Every year brings changes to laws that could effect all of us each day. Some may be small changes while others are major shifts in policies. It’s important for everyone to know the changes that will have an impact on their lives.

• Integrated Health Systems
A new law provides incentives for physicians to join together to form Accountable Care Organizations. From these groups, doctors can better coordinate patient care and improve the quality of care, help prevent disease and illness, and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. This is part of the changes from the National Healthcare Overhaul.

•N.C. personal income tax
The N.C. General Assembly overrode the Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto and passed a new $19.7 billion budget bill.  Included in the bill are two key changes to the way individuals calculate their state personal income tax beginning in 2012. The new bill changed the starting point for calculating taxable income to the federal adjusted gross income instead of  taxable income (income after deductions and exemptions).  N.C. taxpayers will no longer make adjustments to federal income for federal standard deductions and exemptions.  Instead N.C. has adopted standard deductions and personal exemptions. Contact a tax professional for advice.

• New energy conservation building code
The North Carolina Energy Conservation Code (NCECC) has been updated. The new code achieves significant energy savings in residential and commercial buildings beyond the state’s current energy code. Mandatory compliance beginning March 1, 2012. This includes duct tightness, lighting efficiency, window performance and other improvements. The state is trying to reduce energy usage by 30 percent. This new law effects commercial and private structures.

•New gun laws
Gun laws changed on December 1. The new law allows licensed gun holders to take action against an assailant. The new law was created to give people more legal protection when they fire a weapon at an intruder whether they are at home, in their car, or at the work place. Shooters won’t be prosecuted for defending themselves from felons. The new law also lets concealed carry license holders have their gun in state parks.

•New Hire Reporting
Effective beginning in January,  all new employees need to report whether or not their employer offered them health insurance.  Also, businesses that employ more than 24 employees at any time need to submit new hire reports through an electronic internet-based method provided by Child Support Enforcement.