September 2016 Volume X No. 4 Taking Care of Business
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Understanding the New Federal Overtime Rule


Joe Jaskowiak

On December 1, 2016, a new Rule will increase eligibility for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA]. By way of background, the FLSA has two primary requirements: (1) employees must be paid a minimum wage; and (2) employees must be paid overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a week. The FLSA also contains “exemptions” from the overtime requirement, and the new Rule affects the “white collar” exemption.

The new Rule increases the minimum salary threshold to qualify as an exempt (from overtime) white collar employee from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year). This change will affect the FLSA exemptions for executive employees, administrative employees, professional employees, and some salaried information technology employees. In addition, to be considered exempt as a “highly compensated employee”, where other white collar requirements are arguably relaxed, the minimum salary has increased from $100,000 to $134,003.

The new salary levels are not minimum wage requirements, and employers are not obligated to increase anyone’s pay. The new salary thresholds are of concern only if the employer is claiming the subject employee is exempt from overtime under the white collar exemption, and the current salary is under the new threshold. Moreover, the remainder of the white collar exemption did not change, so raising an employee’s salary to the new level, by itself, does not necessarily satisfy the FLSA’s exemption for overtime and minimum wage protection. Instead, the employer must still satisfy all requirements of the applicable white collar exemption’s “duties” test. Finally, neither job titles nor paying an employee a salary instead of an hourly wage make any difference under the FLSA.

To deal with the new wage threshold, an employer has four options: (1) increase an otherwise exempt employee’s yearly salary above $47,476; (2) reclassify positions that pay under $47,476 from exempt to non-exempt, and pay overtime; (3) change salaried employees to hourly employees and “back in” to their current salary by calculating an hourly wage that is above the minimum wage but also accounts for overtime; or (4) restructure the workforce to limit overtime. Each of these options creates risks and opportunities for the employer that should be carefully considered before any changes are made.

If you have questions regarding the contents of this article, or other similar issues, please contact your HWE relationship attorney or visit us at http://www.hwelaw.com.

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Property Taxes 101


Todd Leeth

Property taxes are one of the primary sources of funding for local government units, including counties, cities and towns, townships, libraries and other special districts such as fire districts and solid waste districts. Property taxes are assessed and collected by local government officials. In Indiana, they are an ad valorem tax, meaning that they are allocated to each taxpayer proportionately, according to each taxpayer’s property value.

The property tax process is also known as the property tax assessment and billing cycle. The cycle begins when the county assessor calculates a tax value for each parcel. Like other states, properties in Indiana are valued using mass appraisal techniques. Mass appraisal looks at each property in conjunction with other properties in its area. In this step, assessors take into consideration the age, grade, and condition of each parcel. The next phase of the process is known as annual adjustment, or “trending”. Each year real property sales data is used to determine whether the value of properties in your area should change to match the market value determined by the sales of recent properties. Next, the assessor communicates the data on each property’s value to the county auditor. The auditor applies deductions, exemptions, and other valuation adjustments to each parcel, as applicable. For example, homestead or mortgage deductions, certain charitable exemptions, and other deductions largely claimed by owner status. The auditor’s office then sends these values, known as the certified net assessed values, to the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF). After thorough review, the DLGF converts these values to property tax rates. This calculation is performed by dividing each local unit’s approved budget amounts by the assessed value for each unit. Finally, the DLGF forwards the tax rates back to each county, where the auditor and treasurer work together to calculate, generate and mail tax bills to each taxpayer.

You will receive notice of your property’s value in one of two ways: the county assessor may send you a notice of assessment, known as a Form 11 or the assessed value of your property can be found with your tax bill. This document is known as the TS-1 tax comparison statement. Typically, in Porter County the county assessor elects to send a Form 11.

If you receive your Form 11 and feel your assessment does not reflect the market value-in-use of your property, you may appeal your assessment. To file an appeal, you must either contact your local assessor in writing within 45 days of the mailing of the Form 11 notice or tax bill, whichever was sent earlier. The state provides a standard form called the Form 130 for this purpose. Otherwise, a simple letter stating your intent to appeal is sufficient. In Porter County, you can even visit the assessor’s website and file an appeal online. Indiana law does not require taxpayers to submit an appraisal in order to appeal an assessment. However, if you hope to be successful in lowering your property’s value, you will need to provide some type of market evidence to prove that the property has been valued too high. Your opinion or a comparison with your neighbor’s tax bill is not sufficient evidence.

If you have questions regarding Property Taxes, or other similar issues, please contact your HWE relationship attorney or visit us at http://www.hwelaw.com.

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DISCLAIMER: This publication is not intended to be legal advice but is presented for informational and educational purposes only. The facts and circumstances of a specific legal issue are unique and you should seek legal advice for your specific questions or concerns. No attorney-client relationship is created.