Life Disrupted

All the coronavirus news you can stand to digest (or we can deliver). This information may not be relied on as tax advice. You should consult with your advisor(s) and/or the jurisdiction.

CARES Act, largest stimulus package in U.S. history, signed by the President on 3/27/2020!

Expanded Unemployment Benefits for COVID-19

The Administration and Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on a $2T stimulus package that will expand both the length and amount of unemployment insurance available. If you’re recently unemployed and worried about how you’ll manage financially, here’s the information we know (so far):

  • Workers will be eligible for a $600 weekly boost on top of regular state unemployment benefits
  • Gig workers, freelancers, self-employed are eligible
  • Workers who are furlough can get company benefits and UI
  • Generous sick pay and family leave might be available first. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed on March 8th could qualify you for paid sick or family leave for two to 12 weeks.
  • The 7-day waiting period to receive benefits could be waived, along with other eligibility requirements
  • There’s a shortage of staff available to help with unemployment applications, and the websites become easily overwhelmed—but don’t give up trying to apply!

(Source: Kelly Anne Smith, Forbes)

Have questions about filing and payment deadline changes related to coronavirus?

The Internal Revenue Service just released a Frequently Asked Questions database pertaining specifically to Filing and Payment deadlines for the 2019 tax year. Information on the extended filing date, making contributions to your IRA, and more can be found in their FAQ, check it out here.

Deadline to make IRA and HSA Contributions for 2019 Tax Year Extended!

The IRS has clarified that the deadline to make Individual Retirement Account and Health Savings Account contributions for the 2019 tax year has been extended to July 15, 2020, as that is also the new deadline for filing and paying taxes for the 2019 year. This gives individuals an additional two months to make contributions to their retirement plans for the 2019 year.

Federal Income Tax Payment & Filing Deadlines Extended

The federal government said it is moving the April 15, 2020, tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. Previously, it announced some income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, would be extended (deferred) for up to 90 days, until July 15, 2020, without incurring penalties and interest. The payment deferral applies to up to $1 million of non-corporate income tax payments, including self-employment taxes, and $10 million of corporate income tax payments. We’ll provide more information on this as it becomes available. Read the IRS notice deferring tax payments here.

Paid Leave Bill Signed into Law

Up to two weeks of paid sick leave for COVID-19 care, capped at $511/day, and up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave to care for children whose schools or childcare centers are closed due to COVID-19, capped at $200/day. Excludes: companies with more than 500 employees, individuals employed less than 30 days. Department of Labor may exempt companies with less than 50 employees. Employers may exclude front line health workers. Applies to part-time employees.

Employers recover the cost of this and the cost of health insurance while the employee is on paid leave via a fully refundable payroll tax credit.

Contractors may take paid leave as an income tax credit against their quarterly tax estimates.

Also contains free COVID-19 testing.

Expires December 31, 2020.

Reality Bites: Oy Corona!

If you have been wondering what is the big deal about COVID-19 (you’re not alone), here is the scoop: COVID-19 spreads so fast that, if unchecked, experts worry the sick could overwhelm hospitals, forcing them to ration care, having to choose who receives services (ergo lives) and who doesn’t – an equation favoring the young, healthy, and wealthy. This occurred in Wuhan, China, and is occurring throughout Italy. The resulting strain on our medical system weakens our society’s ability to respond to other catastrophes. Read more, including tips on how to turn this lemon into lemonade and videos from Josh Gad and John Garrett to lighten the situation, here.

Employers May Make Tax-Free Payments To Employees To Cover COVID-19 Expenses

IRC Section 139 allows employers to make “qualified disaster relief payments” to employees to assist those employees in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The payments are tax-free to the employees, and fully deductible to the employer. Find exemptions and requirements here.

(Credit: Tony Nitti)