A number of new regulations affecting business activities including financial instruments, human resources, health care and retirement plans and accounting are set to take effect in 2012. Included are new Securities and Exchange Commission regulations spawned by the sprawling Dodd-Frank financial law. Rules yet to come include some involving swaps and derivatives, an executive compensation “claw-back” provision and other regulations involving so-called “conflict minerals.” The extent of and deadlines for these forthcoming rules are uncertain.
Employers are bracing for requirements stemming from the 2010 health care overhaul. Several of these provisions go into effect in 2012. Companies must provide a short summary of their health care benefits to all employees, showing employees’ share of the cost in common medical situations. Final rules are pending on the exact information to be included.
Companies will have to report the value of their health care plans on employees’ W-2 forms. These figures eventually could be used to determine whether companies could be fined for not providing health care of might have to pay the tax on so-called Cadillac health plans.
In addition, companies will have to pay $1 per plan participant to fund an independent research group that will study the effectiveness of medical treatments.
New rules for employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans require companies to disclose in plain English how much plan administrators are charging participants.
Accounting changes involve a new standard on fair-value measurement designed to align U.S. and international practices and new rules on goodwill impairments to streamline the process used to take write-downs on assets that have lost value.
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