(1) For purposes of this section:
(a) Knowingly means having actual knowledge of or acting with deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard of the prohibition involved;
(b) Person means an individual, a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, or any other legally recognized entity;
(c) Trade or business includes the employer's workforce; and
(d) Violates or attempts to violate includes intent to evade, misrepresentation, or willful nondisclosure.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the following shall apply regarding assignment of combined tax rates and transfer of an employer's experience account:
(a) If an employer transfers its trade or business, or a portion thereof, to another employer and, at the time of the transfer, there is substantially common ownership, management, or control of the two employers, then the employer's experience account attributable to the transferred trade or business shall be transferred to the employer to whom such business is transferred. The rates of both employers shall be recalculated in accordance with section 48-654. The transfer of some or all of an employer's workforce to another employer shall be considered a transfer of trade or business when, as the result of such transfer, the transferring employer no longer performs trade or business with respect to the transferred workforce and such trade or business is performed by the employer to whom the workforce is transferred. If, following a transfer of experience under this subdivision, the commissioner determines that a substantial purpose of the transfer of trade or business was to obtain a lower combined tax rate, then the experience rating accounts of the employers involved shall be combined into a single account and a single rate assigned to such account; or
(b) Whenever a person is not an employer at the time it acquires the trade or business of an employer, the employer's experience account of the acquired business shall not be transferred to such person if the commissioner finds that the business was acquired solely or primarily for the purpose of obtaining a lower combined tax rate. Instead, such person shall be assigned the new employer combined tax rate under sections 48-649 and 48-649.02. In determining whether the business was acquired solely or primarily for the purpose of obtaining a lower combined tax rate, the commissioner shall use objective factors which may include:
(i) The cost of acquiring the business;
(ii) Whether the person continued the business enterprise of the acquired business;
(iii) How long such business enterprise was continued; or
(iv) Whether a substantial number of new employees were hired for performance of duties unrelated to the business activity conducted prior to the acquisition.
(3)(a) If a person knowingly violates or attempts to violate this section, or if a person knowingly advises another person in a way that results in a violation of this section and:
(i) The person is an employer, such employer shall be assigned the highest combined tax rate assignable under sections 48-649 to 48-649.04 for the rate year during which the violation or attempted violation occurred and for the three rate years immediately following such rate year. However, if the person's business is already at the highest combined tax rate or if the amount of increase in the combined tax rate would be less than two percent, then a penalty combined tax rate of two percent of taxable wages shall be imposed for the rate year during which the violation or attempted violation occurred and for the three rate years immediately following such year; or
(ii) The person is not an employer, such person shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars.
(b) In addition to any civil penalties that may apply under this subsection, such person shall be guilty of a Class IV felony.
(4) The commissioner shall establish procedures to identify the transfer or acquisition of a business for purposes of evading combined tax liability.