The Minimum Wage Should Be Raised

Some 47 million Americans live in poverty, and a key reason is the decline of the minimum wage.

First established under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the nationwide minimum wage was designed to lift millions of American workers out of poverty and to stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, however, it was not indexed to inflation, and big businesses — hostile from the start — fought, often successfully, to prevent congressional action to raise it. As a result, over the past 40 years, the purchasing power of the minimum wage has fallen sharply. If Congress had kept the minimum wage in pace with inflation over this period, it would today be $10.74. But, in fact, it is $7.25 — about two-thirds of its previous purchasing power.

Read more…

Paying workers with debit cards isn’t as easy as it seems

Most employers long ago started encouraging employees to ditch paper checks in favor of direct deposit. Now more employers are pushing their workers to receive pay via debit cards—called paycards—that work just like ATM bank cards.

Trouble is, not all employees want to be paid that way—and the law is often on their side.

THE LAW: Federal law requires employers that wish to pay employees with paycards to provide alternatives. Those alternatives often depend on state payroll laws.

Employees must consent to paycards in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.

Employers in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia may mandate paycard use, with some restrictions.

Read more ….

Minimum Wage increase proposed in Massachusetts

MassachusettsA bill has been proposed in Massachusetts that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $8 an hour to $11 per hour by 2015.

Massachusetts has not seen a wage increase in four years and many say an increase is long overdue.  The cost of living in Massachusetts has increased and some people are finding it hard to make ends meet.  Others (including small business owners) are worried that an increase of this type could potentially shut some businesses down as their payroll costs would rise substantially.

Discussions on the topic will continue.

 

Coogan Law

SAG-AFTRA has a great link on their site regarding the Coogan Law.  Here is the information they provide .. click the link to go directly to their site http://www.sagaftra.org/content/coogan-law

Overview
At present, Coogan Accounts (a.k.a Blocked Trust Accounts and Trust Accounts) are required by the State of California, New York, Louisiana and New Mexico. In most instances, you will have to supply proof of a trust account prior to receiving a work permit. 15% of the minor’s gross wages are required to be withheld by the employer and deposited into the Coogan account within 15 days of employment. The parent must supply the Coogan account number to the employer.History of the Coogan Law

The Coogan Law is named for famous child actor Jackie Coogan. Coogan was discovered in 1919 by Charlie Chaplin and soon after cast in the comedian’s famous film, The Kid. Jackie-mania was in full force during the 1920s, spawning a wave of merchandise dedicated to his image. It wasn’t until his 21st birthday after the death of his father and the dwindling of his film career that Jackie realized he was left with none of the earnings he had work so hard for as a child. Under California law at the time, the earnings of the minor belonged solely to the parent.Coogan eventually sued his mother and former manager for his earnings. As a result, in 1939, the Coogan Law was put into effect, presumably to protect future young actors from finding themselves in the same terrible situation that Jackie Coogan was left in. Unfortunately, the 1939 incarnation of the Coogan Law was flawed, leaving open various loopholes and necessitating long term, court sanctioned contracts for validation.The Current Coogan Law

After many years of advocating for more protections for child actors, Screen Actors Guild Young Performers Committee, National Policy and Planning Department and other industry groups were successful in closing many of the loopholes that made the original Coogan Law ineffective. In January 1, 2000, changes in California law affirmed that earnings by minors in the entertainment industry are the property of the minor, not their parents. Since a minor cannot legally control their own money, California Law governs their earnings and creates a fiduciary relationship between the parent and the child. This change in California law also requires that 15% of all minors’ earnings must be set aside in a blocked trust account commonly known as a Coogan Account.Jackie Coogan

Jackie Coogan went on to recover a small portion of his earnings after battling his mother in court. He became well known on the small screen playing Uncle Fester on The Addams Family, and will always be remembered for the role his story played in protecting child actors from losing their earnings

Regional Details

California

Parents in CA are required to open a “Coogan” Account and must be opened with a CA bank. A Coogan Account is a special blocked trust fund account found at a bank, credit union or brokerage firm.New York

Parents in NY are required to open up an UTMA or UGMA compliant trust account. This account is similar to the “Coogan,” but does not differ regarding rules of withdrawal. The account may be opened with any bank, in any state, as long as it meets UTMA or UGMA requirements.Louisiana and New Mexico

Parents in LA are required to open a Blocked Trust Account with any bank, in any state.  Parents in New Mexico are required to open a blocked trust account only if their child earns more than $1000 per each employment contract.Please visit the Labor Department’s website in each state for more detailed information.

Coogan Trust Accounts
Not all banks offer Coogan Trust Accounts, and even some that do still have employees are not familiar with the term “Coogan Account”. Sometimes explaining that you are opening up a blocked trust account for your minor child will clear up confusion.Below you will find a partial list of banks, credit unions and brokerage firms that offer Coogan/Trust Accounts. Screen Actors Guild provides this list for information purposes only and does not endorse any particular institution. These financial institutions each have different requirements for opening accounts. Some require a first paycheck to open the account, some a minimum deposit and the interest rates vary. It is important to compare financial institutions and find the best one for you and your child.

  • AFTRA/SAG Federal Credit Union
  • Actors Federal Credit Union
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of the West
  • City National Bank
  • First Entertainment Credit Union
  • Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney
  • Union Bank of California
  • Wells Fargo

State and Local Payroll Changes

  • Arizona – minimum wage increased, tip credit unchanged for 2013
  • California – withholding tables revised, supplemental wage tax rates unchanged for 2013
  • Florida – minimum wage increased, tip credit unchanged for 2013
  • Illinois – monthly wage reporting implemented for large employers
  • Kentucky – withholding tables, computer formula issued for 2013
  • Maine – withholding tables issued for 2013
  • Michigan – withholding tables revised
  • Montana – minimum wage increased for 2013
  • New Jersey – equal pay notice provision enacted
  • New York – MTA payroll tax protective claims for refund: filing procedures explained
  • Ohio – minimum wage, tip credit increased for 2013
  • Pennsylvania – E-Verify mandated for certain state contractors
  • Washington – minimum wage increased for 2013

The above are local and state payroll changes for 2013.

Are you being pulled in too many directions?

Would you like to remove production payroll from your “to do” list?  Contact NPI today and YOU will receive service that is above and beyond industry standards for all areas of your payroll.

  • Our commitment to customer service that is actually tailored to YOUR specific needs.
  • Our commitment to YOUR complete satisfaction.  We work for you and with you.
  • Accurate, dependable processing and follow-up of YOUR payroll, with a fast turn-around time.
  • A simplified payroll process for YOU, because we personally walk you through it step by step.
  • Hands-on time card verification and entry, with personalized attention to all details.
  • YOUR available, up-to-date resource for education on ever-changing union and labor laws.
  • The ability to utilize our relationships with unions and labor law attorneys to resolve any issues. 

Our mission is “100% customer satisfaction with 100% accuracy through ethical and professional business practices”. 

This means getting it right the first time, every time.

Do you think it’s time for your company to choose a full-service payroll company to handle your production payroll from start to finish?  Let NPI’s team of professionals assist you with your current and future payroll needs.  We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding our services and help you get started!

NPI is YOUR Solution for Simplifying Entertainment Payroll

2013 payroll requirement changes are numerous ….

2013 payroll requirement changes are numerous and include:

Social Security Wage Base Increases

Pension Plan Limits Increases

Payroll Reporting Changes

Changes in Amounts for Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

Wage and Hour Adjustments

Central Withholding Agreement Procedures Updated

IRS Releases Revised Form 945 and Instructions

Three Supplemental Wage Withholding Procedures

IRS Revises Electronic Filing Specifications for Form 8027

IRS Clarifies Temporary ITIN Application Requirements for Certain Non citizens and Many Foreign Students

Changes in State Unemployment Insurance Taxable Wage Bases

NPI Entertainment Payroll specializes in production payroll and our staff are experts in payroll requirements and changes.  Don’t fall victim – talk to us today to handle your production payroll accurately and efficiently!!

Social Security Wage Base Increases to $113,700 in 2013

Social Security Wage Base Increases to $113,700 in 2013. The Social Security Administration has announced that the 2013 social security wage base will increase to $113,700. The maximum social security tax employees and employers will each pay in 2013 is $7,049.40.

Biz awaits Gov. Brown’s signature on incentives

Monday deadline for approving 2-year extension

Gov. Jerry Brown has until Monday night to decide on the fate of the state’s film tax credit incentive program  –  with no signal yet as to whether he’ll approve.Two bills to extend California’s tax credit production incentive program for two years with $100 million annually were approved by the State Legislature on Aug. 31, the final day of the session. That set up a 30-day deadline for Brown to approve or veto the bills.

Should Brown pull the plug, the final $100 million in credits for the program would be doled out next June via a lottery by the California Film Commission.

Reps for authors  –  Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D.-Sylmar) and Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), told Variety they have not received any indication of what Brown or when he will do it. Faced with a similar situation a year ago, Brown waited until the final evening to approve a one-year extension to the program with $100 million in credits.

California’s program, approved in 2009 after years of pushing by showbiz and by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is significantly smaller than those in other states attempting to lure away production. Maximum credit is 25% and demand far exceeds supply with only 28 of more than 330 applicants being initially chosen in the most recent lottery in June.

In 2011, the number of projects granted an allocation grew to 73 from the initial 29 because several larger projects withdrew from the program, and their credits were reassigned to many smaller budget independent projects. The program currently has three series receiving the credits and in production locally  –  “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Bunheads” and “Body of Proof,” which moved from Rhode Island last season after receiving the California credit.

Recently wrapped productions backed by the credits include HBO’s Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” and Halle Berry indie feature “The Hive,” which was slated to shoot in Ottawa before receiving the incentive. Indie feature “Baggage Claim” and cable series “Teen Wolf,” which relocated from Georgia after receiving the California credit, will start shooting next month.

Statistics from FilmLA, which tracks shooting outside studio lots, showed that four TV series with credits  –  “Major Crimes,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Switched at Birth”  —   contributed 61 permitted days during the second quarter, or 1.8% of the total offlot TV shoots.

FilmLA reported Tuesday that weekly overall stats declined 7% to 645 days, or 45 below the same week a year ago. TV rose 14% with “Parks & Recreation,” “Ben and Kate,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Raising Hope” shooting locally.

Feature shoots slid 37% to 110 days with “Body High” as the most active with 14 days. Other film shooting locally included “The Lone Ranger,” “Plush” and “Carriers.”

Contact Dave McNary at         dave.mcnary@variety.com

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118059873

Coogan Law Update

Overview

At present, Coogan Accounts (a.k.a Blocked Trust Accounts and Trust Accounts) are required by the State of California, New York, Louisiana and New Mexico. In most instances, you will have to supply proof of a trust account prior to receiving a work permit. 15% of the minor’s gross wages are required to be withheld by the employer and deposited into the Coogan account within 15 days of employment. The parent must supply the Coogan account number to the employer.

History of the Coogan Law

The Coogan Law is named for famous child actor Jackie Coogan. Coogan was discovered in 1919 by Charlie Chaplin and soon after cast in the comedian’s famous film, The Kid. Jackie-mania was in full force during the 1920s, spawning a wave of merchandise dedicated to his image. It wasn’t until his 21st birthday after the death of his father and the dwindling of his film career that Jackie realized he was left with none of the earnings he had work so hard for as a child. Under California law at the time, the earnings of the minor belonged solely to the parent.

Coogan eventually sued his mother and former manager for his earnings. As a result, in 1939, the Coogan Law was put into effect, presumably to protect future young actors from finding themselves in the same terrible situation that Jackie Coogan was left in. Unfortunately, the 1939 incarnation of the Coogan Law was flawed, leaving open various loopholes and necessitating long term, court sanctioned contracts for validation.

The Current Coogan Law

After many years of advocating for more protections for child actors, Screen Actors Guild Young Performers Committee, National Policy and Planning Department and other industry groups were successful in closing many of the loopholes that made the original Coogan Law ineffective. In January 1, 2000, changes in California law affirmed that earnings by minors in the entertainment industry are the property of the minor, not their parents. Since a minor cannot legally control their own money, California Law governs their earnings and creates a fiduciary relationship between the parent and the child. This change in California law also requires that 15% of all minors’ earnings must be set aside in a blocked trust account commonly known as a Coogan Account.

Jackie Coogan

Jackie Coogan went on to recover a small portion of his earnings after battling his mother in court. He became well known on the small screen playing Uncle Fester on The Addams Family, and will always be remembered for the role his story played in protecting child actors from losing their earnings.

Regional Details

California

Parents in CA are required to open a “Coogan” Account and must be opened with a CA bank. A Coogan Account is a special blocked trust fund account found at a bank, credit union or brokerage firm.

New York

Parents in NY are required to open up an UTMA or UGMA compliant trust account. This account is similar to the “Coogan,” but does not differ regarding rules of withdrawal. The account may be opened with any bank, in any state, as long as it meets UTMA or UGMA requirements.

Louisiana and New Mexico

Parents in LA are required to open a Blocked Trust Account with any bank, in any state.  Parents in New Mexico are required to open a blocked trust account only if their child earns more than $1000 per each employment contract.

Please visit the Labor Department’s website in each state for more detailed information.

Coogan Trust Accounts

Not all banks offer Coogan Trust Accounts, and even some that do still have employees are not familiar with the term “Coogan Account”. Sometimes explaining that you are opening up a blocked trust account for your minor child will clear up confusion.

Below you will find a partial list of banks, credit unions and brokerage firms that offer Coogan/Trust Accounts. Screen Actors Guild provides this list for information purposes only and does not endorse any particular institution. These financial institutions each have different requirements for opening accounts. Some require a first paycheck to open the account, some a minimum deposit and the interest rates vary. It is important to compare financial institutions and find the best one for you and your child.

  • AFTRA/SAG Federal Credit Union
  • Actors Federal Credit Union
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of the West
  • City National Bank
  • First Entertainment Credit Union
  • Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney
  • Union Bank of California
  • Wells Fargo

Georgia Film, Television and Digital Entertainment Tax Credit

Film, television and digital entertainment tax credits of up to 30 percent create significant cost savings for companies producing feature films, television series, music videos and commercials, as well as interactive games and animation.

Georgia’s Entertainment Industry Investment Act provides a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production or on multiple projects.

The state grants an additional 10 percent tax credit if the finished project includes a promotional logo provided by the state. If a company has little or no Georgia tax liability, it can transfer or sell its tax credits.

In an interview with Variety magazine, Broderick Johnson, producer of “The Blind Side,” said, “The magnitude of Georgia’s tax break is one of the best, if not the best in the country.” Johnson’s award-winning film was one of hundreds of projects shot in Georgia in recent years.

For more information on production incentives in Georgia’s film, music and digital entertainment industries, visit the Production Incentives page.

UM, Montana Film Office join with L.A. firm to lure movies

 By MARTIN KIDSTON of the Missoulian

Train them, and the movie cameras will come.

That’s the thinking behind a new initiative between the Montana Film Office and the University of Montana, which have teamed up with a California firm to help train students as production assistants.

Deny Staggs, Montana Film Office location coordinator, said the state’s collaboration with Quixote, of Los Angeles, aims to build a talented pool of film hands in Montana to help lure more television, film and commercial productions to the state.

“After inquiring about our tax incentives, the number one question that producers ask is, ‘Do we have an experienced crew?’ ” Staggs said. “Without a continued effort to develop and train our resident crew work force, Montana will fall behind other states in attracting productions, potentially losing millions in annual cash inflow and tax revenue.”

Staggs, who attended the Toronto Film Festival last week, said he discovered Quixote recently at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

The University of Montana’s College of Visual and Performing Arts agreed to host the company’s two-day class this month. Montana State University will get the same opportunity in the months ahead, Staggs said.

“These guys (Quixote) get you on your feet and immerse you in the concept of being a production assistant,” Staggs said. “When you’re in those positions, you interact with every department on the film set.”

The more a film production can rely on a local crew, the less it spends on hiring out-of-state crew members. Staggs said that can lower the production’s overall budget while bringing new jobs and millions of dollars in up-front spending to the state.

Once hired, Staggs said, local crew members also will gain valuable experience, further enhancing the work force for future productions in Montana. The state film office recently scouted for a new film by Alexander Payne (“The Descendants” and “Sideways”), a third of which will be filmed in Montana this winter.

Over the summer, several features used Big Sky County as a cinematic backdrop, including a new production by French director Arnaud Desplechin starring Benicio Del Toro, star of “Traffic,” “The Usual Suspects” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

“Being on a crew is rigorous, exciting work, and we wanted to offer a training experience that would best match the actual position,” Staggs said. “We’re really excited about the activity Montana is getting. We want to keep that activity moving, keep the crews developing and keep them active.”

Quixote keeps a production placement database and offers referrals to producers looking to shoot. The company’s program develops students for jobs as production assistants, an entry-level position on most film, television and commercial sets.

Staggs said UM students who seek entry into Montana’s crew base, and who have a background in film production arts, will get first dibs on registering for the course.

The two-day class is open to 30 students. The Montana Film Office and UM’s College of Visual and Performing Arts are sponsoring the registration cost for participants.

“We’ve reached out to our key crew base in the state to get suggestions on how to build the production work force in a way that’s advantageous to our industry,” Staggs said. “This is an opportunity to get a hands-on experience in a real filmmaking atmosphere.”

The course will be held Sept. 22 and 23 in Missoula. To find out more, call (406) 243-4540.

http://missoulian.com/news/local/um-montana-film-office-join-with-l-a-firm-to/article_1b736c56-007f-11e2-ac8f-0019bb2963f4.html

New York State Film Production Credit

The New York State film production tax credit program has been extended and expanded to provide multi-year support of $420 million per year.

Legislation enacted in August 2010 has created an additional pool of funding (“Pool 2”) for the NY State Film Production tax credit program.  The new funding allocates to the program $420 million per year for calendar years 2010-2014 inclusive.  Up to $7 million per year of this total amount will be available to the newly created, separately administered NY State Post Production credit. Information on and application forms for the Post Production credit will be available soon.

The new legislation changes some aspects of the program, including essential requirements for participation.  Visit http://www.nylovesfilm.com/tax/ for more detailed information.