Covid-19

Governor Wolf’s Detailed Plan for Reopening Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Business Community:

In April, Governor Tom Wolf announced his detailed plan for reopening Pennsylvania. The plan includes three phases (Red, Yellow, and Green) that counties will enter based on the conditions in their area.

As of Friday, May 22, 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will have entered the yellow phase of reopening, with more counties to be added as they meet the requirements. This email is intended to clarify what businesses located in Yellow phase counties may, may not, and must do to keep all Pennsylvanian’s safe.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s website has helpful resources and guidance for businesses in the yellow phase, including:

• Guidance for businesses permitted to operate
• Building safety and business safety orders that can be referenced and shared
• Workplace safety FAQs

Requirements for Communicating with Employees and On-site Costumers
Businesses conducting in-person operations or serving the public are must make employees and customers aware of the Commonwealth’s guidance that keeps people at their establishment safe.

Businesses must do so by printing, signing, and posting the “COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses” flyer on their premises. Businesses must post the signed flyer in employee common space and, if the business serves the public, the business must also post the flyer near the business’s public entrance(s) in prominent location(s).

In addition, businesses are required to publicly acknowledge their responsibility to conduct their operations to ensure the health and safety of employees. Businesses must sign the flyer on the space provided. The signature is an acknowledgement that the owner or management is aware of the COVID-19 safety procedures and understands their responsibilities to carry out the guidance and procedures.

Additional printable posters promoting health and safety in the workplace can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website. These posters should be displayed when and where feasible.

What is and is not permitted in the yellow phase?
As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, hair and nail salons, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. The yellow phase is designed to begin to power back up Pennsylvania’s economy, while keeping a close eye on public health data to ensure that the spread of disease remains as contained as possible.

Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions:
• Employees that have been teleworking must continue to do so
• Businesses with in-person operations must follow Business and Building Safety Orders
• Child care facilities may open but must comply with guidance
• Congregate care and prison restrictions remain in place
• Schools remain closed for in-person instruction

Social Restrictions:
• Stay at home order lifted for aggressive mitigation
• Large gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited
• In-person retail allowed, curbside and delivery preferred
• Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities and personal care services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) remain closed
• Restaurants and bars limited to carry-out and delivery only

All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning.

As we work to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth and facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.

Progress may not be linear, and outbreaks of disease may delay or reverse movement toward reopening. Businesses and organizations should continue to monitor the conditions in their region and should be prepared to adjust as counties move amongst the three reopening phases.

Thank you for your efforts to help all Pennsylvanians stay healthy and safe.

 

IRS expands partner materials for Economic Impact Payments; continues sweeping effort to share details in multiple languages

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service announced today the availability of additional material for partner groups sharing information related to Economic Impact Payments, including a new toolkit in Spanish and a variety of other print and visual items available.

Even with more than 130 million Economic Impact Payments delivered to date and millions more on the way, there are still people who may not realize they may qualify for a payment of $1,200 or more. To help reach people who don’t normally file a tax return, the IRS has embarked on a sweeping outreach effort to share information in multiple languages inside and outside the tax community.

“From the enactment of the CARES Act, the IRS has embarked on an unprecedented outreach effort to share information about Economic Impact Payments,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We want to reach every eligible person and encourage everyone to share this information with family and friends, and groups and businesses to send it to partners and clients. During these difficult times, each of you can make a difference by helping us help others.”

The IRS has placed a special emphasis on partnering with new organizations that work with groups focusing on veterans, homeless, low-income taxpayers as well as non-English speaking audiences to share information about the payments. In all, the IRS has worked with thousands of partners across the country reaching organizations representing hundreds of millions of taxpayers.

Special materials available on IRS.gov; Partner toolkit available in English and Spanish

To help share information with your family, friends, partners and clients, the IRS has more than 40 ready-to-use materials available. These are available at Economic Impact Payments: Partner and Promotional Materials. These materials include:

• IRS e-posters and Twitter images that can be used on websites, social media, newsletters and other platforms.
• Print materials include Tax Tips, short, plain English summaries of EIP, and “Ready to Use” articles that can be shared with family, friends, partners and clients in emails, newsletters and web sites.

The IRS also has a special partner toolkit now available in both Spanish and English. The toolkit offers a summary of various items related to Economic Impact Payments that partner groups can share.

In addition, the IRS has been working closely with partners in the tax community as the private sector worked to translate key Economic Impact Payments into more than two dozen different languages to get key information to more people.

IRS social media shares information

The IRS continues regularly sharing Economic Impact Payment information on social media. Organizations are encouraged to share these information items, which also including new developments related to Economic Impact Payments and other provisions related to the CARES Act:

• Twitter: Taxpayers, businesses and tax professionals can follow the IRS handles for up to the minute announcements, tips and alerts in English and Spanish.
• Facebook: News and information for everybody. Also available in Spanish.
• Instagram: The IRS Instagram account shares taxpayer-friendly information.
• YouTube: The IRS offers video tax tips in English, Spanish and American Sign Language.

IRS works with other federal agencies to share information

As part of the wider outreach effort, the IRS has been working with other federal agencies to share information, ranging from the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Fiscal Service to the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to those groups, a number of federal agencies have additional information of interest to taxpayers, including:

• FDIC. To help people without bank accounts obtain an Economic Impact Payment, the FDIC website has created a special page. It includes information for people describing where to find a bank that can open an account online and how to choose the right account.
• Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CFPB has produced several videos related to Economic Impact Payments and other COVID-19 information.

 

Here’s why some people’s Economic Impact Payment is different than expected

As people across the country receive their Economic Impact Payments, some might receive a different amount than they expected.

Eligible individuals receive a payment for $1,200. Two eligible individuals filing a joint return receive $2,400. And, eligible individuals receive up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child who meets the conditions outlined on the Qualifying Child Requirements page.

The Economic Impact Payment is automatic for eligible people who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019. They’re also automatic for those who aren’t required to file a tax return but who receive:
• Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits.
• Railroad Retirement benefits.
• Supplemental Security Income.
• Veterans Affairs benefits.

People who receive less than expected can go to IRS.gov and review this chart to check the payment they should receive. It has examples that use filing status and income to calculate the payment amount.

Here are some common things that help explain what may have happened:

• The taxpayer hasn’t filed a 2019 tax return, and their payment was based on the 2018 return. This could also be the case if the IRS has not finished processing the 2019 return.

• The qualifying child is not under the age of 17. For purposes of the payment, the child’s age is how old they are at the end of the year for the tax return on which the IRS bases the payment amount. If a dependent is 17 or older, they don’t qualify for the additional $500. This includes a parent or other relative, and college students.

• The Economic Impact Payment was offset by past-due child support. While this is the only offset that can affect the payment amount, federal law allows creditors to garnish a payment once it’s deposited into a bank account.

In many instances, eligible taxpayers who received a payment that was smaller than expected may get an additional amount early next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return.

Anyone with questions about the payment can visit the Economic Impact Payments Information Center. It has answers to questions about eligibility, payment amounts, what to expect, and when to expect it.

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Employee retention credit available for businesses affected by COVID-19

The employee retention credit is designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The amount of the credit is 50% of qualified wages paid up to an annual limit of $10,000, which equals a maximum credit amount of $5,000 for each employee for the year.

Eligible employers are employers who operate a trade or business and has experienced one of these:

• Fully or partially suspended operations because of a government order due to COVID-19
• A significant decline in gross receipts in a calendar quarter when compared to 2019

How is the credit figured?

• The amount of the credit is half of qualifying wage0s paid up to $10,000 for all calendar quarters. The maximum credit for any employee is $5,000 for the year.
• Wages paid between March 12, 2020, and January 1, 2021 are eligible.
• Wages are not limited to cash payments. They also include a portion of employer-provided health care costs.

Which wages qualify?

Qualified wages are based on the business’s average number of full-time employees in 2019.

• Small employers, those that had 100 or fewer employees, may receive the credit for wages paid to employees whether or not they are providing services to the employer.
• Large employers, those that had more than 100 employees, may only receive the credit for wages paid to employees for time the employees are not providing services to the employer.

If an employer is eligible due to a full or partial suspension of operations, only wages paid while operations are suspended count as qualified wages.

How do eligible employers get the credit?
Employers must report their qualified wages on their federal employment tax returns, usually Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return.

They can reduce their required deposits of payroll taxes withheld from employees’ wages by the amount of the credit. They can also request an advance of the employee retention credit by submitting Form 7200. Eligible employers may use the employee retention credit with other relief such as, payroll tax deferral which may affect deposits and advances.

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New credits fund employers for Coronavirus-related paid leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides tax credits to reimburse employers for the costs of providing paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave to employees unable to work because of the coronavirus (COVID-19). These credits are refundable. That means if the amount of the credit exceeds the amount of tax owed, the remainder is refunded to the business or organization.

The law is intended to allow employers to keep employees on their payrolls, while at the same time making sure employees aren’t forced to choose between their paychecks and public health measures needed to combat COVID-19.

These credits are available to eligible employers beginning April 1, 2020, for qualifying leave they provide between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.

Covered employers
Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees within the United States or any U.S. territory or possession and that have to meet employer paid leave requirements. The Questions and Answers and regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor have more information about the 500-employee threshold and the paid leave requirements.

The law allows equivalent credits for self-employed individuals in similar circumstances. For details, see specific provisions related to self-employed individuals in the COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses FAQs

Paid sick leave requirement and credit
Employees of eligible employers who are unable to work or telework because they’re quarantined or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. This pay is at their regular rate of pay or, if higher, the applicable minimum wage, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in total.

Employees can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at 2/3 of their regular pay or, if higher, the applicable minimum wage, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in total. Employees can receive this benefit if they need to care for:

• an individual subject to quarantine,
• a child whose school or place of care is closed, or
• a child whose child-care provider is unavailable,

due to COVID-19 or because they’re experiencing similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

An employee is eligible for paid sick leave, regardless of length of employment.

The eligible employer is entitled to a fully refundable tax credit equal to the required paid sick leave wages. Eligible employers can also get an additional credit for the employer’s share of Medicare tax imposed on the qualfied sick leave wages and the cost of maintaining health insurance coverage for the employee during the sick leave period. The employer is not subject to the employer portion of Social Security tax on those wages.

Paid family and medical leave requirement and credit
In addition to the paid sick leave credit, an employee who is unable to work or telework because of a need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose child-care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19, is entitled to paid family and medical leave equal to 2/3 of the employee’s regular pay, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in total. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted toward the paid family leave credit.

An employee qualifies for paid family and medical leave if they’ve been on an employer’s payroll for 30 calendar days or more.

The eligible employer is entitled to a fully refundable tax credit equal to the required paid family leave wages. Eligible employers can also get an additional credit for the employer’s share of Medicare tax imposed on those wages and its cost of maintaining health insurance coverage for the employee during the family leave period. The eligible employer isn’t subject to the employer portion of Social Security tax on those wages.

Example. An employee’s child-care provider is unavailable indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving the employee unable to work or telework because of the need to care for their child. For up to the first 80 hours of any period of leave to care for their child, the employee is entitled to qualified sick leave wages, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in total. After that, the employee is entitled to qualified family leave wages for up to 10 weeks of additional leave needed, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in total.

How to claim the credits
Eligible employers report their total qualified leave wages and the related credits for each quarter on their federal employment tax return, usually Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return. They can receive the benefit of the credits by reducing their federal employment tax deposits for that quarter by the amount of the qualified leave wages, allocable qualified health plan expenses, and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the wages. They’ll account for the reduction in deposits due to the leave credits on the Form 941 they file at the end of the quarter. The IRS recently posted Frequently Asked Questions about the ability both to reduce deposits for the credits and to defer the deposit of all of the employer’s portion of Social Security tax due before January 1, 2021 under a separate provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

If employers don’t have enough federal employment taxes to cover the amount of the credits, after they have deferred deposits of employer Social Security taxes under the CARES Act as discussed in the Frequently Asked Questions, they may request an advance payment of the credits from the IRS by submitting Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19. They may fax their completed forms to 855-248-0552.

Examples: An eligible employer is entitled to a credit of $5,000 for paying qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages (and allocable health plan expenses) and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in federal employment taxes withheld from all of its employees for wage payments made during the same quarter as the $5,000 in qualified leave wages. The employer may keep up to $5,000 of the $8,000 of taxes it was going to deposit, and it will not owe a penalty for keeping the $5,000. The eligible employer will claim the credit and reflect the reduced liability for the $5,000 when it files Form 941.

An eligible employer is entitled to a credit of $10,000 for paying qualified leave wages (and allocable qualified health plan expenses) and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in federal employment taxes withheld from all of its employees on wage payments made during the same quarter. The employer can keep the entire $8,000 of taxes that it was otherwise required to deposit without penalties as a portion of the credits it is otherwise entitled to claim on Form 941. The employer may file a request for an advance credit for the remaining $2,000 by completing Form 7200.

Keep records to substantiate claims
Eligible employers claiming the credits must keep records and documentation supporting each employee’s leave. The COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses FAQs has more information about the documents needed to support the employee’s leave and the employer’s credit.

An employer should keep all employment tax records for at least four years.

The Questions and Answers issued by the U.S. Department of Labor have more information about the leave requirements.

More information:
Coronavirus Tax Relief
IR-2020-57, Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave.

 

Local IRS Offices

York
2670 Industrial Hwy, York, PA 17402
Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
(Closed for lunch 12:30pm - 1:30pm)
(717) 757-4977

Harrisburg
228 Walnut St, Harrisburg, PA 17101
Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
(Closed for lunch 12:30pm - 1:00pm) (717) 777-9650

Lancaster
1720 Hempstead Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601
Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
(Closed for lunch 12:30pm - 1:00pm)
(717) 291-1994










NATP

National Association of Tax Professionals