COVID-19 Resources

In response to the Illinois Stay at Home Executive order, our offices are open with a limited number of employees on-site to provide essential functions. Documents can be dropped off at your convenience during regular business hours. Please place your documents in a folder or envelope and leave in the box located inside the front door. No contact is required. The remaining staff are working from home remotely. Please be aware that all staff can be reached by email or phone, and our remote working capabilities allow us to continue to provide the services you need. We continue to follow the guidance and recommendations that have been provided by the CDC, WHO, and other government organizations to reduce the spread and impact of the Corona Virus during this period. Those steps include the following:

  1. All in-person appointments for tax returns are cancelled. Appointments can be conducted by phone or other virtual method. Your documents can be mailed, emailed, uploaded to your portal, delivered, or dropped off as described above.
  2. Requiring that all staff to stay home if they or anyone in their house are sick.
  3. All staff are working from home remotely with limited in-office activity.
  4. Remaining diligent in the recommended hygiene procedures of washing hands, sanitizing surfaces, and limiting contact.
  5. Following social distancing and avoiding shaking hands and other direct contact.

 

OTHER INFORMATION

The following information is included in this section:

Item 1 - Filing and Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020 - Updated Statement

Item 2 - PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) INFORMATION SHEET: BORROWERS

Item 3 - Illinois Income Tax Filing and Payment Extension

Item 4 - CARES Act tax provisions aim to stabilize pandemic-ravaged economy

Item 5 - 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

Item 6 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Item 7 - House passes coronavirus relief bill that contains employer tax credits

Item 8 - Short-Term Relief from Penalties for Late Sales Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Virus Outbreak

Item 9 - Chicago Taxpayer relief for businesses impacted by Covid-19

 

Item 1 - Filing and Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020 - Updated Statement

 

March 21, 2020

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.

This filing and payment relief includes:

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. 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.

This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.

Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. You will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

State tax returns

This relief only applies to federal income returns and tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details. More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

 

Item 2 - PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) INFORMATION SHEET: BORROWERS

 

The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be the same for everyone.

 

The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as:

  • The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the 8 week period after the loan is made; and
  • Employee and compensation levels are maintained.

 

Payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.

 

Loan payments will be deferred for 6 months.

 

When can I apply?

  • Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
  • Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
  • Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans as soon as they are approved and enrolled in the program.

 

Where can I apply? You can apply through any existing SBA lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.

 

Who can apply? All businesses – including nonprofits, veterans organizations, Tribal business concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors – with 500 or fewer employees can apply. Businesses in certain industries can have more than 500 employees if they meet applicable SBA employee-based size standards for those industries 

 

For this program, the SBA’s affiliation standards are waived for small businesses (1) in the hotel and food services industries; or (2) that are franchises in the SBA’s Franchise Directory; or (3) that receive financial assistance from small business investment companies licensed by the SBA. Additional guidance may be released as appropriate.

 

What do I need to apply? You will need to complete the Paycheck Protection Program loan application and submit the application with the required documentation to an approved lender that is available to process your application by June 30, 2020. Click HERE for the application.

 

What other documents will I need to include in my application? You will need to provide your lender with payroll documentation.

 

Do I need to first look for other funds before applying to this program? No. We are waiving the usual SBA requirement that you try to obtain some or all of the loan funds from other sources (i.e., we are waiving the Credit Elsewhere requirement).

 

How long will this program last? Although the program is open until June 30, 2020, we encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap and lenders need time to process your loan.

 

How many loans can I take out under this program? Only one.

 

What can I use these loans for? You should use the proceeds from these loans on your:

  • Payroll costs, including benefits;
  • Interest on mortgage obligations, incurred before February 15, 2020;
  • Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020; and
  • Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020.

 

What counts as payroll costs? Payroll costs include:

  • Salary, wages, commissions, or tips (capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee);
  • Employee benefits including costs for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payments required for the provisions of group health care benefits including insurance premiums; and payment of any retirement benefit;
  • State and local taxes assessed on compensation; and
  • For a sole proprietor or independent contractor: wages, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment, capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee.

 

How large can my loan be? Loans can be for up to two months of your average monthly payroll costs from the last year plus an additional 25% of that amount. That amount is subject to a $10 million cap. If you are a seasonal or new business, you will use different applicable time periods for your calculation. Payroll costs will be capped at $100,000 annualized for each employee.

 

How much of my loan will be forgiven? You will owe money when your loan is due if you use the loan amount for anything other than payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities payments over the 8 weeks after getting the loan. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.

You will also owe money if you do not maintain your staff and payroll.

 

  • Number of Staff: Your loan forgiveness will be reduced if you decrease your full-time employee headcount.
  • Level of Payroll: Your loan forgiveness will also be reduced if you decrease salaries and wages by more than 25% for any employee that made less than $100,000 annualized in 2019.
  • Re-Hiring: You have until June 30, 2020 to restore your full-time employment and salary levels for any changes made between February 15, 2020 and April 26, 2020.

 

How can I request loan forgiveness? You can submit a request to the lender that is servicing the loan. The request will include documents that verify the number of full-time equivalent employees and pay rates, as well as the payments on eligible mortgage, lease, and utility obligations. You must certify that the documents are true and that you used the forgiveness amount to keep employees and make eligible mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments. The lender must make a decision on the forgiveness within 60 days.

 

What is my interest rate? 0.50% fixed rate.

 

When do I need to start paying interest on my loan? All payments are deferred for 6 months; however, interest will continue to accrue over this period.

 

When is my loan due? In 2 years.

 

Can I pay my loan earlier than 2 years? Yes. There are no prepayment penalties or fees.

 

Do I need to pledge any collateral for these loans? No. No collateral is required.

 

Do I need to personally guarantee this loan? No. There is no personal guarantee requirement. ***However, if the proceeds are used for fraudulent purposes, the U.S. government will pursue criminal charges against you.***

 

What do I need to certify? As part of your application, you need to certify in good faith that:

 

  • Current economic uncertainty makes the loan necessary to support your ongoing operations.
  • The funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or to make mortgage, lease, and utility payments.
  • You have not and will not receive another loan under this program.
  • You will provide to the lender documentation that verifies the number of full-time equivalent employees on payroll and the dollar amounts of payroll costs, covered mortgage interest payments, covered rent payments, and covered utilities for the eight weeks after getting this loan.
  • Loan forgiveness will be provided for the sum of documented payroll costs, covered mortgage interest payments, covered rent payments, and covered utilities. Due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.
  • All the information you provided in your application and in all supporting documents and forms is true and accurate. Knowingly making a false statement to get a loan under this program is punishable by law.
  • You acknowledge that the lender will calculate the eligible loan amount using the tax documents you submitted. You affirm that the tax documents are identical to those you submitted to the IRS. And you also understand, acknowledge, and agree that the lender can share the tax information with the SBA’s authorized representatives, including authorized representatives of the SBA Office of Inspector General, for the purpose of compliance with SBA Loan Program Requirements and all SBA reviews.

Item 3 - Illinois Income Tax Filing and Payment Extension

 

In light of the recent Disaster Proclamation issued by Governor JB Pritzker and by his direction, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is following the federal government in providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.

The filing deadline for Illinois income tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

This filing and payment relief includes:

The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Illinois income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020. 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 IDOR to qualify.

Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. You will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15, 2020.

Even though the deadline has been extended, IDOR encourages taxpayers expecting a refund to file as soon as they can. The fastest, most secure way to receive a refund is to file tax returns electronically and request direct deposit into a checking or savings account. Taxpayers who have already filed a return can check the status of their return by using the Where’s My Refund? link located at mytax.illinois.gov. Individuals may also utilize MyTax Illinois to make payments and look up their IL-PINs, amounts of any estimated tax payments they have made, and, when necessary, amounts reported on Form 1099-G.

Note: This does NOT impact the first and second installments of estimated payments for 2020 taxes that are due April 15 and June 15. Taxpayers are required to estimate their tax liability for the year and make four equal installments. Taxpayers will not be assessed a late estimated payment penalty if the amount of the installments equals 90% or more of the current year’s liability or 100% of the previous year’s liability.

Taxpayers can find more information, including common questions and answers, on our website at tax.illinois.gov. Questions may also be emailed to the department through the email addresses listed on the left side of this bulletin under “For more information.”

Item 4 - CARES Act tax provisions aim to stabilize pandemic-ravaged economy

By Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.

March 25, 2020

 

Published by the Journal of Accountancy

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748, which passed the Senate by a 96-0 vote late on Wednesday, contains a host of tax measures as part of a $2 trillion aid package designed to help the economy as it suffers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. While the focus of the legislation is not tax, a large number of tax provisions are included in the over-600-page bill.

Recovery rebates: The bill provides for payments to taxpayers — “recovery rebates” — which are being treated as advance refunds of a 2020 tax credit. Under this provision, individuals will receive a tax credit of $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers) plus $500 for each qualifying child. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) above $150,000 (for joint filers), $112,500 (for heads of household), and $75,000 for other individuals. The credit is not available to nonresident aliens, individuals who can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, and estates and trusts. Taxpayers will reduce the amount of the credit available on their 2020 tax return by the amount of the advance refund payment they receive.

Payroll tax credit refunds: The bill provides for advance refunding of the payroll tax credits enacted last week in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, P.L. 116-127. The credit for required paid sick leave and the credit for required paid family leave can be refunded in advance using forms and instructions the IRS will provide. The IRS is instructed to waive any penalties for failure to deposit payroll taxes under Sec. 3111(a) or 3221(a) if the failure was due to an anticipated payroll tax credit.

Employee retention credit: The bill creates an employee retention credit for employers that close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible employers are allowed a credit against employment taxes equal to 50% of qualified wages (up to $10,000 in wages) for each employee. Eligible employers are employers who were carrying on a trade or business during 2020 and for which the operation of that business is fully or partially suspended due to orders from an appropriate governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Employers that have gross receipts that are less than 50% of their gross receipts for the same quarter in the prior year are also eligible, until their gross receipts exceed 80% of their gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in the prior year. For employers with more than 100 employees, wages eligible for the credit are wages that the employer pays employees who are not providing services due to the suspension of the business or a drop in gross receipts. For employers with 100 or fewer employees, all wages paid qualify for the credit.

Retirement plans: Taxpayers can take up to $100,000 in coronavirus-related distributions from retirement plans without being subject to the Sec. 72(t) 10% additional tax for early distributions. Eligible distributions can be taken up to Dec. 31, 2020. Coronavirus-related distributions may be repaid within three years. For these purposes, an eligible taxpayer is one who has been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease or whose spouse or dependent has been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease or who experiences adverse financial consequences from being quarantined, furloughed, or laid off, or who has had his or her work hours reduced, or who is unable to work due to lack of child care. Any resulting income inclusion can be taken over three years. The bill also allows loans of up to $100,000 from qualified plans, and repayment can be delayed.

The bill temporarily suspends the required minimum distribution rules in Sec. 401 for 2020.

The bill delays 2020 minimum required contributions for single-employer plans until 2021.

Charitable deductions: The bill creates an above-the-line charitable deduction for 2020 (not to exceed $300). The bill also modifies the AGI limitations on charitable contributions for 2020, to 100% of AGI for individuals and 25% of taxable income for corporations. The bill also increases the food contribution limits to 25%.

Payroll tax delay: The bill delays payment of 50% of 2020 employer payroll taxes until Dec. 31, 2021; the other 50% will be due Dec. 31, 2022. For self-employment taxes, 50% will not be due until those same dates.

Net operating losses: The bill temporarily repeals the 80% income limitation for net operating loss deductions for years beginning before 2021. For losses arising in 2018, 2019, and 2020, a five-year carryback is allowed (taxpayers can elect to forgo the carryback).

Excess loss limitations: The bill repeals the Sec. 461(l) excess loss limitation. Sec. 461(l) was added to the Code by the law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, P.L. 115-97, and it disallows excess business losses of noncorporate taxpayers if the amount of the loss exceeds $250,000 ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly).

Corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT): The bill modifies the AMT credit for corporations to make it a refundable credit for 2018 tax years.

Interest limitation: For tax years beginning in 2019 and 2020, Sec. 163(j) is amended to increase the adjusted taxable income percentage from 30% to 50%. Also, taxpayers can elect to use 2019 income in place of 2020 for the computation.

Qualified improvement property: The bill also makes technical corrections regarding qualified improvement property under Sec. 168 by making it 15-year property.

Aviation taxes: Various aviation excise taxes are suspended until 2021.

Health plans: The rules for high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are amended to allow them to cover telehealth and other remote care services without charging a deductible.

Over-the-counter menstrual care products are added to the list of items that can be reimbursed out of a health savings account, Archer medical savings account, or health reimbursement arrangement.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page.

— Alistair M. Nevius, J.D., (Alistair.Nevius@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editor in chief, tax.

Item 5 - 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

 

IR-2020-57, March 20, 2020

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

Key Takeaways

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers

For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees' children's schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.

  • Complete Coverage

Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.

  • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
  • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
  • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
  • Fast Funds

Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.

  • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
  • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
  • Small Business Protection

Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.

  • Easing Compliance
    • Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.

To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.

Background

The Act provided paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19 related reasons and created the refundable paid sick leave credit and the paid child care leave credit for eligible employers. Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave under the Act. Eligible employers will be able to claim these credits based on qualifying leave they provide between the effective date and December 31, 2020. Equivalent credits are available to self-employed individuals based on similar circumstances.

Paid Leave

The Act provides that employees of eligible employers can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee's pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and seeking a medical diagnosis. An employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, to care for a child whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee's pay. An employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, may in some instances receive up to an additional ten weeks of expanded paid family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee's pay.

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 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.

Prompt Payment for the Cost of Providing Leave

When employers pay their employees, they are required to withhold from their employees' paychecks federal income taxes and the employees' share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The employers then are required to deposit these federal taxes, along with their share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, with the IRS and file quarterly payroll tax returns (Form 941 series) with the IRS.

Under guidance that will be released next week, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or child care leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS.

The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.

If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced next week.

Examples

If an eligible employer paid $5,000 in sick leave and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in payroll taxes, including taxes withheld from all its employees, the employer could use up to $5,000 of the $8,000 of taxes it was going to deposit for making qualified leave payments. The employer would only be required under the law to deposit the remaining $3,000 on its next regular deposit date.

If an eligible employer paid $10,000 in sick leave and was required to deposit $8,000 in taxes, the employer could use the entire $8,000 of taxes in order to make qualified leave payments and file a request for an accelerated credit for the remaining $2,000.

Equivalent child care leave and sick leave credit amounts are available to self-employed individuals under similar circumstances. These credits will be claimed on their income tax return and will reduce estimated tax payments.

Small Business Exemption

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for an exemption from the leave requirements relating to school closings or child care unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue. The exemption will be available on the basis of simple and clear criteria that make it available in circumstances involving jeopardy to the viability of an employer's business as a going concern. Labor will provide emergency guidance and rulemaking to clearly articulate this standard.

Non-Enforcement Period

Labor will be issuing a temporary non-enforcement policy that provides a period of time for employers to come into compliance with the Act. Under this policy, Labor will not bring an enforcement action against any employer for violations of the Act so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. Labor will instead focus on compliance assistance during the 30-day period.

For More Information

For more information about these credits and other relief, visit Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted next week.  

Item 6 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act text available here and technical explanation of the Act's tax credits available here). The President has signed the Families First Coronavirus Act (HR 6201, the "Act") intended to ease the economic consequences stemming from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by providing family and medical leave, and sick leave, to employees and providing tax credits to employers and self-employeds providing the leave. The Act also affects employer-sponsored health plans. Here are details:

  • Family and medical leave. The Act includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) (Division C of the Act), which requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide both paid and unpaid public health emergency leave to certain employees through December 31, 2020. The emergency leave generally is available when an employee who has been employed for at least 30 days is unable to work or telework due to a need for leave to care for a son or daughter under age 18 because a school or place of care has been closed, or a childcare provider is unavailable, due to an emergency with respect to COVID-19 that is declared by a federal, state, or local authority. The first 10 days of leave may be unpaid and then paid leave is required, calculated based on an amount not less than two-thirds of an employee's regular rate of pay and the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work, not to exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate. Certain exemptions and special rules apply, and a tax credit may be available (see below).
  • Emergency paid sick time. Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) (Division E of the Act), private employers with fewer than 500 employees, and public employers of any size, must provide 80 hours of paid sick time to full-time employees who are unable to work (or telework) for specified virus-related reasons. Part-time employees are entitled to sick time based on their average hours worked over a 2-week period. This amount is immediately available regardless of the employee's length of employment. The maximum amounts payable vary based on the reason for absence. Employees who are

 

    1. Subject to a quarantine or isolation order,
    2. Advised by a health provider to self-quarantine, or
    3. Experiencing symptoms and seeking diagnosis, must be compensated at their regular rate, up to a maximum of $511 per day ($5,110 total).

Employees caring for an individual described in category (1), (2), or (3), caring for a son or daughter whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable, or experiencing a "substantially similar condition" specified by the government must receive two-thirds of their regular rate, up to a maximum of $200 per day ($2,000 total). Employers cannot require employees to find a replacement worker or use other sick leave before this sick time. Employers may exclude health care providers and emergency responders, and the DOL can issue regulations exempting businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The sick leave mandate takes effect not later than 15 days after March 18, 2020 (the date of the Act's enactment) and expires December 31, 2020.

  • Employer tax credits. The Act provides tax credits to employers to cover wages paid to employees while they are taking time off under the EPSLA and EMFLEA. (Act Sec. 7001; Act Sec. 7003) The credits have three components:
  1.  
    1. The EPSLA credit for each employee is equal to the lesser of the amount of his leave pay or either
      1. $511 per day while the employee is receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves, or
      2. $200 if the sick leave is to care for a family member or child whose school is closed.

An additional limit applies to the number of days per employee: the excess of 10 days over the aggregate number of days taken into account for all preceding calendar quarters. (Act Sec. 7001(b))

    1. The EMFLEA credit for each employee is the amount of his leave pay limited to $200 per day with a maximum of $10,000. (Act Sec. 7003(b)(1))
  1. The amount of the EPSLA and EMFLEA credits are increased by the portion of the employer's "qualified health plan expenses" that are properly allocable to qualified sick leave wages or qualified family and medical leave wages. Qualified health plan expenses means amounts paid or incurred by the employer to provide and maintain a group health plan (as defined in Code Sec. 5000(b)(1)), but only to the extent that such amounts are excluded from the gross income of employees by reason of Code Sec. 106(a). (Act Sec. 7001(d); Act Sec. 7003(d))
  2. In addition, the credits allowed to employers for wages paid under the EPSLA and EFMFLEA are increased by the amount of the tax imposed by Code Sec. 3111(b) (the 1.45% hospital insurance portion of FICA) on qualified sick leave wages, or qualified family leave wages, for which credit is allowed under Act Sec. 7001 or Act Sec. 7003. (Act Sec. 7005(b))

The credits are refundable to the extent they exceed the employer's payroll tax. (Act Sec. 7001(b)(4); Act Sec. 7003(b)(3))

Employers don't receive the credit if they're also receiving the credit for paid family and medical leave in Code Sec. 45S. (Act Sec. 7001(e); Act Sec. 7003(e))

The EPSLA and EMFLEA credits may also be taken against the employer's railroad retirement tax. (Act Sec. 7001(a); Act Sec. 7003(a))

These rules apply only to wages paid with respect to the period beginning on a date selected by the Secretary of the Treasury which is during the 15-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Act (March 18, 2020), and ending on December 31, 2020. (Act Sec. 7001(g); Act Sec. 7003(g))

  • Comparable credits for self-employeds. The Act also provides for similar refundable credits against the self-employment tax. It covers 100% of a self-employed individual's sick-leave equivalent amount, or 67% of the individual's sick-leave equivalent amount if they are taking care of a sick family member, or taking care of a child following the child's school closing for up to 10 days. The sick-leave equivalent amount is the lesser of average daily self-employment income or either
    1. $511/day to care for the self-employed individual or
    2. $200/day to care for a sick family member or child following a school closing, paid under the EPSLA. (Act Sec. 7002)

Self-employed individuals can also receive a credit for as many as 50 days multiplied by the lesser of $200 or 67% of their average self-employment income paid under the EMFLEA. (Act Sec. 7004)

These rules apply only to days occurring during the period beginning on a date selected by the Secretary of the Treasury, which is during the 15-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act (March 18, 2020), and ending on December 31, 2020. (Act Sec. 7002 and Act Sec. 7004)

  • Employer FICA exclusion. Wages paid under the EPSLA and EFMFLEA are not considered wages under Code Sec. 3111(a) (employer tax - old age, survivors and disability insurance portion of FICA; 6.2%) or under Code Sec. 3221(a) (employer's railroad retirement tax). (Act Sec. 7005(a))

Item 7 - House passes coronavirus relief bill that contains employer tax credits

House passes coronavirus relief bill that contains employer tax credits

Early on March 14, the House passed H.R. 6201, the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act" (the "Act") to provide emergency supplemental appropriations and support Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parts of the Act provide for emergency family and medical leave benefits, emergency paid sick leave benefits, and employer and self-employed tax credits and exclusion from employer FICA tax with respect to the payment of those benefits. The vote was 363-40.

Employer tax credits.  The Act provides tax credits to employers to cover wages paid to employees while they are taking time off under the bill's sick leave and family leave programs.

The sick leave credit for each employee would be equal to his wages, limited to $511 per day while the employee is receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves, or $200 if the sick leave is to care for a family member or child whose school is closed. An additional limit applies to the number of days per employee: the excess of 10 days over the aggregate number of days taken into account for all preceding calendar quarters.

The family leave credit for each employee is limited to $200 per day with a maximum of $10,000.

The credits are refundable to the extent they exceed the employer's payroll tax.

Employers don't receive the credit if they're also receiving the credit for paid family and medical leave in Code Sec. 45S

These rules apply only to wages paid with respect to the period beginning on a date selected by the Secretary of the Treasury which is during the 15-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Act, and ending on December 31, 2020. (Act Sec. 7001; Act Sec. 7003)

Comparable credits for self-employeds. The Act also provides for similar refundable credits against the self-employment tax. It covers 100% of a self-employed individual's sick-leave equivalent amount, or 67% of the individual's sick-leave equivalent amount if they are taking care of a sick family member, or taking care of a child following the child's school closing. The sick-leave equivalent amount is the lesser of average daily self-employment income, or $511/day to care for the self-employed individual, or $200/day to care for a sick family member or child following a school closing. (Act Sec. 7002) 

Self-employed individuals could receive a family leave credit for as many as 50 days multiplied by the lesser of $200 or their average self-employment income. (Act Sec. 7004)

These rules apply only to days occurring during the period beginning on a date selected by the Secretary of the Treasury, which is during the 15-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, and ending on December 31, 2020. (Act Sec. 7002 and Act Sec. 7004)

Employer FICA exclusion. Under the Act, sick leave and family and medical leave paid under the Act will not be considered wages under Code Sec. 3111(a) (employer tax - old age, survivors and disability insurance portion of FICA; 6.2%). (Act Sec. 7005)

Item 8 - Short-Term Relief from Penalties for Late Sales Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Virus Outbreak

 

To: All Registered Illinois Retailers Operating Eating and Drinking Establishments

 

 In an effort to assist eating and drinking establishments impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, effective immediately, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is waiving any penalty and interest that would have been imposed on late Sales Tax payments from qualified taxpayers.

Who is a qualified taxpayer eligible for relief?

Taxpayers who are eligible for relief from penalties and interest on late Sales Tax payments are those operating eating and drinking establishments that incurred a total Sales Tax liability of less than $75,000 in calendar year 2019.

What are the reporting periods for which qualified taxpayers are allowed relief?

Qualified taxpayers will not be charged penalties or interest on late payments for Sales Tax liabilities reported on Form ST-1, Sales and Use Tax and E911 Surcharge Return, that are due for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods.

What must qualified taxpayers do to request relief?

For most qualified taxpayers, IDOR will automatically waive penalties and interest. If you receive a notice from IDOR that imposes penalties and interest that you believe should have qualified for a waiver, you can respond to the notice to indicate that you believe you should have qualified for relief. IDOR will review the response and grant relief, if appropriate.

Qualified taxpayers are required to file Form ST-1 for each reporting period by their original due dates, even if they are unable to make a payment. To qualify for relief, taxpayers must pay their liabilities due in March, April, and May 2020 on four dates starting on May 20, 2020.

What are the four dates when my payments are due?

The required payment schedule for liabilities reported on Form ST-1 is as follows:

  • One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due May 20, 2020.
  • One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due June 22, 2020.
  • One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due July 20, 2020.
  • One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due August 20, 2020.

 

Note that you must begin making full payment on the scheduled due date for liabilities beginning with the May 2020 reporting period, which is due June 22, 2020, and all reporting periods following.

What if I have questions?

Taxpayers with questions should visit the IDOR website at tax.illinois.gov or email us at REV.TA-Sales@illinois.gov.

Item 9 - Chicago Taxpayer relief for businesses impacted by Covid-19 

Chicago Taxpayer relief for businesses impacted by Covid-19

To help reduce the financial impact of Covid-19 on our taxpayers, the due dates for the February and March tax payments have been extended to Thursday, April 30, 2020 for the taxes listed below:

  

·     Amusement tax (7510, 7510R, 7511)

·     Bottled Water tax (1904)

·     Checkout Bag tax (2737)

·     Ground Transportation tax (7595)

·     Hotel Accommodations tax (7520)

·     Parking tax (7530)

·     Restaurant tax (7525)

 

Also, for the above-mentioned taxes no additional interest will accrue from 3/17/2020 through 4/30/2020 on late tax payments for the periods July 2019 through January 2020. If you have any questions regarding this or any other tax matter, please email us at revenuecs@cityofchicago.org.

 

LINKS

www.CDC.gov/coronavirus

www.SBA.gov/page/coronavirus

https://www.aicpa.org

www.IRS.gov

www2.illinois.gov/rev

https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/COVID-19-and-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx

https://www.icpas.org/information/for-the-public/coronavirus

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200324

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses