in conjunction with a high deductible health plan to save pre-tax funds for medical expenses.  Both employers and employees can contribute to the account, but the account and all monies contained within are owned by the employee.  HSAs can provide a significant way to save for current and future medical expenses free of tax.  Read more...


    Retirement Plans

    New Comparabilty Plans: Add-on Feature Can Help You Save More


    With changes due to Tax Reform, business owners may find that their overall taxes are going down, providing an opportunity to take that windfall and strategically evaluate creative retirement plan designs with tax benefits for saving.  A New Comparability Plan is one potential option to consider.  Read more...


    Human Resources & Payroll

    IRS Releases New W-4 & Recommends "Paycheck Checkup"


    On February 28, the IRS released a revised Form W-4 and a Withholding Calculator for 2018.  These updates come as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Due to the dramatic changes to the law, Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter stated, “the IRS encourages employees to check their paychecks to help ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their personal situation.”  Read more...


    Employee Benefits & Insurance

    IRS Sends Penalty Letters


    The IRS is currently sending letters to inform employers of penalties due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This letter, called 226J, is being sent to groups that did not offer coverage that was affordable and met the minimum essential requirements as specified by the ACA. These groups are therefore required to make an Employer Shared Responsibility Payment (ESRP). These penalties can be severe. The illustration below, taken from a real letter, shows a penalty amount of $213,026.  Read more...


    Financial Planning

    Market Volatility & Your Strategy


    With the recent market declines, U.S. markets are now in an official correction (a 10% decline as opposed to a bear market, which is a 20% downturn).  A drop in the markets can initially seem scary; however, those with an established investment strategy can have a different perspective.  At times like these, experts like Warren Buffet advise investors to stick with their strategy and, if cash is available, to take advantage of drops in the market.  Read more...


    Human Resources & Payroll

    Common W-2 Questions


    Tax season is upon us!  To help ring in the season, we would like to share answers to the top questions we get on Forms W-2.  Read more...


    Human Resources & Payroll

    IRS FAQ on Payroll Withholding Changes


    On Thursday, January 11, the IRS released Notice 1036, updating the income tax withholding tables for 2018 in response to the new tax law.  They also released Withholding Tables Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), available here: more...