COVID-19 UPDATES FROM MARSHALL JONES


In these uncertain times, we want to offer you the assurance that Marshall Jones is working at maximum capacity to service all of your audit, tax and bookkeeping needs, and is actively monitoring legislation at the Federal and State level that could impact you and your businesses.

We urge you to continue to consult with us prior to taking action based on news reports which are sometimes incomplete.  This blog will be updated with only the most impactful and official news and legislation, relevant to you.

While there have been many reports and rumors on tax relief, stimulus packages, and the like, only one major piece of legislation has been signed so far, though more are expected in the coming weeks.  Below is a synopsis of the major provisions in this legislation, with a simple description of how they may affect you and your business.


I. IRS – RELIEF FOR TAXPAYERS AFFECTED BY ONGOING CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 PANDEMIC: NOTICE 2020-18

Filing and Payment Relief

  • The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Federal income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020.
  • There will be no interest accruing from April 16th through July 15th and no penalties for filings or payments due April 15th that are completed by July 15th.
  • This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations.
  • This relief is automatic, taxpayers do NOT need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify.
  • Estimated tax payments for quarter one of 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020 are also automatically extended until July 15, 2020.
  • Individual and business taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension until September 15 or October 15 based on prior law.

Marshall Jones is closely monitoring all new regulations from the IRS and are prepared to help businesses navigate the impacts and ensure proper compliance. 

If you are due a refund, please send your information in as soon as it is complete so we can get your refund into your hands!

Official IRS Publication

IRS Filing and Payment Deadline FAQs


II. GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE – GEORGIA CORONAVIRUS TAX RELIEF INFORMATION

  • The Georgia Department of Revenue is automatically extending the 2019 income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, 2020
  • Vehicle registrations that expire between March 16, 2020 and May 14, 2020 are also being extended through May 15, 2020
  • Press release and FAQs on tax relief can be found at the link below

Georgia Tax Relief

AICPA GUIDE TO STATE FILING RELIEF


III. CONGRESS – CORONAVIRUS PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2020: PUBLIC LAW NO: 116-123

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

On March 18, 2020, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This declaration will provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses in all 159 counties in Georgia

GEORGIA SBA PRESS RELEASE

CONGRESS BILL 116-123

SBA DISASTER ASSISTANCE


IV. CONGRESS – FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT: PUBLIC LAW NO: 116-127

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

  • The current employee threshold for FMLA coverage changed from only covering employers with 50 or more employees to instead covering those employers with fewer than 500 employees.
  • It also lowers the eligibility requirement such that any employee who has worked for the employer for at least 30 days prior to the designated leave may be eligible to receive paid family and medical leave. 
  • It requires qualifying employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees affected by coronavirus (for a number of hours determined by an employee’s full- or part-time status) 
  • Emergency sick leave is limited to: 
    • $511 per day/$5,110 in the aggregate for employees that are in quarantine or seeking a diagnosis for coronavirus; 
    • $200 per day/$2,000 in the aggregate to care for a quarantined family member or to provide childcare.
  • It provides employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave if the employee or a family member is in quarantine or if a child’s school or place of care is closed due to the coronavirus; 
  • It requires employers to provide no less than 2/3rd of the employee’s usual pay up to $200 per day, $10,000 in total; 
  • The 12 weeks of job-protected leave can apply AFTER employees take the provided two weeks of emergency paid sick leave. 

Small Employer Exception

  • The Department of Labor has the authority to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from compliance when “imposition of [the paid sick leave requirements] would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” The guidance for how to apply for exemption will be released by DOL at a later time.
  • Business closures or shutdowns are not covered reasons requiring paid sick leave.

Marshall Jones is closely monitoring all new regulations from the IRS and are prepared to help businesses navigate the impacts and ensure proper compliance. 

For now, our recommendation is to maintain detailed documentation of the time spent by employees for virus testing, medical care, school closures, and relevant information of affected family members, while also protecting the privacy of your employees. We suggest that employers develop an internal mechanism via intranet, separate email, or a time–keeping system to track the time employees are absent for reasons related to coronavirus, including a coronavirus diagnosis, recommended or required self-quarantine, care for a quarantines or ill family member, and/or care for a child who is ill or whose school or place of care is closed due to coronavirus.

Tax Credits For Paid Sick And Paid Family and Medical Leave

Paid Sick Leave Credit

  • For an employee who is unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers (those with fewer than 500 employees) may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.
  • For an employee who is caring for someone with Coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Child Care Leave Credit

  • In addition to the sick leave credit, for an employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may receive a refundable child care leave credit. This credit is equal to two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted towards the child care leave credit. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

The expansion of required paid sick leave is designed to be completely reimbursable to the employer through immediate tax credits to payroll taxes

Each of these tax credits has complex qualifications, guidelines and reporting requirements The expansion of required paid sick leave is designed to be completely reimbursable to the employer through immediate tax credits to payroll taxes that could change rapidly and dramatically as the coronavirus outbreak continues.  We will keep you updated as we learn more and ask that you contact us with specific questions.  

116TH CONGRESS BILL 116-127


V. GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR – EMERGENCY RULES ADOPTED 03-19-20

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has adopted an emergency Rule 300-2-4-0.5 Partial Claims, effective March 16, 2020. The rule mandates all Georgia employers to file partial claims online on behalf of their employees for any week during which an employee (full-time/part-time) works less than full-time due to a partial or total company shutdown caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

Filing partial claims results in your employees receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments faster, usually within 48 hours for claims filed electronically.

Employees for whom you file a partial claim are NOT required to report to a Georgia Department of Labor career center, register for employment services, or look for other work.

On March 19th, the following additional emergency measures were adopted,

… in the determination of the Commissioner, the account of an employer may not be charged for certain benefits paid for unemployment due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including benefits paid on partial claims filed online.

The Georgia Department of Labor has links to many help FAQs for employees and employers alike to assist with complying with the rule change.  Please follow this link to access this information.

GEORGIA DOL COVID 19 INFORMATION

GEORGIA DOL EMERGENCY RULES