Weekly Digest – 23 March 2020
Resources to Help You Survive – and Thrive – During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Over the course of just a few weeks, the US has moved from only a few isolated cases of COVID-19 to cases in every state. Nearly everyone’s business and life has been turned upside down. With that disruption in mind, here are a few resources that may be helpful.
On Saturday, March 21, the IRS made it official that the deadline for federal taxes and any filings originally due on April 15 has been extended to July 15. This applies to individuals, trusts and corporations. As long as any taxes due are paid by July 15, 2020, no interest and penalties will be assessed.
No action is needed for anyone who wants to take advantage of the extended July 15 deadline. Individuals who need additional time beyond July 15 to file can request an extension by filing Form 4868, which will extend the filing deadline until October 15.
Corporations and trusts that need an extension beyond July 15 must file Form 7004.
Many states that have income tax have also extended the filing and payment deadline to July 15 to remain in synch with federal tax returns. The AICPA has put together a PDF of state information. However, business owners should confirm with our office to make sure that is the case.
PAYROLL TAX CREDIT FOR PAID LEAVE AND CHILD CARE
Employers can receive a federal tax credit for paid leave that employees take due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For employees who are unable to work because they are quarantined or are sick with COViD-19, the tax credit will be worth 100% of their normal pay, up to $511 per day for a total of two weeks, or a maximum of $5,110.
For employees who are unable to work because they must care for children whose schools are closed or for an individual who is ill or quarantined with COVID-19, the tax credit will reimburse for 2/3 of an employee’s usual pay, up to $200 per day or $2,000 in total.
In addition, employees who are unable to work because they must care for a child whose school or daycare facility has closed are entitled to $200 per day, up to $10,000 total, for which employers can take a tax credit.
The IRS plans to release guidance and instructions on how to take advantage of this shortly. Please note that state payroll taxes may still be due.
LOANS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) will lend businesses and not-for-profit organizations impacted by COVID-18 up to $2 million for working capital. These funds may be used to pay payroll, accounts payable, other loans and any other bills that can’t be paid because of the pandemic. Businesses will pay a low interest rate of 3.75%; not-for-profits will pay just 2.75% Repayment terms will be based on the recipient’s ability to pay, and will be set up on a case-by-case basis.
RESOURCES FOR REMOTE WORK AND LEARNING
A number of tech companies are offering free or reduced-price options on tools to help with remote work and to help educators, students and parents with remote learning. This article in Accounting Today describes offers from Invoiced, Expensify and Avidxchange, among others. Expensify will match Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) expenses up to $50 per family.
Forbes has a lengthy list of resources available for remote workers and educators, including a 90-day free trial of cloud storage with Box, free access to online meetings with Google Hangouts, expansion of free teamwork space in Microsoft Teams, and free meetings for schools on Zoom beyond the usual 40-minute limit.
TIPS FOR REMOTE WORK
Almost overnight, everyone who can has become a remote worker. Working at home takes a different approach to work and for leading a team. Here are a few helpful resources:
- Journal of Accountancy: What to do if staff can’t make it to the office
- Accounting Today: Staying connected amid disconnection
- Inc. Magazine: 23 Essential Tips for Working Remotely
- Time Magazine: 5 Tips for Staying Productive and Mentally Healthy While You’re Working From Home
WORKING AT HOME WHEN YOUR KIDS ARE OUT OF SCHOOL
Not only are we all working at home, our kids are here too. This podcast interview with a 26-year veteran of home-schooling and working has great ideas and resources for making it all work. The most surprising insight is that kids may only need two or three hours to complete the academic tasks that keep them out of the house for seven or more hours when school is in session.
The show notes include these resources for keeping your kids engaged and learning while school is out. Some are free trials while the COVID-19 crisis continues, while others are available at low-cost:
MANAGING CASH FLOW
The key to survival for small businesses will be managing cash flow. Big four accounting firm Deloitte has a guide with useful strategies for cash flow, which includes ideas like making sure your current lenders are prepared to continue their current level of support, and managing your inventory. Tools like Helm and Jirav incorporate forecasting to help you anticipate future problems.
- Payroll, HR and benefits company Gusto has put together An Employer’s Guide to Navigating the Coronavirus
- Accounting Today has a special page for articles on COVID-19
- The best source for up-to-date and accurate health information is the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- The CDC also has recommendations for businesses and employers
- Intuit QuickBooks has a dedicated page to help small businesses
We sincerely hope that you and your family are well and remain well. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are all in this together!