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Coronavirus—Protecting you and our staff

A message from our CEO, Richard Landis

To our valued clients,

In these times of uncertainty, we want you to know that the safety and health of our clients and staff are always a top priority. We understand that with the rapidly changing updates on travel restrictions, school closings, and cancelled public events due to the outbreak of the pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19), many people are worried about the health of their loved ones. We cannot stress enough that we take the well-being of our clients and staff seriously. Now more than ever, our business is you.

Our office is taking precautions to minimize exposure to this rapidly spreading virus. As much as we look forward to this time of year when we can greet our clients face-to-face and make personal connections, it is with you in mind that we are limiting office visits at this time.

IN-OFFICE MEETINGS

Until further notice, we will no longer hold in-office meetings. We sincerely regret the need to discontinue this personalized service and offer the following alternatives:

  1. Zoom Video Meeting (preferred)
    • A Zoom meeting allows us to meet face-to-face through a virtual on-line connection.
    • Zoom also allows screen sharing. It is our preferred alternative method of meeting due to the amount of personalization and flexibility it allows. Zoom meetings are the nextbest-thing to an in-office appointment. You can access Zoom from any device with an internet connection.
  2. Phone Call
    • If a stable internet connection is not available, we are happy to conference by telephone.
  3. No Meeting
    • We love to meet with the people we serve, but a meeting is not always necessary. The majority of our clients submit their documents without meeting. Any questions or concerns we may have about your documents can easily be handled through Liscio or by telephone.

SUBMITTING AND RECEIVING TAX DOCUMENTS

Until further notice, we kindly request that documents are not dropped off or picked up at the office. The World Health Organization has suggested that COVID-19 can persist on surfaces for up to several days. This not only includes our door handles, desks, chairs, bathroom, etc., but also any papers that are exchanged between us. We recognize our local clients enjoy stopping by to complete transactions and offer the following convenient alternatives:

  1. LISCIO (preferred)
    • Most of our clients are already using Liscio to send and receive documents and to communicate with us. With Liscio, submitting documents is as easy as snapping a picture with your cell phone and uploading documents via the mobile app.
  2. Fax
    • Faxing documents may be an option to quickly transfer forms or other information if Liscio is not preferred. Fax transmissions are not as reliable as Liscio uploads, so if you choose to fax your documents, please make sure your fax machine has confirmed successful transmission. Our fax number is 717-393-8342.
  3. Mail
    • For clients who do not have access to the internet or fax, you are welcome to mail your documents into our office. Local clients who typically pick up their return from the office should expect their returns in the mail this year. Please remember to mail back your signed 8879 Authorization to Electronically Transmit Tax Return forms promptly. We expect any potential virus cells will become inactive during document transfers.

We apologize for any inconvenience these temporary safely precautions may cause. If you feel these procedures are a burden that requires an extension, please contact our office as soon as possible. We appreciate your understanding and agree that no tax deadline is more important than precious human life. Thank you for supporting us in our efforts to protect our clients and employees. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Latest Federal Updates

March 27, 2020

In an effort to provide continued clarity around changes to tax law, we are offering this update to our previous tax announcements. As such, we have removed a few of our previous tax update posts.

Below, you will find a list of frequently asked questions in reference to the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Notice 2020-18 (PDF). In this Notice, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced special Federal income tax return filing and payment relief in response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.

You can review the IRS page for additional information here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for relief under the Notice?

Any person with a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020 is eligible for relief under the Notice. “Person” includes any type of taxpayer such as an individual, a trust, an estate, a corporation or any type of unincorporated business entity. The payment due refers to both 2019 Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income) and 2020 estimated Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income)—regardless of the amount owed. The return or payment must be due on April 15, 2020—this relief does not apply to Federal income tax returns and payments due on any other date.

Do I have to actually be sick, quarantined or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for payment relief?

No, you do not have to be sick, quarantined or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for relief. You only need to have a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020 as described above.

I am a fiscal year filer. My Federal income tax return for fiscal year 2019 is due on April 15, 2020. Am I an “Affected Taxpayer” eligible for relief under the Notice?

Yes, the relief provided in the Notice applies to Federal income tax returns and payments in respect of an Affected Taxpayer’s 2019 taxable year and postpones those 2019 return filings and payments due on April 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020. If your Federal income tax return for your fiscal year ending during 2019 is due on April 15, 2020, whether that is the original due date or the due date on extension, your due date is postponed to July 15, 2020.

Does this relief apply to state tax liabilities?

No, this relief applies only to Federal income tax payments. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the Federal filing and payment deadline. We urge you to check with your state tax agencies for those details. More information is available here.

I haven’t filed my 2019 income tax return yet (that would have been due on April 15), but I expect to file it by July 15. What do I need to do?

Nothing, except file and pay any tax due with your return by July 15. You don’t need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic Federal tax filing and payment relief. If you expect a refund, you are encouraged to file your return as soon as you can so that you can receive your refund. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. If you need more time beyond July 15 to file your return, request an automatic extension of time to file as described next.

What if I am unable to file my 2019 income tax return (that would have been due on April 15) by July 15, 2020?

If you are an individual, you can request an automatic extension to file your Federal income tax return if you can’t file by the July 15, 2020 deadline. The easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through your tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses, including trusts, must file Form 7004.

You must request the automatic extension by July 15, 2020. If you properly estimate your 2019 tax liability using the information available to you and file an extension form by July 15, 2020, your tax return will be due on October 15, 2020. To avoid interest and penalties when filing your tax return after July 15, 2020, pay the tax you estimate as due with your extension request.

I already filed my 2019 income tax return (that would have been due on April 15) and I owe taxes, but I haven’t paid yet. What do I need to do to avoid interest and penalties?

To avoid interest and penalties, pay your taxes in full by July 15, 2020. If you filed Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR, the tax payment amount can be found on line 23. If you filed Form 1040-NR, the tax payment amount can be found on line 75. For a corporation filing Form 1120, the tax payment amount can be found on line 35.

Interest and penalties will begin to be charged after July 15 for any amount remaining unpaid by that date.

I already filed my 2019 income tax return that would have been due on April 15 and scheduled a payment of taxes for April 15, 2020. Will this payment be automatically rescheduled to July 15, 2020?

No, the payment will not be automatically rescheduled to July 15, 2020. If you do nothing, the payment will be made on the date you chose. Here is information on how to cancel and reschedule your payment:

  • If you scheduled a payment through IRS Direct Pay, you can use your confirmation number from the payment to access the “Look Up a Payment” feature. You can modify or cancel a scheduled payment until two business days before the payment date. The email notification you received when you scheduled the payment will contain the confirmation number.
  • If you scheduled a payment through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), click on “Payments” from the EFTPS home page, login, click “Cancel a Tax Payment” from the left menu and follow the instructions. You must do so at least two business days before the scheduled payment date.
  • If you scheduled a payment as part of filing your tax return (authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal), you may revoke (cancel) your payment by contacting the U.S. Treasury Financial Agent at 888-353-4537. You must call to make a payment cancellation request no later than 11:59 p.m. ET two business days prior to the scheduled payment date.
  • If you scheduled a payment by credit card or debit card, contact the card processor to cancel the payment.

The Notice postpones the deadline for first quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments due on April 15, 2020. What about second quarter estimated tax payments due on June 15? Have they been postponed as well?

No, second quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are still due on June 15, 2020. First quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

Does this relief provide me more time to contribute money to my IRA for 2019?

Yes. Contributions can be made to your IRA for a particular year at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns has been postponed to July 15, 2020, the deadline for making contributions to your IRA for 2019 is also extended to July 15, 2020. For more details on IRA contributions, see Publication 590-A - Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

March 21, 2020

Under the recently enacted Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (the Act), small businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 can apply for low-interest federal disaster loans through SBA. Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for working capital loans of up to $2 million.

We’ve highlighted the following key details of the Act for you here, but you can also learn more by visiting the COVID-19 disaster assistance page on SBA’s website.

  • State governors must first request access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Once the declaration is made, information on the application process for disaster loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the given state.
  • Loans carry an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.
  • Loans can be used to cover accounts payable, debts, payroll and other bills.
  • Loans can be offered with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable—up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Businesses will apply for loans online and select “Economic Injury” as the reason for seeking assistance.
  • SBA offers disaster assistance via its customer service center. If you have questions or want to check if your state is eligible, contact U.S. Small Business Administration via phone at 800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The coronavirus situation is changing rapidly, as are the updates to various relief efforts. We will continue to monitor news and keep you updated as clarification is provided.

If you have questions, be sure to reach out to us. Our entire team is here to support and guide you!

March 20, 2020

“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA), which goes into effect April 2, 2020 and expires December 31, 2020, responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing additional assistance in the areas of COVID-19 testing, sick leave, food assistance and more. We’ve compiled key details of FFCRA that we believe you need to know.

In summary, the Act:

  • Requires private insurance plans to provide free COVID-19 testing.
  • Requires employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to workers affected by COVID-19 and expands family and medical leave.
  • Offers increased funding for state unemployment insurance, food stamp and nutritional programs.

More specifically, here’s what FFCRA means for both business owners and employees in the areas of sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.

  • Employees are eligible for up to two weeks of sick leave (full pay for self, 2/3 pay for family care) for illness, quarantine or school closures.
  • Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for school closures (10 days unpaid and then up to 10 weeks at 2/3 pay).
  • FMLA expansion covers:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 employees.
    • Employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days (some exclusions may apply).
    • Employees who must care for children under the age of 18 in the event of school and place-of-care closures or if care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19.
  • Emergency paid sick leave covers:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 employees.
    • All employees no matter the length of employment (some exclusions may apply).
  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

Department of Labor Links:

  • FFCRA: Questions and Answers
  • As part of the FFCRA, employers are required to provide notice to employees of the Act’s provisions. An example of the required notice has been made available by the Department of Labor and can be downloaded here: FFCRA NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES.
  • In addition, the Department of Labor has made available a FAQ page discussing the notice requirements: FFCRA NOTICE – FAQ.

The coronavirus situation is changing rapidly, as are the updates to various relief efforts. We will continue to monitor news and keep you updated as clarification is provided.

If you have questions, be sure to reach out to us. Our entire team is here to support and guide you!