President Signs Extension of COBRA 65% Subsidy

President Barack Obama signed into law on Wednesday the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (HR 4691), hours after the Senate passed it by a 78–19 vote. The main purpose of the bill is to extend unemployment benefits and health care subsidies for the unemployed, but it also extends through March 31, 2010, a federal tax credit that allows the federal government to subsidize 65% of the cost of COBRA premiums. The law also clarified the treatment of COBRA continuation that results from reductions in hours followed by termination of employment.


The COBRA subsidy was first enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, PL 111-5. Under the provision, as long as an eligible individual pays 35% of the premium for COBRA continuation coverage, the group health plan must treat the individual as having paid the full premium. Eligible individuals can receive this subsidy for up to 15 months. Employers are reimbursed for the 65% subsidy by taking a credit on their payroll tax returns.


To be eligible, individuals must have been involuntarily terminated from their employment after Aug. 31, 2008, and before April 1, 2010. The Temporary Extension Act extended the end of the eligible period from Feb. 28, 2010, to March 31, 2010.


The act also added special rules for individuals who lost their health coverage because of a reduction in working hours. Under the act, if an individual did not make a COBRA continuation coverage election when his or her hours were reduced (or made an election but then discontinued COBRA coverage), if the individual is then involuntarily terminated from employment, that will be treated as a qualifying event for COBRA continuation coverage purposes.



Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.