Familiar W-4 forms getting a major update

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A major revision of the familiar W-4 income tax withholding form is taking effect and is likely to generate questions from employees, according to the American Payroll Association.

“The APA recommends that businesses should review the new form and proactively communicate with employees about the new Form W-4, using resources created by the IRS and APA,” the association said.

The IRS’s Q&A on the subject is available at https://tinyurl.com/New-2020-W-4 and APA’s resources at https://tinyurl.com/APA-W-4-Guide.

“The IRS is not requiring all employees to complete a new form. However, the new form is required for all new hires in 2020 and for employees who have completed a Form W-4 before 2020 and want to make changes to their withholding in 2020. Also, while employers may not require employees to complete a new form, they may ask them to do so,” APA said.

Pacific County ranks high in net worth

LONG BEACH — Pacific County ranks seventh among Washington’s 39 counties in net worth per person, financial technology firm Smart Asset found in a new analysis.

Other Western Washington counties in the top 10 were Jefferson (1), San Juan (2), Clallam (4), Island (5), Lewis (8) and Kitsap (10). In Eastern Washington Douglas County ranked third, Astotin sixth and Stevens ninth.

The analysis found that Pacific County’s comparatively low per-person income was made up for by relatively high assets and low debt.

Clatsop County was not ranked among the top 10 in Oregon.

Clatsop houses selling for less, listed for more

ASTORIA — Clatsop County houses sold for an average of $423,863 in October, a decline of 2.6% from a year earlier. For the year to date through Oct. 31 the average was $395,700, a decline of 5.6%, according to Multiple Listing Service data.

Fewer relatively inexpensive houses are available. Four Clatsop County houses sold for less than $180,000 in October and 42 sold for between $180,000 and $499,000. Compared to October 2018, 43% fewer homes sold for under $180,000, and 25% fewer sold for between $180,000 and $499,000.

At the top end of the scale, 23 Clatsop houses sold for more than $500,000 in October, 28% more than a year earlier.

Looking at new listings this October, only five were less than $200,000 compared to eight in October 2018. There were 25 news listings above $500,000, a 56% increase from the previous October.

Local HR group wins national honors

ASTORIA — The Lower Columbia Human Resources Management Association (LCHRMA) is the winner of a Pinnacle Award presented by the Society for Human Resource Management as “Exceptional Human Resources Program.”

Created in 1991, the Pinnacle Award is the most prestigious award SHRM state councils and chapters can receive, honoring programs that exceed the standard activities of SHRM affiliates in enhancing HR management. LCHRMA was one of 12 human resource organizations — out of more than 600 — from across the country to win the award in 2019.

LCHRMA was singled out for running a “crucial” training series. “The 40-member chapter found ways to offer affordable training to its mostly rural community. It did this by asking a certified speaker to provide his services pro-bono, exchanging HR services for complementary use of the training site, and by negotiating with local businesses for hotel rooms and catering. The chapter reinvested its profits by increasing its scholarship offerings, expanding the chapter’s services to reach a rural region 60 miles away, improving member networking opportunities and better assisting members in reaching SHRM certification goals.”

“I am so proud of our chapter. We have such a great board and we are looking forward to continuing the series next year,” says Chapter President Ian Wiggins.

Winning programs, selected from 75 applications, received a $1,000 prize given by Paychex Inc., which is the sponsor of this year’s Pinnacle Awards. The award was presented at SHRM’s Volunteer Leaders Business Meeting (VLBM) in Washington, D.C., which was attended by Chapter President Ian Wiggins and President Elect Zack O’Connor.

Learn more at www.lchrma.org.

Real estate ‘Food Fight’ is a knockout

LONG BEACH — Real estate agents on the Long Beach Peninsula recently participated in collecting and donating hundreds of pounds of food for the Ocean Park, Ilwaco and Chinook community food banks to help alleviate the need over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Donated items ranged from sacks of potatoes, boxes of stuffing and cans of green beans, to pie filling and marshmallows, and everything in between to make up a tasty holiday feast.

“Giving back is an important part of the ‘Coolture’ of Realty One Group, and we were thrilled that so many local real estate firms participated,” owner Brad Whittaker said. “We appreciate the community where we live, work and play, and hope to make this an annual event to give back and effect change by lending a helping hand to our neighbors.”

Bumble Bee expected to change hands

SAN DIEGO — Bumble Bee Foods, the venerable packaged seafood company founded in Astoria in 1899, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 21.

Although this form of bankruptcy usually marks liquidation of assets and extinction of corporate existence, in this case owners Lion Capital — a London private equity firm — plans a “Section 363 sale” of all Bumble Bee assets to Taiwan-based FCF Co. for about $925 million, according to reporting by Bloomberg.

If all goes as planned, the sale will help clear Bumble Bee of substantial liabilities, possibly including part of a federal fine for price fixing. The company expects to continue operating its business as usual and retain nearly all of its workers, it said in a press release. It has about 500 employees globally, including 168 workers at its corporate offices in San Diego and New Jersey, according to bankruptcy records.

Bumble Bee started as the Columbia River Packers Association, a combination of several early salmon-packing firms on the Lower Columbia River. Its name originated as a can label brand used to pack Columbia River sockeye about a century ago.

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