Vicki M. Nielsen

Vicki M. Nielsen

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

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Latest Publications


New Year, New Commuter Benefits for New Yorkers: FAQs on the New Law

On January 1, 2016, New York City’s Mass Transit Benefits Law, Local Law 53, went into effect, requiring employers with 20 or more full-time employees working in New York City to offer commuter benefits to those full-time...more

2/23/2016 - Exemptions Fringe Benefits Full-Time Employees New Legislation Transit Benefits

Ogletree Governmental Affairs State Round-Up

In the past few months, a number of state and local developments have emerged that are likely to resonate across the country. The following is a tour of some of the most recent and significant state-specific legislation,...more

12/2/2015 - Commercial Truck Drivers Commuter Tax Benefits Franchisee Independent Contractors Minimum Wage

D.C. Commuter Benefits Are Almost Here: Employers Must Comply by January 1

Employers with 20 or more employees working in the District of Columbia have fewer than 90 days to comply with a new law that requires them to offer commuter benefits to employees by January 1, 2016. Washington, D.C. is one...more

11/3/2015 - Commuter Tax Benefits Covered Entities Employee Benefits Public Transit

FAQs on the SEC’s Proposed Clawback Rule

On July 1, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule directing national securities exchanges and associations to establish listing standards that require public companies to adopt and enforce a...more

9/15/2015 - Clawbacks Disclosure Requirements Dodd-Frank Emerging Growth Companies Executive Compensation Foreign Private Issuers Incentive Compensation Listing Standards Proposed Regulation Publicly-Traded Companies SEC Securities Exchanges

FICA Tax Student Exemption Resolution: Fifth Circuit Decision About Refunds of FICA Taxes Paid by Medical Residents Stands

FICA taxes, which fund the Social Security program, are not levied on state employees unless a state voluntarily opts in to the program. A state opts in by executing an agreement, commonly referred to as a “section 218...more

5/11/2015 - Exemptions FICA Taxes Physicians Public Employees Social Security Administration (SSA) Students

Feb. 2 Deadline Looming to Implement Retroactive Increase in 2014 Mass Transit Benefit Limits

Affected employers must move quickly to take advantage of a special administrative procedure regarding a retroactive increase in excludable transit benefits enacted on December 19, 2014, under the Tax Increase Prevention Act...more

1/26/2015 - Commuter Tax Benefits Deadlines Employer Liability Issues FICA Taxes Filing Deadlines Mass Transit Payroll Taxes

On-Premises Fringe Benefits, Part II: Is There Such a Thing as a Free Lunch?

In part one of this two-part series, “On-Premises Fringe Benefits, Part I: Is There Such a Thing as a Free Lunch?,” I discussed the Internal Revenue Code’s provisions on tax-free employer-provided meals in addition to the...more

11/19/2014 - Employee Benefits Fringe Benefits IRS

On-Premises Fringe Benefits, Part I: Is There Such a Thing as a Free Lunch?

It is no secret that many Silicon Valley employers serve free gourmet meals to their employees—the Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit magazine, Time, Forbes, and other media sources have reported on this benefit. In addition,...more

11/13/2014 - Employee Benefits Fringe Benefits IRS Silicon Valley Tax Exemptions

The Employment Law Authority - October/November 2014

In This Issue: - Employee Benefits. Recent IRS letter reminds employers about issues associated with offering “free” parking - State Round-Up. Learn about the latest employment law news in your state -...more

11/12/2014 - Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens Ebola EEOC EEOC v Abercrombie Employee Benefits Facebook Fringe Benefits Integrity Staffing v Busk IRS Mach Mining v EEOC NLRB OSHA Reporting Requirements SCOTUS Wage and Hour Workplace Bullying Workplace Violence Young v United Parcel Service

IRS Reminds Employers Value of “Free” Parking May Be Taxable Fringe Benefit

A recent Information Letter issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the taxation of employer-provided parking, although noncontroversial, serves as a useful reminder that “free” parking for employees may result in...more

10/3/2014 - Employee Benefits Fair Market Value Fringe Benefits Income Taxes IRS Parking Lots

IRS Begins Section 409A Compliance Initiative

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is getting ready to ramp up enforcement of Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code. The federal agency recently announced the launch of a new project to assess the level of taxpayer...more

6/27/2014 - Deferred Compensation Guidance Update IRS SAR Section 409A Stock Options Stocks

Employers Are Not Required to Provide Transit Fringe Benefits—Except in California

Since the Golden State sometimes can be a bellwether for national trends, employers nationwide may want to keep an eye on what’s occurring in California regarding commuter benefits. Certain employers in the San Francisco Bay...more

6/24/2014 - Fringe Benefits Public Transit

Supreme Court Justices Consider Taxability of Certain Severance Pay During Quality Stores Oral Arguments

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., a case on appeal from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. A circuit court split had spurred the Court to hear the...more

1/16/2014 - FICA Taxes Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Oral Argument Quality Stores SCOTUS Statutory Interpretation

Avoiding Mistletoe Mishaps, Part V: Are Holiday Gifts, Prizes, Or Parties Taxable Wages?

As 2013 comes to an end, we have been considering a number of workplace issues that employers might face at the end of the year and the beginning of the holiday season. Part five of our year-end holiday series reviews the...more

12/6/2013 - Corporate Gifts Holidays Income Taxes Wages

Correcting Employment Taxes for Same-Sex Spouses: Optional Procedures After Windsor

On September 23, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2013-61, which provides optional administrative procedures that employers may use to correct overpayments of employment taxes paid for 2013 and prior...more

10/8/2013 - DOMA Employment Tax IRS Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS Tax Benefits US v Windsor

Is the Severance that Your Company Pays to Fired Workers Taxable? The Supreme Court Will Decide

On October 1, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a case concerning whether employees’ severance payments are taxable. The case, United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., came out of the Sixth Circuit...more

10/4/2013 - FICA Taxes Hiring & Firing Quality Stores SCOTUS Severance Pay Termination Wages

The Advantages of Offering Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Instead of Severance, Part II: FICA Taxes and More

In part one of this two-part series, “The Advantages of Offering Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Instead of Severance, Part I: FICA Taxes and More,” I reviewed the advantages of offering supplemental unemployment benefits...more

8/29/2013 - FICA Taxes FUTA IRS Unemployment Benefits

The Advantages of Offering Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Instead of Severance, Part I: FICA Taxes and More

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), severance is subject to Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) tax and certain supplemental unemployment benefits are not....more

8/27/2013 - FICA Taxes IRS Severance Agreements Unemployment Benefits

Supreme Court DOMA Decision—Part II: Wage Overstatements and Tax Refunds

In part one of this two-part series, “Supreme Court DOMA Decision — Part I: Fringe Benefits and Other Tax Implications,” I reviewed the fringe benefit and tax implications of the United States v. Windsor decision....more

7/26/2013 - American Taxpayer Relief Act DOMA FICA Taxes IRS SCOTUS Tax Refunds US v Windsor Wages

Supreme Court DOMA Decision—Part I: Fringe Benefits and Other Tax Implications

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its highly anticipated decision in United States v. Windsor, ruling that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional....more

7/24/2013 - DOMA Employee Benefits Fringe Benefits Income Taxes Marriage Same-Sex Marriage SCOTUS Tax Credits Tax Exemptions

June 30 Deadline to Apply for Temporary Employment Tax Settlement Program

Is your company considering reclassifying certain workers, but hesitant because it is worried about triggering a federal employment tax audit or not having consistently filed Form 1099s for those workers in the past? If you...more

5/24/2013 - Audits Eligibility Independent Contractors IRS Misclassification VCSP

IRS Worker Classification Audits—Risks And Relief Options

The battle between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and taxpayers continues over independent contractor treatment. ...more

5/23/2013 - Classification FICA Taxes Independent Contractors IRS Safe Harbors Tax Liability VCSP

Wellness Programs—Money and Trinkets for Healthy Habits May Be Taxable

More and more employers and insurance companies are providing incentives and rewards to employees and their covered dependents to encourage participation in wellness programs. These programs are designed to improve an...more

4/11/2013 - Employer Group Health Plans Healthcare Incentives Income Taxes Wellness Programs

Money And Trinkets Provided For Wellness

More and more employers and insurance companies are providing incentives and rewards to employees and their covered dependents to encourage participation in wellness programs—programs designed to improve an individual’s...more

4/10/2013 - Affordable Care Act Employer Group Health Plans Healthcare Incentives Income Taxes W-2 Wellness Programs

April 4th Deadline for FICA Tax Treatment of Severance Pay Under Quality Stores

Two deadlines relating to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., No. 10-1563 (6th Cir. Sept. 7, 2012), are quickly approaching. The deadline for the United States to file a...more

3/14/2013 - FICA Taxes Quality Stores Severance Pay

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