BECOMING A MEMBER OF RAM IS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS YOU CAN MAKE FOR YOUR BUSINESS.  
By joining you gain access to exclusive, money saving discounts on services and programs, legislative updates and advocacy as well as valuable educational opportunities. We aim to help you grow and protect your business, promote the retail industry and save your business money.

 

 

MA DOR Draft Guidance on Upcoming Sales/Meals Tax Changes:  

Early Remittance for Many Coming Due April 25th

The MA Department of Revenue (DOR) has released its initial guidance, a Working Draft Technical Information Release (TIR), regarding the recent tax changes included in last year’s state budget, including the acceleration of the remittance of sales, use, meals, and room occupancy taxes and the new filing due date for these taxes.  All RAM members are urged to closely review the new requirements, which will require many members to make two payments in April – the regular remittance for the month of March and an advanced April payment for the first 21 days of sales.
 
As you know, RAM has been at the center of the fight on issues related to the remittance of sales tax since Governor Baker first proposed a switch to “Real Time” sales tax collection four years ago.  While we have been successful so far in repeatedly defeating the extremely costly “Real Time” sales tax proposals, the issue has raised awareness of the prevalence of prepayment requirements in many other sales tax states.  As prepayment, or the acceleration of sales tax, advanced as a policy proposal here in the Commonwealth, RAM has sought to simplify or streamline the process and minimize the impact on smaller sellers.  We continue to seek additional flexibility through further legislative changes and with the DOR. 

 

To keep reading, click here.

 

 

Employers to Experience Sizable Increases in Q1 UI Tax Bills   

 

RAM members are now receiving their first quarter unemployment insurance tax bills.  Despite the state’s recent decision to freeze the employer contribution rate for two years to avoid a 60% increase, employers are seeing a significant increase in their tax liability due to a sizable increase in the program’s solvency fund assessment.  The assessment, which normally pays certain socialized system costs like dependency allowances and claims from businesses that have closed, is now being utilized to cover COVID-related layoffs in a socialized, non-experience rated manner.  As a result, the assessment which was 0.58% in 2020, is now 9.23%. 

 

Keep reading alert and to TAKE ACTION

 

Unemployment insurance bill doesn’t go far enough
All employers being penalized for a problem they didn’t cause

 

By Jon Hurst, Op-Ed in March 11, 2021 edition of Commonwealth Magazine

 

A BEACON HILL deal has been made to prevent an enormous, unprecedented tax bill in April for Massachusetts employers. Some businesses were aware it was coming while most had no idea. But the Legislature is now acting to provide temporary relief for those first quarter unemployment insurance (UI) tax bills, which otherwise would have resulted in a nearly 60 percent tax increase, averaging $327 more per employee.

Yet, the employer community should ask: “Is this fix good enough for our small businesses, and how did the unprecedented deficits happen?”

Before the COVID crisis hit last year, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate was the envy of the nation sitting at 2.8 percent in January. But by June it was a whopping 17.8 percent. To address the pandemic, emergency government-imposed shutdowns and restrictions were put in place that resulted in massive layoffs and soaring unemployment insurance (UI) claims.

To support laid-off workers, benefits were enhanced and extended beyond normal state unemployment insurance programs. Over the last year, emergency benefits have made it financially more beneficial for as much as 80 percent of recipients to take unemployment benefits than to work. Fraudulent claims have cost the state UI system hundreds of millions of dollars. As a result, it should surprise no one that Massachusetts now finds itself with an extreme funding emergency for our unemployment insurance benefits system.

 

Click here to continue reading.

 

State Relaxes Restrictions, Returns to 50% Capacity


Gov. Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts will continue to relax restrictions on business operations effective Monday, March 1, when the state will return to Phase 3, Step 2, and a 50% occupancy capacity across all business sectors currently allowed to open.  Employees will not count toward the 50% cap, only customers. 


The retail sector specific standards will include the new max occupancy limit of 50%, as well as allowing for a return of general use of dressing and fitting rooms.  Restaurants will no longer have a % occupancy cap and will be permitted to host musical performances, but must comply with similar previous standards that include mandatory table spacing, 90-minute table limits, and a 6 person per table limit. 

Unfortunately, food court seating within enclosed shopping malls will remain closed, with restaurants in food courts still restricted to take-out only. 

All members are encouraged to closely review the new guidance to ensure ongoing compliance with the sector-specific protocols.

 

Save 3% on Health Insurance

Rates with RAMHIC

Small groups (under 50 employees) can enjoy a 3% discount on BCBSMA and Fallon Health medical insurance premiums through RAM's Health Insurance Cooperative (RAMHIC). BCBSMA subscribers receive a free life insurance and a hospital indemnity plan at no additional cost, just by purchasing their plan through RAMHIC.  In addition, BCBSMA’s wellness program Healthy Actions allows employers to earn up to 7.5% premium credit and employees to earn up to $300 for participating.  BCBSMA recently hosted a webinar to discuss these offerings in RAMHIC, click here to view.

More Information

For more information on the cooperative including eligibility, enrollment, our carriers and ancillary benefits please click here. Members may also contact RAM General Counsel, Ryan Kearney, at 617-523-1900 or via email at [email protected]

To learn more about plans eligible for the discount and to request a rate quote, members may contact their existing broker or our carriers directly to ask about your RAMHIC options. 

All Businesses Must Meet State Self-Certification Requirement to Reopen  

In order to reopen, all businesses must comply with:

  1. Complete and post the following:    
  • COVID-19 control plan template – Template that satisfies the written control plan requirement for self-certification
  • Compliance attestation poster – Poster that customer facing businesses are required to print, sign, and post in an area within the business premises that is visible to workers and visitors
  • Employer and Worker posters – Posters that businesses can print and display within the business premises to describe the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, and cleaning and disinfecting 

All members are encouraged to check back frequently for updated Sector specific protocols, and closely review the new Phase III, Step II, guidance to ensure ongoing compliance.

 

 CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES

RAM has prepared a comprehensive list of resources and links on openings, operations and gatherings, small business loan programs, unemployment insurance expansion, taxation, and federal paid leave, sick time, and economic stimulus legislation.  RAM urges members to click the link below to access this frequently updated information. 

 

CLICK HERE FOR LINKS TO ALL KEY BUSINESS RESOURCES 

Visit the state’s website to learn more: