In an effort to keep everyone within our network up to date with rapidly changing developments we wanted to follow up on the information provided earlier this week. Over only the past few days a relief bill was passed, and more information has been released regarding a variety of topics which may be relevant to all. In an effort to keep everyone as well informed as possible we are providing a brief update on some of the most recent developments.
Tax Filing Deadline
Earlier in the week it was announced that tax payments, $1,000,000 for individuals and $10,000,000 for corporations, due on April 15th including estimated tax payments for the 2020 tax year had been deferred until July 15th. That announcement, however, did not include an extension of the date for filing your tax returns. On Friday, March 20th, the treasury issued a statement that they will now be moving the actual filing deadline from April 15th to July 15th to coincide with the already extended date to make payments. Per the Director of the Treasury this extension is intended to apply to all taxpayers. Individual and corporate taxpayers are still being encouraged to file on time, especially for those taxpayers who anticipate a refund and can use the cash during this difficult time. As previously announced, our office will continue to file returns as previously planned but will be working with any client who has a tax liability due to understand these changes and what it may mean for them.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act & Proposed Stimulus Packages
As many of you are aware the government is diligently working to provide most Americans with relief as well as an economic stimulus in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Congress had already passed the “Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020” earlier this month to put money toward treating and preventing the spread of COVID-19. On March 18, 2020 the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” was passed by the Senate and signed by the President to bring additional relief as well address the potentially devastating economic fallout that is occurring. Included within this legislation are measures on free testing, updates to paid sick leave, and expanded funding for food security programs. The following summarizes some of the items that were addressed within the newly enacted legislation:
Free coronavirus testing
Federal health providers such as Medicare and Medicaid, and private health insurers, are required to provide free testing.
Expanded funding for food security programs
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Senior Nutrition Program will receive supplemental funding to assist Americans affected by the virus. The package also provides funding for state waivers to pay for meals for children who normally receive them at school.
Emergency family and sick leave
Employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees and government staffers may take up to 12 weeks of protected family and medical leave, including two weeks at full pay, with any additional weeks taken with no less than two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay, to either quarantine or seek preventative care. Small and mid-sized businesses would receive tax credits to pay for medical and family leave of up to 100% of the wages they pay out. Employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide two weeks of sick leave at full pay for employees who are seeking treatment for the virus. Self-employed individuals would also receive tax credits to receive paid leave. Workers would be eligible for paid sick leave if they have a child whose school or childcare facility is closed due to the coronavirus. These employees are required to receive not less than two-thirds of their regular pay.
In addition to the relief act various proposals are being put together and discussed to help stimulate the economy. A lot of information is circulating as to what these packages may include and who may benefit from what eventually is passed by congress. Everything from checks being delivered to individuals, to relaxing the rules on the penalties for early distributions from retirement accounts have been discussed. There is also plans that are being discussed to assist small businesses to navigate through these hard times including potential loans for industries effected. Congress is working rapidly to pass legislation to bring about some economic stimulus and negotiations are currently underway. We are continually monitoring the situation and since many things have not been finalized at this point, we will be providing timely updates as legislation is passed and guidance is issued. We expect that over the next week or so more detailed information should become available that should bring more clarification on the details of the bills, who will be impacted and what benefits may be available.
In addition, to federally enacted and proposed bills many state and local governments and well as government agencies have been working to put in place similar packages and guidance to assist citizens traverse these difficult times. Many local congressman and government leaders have been issuing guidance and information as well to assist their constituents. We recommend you look to your state and local websites, other government agency websites, as well as your local representatives for updates and releases on the actions that are being taking to see what may be applicable.
Again, we will continue to follow the latest developments as they unfold and keep you informed of any further impact. We understand that this can be confusing and overwhelming time so please feel free to contact us here at Chapman, Hext at (972) 644-7112 with questions or concerns. Our best wishes to everyone to stay healthy and safe.