State Minimum Wage Increasing for 2017

After staying the same for two years in a row, the Florida minimum wage will increase 5¢ an hour in 2017.  Effective January 1, 2017, the state-specific minimum wage for Florida will increase from $8.05 to $8.10 an hour.  The cash wage for tipped employees is also increasing 5¢ from $5.03 an hour to $5.08 an hour.

There are two versions of the minimum wage:  a federal one and a Florida-specific one.  Employers located in Florida must pay their employees whichever minimum wage is higher, which for 2017 will be the Florida minimum wage of $8.10 (the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour).  For tipped employees (like food servers), employers can count the tips these employees receive towards the required hourly minimum wage.  However, employers are required by law to pay tipped employees a direct cash wage, which for 2017 will be $5.08.

With this change to the Florida minimum wage, a new poster will be required for 2017.  As a benefit of your FUBA membership, we will provide you with an updated 2017 Florida minimum wage poster free of charge with your December newsletter.  On January 1st, you will only need to replace the 8 ½” by 11” 2016 version of the Florida-specific minimum wage poster with the new 2017 version. [Employers still need to also post the federal version of the minimum wage poster, which is included in the All-in-One poster you received from FUBA when you joined. As long as your federal minimum wage poster says $7.25, your poster is current.]

Please look for the new Florida minimum wage poster in next month’s newsletter.  If you have any questions about the minimum wage and how it affects your business, please call the FUBA offices at 800-262-4483 and ask for Erin, Karen or Lance.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available in Counties Affected by Hurricane Matthew

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available to individuals who lost their job as a result of Hurricane Matthew in Brevard, Flagler, Indian River, St. Johns, Putnam and Volusia counties.

Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance assists individuals who become unemployed as a direct result of a federally-declared disaster and who do not qualify for regular state reemployment benefits.  The program also covers self-employed individuals, owners of farms and ranches, farm and ranch workers, and others who are not normally covered by state unemployment benefits.

To qualify for assistance, an individual must be a legal resident of the United States and have been working or residing in one of the counties named above, and:  (1) have become unemployed as a direct result of the disaster, (2) be unable to reach his or her place of employment as a direct result of the disaster, (3) have been scheduled to begin work but does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the disaster, or (4) be unable to work because of an injury caused directly by the disaster.

Individuals in Flagler, St. Johns, Putnam and Volusia counties must file their request for disaster benefits by November 18, 2016.  The deadline for individuals in Brevard and Indian River counties is November 21, 2016.

To file a Disaster Unemployment claim, go to or call the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity at 800-681-8102.

IRS Also Offering Disaster Relief

The Internal Revenue Service has granted filing extensions for taxpayers (businesses and individuals) impacted by Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew in Florida in October.

Hurricane Hermine:

For Hermine, the eligible counties are Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco and Pinellas.  For taxpayers in these counties, certain IRS deadlines falling between August 31st and before January 17, 2017 have been postponed to January 17, 2017.  This includes individual tax returns on extension to October 17th, the September 15th deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments, the 2015 corporate and partnership returns on extension through September 15th, and quarterly payroll tax returns.  Affected taxpayers also have until January 17, 2017, to make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that were due between August 31st and January 17th.

Hurricane Matthew:

For Matthew, the eligible counties are Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia.  Taxpayers in these counties have until March 15, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and pay any taxes that were originally due starting October 4th.  This includes the January 17th deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments, as well as the October 31st and January 31st deadlines for quarterly payroll tax returns.  For individual taxpayers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until October 17th.  However, tax payments due with these tax returns are not eligible for relief because those payments were due April 18, 2016.

For Both Hermine and Matthew:

The IRS has automatically identified taxpayers located in the covered disaster areas for both Hurricane Hermine and Matthew and will automatically apply this filing and payment relief.  Taxpayers do not need to contact the IRS to request these extensions.

However, if an taxpayer in the disaster area receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date that falls within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS waive the penalty.

And the IRS is willing to work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline are located in the affected area.  These taxpayers should call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

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