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How to pay down your mortgage in a hurry

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Consumer savings, Money management, Tangerine | 0 comments

How to pay down your mortgage in a hurry Monday, March 21st, 2016  |  Sheryl Smolkin Do you sometimes feel like your mortgage payments are a huge weight around your neck? Some people opt to pay off their mortgages at an accelerated pace, taking advantage of pre-payment privileges and saving thousands of dollars in interest payments. Tim Stobbs is one of them. Stobbs, who blogs at Canadian Dream: Free at 45, is an engineer with a utility company. His wife operates a home daycare. In 2012, when they...

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Cutting worker hours to avoid ACA penalties may violate ERISA

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Employee Benefit News, Health, Legal | 0 comments

April 1, 2016 By Sheryl Smolkin The District Court for the Southern District of New York recently turned down a motion to dismiss from the national restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s in a case where a group of employees sued the company for allegedly cutting employee hours to less than 30 hours/week to avoid offering health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In the class action, the named plaintiff, Dave & Buster’s employee Maria De Lourdes Parra Marin, claimed her employer announced that...

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Culture shift required to meet female demand for international assignments

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Diversity, Employee Benefit News, HR Issues | 0 comments

March 28, 2016 By Sheryl Smolkin   Six years after auditor Emily Huber was first employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, she was sent to Bermuda on a two-year assignment as an assurance manager, working primarily with one large multi-national spirits company. Huber, who spent a semester in London during college, has always been interested in working abroad. “I think especially in the global world that we live in, it’s so important to work with others, experience different cultures and be...

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What employers need to know about IRS’ plans to curtail determination letters

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Employee Benefit News, Income Tax, Legal, Retirement | 0 comments

March 28, 2016 By Sheryl Smolkin   In Announcement 2015-19, issued on July 21, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service said it was eliminating the staggered five-year determination letter remedial amendment cycles for individually designed tax-qualified retirement plans effective Jan. 1, 2017. Employers depend on these determination letters to ensure both their defined benefit and defined contribution plans remain in compliance with the tax code. While not required to do so, most plan sponsors take advantage...

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Supreme Court upholds overtime pay for Tyson workers

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Employee Benefit News, HR Issues, Legal | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin March 28, 2016 A 6-2 decision by the Supreme Court supporting an overtime class action by workers at an Iowa pork processing plant means that employers will have to be more careful about recording and paying for hours employees are required to spend on the job site. After a nine-year odyssey through the courts, 3,300 employees at Tyson Foods will finally be compensated for the time it took them to put on and take off protective gear required by the nature of their job at the beginning and...

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Retirement savings system an ‘inefficient patchwork’

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in EBN, Employee Benefit News, Retirement | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin March 24, 2016   According to a 2015 survey by the National Institute on Retirement Security, 86% of Americans “believe that the nation faces a retirement crisis.” And labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci thinks they are right. “If nothing changes, by 2050, 25 million American retirees will be either in poverty or very close to it. It’s no wonder that 84% of Americans want national policymakers to give more attention to retirement issues,” she says. That’s why Ghilarducci, a...

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PwC prioritizes student loan debt repayment benefits

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in EBN, Employee Benefit News, Financial benefits, HR Issues | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin March 21 2016 With 40 million Americans carrying over $1.2 trillion in student debt, it is not surprising that experts have identified student loan repayment as a hot new employee benefit. “Student loan debt is a huge issue in this country when you consider students typically graduate with four loans outstanding with an average debt load that ranges from $30,000 to $40,000,” says Bruce Elliott, manager of compensation and benefits at the Society for Human Resources Management. PwC ‘s...

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Biggest mistakes people make on their income tax returns

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Income Tax, Tangerine | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016  |  Sheryl Smolkin   If there’s muttering coming from my husband’s home office and piles of paper all over his desk, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s tax time. He does a great job preparing income tax returns electronically and e-filing for both of us and my mother. Nevertheless, every year or two after we get our Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency, we’re asked to send in receipts to verify expenses claimed or re-assessed...

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What’s new on your 2015 income tax return?

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Income Tax, Tangerine | 0 comments

Friday, March 11th, 2016  |  Sheryl Smolkin   One of the major challenges we face at tax time is that every year there are changes — new deductions, new tax credits and new tax rates. This year, the major tax changes will be of particular interest to families with children. Caroline Battista is a senior tax analyst in Vancouver for the national tax firm H&R BlockTM. In 2015, the company prepared more than 2.6 million retail and digital returns. Changes for parents “The first thing parents are...

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Senior scams and how to protect yourself

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Consumer fraud, Tangerine | 0 comments

Friday, March 4th, 2016  |  Sheryl Smolkin   I was pleased to read recently that charges were laid relating to an organized criminal operation targeting the elderly and known as “the grandparent scam.” That’s because several years ago, my mother was almost defrauded of thousands of dollars based on the same ruse. She received a phone call from a man who said he was her grandson and that he was in a car accident in Montreal. He begged her to wire money to his lawyer because he was being...

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