Leading up to 2013, firms of all sizes were concerned about what would happen to their existing financial plans if the United States went over the fiscal cliff at the start of the new year. Now that the government has come up with a solution for the problem that fear is largely assuaged, but there are residual side effects of the crisis that will continue to resonate with consumers and companies throughout the year. Taking steps adjust for these situations now could relieve confusion later in the year.
Forbes wrote that one of the biggest changes corporate entities need to prepare for is that these changes, no matter what impact they have, will once again only be a temporary fix. Provisions are set to expire at the start of 2014, with some lasting as long as January 2015, but companies should not throw away existing financial services or standing policies completely in light of the changeover, as this time next year could see a revision to previous crisis modes.
On the plus side, Research and Development (R&D) benefits and Work Opportunity Tax Credits were both extended through the end of 2013, as was Section 179, which allows tax levels to stay as they were through the end of 2011. Less tweaking of internal payroll and financial processing systems means easier jobs for everyone involved, and less panic from HR professionals who previously may have been scrambling to set up safeguards against every tax eventuality.
Reasons to be concerned
With few changes to previous Bush-era codes, there are signs that these problems will continue to worsen as time passes, the Huffington Post reported. Firms might be wise to take this into account when seeking financial investment advice going forward, as this could be something worth discussing with portfolio and asset managers. Shareholders may also be wary of sinking money into companies that aren't taking potential fiscal cliff issues to heart, since these problems are guaranteed to reassert themselves in the future.
On the down side, much of the immediate impact of the crisis will still be felt by lower-income employees. Many tax credits were allowed to expire, the payroll tax holiday was eliminated and overall deductions from individual paychecks are likely to increase, the Post commented. To balance this out, companies may want to consider implementing additional benefits or other perks to workers, since this kind of negative impact, though outside the corporation's control, can have a devastating effect on engagement and performance figures.