NC Employers Face End-of-Year Employee Withholding Form Mandate

Changes to North Carolina’s tax law taking effect January 1st, including reductions in the individual income tax rate and simplification and eliminations of deductions and exemptions, necessitated changes to the basic paperwork used to register employees with their employers for payroll deduction of state income tax payments.

Guidance issued mid-November by the North Carolina Department of Revenue requires all employers in North Carolina to have their employees complete and submit new Withholding Allowance Certificates (NC-4 and NC-4 EZ Forms) by December 31st.

The DOR’s guidance included the following overview:

Under this new law, all taxpayers will pay a lower rate and be granted a higher standard deduction. Taxpayers may no longer claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse, children, or any other qualifying dependents. Additionally, many deductions and tax credits that impact North Carolina withholding tax are no longer available for tax years beginning on or after January 1.

…The new form must be completed by the employee and provided to the employer so the correct amount of State income tax is withheld for any payment periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

Likewise, all recipients of pension or annuity payments must complete and provide to their payer a new Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, Form NC-4P ,(Revised 11/25/13) in order to withhold the correct amount of State income tax for any pension payment periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

The NC Department of Revenue set up a special page on their website (click here) with all relevant information regarding these changes. Employers should consult the formal notification packet, which includes the revised NC-4 EZ, NC-4 and NC-4P forms and instructions.

Employers and pension payers with questions are encouraged to call 1-877-252-4487 to receive special assistance. This number will be active until February 28th.

Saturday’s “Shark Tank” features Great Entrepreneurs, Judges

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Click on the Image to Obtain a Free Ticket for Saturday’s Shark Tank Event

SpringBoardNC’s inaugural “Shark Tank,” to be held this Saturday, November 16th, at 6 p.m. at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts at North Carolina Wesleyan College, will feature local entrepreneurs competing for the chance to advance their business ideas with funding and technical support.

The public is invited to attend this free event, as well as help select winners in each category. Tickets are required, and can be obtained online by clicking here or visiting the SpringBoardNC website, www.sprinboardnc.com.

“Shark Tank by SpringBoard is a way for entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs to broadcast their ideas and businesses to the people that matter: customers, mentors and investors,” said SpringBoardNC Vice President, Jeff Tobias. “That’s aside from the opportunity to win significant cash prizes.”

Each finalist will present their idea to the audience and four special judges:

Mayo Boddie, Chairman, Boddie-Noell Enterprises

Brian Wordsworth, Executive Vice-President, MBM Corporation

Frances Gravely, Founder, Vietri, Inc.

David Walker, Eastern North Carolina Center for Business and Entrepreneurship, North Carolina Wesleyan College

More than 50 entries were submitted for the competition in 3 categories: business, college, and young entrepreneur academy. Business category applicants provided abbreviated business plans for new business and business expansion ideas. College students competed against each other, developing general business ideas and assessments. Participants in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) organized by The Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce shared business ideas they’ve developed while participating in the program.

Business category finalists are:

Syntervention, a Rocky Mount-based company developing innovative products for use in the medical and surgical fields. They will be represented by Fuz Furbush.

Prsonas, a Durham-based company developing virtual-based customer interaction and presentation services, represented by David Rose.

Tail Gate Buddy, a Roanoke Rapids-based company started by Brian Hux, providing a product that attaches to vehicles to provide seating and cargo space for special events.

The college category finalists are Tyler Freedman, Sabina Paudel, Kristopher Hutchins, and Shadawn Clanton. The YEA finalists are Brianna Barnes, Joshua McKnight, Thane Wooten, Shawndrea Gunter and Gabrielle Taylor

Three business category finalists will present their plans to the judges for the chance to win $10,000 to cover startup or expansion costs. They will also be given access to a committee of advisors who will help them start and grow their business for over their initial 12 months.

The winner in the college category will win $2,500 to use toward college tuition of paying off student debt. The YEA category winner will receive reimbursement of their program tuition, equivalent to $295.

“Shark Tank” is the first business competition of its kind in the local area. It is the product of a broad collaboration that includes North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Eastern North Carolina Center for Business & Entrepreneurship, the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise in Chapel Hill, and the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce, and is supported by Carolinas Gateway Partnership and the North Eastern Entrepreneur Roundtable (NEER).

Nash Community College awarded Workforce Training Grant

(NEWS RELEASE) The 7×24 Exchange Carolinas Chapter recently presented $5,000 to three North Carolina community colleges, including Nash Community College, Wake Technical Community College and Cleveland Community College. On the same day, $23 million in US Department of Labor funds were awarded to three N.C. community colleges, UNC Charlotte and Moultrie Technical College in Georgia for the development of Mission Critical Operations training. The grant, totaling $15,000 will support marketing and recruitment efforts of the new program.

(Left-to-Right) 7×24 Carolinas Membership Chairman David Knight, NCC President Dr. Bill Carver, NC Community College System President Dr. Scott Ralls, 7×24 Carolinas Education Committee Chairman Paul Marcoux, 7×24 Carolinas President Tom Jacobik and 7×24 Carolinas Advisor Robin Aron.

The growth of Mission Critical Data Centers in the Mid-Atlantic region has created increased demand for operations personnel to maintain the dependability, reliability and energy efficiency of such facilities. In response to that demand, 7×24 Exchange International’s Carolinas Chapter, the leading knowledge exchange for those who design, build, use and maintain mission-critical enterprise information infrastructures, agreed to support a consortium of higher education institutions, led by Cleveland Community College. Cleveland Community College agreed to develop, equip, staff and scale curriculum programs to train and educate the workforce needed for these large data companies and users.

“The Mission Critical Operations skill train has arrived at the station. Those departing (retiring) are taking with them decades of formal and on-job-training skills. Yet, the individual skill sets of those waiting to embark are significantly less than is required by the Mission Critical Industry,” said Paul Marcoux, Senior Vice President of BB&T and the chapter’s Education Chair. “Mission Critical is not just about data centers, it’s about the thousands of people behind the scenes keeping critical support functions operating, 24-7, 365 days a year, including hospitals, critical manufacturing process, 911 call centers, bio manufacturing and hundreds of other critical industries, all facing the same skill shortage.”

Government Shutdown knocks out E-Verify

Along with many other “non essential” operations suspended by the Federal Government shutdown, which took effect at Midnight Tuesday after existing budget authorizations expired with the beginning of a new Federal Fiscal Year, employers and staffing agencies found Tuesday morning they could not access the E-Verify system for employee citizenship status verification.

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When employers and other E-Verify account holders visited the site Tuesday morning, they encounter this message:

E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown.

While E-Verify is unavailable, you will not be able to access your E-Verify account. As a result, you will be unable to:

  • Enroll any company in E-Verify
  • Verify employment eligibility
  • View or take action on any case
  • Add, delete or edit any User ID
  • Reset passwords
  • Edit your company information
  • Terminate an account
  • Run reports
  • View ‘Essential Resources.’ Please note that all essential resources may be found by visitingwww.dhs.gov/e-verify.

In addition, E-Verify Customer Support and related services are closed. As a result:

  • Employees will be unable to resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs).
  • Telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable. You may send e-mails, however, we cannot respond until we reopen.
  • E-Verify webinars and training sessions are cancelled
  • E-Verify Self Check will not be available

We understand that E-Verify’s unavailability may have a significant impact on your company’s operations. To minimize the burden on both employers and employees, the following policies have been implemented:

  • The ‘three-day rule’ for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the shutdown. We’ll provide additional guidance once we reopen. This does NOT affect the Form I-9 requirement—employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay.
  • The time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended. Days the federal government is closed will not count towards the eight federal government workdays the employee has to go to SSA or contact DHS. We will provide additional time once we reopen.
  • For federal contractors complying with the federal contractor rule, please contact your contracting officer to inquire about extending deadlines.
  • Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to a federal government shutdown (consult the E-Verify User Manual for more information on interim case statuses).

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to serving you once we resume operations.

 

While E-Verify was suspended as a result of the shutdown, Federally-managed healthcare exchanges, a component of the Affordable Care Act, opened as scheduled Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, they do not appear to be working to well, as evidenced by the following:

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Obamacare Exchange cuts NC Insurance Options

While four years of rhetoric by supporters of the Affordable Care Act stated that the program would broaden choices for citizens and enable those with health insurance to keep their existing plans, the upcoming reality for many in North Carolina may be just the opposite.

On October 1st, the Federal Government will open their managed health exchanges in states across the country, including North Carolina. When it happens, residents in the Tar Heel State will learn that only two health insurance companies will be participating in the program.

For residents of 61 North Carolina counties, the situation will be even more dire, as only one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, will be providing coverage.

“We are now four days away from Obamacare’s implementation and each moment, we are receiving new reports as to how devastating this law will be for the men and women of North Carolina,” said NC Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District) in a statement released Thursday. “Yesterday, we discovered that health insurance rates are expected to triple for women and quadruple for men in North Carolina once this law goes into effect. Today, we were informed that virtual monopolies are now being created to sell this poison pill to our people.”

Earlier this week, an article at Forbes detailed research findings from the Manhattan Institute showing that health care premiums for 27-year-old individuals in North Carolina will increase an average of 151% for women and 267% for men. These are among the most significant increases to be experienced as a result of the setup of the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

ACA Insurance Impact

“We were promised lower costs and more competition. Yet Obamacare is doing the exact opposite,” Congresswoman Ellmers said. “The whole point of an online marketplace was to provide options, so North Carolinians could go online, compare prices, and choose plans from different companies. That is how competition is supposed to work! Although seven insurance companies currently operate in North Carolina, under the new Obamacare exchanges, those options will dwindle down to one in the majority of counties.”

Congresswoman Ellmers joined the rest of the State’s Republican Delegation in the House of Representatives to support a bill last week that defunded the Affordable Care Act while providing a continuing resolution for other Federal spending.

The defunding provision will likely be taken out as the Senate considers the bill toward the end of this week, despite efforts by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and a handfull of others to point out the Affordable Care Act’s failures to live up to promised expectations.

Coventry Health Care, which is owned now by Aetna, will provide insurance coverage for residents in 39 counties. Locally, their map indicates coverage will be available to residents in Wake, Franklin, Nash, Edgecombe and Pitt Counties, but not Wilson, Northampton or Martin Counties.

Federal subsidies will be available to individuals making less than $46,000 a year and families of four earning less than $94,000 a year. According to reports, approximately 870,000 residents will be eligible for these subsidies, though levels of assistance will vary based on case-by-case characteristics.

Former Roomstore Facility to Reopen, Provide 90 Jobs

(NEWS RELEASE) Mr. Walter C. Johnsen, Chairman and CEO of Acme United today announced its purchase of the Roomstore building located on Tanner Road in Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  The Roomstore property consists of 340,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space on 33 acres of land. The facility will be used to consolidate two distribution centers and provide space for manufacturing and growth for Acme United Corporation.

TannerRoadFacility

This facility on Tanner Road (former RoomStore facility) was recently purchased by Acme United Corporation, creating 90 jobs for the Rocky Mount area. (Image via Google Maps)

Mr. Leonard Wiggins, Chairman, Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners stated, “we welcome Acme United to Edgecombe County. We are pleased to work with our partners to create new job opportunities for Edgecombe County Citizens.  Added Mr. David Combs, Mayor City of Rocky Mount”Acme United needed a good and timely decision for its growth plans; thanks to our team from the public and private sector we hope to welcome Acme United to the City of Rocky Mount, a great place for business to grow”.

Mr. Frank Harrison, Chairman of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, stated, “I congratulate Acme United Corporation on its location decision.  The CGP region is a great place for business, with a high quality workforce and an excellent business climate with interstate 95 and limited access US 64 providing access to a broad customer base.”

Mr. Johnsen, thanked the Rocky Mount City Council, The Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners, The Carolinas Gateway Partnership, and the NC Department of Commerce for its assistance.

Acme United Corporation is a leading worldwide supplier of innovative cutting, measuring and safety products to schools, home, office, hardware and industrial markets. Its leading brands include Wescott®, Clauss®, Camillus®, Physicians Care® and Pac Kit®.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership, Inc. is a coalition of over 100 public and private sector investors from Nash County, Edgecombe County, the City of Rocky Mount, the Town of Tarboro, and the Town of Nashville.  For more information about the Partnership, call 252-442-0114, or email to cgp@econdev.org.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership aligns with Research Triangle

cgp_logo(NEWS RELEASE) The Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP), leading economic development agency for the Research Triangle Region, has welcomed Carolinas Gateway Partnership to the RTRP team to market the Research Triangle Region. Carolinas Gateway Partnership, based in Rocky Mount, is a public-private industrial recruitment agency dedicated to the economic development of Nash and Edgecombe counties.

rtrp logo w. white margin_318x150“Our focus is a 60-mile radius surrounding the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Research Triangle Park and we are excited to team with Carolinas Gateway Partnership to further market one of the most vibrant economies in the country,” said Charles Hayes, president and CEO of the RTRP. “The core drives economic development for the surrounding radius and we certainly welcome other partners to join our collaborative team approach.”

“We are proud to be affiliated with the RTRP, the area’s leading economic development agency, and look forward to working with their vast network of partners to further enhance the opportunities for Nash and Edgecombe counties,” said Gateway’s Chairman Frank Harrison.

The Research Triangle Regional Partnership leads economic development for the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina, the area within a 60-mile radius of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the Research Triangle Park. The RTRP comprises economic development agencies across the region, who work with a wide range of public and private partners to market the region for new investment and direct strategic efforts to ensure the region remains economically competitive. For more information, visit www.researchtriangle.org.

Duke Energy warns of Potential Fraud Calls

Duke Energy, along with Duke Progress Energy, recently announced that unscrupulous individuals are posing as false representatives of their company in an attempt to defraud customers.

Related scam activity, identified and reported by Duke Energy, includes the following strategies customers should be aware of:

Misleading Phone Calls

Some customers report receiving phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as Duke Energy employees or a third-party representative of Duke Energy. In some cases, the customer’s caller identification will display Duke Energy’s name or phone number.

The caller attempts to obtain customer account or personal information. Other callers may threaten immediate service disconnection – usually within an hour – if immediate payment is not made with a prepaid debit card.

Occasionally, Duke Energy MAY call you to discuss your account. If we do, we will provide you with information that only you and Duke Energy would know in order to validate that our call is legitimate. If, after receiving the information, you are uncomfortable providing personal information by phone, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up and call the company directly at 1-800-777-9898.

Duke Energy customers who have delinquent accounts receive multiple notifications from the company over the course of several weeks prior to electric service disconnection – never just a single notification one hour before disconnection. Customers can also make payments online, by phone, by automatic bank draft, my mail or in person.

Third-Party Payment

Scam artists claiming to be Duke Energy employees are telling customers they have the ability to wipe out entire account balances – for a cash fee. Please know that no one from Duke Energy will ever offer to pay a customer’s bill in exchange for a fee. Duke Energy only charges convenience fees for payments using its automated phone system and one-time payments made through its website. The company does not charge customers extra fees for paying their bills by mail, at authorized pay agent locations or through customers’ online banking services.

If you have a question about whether someone is a legitimate representative of Duke Energy, contact the company directly at 1-800-777-9898 to verify the person’s identity. Call police immediately if you believe the person is an imposter.

(Last) Sales Tax Holiday Arrives in North Carolina

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North Carolina’s final sales tax holiday weekend is this Friday, August 2nd, and Saturday, August 3rd

For more than a decade now, North Carolina has joined several other states in offering a sales tax holiday weekend for residents to purchase back-to-school supplies, everything from clothing and backpacks, to computers and, of course, notebooks and pencils.

The 2013 edition coming this weekend will be the last for the forseeable future, as the new 2013-15 biennium budget does not include the practice as part of their broader tax reform plan.

According to the North Carolina Department of Revenue, the lack of applying sales tax to qualifying purchases during the holiday weekend, which will take place this year on Friday, August 2nd, and Saturday, August 3rd, reduces potential tax receipts by $13 million.

The General Assembly’s tax reform efforts sought to remove exemptions in order to reduce personal and corporate income tax rates, as well as streamline other sources of state revenue.

Click here for more information on this weekend’s sales tax holiday from the Department of Revenue, including these helpful reminders for consumers and businesses:

  • Items are not necessarily exempt from sales tax just because they are required by a child’s school or sports team.  Visit NCDOR’s website for a complete list of items that qualify.
  • The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and lasts until 11:59 p.m. Sunday. Participation in the sales tax holiday is required; retailers cannot opt out.
  • Retailers may not charge sales tax on exempt items sold during the holiday and tell shoppers to request a refund from the Department of Revenue. In cases where the sales tax is charged on purchases that should be exempt, a customer’s only option to obtain a refund is from the retailer.
  • Discounts from retailers’ coupons are deducted from the price of an item before determining if the item is eligible for the sales tax exemption.
  • Rebates do not affect the sales price of an item for the sales tax holiday. Example: a computer priced at $4,000 with a $600 rebate is not exempt from sales taxes. The amount of the rebate is not deducted from the sales price of the computer before determining if the computer is eligible for the sales tax exemption.

Duke Energy Progress Customers to see Rate Hikes

DUKE ENERGY LOGOFollowing a final ruling last week by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, customers of Duke Energy Progress throughout the Tar Heel State should expect to see a 6.5% increase in residential electric rates, starting this summer.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who opposed the rate increase during its review by the Utilities Commission earlier this year, plans to appeal the ruling to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

“This order puts utility profits ahead of people. It talks about how much consumers are hurting but sticks them with higher rates anyway,” Cooper said.

“A true analysis of the effect on struggling consumers as required by the North Carolina Supreme Court should result in lower rates so we plan to appeal this ruling.”

The combined impact on rates for customers of the former Progress Energy in North Carolina will be an approximate 7.5% increase, phased in over the next two years.

Residential customers should expect a 6.5% increase this summer if the new rates take effect. Along with an increase in the cost for energy (per kilowatt-hour), the monthly base customer charge will increase from $6.75 to $11.50 for single-phase residential customers.

An additional 1.0% increase would take effect next June.

This past April, Attorney General Cooper successfully appealed a Utilities Commission-approved 7.2% rate increase for customers of Duke Energy, with the Supreme Court ordering the Commission to determine the customer impact on consumers while considering allowable profit margins and service rates.

The approved rates, negotiated between Duke Energy Progress and the N.C. Public Staff, were less than the original 11% increase proposed last year.

The approved rates will generate $178 million in additional revenue in the second year, helping recover operational costs, including the construction of a $31 million, natural gas-fueled generation system located at the Sutton Plant in Wilmington.