Additional Tax Related Provisions of the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

The initial attention generated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“the Act”) focused on the economic relief provisions – enhancement and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Loan program, extension of unemployment benefits, a second round of stimulus checks, etc. – but the Act also addressed a number of tax and tax related issues. And, as it should, it appropriated funds for the government to spend for the balance of the 2021 fiscal year.

The tax changes in the Act fall into several buckets – extensions to CARES Act and other
pandemic provisions, disaster tax relief, extensions for various expiring tax benefits and miscellaneous other changes to existing tax law.

As of right now, the President has indicated that he will not sign the Act as passed by the House and Senate.  The following discussion assumes the bill is signed and becomes law in its current form.  We will update this article as warranted.  

CARES Act and other pandemic provisions

Employee Retention Credit

  • The most significant change are the enhancements to the Employee Retention Credit (“ERC”):
    • Designed to help businesses retain employees – even those not providing services
    • Fully refundable credit
    • Initially set to expire December 31, 2020, the credit is now available for wages paid through June 30, 2021
    • Credit eligibility is expanded for wages paid between January 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021:
      • Previously there was a 100 employee threshold:
        • Business with 100 or fewer employees whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to a shutdown order or because gross receipts declined by 50% quarter over quarter could include all wages
        • For companies with 100 or more employees, qualified wages included only those employees not providing services because operations were fully or partially suspended due to a shutdown order or because gross receipts declined by 50% quarter over quarter
      • New thresholds and rules:
        • Business with 500 or fewer employees can include all wages
          • NOTE: Your business still must either have been fully or partially suspended due to a shutdown order or suffered a gross receipts decline
        • The required year-over-year gross receipts decline is reduced from 50% to 20%
        • It appears as if disruptions in supply chain may be considered a partial suspension of operations
        • New safe harbor allows employers to use prior quarter gross receipts to determine eligibility
        • Special rules for employers not in business for all or part of 2019
        • Can now include bonuses paid to essential workers
        • Group health plan expenses are considered qualified wages even if now other wages are paid
        • Up to $7,000 per quarter per full time equivalent employee
          • Credit rate is increased from 50% to 70% of qualified wages up to $10,000
          • The $10,000 per employee creditable
            wage limit is now PER QUARTER not per annum

    • CoordinationwithPaycheck Protection Program (“PPP”)
      • Under the CARES Act, PPP loan borrowers were not permitted to take the ERC
      • The Act now allows employers to taketheERC with respect to any wages NOT paid forwithPPP loan proceeds
        • This is retroactive to the passage of the CARES Act meaning eligible employers may be entitled to refunds for payroll taxes already deposited in 2020

NOTE: Given the lack of guidance as to how to determine which wages are deemed to be paid with PPP Loan proceeds and which aren’t, borrowers who are considering claiming the ERC for quarters which include the Covered Period of their PPP Loan may wish to defer applying for forgiveness until there is greater clarity.

  • Coordination with other provisions
    • Wages used to determinetheERC may not be taken into account as wages for:
      • R&D credit
      • Family and Medical Leave credit
      • Work Opportunity credit
      • Empowerment Zone Employment credit

Other CARES Act provisions which were extended include:

  • The employer credit for paid family and medical leave
  • The exclusion for employer payments of principal or interest on any qualified education loan incurred by an employee
  • The charitable deduction for non-itemizers is extended for 2021. The maximum amount is $600 for married couples filing a joint return, $300 for singles and married filing separate.
  • The increased limit on charitable contribution deductions for corporations and individuals who itemize deductions is extended for one year.

NOTE: In a nod to the hazards certain professionals face in trying to work during the pandemic, the Act directs the Treasury Department to issue guidance allowing teachers to include the cost of personal protective equipment as an eligible expense for the educator expense deduction retroactive to March, 12, 2020.

Disaster tax relief

  • The Act extends the ability to use retirement funds for disaster mitigation to 60 days after the date of enactment.
  • Corporations may make qualified disaster relief contributions of up to 100% of their taxable income.
  • Individuals who have a net disaster loss may increase their standard deduction by the amount of the net disaster loss.

Extensions of various expiring tax benefits

Before the Act, there were 33 temporary tax provisions set to expire at midnight, December 31, 2020. Many of these have been cliffhangers every year or every other year. Now, some have been made permanent while others were granted a five year extension. The following are some of the more significant provisions affected:

  • The deduction for energy efficient buildings (Code Section 179D) has been made permanent and will be adjusted for inflation beginning in 2021.
  • The various special excise tax rates for small brewers and distillers are now permanent.
  • The itemized deduction floor for medical expenses is now permanently 7.5% of adjusted gross income. It was temporarily 10%.
  • The following tax credits and provisions were given five-year extensions:
    • The New Markets Tax Credit
    • The Work Opportunity Credit
    • The gross income exclusion for discharge of indebtedness on a personal residence
    • The treatment of qualified mortgage insurance premiums as qualified residence interest
  • The 26% rate for the renewable energy investment tax credit was extended two years for properties that begin construction by the end of 2022
    • The residential energy-efficient property credit was also extended for two years
      • Biomass fuel property expenditures are now eligible
  • The treatment of qualified mortgage insurance premiums as qualified residence interest was extended for one year
    • Among the other credits and provisions extended for one year are:
      • Energy efficient homes credit
      • Three year recovery period for race horses
      • Credit for qualified fuel cell motor vehicles

Miscellaneous other changes to existing tax law

Low Income Housing Tax Credits

After years of lobbying, the Act now establishes a floor of 4% for certain Low Income Housing Tax Credits (“LIHTC”). Specifically, credits for the acquisition of projects for rehabilitation or projects financed with certain tax–exempt bonds will not be reduced below 4% even if prevailing interest rates would dictate a lower rate. (It should be noted that Congress established a floor for the 9% credit for new construction or substantial rehabilitation credits in 2015.)

This provision is effective for LIHTCs allocated after December 31, 2020 or, in the case of bond-financed properties, for bonds issued after that date. It is not clear if it may apply to other properties whose allocations straddle year-end. This is yet another area which will require Internal Revenue Service guidance.

Business Meals

The 50% limitation of deduction of business meals is suspended for expenses paid or incurred in 2021 and 2022. This covers not only food and beverage expenses provided by a restaurant but includes carry-out or delivery meals.

Residential Rental Property depreciation

In order to avoid the business interest expense deduction limitation, some owners of rental property are eligible to elect to be treated as real property trades or businesses. To be eligible, such owners must elect to depreciate certain classes of property over longer useful lives under the Alternative Depreciation System (“ADS”). The 2017 tax reform shortened the ADS life of residential rental property from 40 to 30 years but only for property placed in service after December 31, 2017.

The Act now permits all such property to have an ADS life of 30 years including property placed in service before January 1, 2018. Moreover, the change is retroactive to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, meaning electing real property trades or businesses will have to decide whether to file amended returns or apply for changes in accounting methods to take advantage of this provision. Further guidance from the Internal Revenue Service will be necessary

We will continue to update you as new guidance is released. Please us with any questions.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.



Congress Passes The Emergnecy Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020

Like college students right before winter break, the 116th Congress closed its term with one last all-nighter. And, while the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 does not include many relief provisions deemed vital by Democrat or Republican representatives and senators, there is still much that both sides agreed was necessary – especially for small and mid-sized businesses. It also contains many Divisions, each with many Titles, so don’t be surprised if you hear it called by many names. We will just refer to it as the Act.

The most significant business relief provisions come in a subsection of the Act known as the Continuing the Paycheck Protection Program Act. This was lifted almost entirely from a bill of the same name introduced in October by Senators Collins and Rubio. Another provision comes from a bill known as the Small Business Expense Protection Act of 2020 introduced in May by Senator Cornyn. The new small business relief includes:

Deductibility of expenses paid for with PPP loan funds (and EIDL grants)

Despite members of Congress telling the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) expressly from the time the CARES Act was passed in March that it was their intent that expenses funded with Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan proceeds should be deductible for tax purposes, the Service still promulgated guidance saying they weren’t. The Act now makes clear that such expenses ARE deductible, that the amount of loan forgiveness is not taxable, and that neither has any effect on tax basis.

The Act goes on to provide that EIDL grants are not taxable income and expenses paid with grant funds are fully deductible.

More ways to obtain PPP loan funds

The Act provides for both a second round of PPP loans and a way for borrowers to increase the amount of their original loans.

  • Increasing round one loans:

--In the early days of the PPP loans, the SBA was releasing guidance as quickly as they could.

--Borrowers were trying to get loan applications completed before the allocated funds were exhausted.

--Some borrowers could have borrowed more based on later issued guidance but were precluded from doing so because of the “one loan” rule.

--The Act allows affected borrowers to now go back to their lenders and increase their loans based on later released guidance.

  • Borrowers who returned their original loans

 --SBA has 17 days after passage of the Act to provide guidance

--Eligible borrowers who returned all or part of their original loans may reapply for the difference

--Eligible borrowers who didn’t accept the full amount of the loan may apply to increase the loan to the maximum amount allowed

WHO BENEFITS: While there are many borrowers whose loans could have been larger, this is a significant benefit for partnerships and certain sole proprietors who borrowed early in the first round of PPP loans. At the time, it appeared that they could borrow based only on the wages they paid to employees and could not include an equivalent amount of partner compensation or self-employment income. Once the SBA released guidance clarifying this confusion, it was too late for them to go back to their lenders and increase the loan size. This provision cures the inequity.

  • Second round of PPP loans:

--$267.5 billion allocated – some from funds left over from the April PPP refill

--$25 billion is reserved for businesses with 10 or fewer employees as of February 15, 2020

  • Eligible businesses may apply for a SECOND PPP loan

--To apply for these loans, a business must have 300 or fewer employees AND have experienced a gross receipts decline of 25% in any quarter in 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019

--Loan cannot exceed $2 million and all loans to all affiliated borrowers from both the first and second round cannot exceed $10 million

--Loan cap is 2.5 times the average monthly payroll for the twelve months through the date of application or the average monthly payroll for 2019

--For accommodation and food service businesses (NAICS Code 72), the maximum loan is calculated at 3.5 times monthly payroll but still not to exceed $2 million

  • The covered period for new loans runs through March 31, 2021
  • Not-for-profit business leagues, chambers of commerce, real-estate boards, boards of trade, or professional football leagues (so-called 501(c)(6) organizations) which were previously not eligible PPP loan borrowers may now apply if:

--They have 150 or fewer employees,

--Less than 10% of their gross receipts come from lobbying activities, and,

--Lobbying activities comprise less than 10% of their total activities

  • Housing cooperatives with not more than 300 employees may also apply

OBSERVATION: While the Act doesn’t explicitly say so, it is likely that borrowers of second-round PPP loans will have to make the same certification that “the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the loan request to support the ongoing operations.” This certification was also required of first-round PPP borrowers.

More ways and more time to spend PPP loan funds

One complaint about the CARES Act was that it severely constrained allowable uses of PPP loan funds. Many businesses were incurring unusual costs to make it safe for their employees to work and yet such costs were ineligible expenses. The Act rectifies that by adding the following to the list of acceptable loan expenditures:

  • Covered operations expenditures

--A payment for any business software or cloud computing service that facilitates business operations, product or service delivery, the processing, payment, or tracking of payroll expenses, human resources, sales and billing functions, or accounting or tracking of supplies, inventory, records and expenses

  • Covered property damage costs

--A cost related to property damage, vandalism and looting due to public disturbances that occurred during 2020 that was not covered by insurance or other compensation

  • Covered supplier costs

--An expenditure made by an entity to a supplier of goods pursuant to a contract, order, or purchase order in effect before the date of disbursement of the covered loan for the supply of goods that are essential to the operations at the time at which the expenditure is made

  • Covered worker protection expenditures

--An operating or a capital expenditure that is required to facilitate the adaptation of the business activities of an entity to comply with requirements established or guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration during the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on the date on which the COVID-19 national emergency declaration expires

  • Payroll costs now include payments for group health care or other group insurance benefits, including insurance premiums

--This includes group life, disability, vision or dental insurance

The Act also clarifies that the covered period of a PPP loan begins on the date the loan is originated and ends on a date selected by the borrower that occurs during the period beginning on the date that is eight weeks after the origination date and ending on the date that is 24 weeks after the origination date.

None of this changes the fact that to have the loan completely forgiven, at least 60% of loan proceeds must be spent on payroll and associated eligible costs.

Changes to PPP Loan Forgiveness

The Act makes it easier for certain borrowers to obtain forgiveness of their PPP loans. These new rules apply to both original PPP loans as well as new loans under the ACT.

For loans less than $150,000:

  • SBA has 24 days after the Act is passed to create a new one-page form
  • Borrower attests that it complied with all loan requirements and provides certain limited information
  • Loan is forgiven
  • Borrower still has to retain records for three years (four years for employment records)

The Act also provides guidance to the SBA regarding how it may audit PPP loans. Within 45 days after the Act is passed, the Administrator has to submit an audit plan to Congress detailing both the policies and procedures for auditing covered loans and the metrics to be used in determining which loans will be subjected to audit.

Finally, the Act repealed the requirement that PPP borrowers reduce their loan forgiveness amount by the amount of any EIDL grants.

Enhancements to the Employee Retention Credit

The CARES Act created the Employee Retention Tax Credit (“ERTC”) to encourage businesses to keep employees on payroll even if they weren’t working. To prevent double dipping, employers who received PPP loans were ineligible for the ERTC even if those employees were paid with other than PPP loan funds.

The Act now allows employers to take the credit based on those payments. It also makes other changes significantly expanding eligibility for the credit. PPP loan borrowers who may now be eligible to take the ERTC should consider waiting to apply for PPP loan forgiveness until more guidance on the ERTC is released.

Additional payroll tax deferral

On August 8th, the President issued a proclamation allowing employers to defer withholding and depositing certain payroll taxes for the balance of 2020. Such deferred employment taxes were to be withheld and deposited ratably from January 1st through April 30th, 2021. The Act changes April 30th to December 31st, 2021.

What isn’t in the ACT?

There is still much confusion related to PPP Loan forgiveness. Most of it centers on how borrowers qualify for the safe harbors relating to full-time equivalent employee counts and the effect on the amount of loan eligible for forgiveness. The Act doesn’t provide any new guidance on safe harbor qualification or any of the other uncertainties surrounding the various PPP loan forgiveness safe harbors.

The Act also doesn’t directly address the PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaire (Form 3509) that the SBA released last month and which banks are now requiring some borrowers with loans of $2 million or more to complete. It is possible that the audit language of the Act will require the SBA to reconsider the use of these forms

Finally, guidance is not yet complete on how to handle PPP loans and loan forgiveness calculations subsequent to merger and acquisition transactions. Even though this problem is of more limited applicability, it would be nice if either Congress or the SBA would let affected borrowers know what they are supposed to do.

Something to note: As a holiday present to all of us, the SBA has 10 days from passage of the Act to issue regulations implementing the changes to the PPP loan program!

We will continue to update you as new guidance is released, and will soon issue a summary of the Act, analyzing its unemployment, stimulus, tax, and other provisions in greater detail. Please call us with any questions.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure Due to COVID-19

With the end of the year approaching and tax planning underway we want to remind you of the Employee Retention Credit. This is a Federal tax credit available to employers that were negatively impacted either through full or partial shutdown of the business. This tax credit is provided at a rate of 50% of qualified wages paid to employees during the crisis, up to $5,000 per employee. This credit is not available if the employer received a PPP Loan, Small Business Interruption Loan or other available tax credits for Paid Sick or Family Leave. 


2020 Tax Implications for Forgiven PPP Loans

The IRS released a notice clarifying how the forgiven loan amount would be treated when it comes to your 2020 taxes. The IRS says in no uncertain terms that no expenses covered by the forgiven PPP Loan proceeds are tax deductible. New York State will follow the federal tax treatment, so you won’t be permitted a state deduction either.

Therefore, given that no federal or state tax deduction is allowed for the covered expenses basically makes the forgiven PPP Loan amount taxable to you unless Congress makes some change to the existing law.

Please contact us so we can arrange a tax planning discussion.


The SBA Releases More PPP Loan Guidance Affecting Loan Forgiveness and Changes of Ownership

It has been six weeks since we last heard from the SBA and Treasury with regard to Paycheck Protection Loan forgiveness despite the fact that the guidance released to that point left many questions unanswered.

Well, in the past week the Administration released guidance dealing with changes of ownership of an entity that has received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds AND changes to the loan forgiveness rules AND a new form for borrowers whose loan was $50,000 or less. Somewhat confusingly, the new form is set to expire October 31, 2020 (the same date as the original forms). It is not clear yet what happens after the forms expire.

Form 3580S

The new form is available to borrowers whose loans are $50,000 or less.

NOTE: However, borrowers may not use the form if the borrower and its affiliates received PPP loans totaling $2 million or more.

The advantage of the new form is that borrowers who use it are exempt from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full time equivalent (“FTE”) employees or reductions in salaries or wages. The instructions say that borrowers do not have to show calculations of these amounts but the SBA can still ask for information and documentation to review the calculations.

QUERY: Borrowers have to do the math but don’t have to show their work unless asked. But, even if they ask, the borrower is exempt. So, why would they ask?

Changes to the Loan Forgiveness Rules

In addition to changing some rules to conform to the issuance of the new form, the SBA has also obliquely started to address one of the implications of the longer 24-week covered period. As we have reported previously, since the original loan amount was based on two and half months (roughly 11 weeks of payroll), payroll and nonpayroll costs incurred in a 24-week covered period might significantly exceed the original loan amount and the amount of forgiveness requested.

The SBA has now told lenders that they need to confirm a borrower’s calculations on the Loan Forgiveness Application only “up to the amount required to reach the requested Forgiveness Amount.”

PPP Loans and Changes of Ownership

We have been asked many times how to handle PPP loans when borrowers undergo a change of ownership. Until now, we have not been certain since PPP loans are technically not like other borrowings.

The SBA has now released guidance covering transactions in which:

1. At least 20 percent of the common stock or other ownership interest of a PPP borrower (including a publicly traded entity) is sold or otherwise transferred, whether in one or more transactions including to an affiliate or an existing owner of the entity;

2. The PPP borrower sells or otherwise transfers at least 50 percent of its assets (measured by fair market value), whether in one or more transactions; or

3. A PPP borrower is merged with or into another entity.

The guidance makes clear the original PPP borrower remains responsible for:

1. The performance of all obligations under the PPP loan;

2. Certifications made in connection with the PPP loan application, including the certification of economic necessity;

3. Compliance with all other applicable PPP requirements; and

4. Obtaining, preparing, and retaining all required PPP forms and supporting documentation and providing those forms and supporting documentation to the PPP lender or lender servicing the PPP loan (referred to as the “PPP Lender” in this Notice) or to SBA upon request.

There are different procedures depending on the circumstances of the change of ownership and whether the PPP Note is fully satisfied or not. In certain circumstances, prior SBA approval of the change of ownership is required. PPP Lenders cannot unilaterally approve such changes.

Unfortunately, we still have no guidance as to how to handle PPP loans and loan forgiveness calculations subsequent to merger and acquisition transactions. We hope that will be forthcoming.

If you are a PPP borrower and are currently contemplating a potential change of ownership transaction, please contact us immediately to determine if your circumstances will require prior SBA approval so we can assist you with the process.

Of course, we will continue to update you as new guidance is release. In the meantime, please contact us with any questions.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


The SBA's Latest Guidance Analyzed 
Why Borrowers May Have to Rethink Their Approach to Loan Forgiveness

Just when you thought it was safe to proceed with applying for Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan forgiveness, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) – which had been quiet since early August – changed the rules again. Specifically, the Administration issued another Interim Final Rule (“IFR”), effective as of August 25, defining who is an owner-employee of a C Corporation or S Corporation, and whether certain non-payroll costs involving transactions with related parties are eligible for forgiveness.

These two areas have been of great concern to borrowers and their advisors and we had hoped that guidance would be forthcoming sooner – especially since some borrowers may have already applied for forgiveness. Moreover, the new guidance may place some borrowers in jeopardy of not realizing full forgiveness of the loan since funds may have been used to pay for expenses now deemed to be ineligible for forgiveness. Finally, the new IFR has some internal inconsistency (discussed below).

Owner-employee determination

Previous guidance limited the amount of owner-employee compensation that can be included in payroll costs for determining the amount of PPP loan forgiveness. Unfortunately, that guidance never defined who is an owner-employee. The loan application defined owner to mean:

  • a general partner;
  • any limited partner owning 20% or more of the equity of a partnership; and
  • any owner of 20% or more of a corporation or LLC. 

However, it was never clear if those definitions were applicable in the loan forgiveness computation.

The new guidance specifies that owner-employees with less than a 5% ownership stake in a C Corp or S Corp are exempt from the owner-employee compensation rules. The guidance says that such owner-employees have “no meaningful ability to influence decisions over how loan proceeds are allocated.”

Observation: The IFR is silent as to partners and members of LLCs. It would be inappropriate, given the guidance issued for corporations, to assume that the higher limits in the loan application should be used here. Until additional guidance is issued, ANY partner or member who is actively involved in the business of the partnership or LLC should be considered an owner-employee for purposes of the loan forgiveness calculation.

NONPAYROLL COSTS OF TENANTS, SUBTENANTS OR HOME-BASED BUSINESSES

Certain costs incurred or paid during the covered period – rent, mortgage interest, utilities – are eligible for inclusion as forgivable expenses. The new guidance clarifies that, to the extent such costs are attributable to the occupancy of space by tenants or subtenants, a PPP borrower may not include them in its forgiveness application.

Even more limiting, a borrower who works out of his or her home may include only the share of covered expenses that were deductible on their 2019 tax return. A new business may use the amount expected to be deducted on their 2020 return.

RENT OR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS TO A RELATED PARTY

This has been a question of great concern to borrowers since the program was enacted over five months ago. Until now, the SBA and Treasury have been remarkably silent on the subject. 

Under the IFR, rent payments to a related party are eligible for loan forgiveness only if the lease and mortgage were entered into prior to February 15, 2020 and only to the extent that the payment doesn’t exceed the amount of mortgage interest owed on the space being rented during the covered period. Furthermore, borrowers must provide lenders with mortgage interest documentation along with the loan forgiveness application.

Even more draconian, the IFR says that mortgage interest owed to a related party is not eligible for forgiveness on the theory that “PPP loans are intended to help businesses cover certain non-payroll obligations that are owed to third parties, not payments to a business’s owner that occur because of how the business is structured.”

The term related party is not defined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) or any previous SBA guidance. The IFR defines related party for this purpose as “[a]ny ownership in common between the business and the property owner…” This is clearly a much stricter standard than the ownership relationship for owner-employees of C and S Corporations in the same IFR.

And, while the IFR mentions only real property, since PPP allows forgiveness for both rent and mortgage interest for real and personal property, it is reasonable to assume that these new limitations apply to both.

Observation: While commentators have been quick to criticize the related party guidance, it is not clear that it will be reversed. Therefore, borrowers who have already submitted loan forgiveness applications should review them to see if they should be revised. Other affected borrowers may wish to use the 24 week covered period to ensure that they have sufficient payroll costs to offset a shortfall in nonpayroll costs in achieving 100% forgiveness.

Comment: The SBA and Treasury have been issuing guidance or making public pronouncements throughout the PPP program, often changing previously issued guidance to the detriment of PPP borrowers. This IFR goes beyond changing the rules in midstream as it is likely too late for many borrowers to change the way they use loan funds.

We will update you if any substantive new guidance is released. In the meantime, please contact us with any questions

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


The SBA Issues Yet Another PPP Loan Forgiveness FAQ Update

As the Small Business Administration (SBA) gets ready to accept lenders’ Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness applications on August 10, the Administration and Treasury issued guidance in the form of 10 pages of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) designed to further aid borrowers and lenders with the forgiveness process. Click here to read the entire set of FAQ.

Many of the questions and answers in this set of FAQ are similar to, or restatements of, queries addressed in previous releases. The new FAQ does include some helpful examples to calculate various Loan Forgiveness Reductions. Also, clarifications were provided for previously unanswered questions including:

  • Forgivable payroll costs include all forms of cash compensation paid to employees, including tips, commissions, bonuses, and hazard pay.
  • Expenses for group health benefits accelerated from periods outside the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period are not eligible for forgiveness. That is, only the portion of the premiums paid by the borrower for coverage during the applicable Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period is included in the forgiveness amount.
    •       --Remember that the Covered Period is either the 24-week (168-day) period beginning on the PPP loan disbursement date, or if the borrower received its PPP loan before June 5, 2020, the borrower may elect to use an eight-week (56-day) Covered Period. The Covered Period can’t extend past December 31, 2020.
    •       --The Alternative Covered Period is available to borrowers with a biweekly (or more frequent) payroll schedule, who can elect to calculate eligible payroll costs using the 24-week (168-day) period (or, at the election of borrowers with loans received before June 5, 2020, the eight-week (56-day) period) that begins on the first day of their first pay period following the date of their PPP loan disbursement.
  • As with health benefits, contributions for retirement benefits may not be accelerated into the Covered Period. Interestingly, the language for retirement benefits does not mirror the language regarding health benefits, leaving open the question as to whether costs for retirement benefits incurred prior to the Covered Period but paid during the Covered Period are eligible for forgiveness.
  • The FAQ on Loan Forgiveness Payroll Costs deals extensively with how the amount of owner compensation for each entity type that is eligible for loan forgiveness is determined.
    •       --Generally, the amount of loan forgiveness requested for owner-employees and self-employed individuals’ payroll compensation is capped at $20,833 per individual in total across all businesses in which he or she has an ownership stake.
    •       --For borrowers that received a PPP loan before June 5, 2020 and elect to use an eight-week Covered Period, this cap is $15,385.
    •       --The FAQ makes it clear that the cap is a total across all businesses that received a PPP loan. Owners can choose how to allocate the capped amount across different businesses.
    •       --There is a clarification with respect to “general partners” – the cap must be multiplied by 0.9235 to arrive at the forgivable amount. Also, and most importantly, compensation is eligible for loan forgiveness only if the payments to partners are actually made during the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period.
    •       --The FAQ also answers the question we had regarding health benefits provided by an S Corporation to shareholder employees. Not only are the employer contributions for the health benefits of employees who own at least 2% of the S Corporation not eligible for forgiveness, neither are the employer contribution for health benefits of their family members.
  • Nonpayroll costs incurred prior to the Covered Period but paid during the Covered Period are eligible for loan forgiveness.
    •       --Nonpayroll costs includes business mortgage interest costs, business rent or lease costs, and business utility costs.
    •       --Nonpayroll costs incurred during the Covered Period but paid after the Covered Period are eligible for loan forgiveness if they were incurred during the Covered Period and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if the billing date is after the Covered Period.
    •       --Note that the Alternative Covered Period doesn’t apply to nonpayroll costs.
  • One previously open question was whether payments on renewed leases or refinanced mortgages are eligible for forgiveness. The FAQ says that payments made on recently renewed leases or interest payments on refinanced mortgage loans are eligible for loan forgiveness if the original lease or mortgage existed prior to February 15, 2020.
  • Earlier guidance indicated that “transportation costs” included fuel for company owned vehicles. The latest FAQ limits such costs to “transportation utility fees assessed by state and local governments.” Further guidance is clearly needed.

We hope to get answers to a few more open questions from the Treasury and SBA. We also anticipate additional Congressional action which may include:

  • Allowing certain borrowers to get a second PPP advance.
  • Automatically forgiving loans under a certain dollar amount.
    • --The current threshold under consideration is $150,000.
  • Allowing a tax deduction for expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans. 

We will update you as new guidance is released or new legislation is passed. In the meantime, please contact us with any questions.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


The SBA Issues Yet Another PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Update

In a departure from its previous practice, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) chose to release its latest update – clarifications to the Interim and Final Rules on forgiveness application timelines, owner compensation and other aspects of the forgiveness process – on a Monday night (June 22). The release provides revisions to the Loan Forgiveness Interim Final Rule and the SBA Loan Review Procedures Interim Final Rule (“IFR”).

The updated rules outline the forgiveness process for both the borrower and the bank, including when a borrower may apply for forgiveness and expanding limits on what owner compensation qualifies for forgiveness. It also clarifies that any amount not forgiven is automatically converted to a loan with a maturity of between two and five years.

When can I apply for forgiveness?

  • A borrower may submit a loan forgiveness application any time on or before the maturity date of the loan – including before the end of the covered period – if the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness.
    • Note – If the borrower applies for forgiveness before the end of the covered period and has reduced any employee’s salaries or wages in excess of 25 percent, the borrower must account for the excess reduction for the full 8-week or 24-week covered period.
    • Comment – The new loan forgiveness applications allow a borrower to use the Full Time Exemption (“FTE”) Reduction Safe harbor as of the earlier of December 31, 2020 or the date that the application is submitted to the lender. The same is true for the Wage Reduction Safe Harbor.
    • Question – Assume the borrower spent all of their funds in 12 weeks and applied for forgiveness. How would the borrower calculate the average FTE during the loan period? It would seem likely that the 12 week period would be used to initially determine whether there was an FTE reduction but the guidance so far doesn’t say.
    • Question – The guidance says that a borrower may submit a loan forgiveness application any time on or before the maturity date of the loan. Does that mean that the borrower can pick any period between 8 and 24 weeks, even if the application is filed after the end of the 24 week covered period? Or, is a shorter period available only for forgiveness applications filed at the time that the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness?
    • Comment - Unless and until Congress changes the rules about the deductibility of expenses paid for with forgiven PPP loan funds, you should discuss the potential tax implications arising from your decision about when to apply for PPP loan forgiveness with your Friedman LLP advisor.

What costs may I include as forgivable?

  • The new guidance states that “[i]n general, payroll costs paid or incurred during the covered period are eligible for forgiveness. For purposes of loan forgiveness, the covered period is the 24-week period beginning on the date the lender disburses the PPP loan."
    • Comment – So, this answers a question from our last Client Alert. It now appears that all payroll costs paid during the 24 week covered period, even those paid with funds from sources other than the PPP loan, are included in the forgiveness calculation.
  • The same rule holds true for non-payroll costs. All amounts paid during the covered period or incurred during the covered period and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if the billing date is after the covered period, are eligible for forgiveness.

What are the limits on owner compensation?

  • Prior to the issuance of the revised guidance there was some question as to the amount of compensation of owner-employees and self-employed individuals that could be included in the loan forgiveness amount. The release confirms our expectation that the cap is $15,385 for an 8-week covered period and $20,833 for a 24-week covered period.
    • C-corporation owner-employees are capped by the amount of their 2019 employee cash compensation plus employer retirement and health insurance contributions made on their behalf.
    • S-corporation owner-employees are capped by the amount of their 2019 employee cash compensation plus employer retirement contributions made on their behalf, but employer health insurance contributions made on their behalf are not included.
      • Question – For both S-Corporation and C-Corporation owner employees, the guidance says the amount of 2019 employer retirement contributions made on their behalf. The guidance is silent, however, as to whether the amounts need to be prorated and, if so, is the proration based on 8/52 or 2.5/12?
    • Schedule C or F filers are capped by the amount of their owner compensation replacement, calculated based on 2019 net profit. No retirement or health insurance costs allowed.
    • Partners and LLC members who are active in the business are capped by the amount of their 2019 net earnings from self-employment (reduced by certain items) multiplied by 0.9235. No retirement or health insurance costs allowed.

Has anything changed with the rehiring exemptions?

  • The new guidance retains the original exemption for rehiring employees from the prior IFR and confirms that the borrower must inform the applicable state unemployment insurance office of the employee’s rejected hire offer within 30 days of the rejected offer.
    • The guidance says that further information regarding how borrowers will report such info will be provided on SBA’s website.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (“PPPFA”) included an exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction arising from a reduction in the number of FTE employees during the covered period if the borrower is able to document in good faith an inability to return to the same level of business activity as the borrower was operating at before February 15, 2020 due to compliance with certain federal guidance issued. The SBA is interpreting this to be both direct and in direct compliance with COVID Requirements or Guidance.
    • Brand new – This also answers an unanswered question from our previous Client Alert. State and local government shutdown orders qualify if the state and local government shutdown orders were based in part on guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

We anticipate additional guidance from Treasury and SBA. We know that there are 30 FAQs that Treasury delayed issuing when the PPPFA was passed. We hope those will be released soon. We also know that Congress is considering some form of CARES-2 which may include some or all of the provisions of the HEROES Act passed by the House in mid-May. We will update you as new guidance is released or new legislation is passed. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


SBA Updates PPP Loan Forgiveness Process for PPPFA Changes   

It’s been a busy week for those of us involved with the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Late Tuesday evening, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and Treasury released an updated PPP Loan Forgiveness Application, a simplified Application, and instructions for both to account for the changes to PPP in the new Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (“PPPFA”). SBA also issued changes to the Third and Sixth Interim Final Rules (“IFR”), foreshadowing changes to other IFRs in the not too distant future.

As noted above, there are two versions of the Loan Forgiveness Application. (Here’s the EZ Form and its instructions (hard to believe the word EZ and PPP go together) and the standard form and its instructions). 

The guidance does provide more flexibility and some clarity, but still leaves some questions unanswered and even manages to raise some new ones. The highlights are:

Extension of the Covered Period

  • The Covered Period for Loan Forgiveness is extended to the earlier of 24 weeks after funding or December 31, 2020. Borrowers who received their loan prior to June 5, 2020 may elect to use 8 weeks as their covered period for forgiveness.
  • ThePPPFA extended the covered period of the entirePPP program until December 31, 2020, instead of the original date of June 30, 2020.

    • --Unanswered Question: According to the CARES ACT, during the entire covered period of the program, which is now through December 31, 2020, the loan proceeds can be used only for very specific items. There is still uncertainty as to whether and/or how borrowers may use any unexpended  PPP loan funds that remain once the loan is forgiven. 

More can be spent on non-payroll costs

  • The PPPFA reduced the 75 percent payroll requirement to 60 percent. The SBA confirmed in a recent IFR that this amount is not a cliff and that the loan forgiveness is proportional. The forms reflect that forgiveness is based on payroll costs representing at least 60% of the forgiveness amount.

The “cure” period is longer and the requirements are easier to meet

  • The safe harbor period for both salary reduction and Full Time Equivalent (“FTE”) reduction was changed in the PPPFA from June 30 to December 31. Additionally, the forms now state that you can meet this safe harbor if you have cured the reduction ”as of the earlier of December 31, 2020 and the date this application is submitted.”

    • --New Unanswered Question – It is not clear whether a borrower who spends all their funds part way through the 24 week period will be able to file for forgiveness at that point. For example, if a borrower were to choose the 24 week covered period and spend all of the funds in the first 10 weeks, assuming they were eligible for full forgiveness, could they apply at that point or are they obligated to wait until the end of the 24 weeks and either maintain employment levels or cure at that point?

  • There is a new FTE Reduction Safe Harbor – The borrower is exempt from the reduction in loan forgiveness based on a reduction in FTE employees if the borrower, in good faith, is able to document that it was unable to operate between February 15, 2020 and the end of the Covered Period for Loan Forgiveness at the same level of business activity as before February 15, 2020 due to compliance with requirements established or guidance issued between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 by the Secretary of Health & Human Services, The Director of the CDC and Prevention or OSHA, related to the maintenance of standards for sanitation, social distancing or any other worker or customer safety requirement related to COVID-19.
    • --New Unanswered Question: Does this include any shutdown of non-essential workers and businesses ordered by the local and state governments? The above entities are all Federal entities that did not shut down or order the closure of many businesses. 
  • The new form 3508EZ streamlines the loan forgiveness process for borrowers who meet at least one of the following three criteria:
    • --The borrower is a self-employed individual, independent contractor, or sole proprietor who had no employees at the time of the PPP loan application and did not include any salaries in their initial application.
    • --The borrower did not reduce annual salary or hourly wages of any employee who made $100,000 or less in the prior year by more than 25% during the Covered Period or the Alternative Covered Period AND the borrower did not reduce the number of employees or the average paid hours of employees between January 1, 2020 and the end of the Covered Period.
      • --You can ignore reductions that arose from an inability to rehire individuals who were employees on February 15, 2020 if the borrower was unable to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020.
      • --You can also ignore reductions in an employee’s hours that the borrower offered to restore and the employee refused.
    • --During the Covered Period, the borrower did not reduce annual salary or hourly wages of any employee who made $100,000 or less in the prior year by more than 25% compared to the first quarter of 2020 AND the borrower was unable to operate during the Covered Period for Loan Forgiveness at the same level of business activity as before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements established or guidance issued between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 by the Secretary of Health & Human Services, the Director of CDC and Prevention or OSHA, related to the maintenance of standards for sanitation, social distancing or any other work or customer safety requirement related to COVID-19.
  • Borrowers may still choose to use either the normal Covered Period, which begins on the date the loan was first disbursed and runs either 8 or 24 weeks, or the Alternate Payroll Covered Period, determined as the 8 or 24 week period commencing at the beginning of the borrower’s first full pay period following the PPP loan disbursement date.

Payroll costs and Owners’ compensation

  • The amount of compensation that may be used for each employee is still capped at $100,000, prorated for whichever covered period the borrower chooses. For an 8 week period it will be capped at $15,385. For a 24 week period, it will now be capped at $46,154.
  • A separate cap applies to owner or self-employed compensation and is based on the original amount borrowed. For an eight week covered period it is the lesser of eight weeks’ worth (8/52) of 2019 compensation or $15,385; for a 24 week covered period it is the lesser of 2.5 months’ worth (2.5/12) of 2019 compensation or $20,833.
  • Health insurance contributions made on behalf of a self-employed individual, general partner or owner-employee of an S-corporation are not allowed as part of payroll costs.
    • --Observation – The limitation on S-Corp owner employees has been added.
    • --Unanswered Question – There is still no definition of owner in these instructions. 
  • Employer retirement contributions made on behalf of a self-employed individual or general partner are notincludable in payroll costs. Contributions on behalf of owner-employees are capped at 2.5 months’ worth of the 2019 contribution amount.
    • --Unanswered Question – It is not entirely clear what the “2019 contribution amount” means. Is that the amount paid in 2019, which could have been for 2018 or 2019 contributions, or the amount on the tax return that could have been paid through Sept 2020.
    • --Observation – Although not specifically mentioned, it would appear that owner-employees of corporations are included in this limitation. Otherwise what would owner-employees mean, being that partners, LLC members and self-employed individuals cannot be employees of their respective entities.
    • --Observation – The cap on owner-employees of 2.5 months’ worth of the 2019 contribution amount is only stated in the EZ form and not in the regular application. Stay tuned for more guidance.

More time to repay loans that aren’t forgiven

  • In an IFR released last week, the SBA and Treasury confirmed that for loans made before June 5, 2020, the maturity date of the loan is 2 years; however borrowers and lenders may mutually agree to extend the maturity of such loans to 5 years. For loans made on or after June 5, the maturity date is 5 years.
  • In that sameIFR, they also stated that with regard to the deferral period for loan repayment:
    • --If a borrower submits to their lender a loan forgiveness application within 10 months after the end of the loan forgiveness covered period (either the 8 or 24 week period beginning on the date the loan is disbursed), they will not have to make any payments of principal or interest on the loan before the date on which the SBA remits the loan forgiveness amount on the loan to the lender, or notifies the lender that no forgiveness is allowed.
    • --If the borrower does not submit a loan forgiveness application within 10 months after the end of the loan forgiveness covered period, principal and accrued interest payments are required to begin on or after the 10 months following the loan forgiveness covered period.

One very significant new unanswered question is based on an inference drawn from the application. It appears as if extending the Covered Period to 24 weeks greatly increases the likelihood of full forgiveness. The instructions say to include “total eligible payroll costs incurred or paid during the Covered Period.” The loan was based on 2 ½ months (10 weeks) of payroll but the forgiveness would be based on 24 weeks of payroll resulting in a pool of forgivable expenses more than double the actual loan. Even if a borrower can’t retain all its FTEs, it might still be possible to get 100% forgiveness. This may have been the intent of Congress but we recommend waiting for further guidance before relying on this “gift.”

We will continue to update you as we get additional guidance. And, as always, feel free to contact us.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.



Paycheck Protection Program Flexability Act  

The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) enacted in late March was intended to be a lifeline for small businesses. Experience showed that in its rush to be helpful, Congress left some gaps and traps for the unwary. Treasury and the Small Business Administration (“SBA”), in efforts to fill the gaps, created even more confusion. Congress has now revisited some of these issues and - in an attempt to make its intentions clearer and make it easier for borrowers to obtain loan forgiveness - passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (“PPPFA”).

Click here to read the entire bill.  Highlights of the bill are:

Extension of the covered period

  • The bill extends the covered period of forgiveness to the earlier of 24 weeks after funding or December 31, 2020 (instead of 8 weeks). Borrowers who received their loan prior to the date of enactment of this bill may elect to use 8 weeks as their covered period for forgiveness.

Observation: It is unclear if this means that payroll is now capped at $46,154 per person instead of $15,385 ($100,000 * 24/ 52), but we expect that future guidance and a revision of the forgiveness application will clarify this point.

More can be spent on non-payroll costs

  • While the CARES Act didn’t specify a minimum payroll expenditure, the SBA’s interpretation of the Act mandated that forgiveness would be limited if less than 75 percent of the forgiveness amount was for payroll costs.The PPPFA reduces the 75 percent payroll requirement to “at least 60 percent of the proceeds.” This statutory construction has left many uncomfortable.

Observation: The 60 percent appears to be a cliff – not only on the forgiveness calculation but even on the amount spent. It appears that a borrower MUST spend 60 percent of the loan proceeds on payroll costs before even considering if any of the loan is forgivable. Previously, the limitation was based on the amount spent. Given that borrowers now have 24 weeks, it should be possible to meet this threshold, but it is important to be aware of it and to pay attention to any further guidance.

The “cure” period is longer and the requirements are easier 

  • The bill extends the covered period of the entire PPP program until December 31, 2020 (instead of June 30, 2020).
  • It also changes the safe harbor for both salary reduction and Full Time Equivalent (“FTE”) reduction from June 30 to December 31.

Observation: It is unclear if the FTE can be cured any time before December 31, 2020 or if you need to have the same headcount on December 31 as you had on February 15. The wording in the CARES Act says “not later than June 30, 2020,” yet the instructions accompanying the forgiveness application actually ask for the FTE headcount AS OF June 30, 2020. PPPFA does not clarify this question.

  • Many employers pointed out how difficult it is in the current environment to bring back employees. The bill adds relief for employers who remain fully or partially closed – based on employee availability – if the employer meets any of these criteria:
  1. Employer is able to document an inability to rehire individuals who were employees on February 15, 2020;
  2. Employer is able to document an inability to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020; or,
  3. Employer is able to document an inability to return to the same level of business activity as such business was operating at or before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements established or guidelines issued by the Secretary of Health & Human Services, The Director of CDC and Prevention or OSHA during the period March 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, related to the maintenance of standards for sanitation, social distancing or any other worker or customer safety requirement related to COVID-19.

Benefit added – PPP and payroll tax deferral

  • The CARES Act included a provision allowing employers to conserve cash by deferring their share of the 2020 Social Security tax to be repaid over a 2-year period.
  • PPP loan borrowers were afforded only a limited part of this benefit.
  • Under PPPFA, businesses who received PPP loans will be able to defer the 6.2% employer payroll match through the end of the year.

More time to repay loans that aren’t forgiven

  • PPPFA extends the maturity date for loans with remaining balances after the application of forgiveness:

1. For any loan made on or after the date of enactment of this new legislation, the amendment calls for a minimum maturity of 5 years (instead of the 2-year term currently in place).

2. For any existing loans, lenders and borrowers can mutually agree to modify the existing terms.

  • The bill extends the initial deferral period of the loan from 6 months to the date that the amount of forgiveness is remitted to the lender by the SBA.
  • Before now, it was unclear if there was any deadline for applying for forgiveness. Borrowers will now have to apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period for forgiveness.

Remaining open questions

  • Will the compensation limit increase to $46,153?
  • What is the definition of owner/employee?
  • Will there be any clarity on health insurance and retirement benefits for owner/employees?
  • Can you apply for forgiveness at the end of the 8-week period rather than having to wait until the end of the 24-week period?
  • If you apply for forgiveness in 2021, can you deduct the expenses you incurred in 2020 that haven’t yet been forgiven? If you do, will they be recaptured to the extent the loan is forgiven in 2021?

All of these items appear to make it easier to spend the monies and have the loan forgiven. Many questions relating to the original rules remain open, and more were created with this new legislation. Treasury and SBA will no doubt issue guidance at some point in the future and, as they do, we will keep you updated. 

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application  

Fortunately, borrowers now have official guidance regarding Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan forgiveness in the form of an application with detailed instructions. The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) said they will also issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications. Lenders will also receive further guidance on their responsibilities.

The application requires the borrower to make several certifications. It also provides standardized worksheets for some of the more complicated forgiveness calculations.

Some questions which have plagued borrowers and their advisors are answered in the instructions. Further, several measures are introduced in the application to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles

--In other words, if your payroll period doesn’t align exactly with the covered period of the loan, borrowers can elect an alternative period. This alternative allows borrowers to get a full eight weeks of payroll that is eligible for forgiveness—without having to make arrangements for a special payroll within the eight week covered period

  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving theirPPP loan

--Eligible non-payroll costs incurred during the covered period may be included in the forgiveness calculation, as long as they are paid on or before the next billing date. This applies even if that date falls after the end of the covered period

Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness

  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30

  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

The submitted forgiveness application must be accompanied by substantial documentation. There is also a list entitled “Documents that Each Borrower Must Maintain but is Not Required to Submit.” The documentation requirements take up one full page of the guidance. As gathering this information may be time consuming, you should familiarize yourself with the list and begin to make arrangements for collecting the documents.

Other questions still remain which, we hope, will be answered in subsequent regulations and guidance, including:

  • Do retirement benefits include only amounts attributable to the covered period?

  • Are owner benefits excluded from forgiveness costs and who is considered an owner for this purpose?

  • Are bonuses paid to employees during the covered period includible in the forgiveness amount and does that include bonuses which were accrued before the covered period but not yet paid?

  • Do financing leases on personal equipment count as rent?

  • With respect to utility payments, what is included in transportation?

  • Can you prepay expenses such as rent and have that included in the forgiveness amount?

  • What happens if the eight-week period ends after June 30?

One question, which was the subject of much speculation, concerned whether “full-time equivalent” (“FTE”) means 30 or 40 hours per week. The instructions clearly state that at present, an employee who works at least 40 hours per week is 1 FTE. There is also a simplified calculation method that assigns a 1.0 for employees who work 40 hours or more per week and 0.5 for employees who work fewer hours that may be used at the election of the borrower.

The complete application and instructions can be found here.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


PPP Guidance: Safe Harbor for Good Faith Certification 

The Small Business Administration ("SBA") has released additional guidance attempting to clarify how it will view the good faith certification required of the Paycheck Protection Program's ("PPP") loan borrowers. The Administration previously advised borrowers that if they did not have a good faith basis for their certification of need they had until May 14 to return the money without any consequences. 
Here are answers to two of the most frequently asked questions:

Question: How will SBA review borrowers' required good-faith certification concerning the necessity of their loan request? 

Answer: When submitting a PPP application, all borrowers must certify in good faith that "[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant." SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has determined that the following safe harbor will apply to SBA's review of PPP loans with respect to this issue: Any borrower that, together with its affiliates,20 received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith. 

SBA has determined that this safe harbor is appropriate because borrowers with loans below this threshold are generally less likely to have had access to adequate sources of liquidity in the current economic environment than borrowers that obtained larger loans. This safe harbor will also promote economic certainty as PPP borrowers with more limited resources endeavor to retain and rehire employees. In addition, given the large volume of PPP loans, this approach will enable SBA to conserve its finite audit resources and focus its reviews on larger loans, where the compliance effort may yield higher returns. 

Importantly, borrowers with loans greater than $2 million that do not satisfy this safe harbor may still have an adequate basis for making the required good-faith certification, based on their individual circumstances in light of the language of the certification and SBA guidance. SBA has previously stated that all PPP loans in excess of $2 million, and other PPP loans as appropriate, will be subject to review by SBA for compliance with program requirements set forth in the PPP Interim Final Rules and in the Borrower Application Form. 

If SBA determines in the course of its review that a borrower lacked an adequate basis for the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request, SBA will seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance and will inform the lender that the borrower is not eligible for loan forgiveness. If the borrower repays the loan after receiving notification from SBA, SBA will not pursue administrative enforcement or referrals to other agencies based on its determination with respect to the certification concerning necessity of the loan request. SBA's determination concerning the certification regarding the necessity of the loan request will not affect SBA's loan guarantee. 

Question: An SBA interim final rule posted on May 8, 2020 provided that any borrower who applied for a PPP loan and repays the loan in full by May 14, 2020 will be deemed by SBA to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith. Is it possible for a borrower to obtain an extension of the May 14, 2020 repayment date? 

Answer: Yes, SBA is extending the repayment date for this safe harbor to May 18, 2020, to give borrowers an opportunity to review and consider FAQ #46. Borrowers do not need to apply for this extension. This extension will be promptly implemented through a revision to the SBA's interim final rule providing the safe harbor.


To read the full guidance released by the SBA, click here.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


IRS Releases Guidance on Deductibility of PPP Expenses 

Since the CARES Act was passed, taxpayers and their advisors have wondered if expenses paid for with Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan funds that were ultimately forgiven will still be deductible for income tax purposes.

The IRS has just released guidance (Internal Revenue Notice 2020-32) which states that no deduction will be allowed for (1) payroll costs, (2) certain employee benefits related to healthcare, (3) interest on mortgage obligations, (4) rent, (5) utilities, and (6) interest on any existing debt obligations to the extent that a taxpayer pays those costs using loans obtained under the PPP pursuant to the CARES Act and which are forgiven pursuant to the CARES Act and SBA rules.

The rationale for this position, which is grounded in both the statutory and federal tax case law, is that a taxpayer is not allowed to deduct otherwise deductible ordinary and necessary business expenses to the extent that such expenses can be linked to tax-exempt income (this is to avoid a double tax benefit). In other words, the portion of expenses paid with the forgiven PPP loan will be non-deductible.

The federal tax treatment is not necessarily the same for state income tax purposes. Some states have decoupled from the federal tax regime which means that forgivable loans and related interest may be taxed by some states as “Cancellation of Debt” (“COD”) income; therefore, in those states, the related expenses should be fully deductible.

Since many state governments are working remotely, we are awaiting further guidance from those states. Moreover, many states will take advantage of the COD income to push taxpayers into higher brackets, especially those states like NJ which are gross income states. Every state is looking for every possible source of revenue.

Notwithstanding the IRS’s position, some members of both the House and the Senate are considering legislation to reinstate the deductibility of these expenses despite the fact that they are paid for with a forgiven loan. Their position is they are trying to “maximize small businesses’ ability to maintain liquidity, retain their employees and recover from this health crisis as quickly as possible.”

So, the IRS position stands, at least until Congress speaks. As always, please contact us with any questions.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


Track Your PPP Loan Spending to Ensure You Qualify for Forgiveness

Following a frantic rush to become familiar with the CARES Act, and the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) it introduced, businesses whose loans have been funded must now focus on carefully tracking how they spend their PPP loan.

While the process of calculating and applying for forgiveness of PPP debt is not yet clear, the PPP stipulates that loan proceeds must be used within eight weeks of being received. Businesses should immediately start tracking and gathering data to (i) maximize the forgiveness through the appropriate usage of the funds; and (ii) prepare to deliver to their lender the necessary documentation at the end of the eight week period.

As a borrower, your eligibility for the forgiveness of your PPP loan may be reduced if:

  • Less than 75% of PPP funds are spent on payroll costs;
  • A borrower employs fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees than it did during the base period, which can be either February 15, 2019 through June 30, 2019, or January 1, 2020 through February 29, 2020;
  • The salary or wages of an employee are less than 75% compared to the prior quarter; and,
  • The reduction in number of employees and/or compensation isn’t cured by June 30, 2020.

It’s important to note that the statute refers to costs incurred and amounts paid during the 8 week covered period. Currently, there is no guidance as to what “costs incurred” means, so borrowers should be diligent in tracking what their payments made during the covered period relate to.

Eligible expenditures incurred and paid during the covered period include:

  • Payroll Costs up to $15,385 per individual ($100,000 x 8/52) plus the following covered benefits for employees (we are waiting for more guidance on the inclusion of covered benefits paid on behalf of owners)
    • Health care expenses
    • Retirement contributions
    • State taxes imposed such as unemployment insurance premiums
  • Active partners/LLC members may be included subject to the $100,000 limitation (i.e. $15,385 each)
  • Interest on a mortgage in existence before 2/15/20
  • Rent on a lease in force before 2/15/20
    • We are waiting for further guidance on if this is just real estate rent or if it also includes equipment rentals
    • We are waiting for further guidance on self-rentals
  • Utilities for which service began before 2/15/20 – includes electricity, gas, water, telephone, Internet access, transportation
    • The statute uses the word transportation without further elaboration
    • The SBA has not given further guidance as to what is included in transportation
  • Borrowers can use the money to pay interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before 2/15/20 but those expenditures will not be included in the forgiveness amount
  • The Act does not list any other expenses in the section entitled “Allowable Uses of Covered Loans”

Here are some suggestions to track PPP funds in order to maximize your eligibility for loan forgiveness:

- Keep PPP loan proceeds in a separate bank account to avoid co-mingling with other funds. This will allow you to more easily track exactly how the funds are being used.

- Consider contacting your payroll provider to change the bank account from which your payroll costs are funded. Certain payroll costs, such as employer payroll taxes and compensation above an annualized $100,000, are not allowable payroll costs under the PPP.

- Determine a process for transferring funds from the bank account that holds PPP loan proceeds to the company payroll bank account, or operating bank account, to cover the allowable costs. This will allow the business to track the funds that must be spent over the 8 week period.

- Compute the average full time employee count during the base period as defined above. Keep in mind that the amount of the loan that will be eligible for forgiveness will be based on maintaining a headcount of at least this number.

- Create a separate analysis listing the salary of current employees as of the first quarter of 2020. Then, list each employee’s current salary payable utilizing the PPP funds. The current salary must be at least 75% of the salary paid in the first quarter. Employees making more than $100,000 are excluded from this computation.

- Expand on the above analysis by tracking the amount paid in gross payroll to the employee over the 8 week period. For those employees with an annual salary of over $100,000, track the gross payroll to an annualized salary of $100,000.

- Other payroll costs such as health benefits paid and retirement benefits paid are allowable payroll costs under the PPP. Be sure to pay these costs within the 8 week period. We are waiting for more guidance on the inclusion of health and retirement benefits paid on behalf of owners.

- Maintain documentation. While the loan forgiveness application is not yet available, proof of the usage of funds is expected to be a key component. Documentation requests are expected to include: (i) verification of the number of FTE employees and (ii) support for employee pay rates comparing before and after salary and wage rates, (iii) proof of expenditure on eligible mortgages, leases and utility obligations. The documentation requests for the non-payroll expenditures may include cancelled checks, payment receipts and copies of vendor invoices.

- As the 8 week window to spend the funds draws near, evaluate your remaining funds and consider whether a special payroll should be issued to capture 8 full weeks of payroll and maximize the usage of your PPP funds.


Implementing good processes and tracking mechanisms as soon as the funds are received will be key to maximizing the forgiveness of your PPP debt and complying with the PPP’s loan provisions. The SBA has threatened criminal penalties for misrepresentation and false certification, so documentation of the usage of these funds is crucial.


If you have any questions about effectively tracking the spending of your PPP loan, contact us today.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.


Update: Payroll Tax Deferrals 

As the provisions of the CARES Act continue to evolve and clarifications of the Act are released, we will provide you the most up to date information that is available to help you as you embark on the different programs available.

On April 10, 2020, the IRS issued guidance regarding payroll tax deferrals and their availability for those seeking relief through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Previous guidance indicated that the Payroll Tax Deferrals would not be eligible for businesses participating in the PPP. The new guidance provides the following clarifications:

  • Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients may defer paying these taxes. The CARES Act suggested that employers who benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program could not defer payment of social security taxes. The new guidance clarifies that Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients are eligible to defer deposit and payment of the employer's share of social security tax. Once the employer receives a decision from its lender that the loan is forgiven, however, the employer is no longer eligible to defer such taxes after that date. Nevertheless, for payments deferred through the forgiveness date, an employer may continue deferral until the end of 2021 and 2022 without incurring penalties for failure to deposit and failure to pay.

  • All employers are eligible. The guidance explains that all employers are eligible for the deferral program. However, as explained above, employers that receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan become ineligible to continue deferring tax payments after receiving notice that the loan is forgiven.

  • Employers need not make a special election to defer deposits and payments. The IRS will revise Form 941 (Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return) for the second calendar quarter of 2020 (April through June 2020). Additional information will be forthcoming about how employers should reflect deferred deposits and payments otherwise due on or after March 27, 2020, for the first quarter of 2020 (January through March 2020). In no case will employers be required to make a special election to be able to defer deposits and payments of these employment taxes.
  • Self-employed individuals are eligible to defer paying self-employment tax. The guidance explains that self-employed individuals, like employers who pay social security taxes, may defer payment of 50 percent of the social security tax on net earnings from self-employment income.

We recommend that you reach out to your payroll service to take advantage of these deferrals.

We wish you continued success through these challenging days!


COVID-19: Consultations & Guidance

On March 27 the President signed the CARES Act, or coronavirus stimulus bill. This Act provides tremendous opportunities to businesses adversely affected by this pandemic. These opportunities include:
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) - This is a program that is available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and provides low-interest, long-term loans for businesses that have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. The proceeds from this loan may be used to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - This is a program that is available and administered by local banks and is underwritten by the SBA. The funding is provided as a loan, based upon your business's payroll and certain operating costs and as long as it is used for such purposes, the loan is forgivable in whole or in part.
  • Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure Due to COVID-19 - This is a Federal tax credit available to employers that were negatively impacted either through full or partial shutdown of the business. This tax credit is provided at a rate of 50% of qualified wages paid to employees during the crisis, up to $5,000 per employee.
  • Delay of Payment for Employer Payroll Tax - Employers may defer payment of the 6.2% employer portion of Social Security Tax for two years.
Subsequent to the bill's passing, professionals have begun reading and unravelling the details on how these programs will ultimately be rolled out. What we are finding is that not every program will be available to all businesses and that embarking on one program may make you ineligible for one of the other programs.

Although these are welcomed avenues of relief during times of restricted commerce, we caution you to talk to your trusted advisors to help guide you through these unchartered waters.

The team here at Staff Ciampino & Company monitors the details of these programs on a constant basis to ensure that we are providing you the most up to date information and to provide you with the best course of action in moving forward.

If you are interested in finding out more about these programs, their availability and how they would work for your specific circumstances, we are currently booking consultations, either by video conference or phone. Please call today to schedule your appointment.

We are honored to be your trusted business advisors!

Understanding The Paycheck Protection Program

ELIGIBILITY

Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees during the “covered period” – February 15 through June 30, 2020 are eligible. Some industries may qualify with more employees, depending on the SBA’s applicable industry size standards, accessible here. The 500-employee threshold includes all employees: full-time, part-time, and any other status.

Individuals who operate a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor and eligible self-employed individuals.

Any business concern that employs not more than 500 employees per physical location of the business concern and that is assigned a NAICS code beginning with 72 (Accommodation and Food Services companies).

Affiliation rules are also waived for franchises with codes assigned by the SBA, as reflected on the SBA franchise registry, and businesses that receive financial assistance from one or more small business investment companies (SBIC).

Along with small businesses, nonprofit organizations also are eligible. The CARES Act recommends that the SBA issue guidance to lenders to prioritize small businesses and entities in underserved and rural markets, including small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans and members of the military community, women or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and businesses in operation for less than 2 years.

HOW MUCH CAN I BORROW

The Act offers a loan of up to $10 million based on a formula, which is essentially 2 ½ times the average monthly payroll incurred within the 1 year period before the date on which the loan is made, plus certain other costs. Compensation of an individual employee in excess of $100,000 is not included. Seasonal businesses may use the period February 15, 2019 – June 30, 2019 or March 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019 to calculate the average payroll.

What is included in the monthly payroll calculation:

  • Salary, wage, commission and similar compensation, cash tips, vacation pay and sick/family leave, unless you took a credit under the Families First Act.
  • Severance pay, health insurance premiums and other group health care benefits, retirement pay and state and local tax assessed on the compensation of employees.

What is excluded in monthly payroll calculation:

  • Compensation of an individual employee in excess of an annual salary of $100,000, as prorated for the period February 15 to June 30, 2020, payroll taxes, railroad retirement taxes, income taxes and any compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside of the United States.
  • Qualified sick leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7001 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116– 5 127); or qualified family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

WHAT CAN WE USE THE LOAN FOR

Payroll costs (as defined above), group healthcare benefits, insurance premiums, and interest (but not principal) on mortgages or other debt incurred prior to February 15, 2020, rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020, and utility payments.

LOAN FORGIVENESS

Loans will be forgiven if employment and wage levels are maintained. There is a cure period for reductions that occur between February 15, 2020 and 30 days after March 27, 2020 as long as released employees are rehired or salary reductions are reversed by June 30, 2020. Reductions in employment or wages that occur during the period beginning on February 15, 2020, and ending 30 days after March 27, 2020 (as compared to February 15, 2020) shall not reduce the amount of loan forgiveness IF by June 30, 2020 the borrower eliminates the reduction in employees or reduction in wages.

The amount of loan forgiveness calculated above is reduced if there is a reduction in the number of employees or a reduction of greater than 25% in wages paid to employees. Specifically:

For the reduction in the forgiveness of the loan for employee headcount, the calculation is as follows:

  • Average number of full time equivalent employees per month for the 8 week period beginning on the date of the origination of the loan divided by the average number of full time equivalent employees per month during the period 2/15/2019 – 6/30/2019, or, at your choice, the average number of full time equivalent employees per month during January and February 2020.

For the reduction relating to wages:

  • The loan forgiveness is reduced by any reduction in total salary of any employee during the 8 week period beginning on the date of the origination of the loan that is in excess of 25% of the total salary of that employee during the most recent full quarter during which the employee was employed prior to the loan, which would be the first quarter of 2020. For the purpose of this calculation, anyone who has an annualized salary in 2019 of more than $100,000 is not included.

WHAT ABOUT THE PORTION OF THE LOAN NOT FORGIVEN?

Any loan amount remaining after this forgiveness is applied will be carried forward with a maximum maturity of 10 years and a maximum interest rate of 4% with an option to defer payments of interest and principal not more than 1 year.

CAN I APPLY NOW?

No. Loans will be made through eligible FDIC lenders. Now that the CARES Act is law, the SBA will give their loan guidelines to the banks. The banks will then prepare their loan application process.

Even though the application period for this loan runs through June 30th, we are recommending that any application be submitted as soon as possible in case the funds are limited. Our recommendation is to do the following now:

  1. Reach out to your banking contacts right away to indicate your interest in applying. The loans will actually be administered by the banks on behalf of the Federal government through the SBA’s 7(a) loan program. We are concerned that the banks may get flooded with requests in the next few days, but will hopefully attempt to service their existing client relationships first. The banks do not have the applications available yet, but we expect they will in the next few days.
  2. Organize your payroll records for the past 12 months. This will be one of the most important parts of the application process, but we do not yet know what specific information will be requested.

We expect more information to be available on this program in the coming days.

OTHER KEY POINTS TO KNOW

  • A personal guarantee is not required for the loan.
  • Loans are nonrecourse to the company unless the proceeds are used for an unauthorized purpose.
  • The lender will not consider that the borrower sought and was unable to obtain credit elsewhere.
  • No collateral is required for the loan.
  • Loan forgiveness is not taxable.
  • Loan forgiveness may not be combined with the Payroll Tax Deferral.
  • Employer Retention Credit is not available to employers who receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan (“PPP”).
  • Also available for self-employed individuals.
  • Loan may be used for salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent and utility payments.
  • Employee count is calculated per location for businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries and certain others.
  • Good faith certification required. Businesses cannot get both Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) and PPP loans at the same time. You can apply for the EIDL loan now and the PPP loan when it becomes available. If you qualify and accept the EIDL loan, and you subsequently qualify for the PPP loan, you can re-finance the EIDL loan with the PPP loan, OR you can apply for both loans and decide which one you take if you qualify for both. Loans are limited to one per Taxpayer Identification Number.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C. is a member of the Friedman Alliance. This content was originally published on friedmanllp.com.



Update: Paycheck Protection Program

As an update regarding applying for Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") Loans:
Please know that many businesses will be seeking this help and the system is likely to get stressed, causing delays. The better prepared you are to act quickly once the details are finalized, the better. While the SBA has not released details on the specific information an applicant will have to provide, we suggest you have the following items ready for when the green light is given by your bank:
  • Your most recent IRS Form 941 - Employer's Quarterly Federal Income Tax Return
  • A breakdown of your January 2019 through February 2020 payroll expenses to help determine loan sizing; and
  • Complete 2019 financials (profit/loss and balance sheet) to be ready with specific line items for which you may be asked.  


Legislation Impacting Your Business 
(Action Requested)

Earlier this week, Congress passed and President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security(CARES) Act. This legislation has the potential to directly impact your business in a significant way. While there are many facets of this bill that seek to provide economic relief in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, there are two that are most likely to be of immediate concern to you:

1. BUSINESS RETENTION LOANS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

SBA loans will be issued for an amount equal to approximately 8 weeks of payroll and other payroll costs. If conditions are met (retaining employees, etc...) the loan will convert to a grant and will be forgiven. Every FDIC insured financial institution will be eligible to make these loans and funds can be disbursed shortly after the application is filed. The Treasury will be issuing further guidance in the coming days and the program is expected to be operational in approximately 3 weeks.

2. PROVISIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS

For individuals the package provides direct payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 for each child to lower and middle-income Americans. Phaseouts begin at $75K for individuals and $150K for married couples. Checks are anticipated in mid-May. Additionally, unemployment insurance will be extended to four months and the benefits bolstered by $600 weekly with eligibility being expanded to cover more workers.

Again, these are just two of the major provisions addressed in the CARES Act. You can find an outline of all of the key provisions here.

As your trusted advisors, we wanted to reach out and make sure you were fully aware of this legislation and encourage you to take early action on it. We anticipate there will be significant demand for the forgivable SBA loans so it makes sense to reach out to your lenders now.

In the event that you would like a referral to a local bank that will be supporting this program please let us know and we will be happy to provide an introduction.

During this extraordinary event, we want to make sure our firm is supporting you to the best of our ability. We will continue to keep you informed as these new programs are rolled out through our emails and website updates. 

We look forward to working closely with you as we strive to return to some sense of normalcy in the business world.

SBA Disaster Loan Program

We know many of you are worried about how you will restore your business operations and cash flow once we return to a "new normal".

The SBA Disaster Loan program is available to help. All SBA Disaster loans are applied for and funded directly from the SBA. This is the same SBA program that is often used after hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters.

Through this loan program, the Small Business Administration offers directly to small business the following:
  • Up to $2 million dollars in assistance at an interest rate of 3.75%, with repayment terms of up to 30 years.
     
  • Loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid due to the disaster.
  • Low-interest loans for working capital.
  • Deferred payments for the first 6 or 12 months
Small businesses are important to not only the economy, but the communities in which they serve.

We encourage you to review the resources available through the SBA at the SBA.gov website.

If you need financial assistance, or think you will, it is important to register on the site to get the application process started. The SBA expects a surge in applications, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you can get assistance. You can decline the funds at any time before closing, should you find you don't need them.

Our office will be available to assist with providing any supporting documentation you may need during the application process. And, as always, if you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact our office.

IRS Extensions

We want to keep you apprised of recent developments that are impacting tax filings this season.

We have just been informed that the IRS has granted an automatic extension of the April 15th, 2020 filing deadline to July 15th, 2020.

This provision also allows for the deferment of any tax owed upon your filing to the extended July 15th date with no interest and penalties assessed for that three month period. The IRS also extended the due date for any 1st quarter 2020 estimated tax payments that you would be required to make to July 15th.

Although no official announcement has been made, we are expecting the State of New York and other states to follow the federal guidelines.

We continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the community and on businesses. Currently, accounting practices are considered an "essential business" and exempt from the Governor's mandated workforce reduction. 

Our team is working either remotely or in our offices to continue to process work and answer questions you may have to help you run your business during this unprecedented event. We will continue to do our best to serve you barring any further mandates limiting our ability to work. 

Our staff will continue to reach out to you with any questions.

We ask for your patience as we work through each new daily challenge. 


COVID-19 Update

During this difficult time our priority is the safety, health and well-being of our employees and clients.
We are currently monitoring the COVID-19 virus and the impact on our area and the community. We want to assure you that our office is maintained at an extremely high level, but we are taking extra precautions at this time. 

To ensure the continued safety of our clients and our employees we are limiting the amount of face to face appointments to those that are absolutely necessary and for others, utilizing technology - either video conferencing or simple phone calls.

For the remainder of the tax filing season, we respectfully request that you mail or email your information to us so we can complete your returns. We also can provide a portal on our website to ensure the safeguarding of your information.

Upon completion of your return, we will contact you to determine the best way to deliver your documents, striving to limit personal contact whenever possible. We can provide your returns to you via US mail, through our website portal, or through our third-party software that requires identity authentication.

Again, our goal is to continue to provide excellent service while limiting exposure for both our team and our clients.

We appreciate your understanding and look forward to working with you through the remainder of this season.