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State to forgive employer penalties for absent monthly wage reports

January 2, 2015
The Illinois Department of Employment Security has moved to reimburse businesses in the state that were fined for failing to file monthly and quarterly contribution and wage reports, instead of just the latter. Some dealers who were fined said last summer that the state didn’t alert them of the reporting change.
Employers who qualify for a waiver of penalty(s) but who have already paid the penalty may receive credit for future monies owed to the IDES.
A 2012 Illinois law calls for businesses with 25 or more employees to file monthly and quarterly reports. Businesses previously were called to submit the reports quarterly. The monthly wage reporting requirement was phased in since 2012 based on the number of workers at a business: 250 or more, January 2013; 100-249, July 2013; 50-99, January 2014; 25-49, July 2014.
Statutory language penned by the Illinois General Assembly provides no wiggle room for the IDES to waive or reduce penalties incurred under the new requirement, the department officials said. One north suburban dealership was assessed more than $10,000 in fines.
But the IDES in December filed emergency rules to address the issues that surfaced surrounded the increased reporting. The rules grant a waiver of penalties for previous absent monthly reports. 
Going forward, the monthly reporting requirement will be based on a state fiscal basis rather than a calendar year basis. If a business’s employee headcount equaled or exceeded 25 in 2014, monthly reporting will be required for the period of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. 
The change gives the state ample time to notify affected employers of the reporting requirements.
The monthly reporting law, referred to as the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act, was designed to root out waste, fraud and abuse in the state’s Medicaid program.