If you thought there were a lot of potential changes to government regulations and legislative issues to keep track of in 2017, expect more of the same in 2018. President Donald Trump and the Republican majority of Congress intend to keep changing — or at least try to change — many government regulations and federal laws that shape how businesses operate.
From massive to minor alterations to health insurance, taxes and immigration, business leaders need to continue to closely watch what happens in Washington.
The Affordable Care Act
For now, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains the law of the land, but that could seemingly change at any moment. Several legislative attempts to repeal government-supported health care failed in 2017, but as the year was coming to a close, many Congressional Republicans wanted to add a repeal of the ACA individual mandate to their bill to overhaul the federal tax code. Other Republicans believed that ending the mandate — thus diminishing the number of people who pay for insurance, which would increase rates — would be politically dangerous. President Trump might instead take that action through an executive order. Even the slightest tweaks to ACA could have significant implications for organizations.
H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, was signed into law on December 22nd. H.R. 1 includes several significant changes that are relevant to employers for payroll, employment tax and employee benefits purposes, and are generally effective on January 1, 2018. There are many details to be determined through regulations, which are likely to take several months to complete.
Also, immigration policy continues to shift under the Trump administration, with some states and municipalities agreeing or refusing to cooperate with federal authorities on enforcement.
Finance and HR leaders should stay well-informed of any potential changes to employment authorization documents and other immigration policies that could affect their workforces. For example, in September, employers had to start using a revised Form I-9 for identify verification and employment authorization.
Political ambitions and realities changed constantly in 2017. Stay tuned and keep your teams ready for more of the same in 2018.
Other articles in the series:
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