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Do your employees have reserved parking spots at your workplace? If so, you could owe taxes on those parking spaces! In other news, more and more businesses are giving ex-offenders a chance in the wake of low unemployment, and salary history bans for job seekers reached the Midwest last week. Find out why in our Weekend Roundup:

End Reserved Employee Parking by March 31 or Owe 2018 Taxes

Employers have until March 31 to reduce or eliminate parking spots reserved for employees, or they’ll owe 2018 taxes on those spots, which are considered an employee benefit.

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as of 2018, “the costs of providing qualified parking to employees as a tax-free fringe benefit is not deductible by for-profit employers and is subject to a 21 percent tax for tax-exempt organization employers” as an unrelated business income tax expense, wrote Scott Galbreath, an attorney with law firm Murphy Austin in Sacramento, Calif.

In December 2018, the IRS issued Notice 2018-99 alerting employers to reclassify by March 31 some or all employee parking spots as open spots. The reclassification is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. Reclassifying parking spots “could save significant taxes for the 2018 tax year, but time is running out,” Galbreath noted.

Businesses Commit to Hiring Those with Criminal Record

A low unemployment rate, millions of open jobs and shifting attitudes are leading to a tearing down of barriers that have long hindered those who’ve had run-ins with the law from finding a job.

In December, Congress passed the First Step Act, which, in addition to giving judges more latitude when giving sentences for non-violent offenses, bolstered rehabilitation programs for former inmates.

Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. have banned private or public employers from asking prospective employees if they have a criminal history until after they’ve passed an initial screening, had an interview or been given a conditional job offer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some local jurisdictions, like New York City, also ban most workplaces from asking about criminal history until they’re offered employment.

Salary History Bans Hit the Midwest

After a short lull in the passage of salary history ban laws, Cincinnati became the fifteenth jurisdiction, and the first in the Midwest, to pass a salary history ban.  Like the salary history bans past in several other jurisdictions, the new law prohibits employers from seeking prior pay information from applicants for employment; however, Cincinnati took its law a step further and became only the second jurisdiction to require that employers provide the “pay scale” for the job for some applicants.
These prohibitions only apply to job seekers in the City of Cincinnati and do not apply to applicants for internal transfer or promotion with their current employer.  They also do not apply to any actions taken in accordance with federal, state, or local law that specifically authorizes the reliance on salary history to determine an employee’s compensation.