Letter from the NAPEO President
ENGAGING ON CYBER AND ERTC
Welcome to the cyber issue!
I don’t know if there is any issue that is a bigger threat to the industry than cybersecurity, and it has exploded in importance just in the past few years. The arc of its prominence has gone almost straight up.
I remember several years ago when we invited John Carlin to speak to a CEO Forum dinner during PEO Capitol Summit. John was in private practice at the time, but he had been the first-ever US Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division that oversaw cybersecurity and cybercrime. In that role, he dealt on a daily basis with global threats from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran…you name it. As we do with all our speakers, I called him in advance of his speech to give him some background on this industry. As I started to explain who we were, he cut me off.
“I know who you are,” he said.
He went on to say that because of his government career, he knew PEOs well. In terms of cyber-attacks, he told me, “payroll is often the entry point.”
So, the good news was that he knew who we were. Turns out, that was the bad news too.
Last year, our board set up a cyber task force chaired by Alex Campos of Vensure. It is by design a small group of hands-on experts and PEOs. They meet monthly to develop tools and best practices for our members. You can see the fruits of their labor at www.napeo.org/cyber . It is regularly updated and has consistently been getting strong traffic. You’ll see information and resources there on many different cyber-related topics. Check it out.
Another big issue occupying our time – and yours – is the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). It is confounding – and infuriating – that the IRS backlog is still north of 557,000 returns and climbing. You know we’ve been pounding away on this issue, with repeated meetings with and letters to the IRS and members of Congress. In February, we sent a letter to every member of Congress, reminding them that this issue was threatening small businesses in their districts.
We produced a letter in January that you should have received. It’s intended for use with clients, to let them know the ERTC is a small business-wide problem with the IRS and not a PEO-specific problem. By the time you read this, you will have received a communication from us with a sample letter for you to send to Congress and a widget you can put on your website for your clients to use to contact their members of Congress directly. We need to keep the pressure on, and we intend to do just that. But we will need your help and engagement here, and that of your clients, if we hope to move the needle. This issue, this backlog, has been around far too long. It’s time the IRS fixed it. I hope you will help us make that case.