joseph castellano

Due to COVID-19, the IRS’ People First Initiative provides relief to taxpayers on a variety of issues from easing payment guidelines to delaying compliance actions. This relief is effective through the filing and payment deadline, Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Existing Installment Agreements – Under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are delayed. Those currently unable to meet the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement or Direct Deposit Installment Agreement may cancel payments during this period with no default. By law, interest will continue to accumulate on any unpaid balances.

New Installment Agreements – People who can’t pay all their federal taxes can establish a monthly payment agreement.

Pending Offer in Compromise applications – Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to provide additional information for a pending OIC. The agency generally won’t close any pending OIC request before July 15 without the taxpayer’s consent.

OIC payments – Taxpayers can delay all payments on accepted OICs until July 15, 2020. Interest may accrue, and missed payments are due when the suspension period ends. Taxpayers can call the number on their acceptance letter to address their needs.

Delinquent return filings – The IRS will not default an OIC for taxpayers who are delinquent in filing their tax return for 2018. However, they should file any delinquent 2018 return and their 2019 return by July 15, 2020.

Non-filers – More than 1 million households who haven’t filed tax returns in the last three years are owed refunds. The deadline to get refunds on 2016 tax returns is July 15, 2020.  Those who owe taxes on delinquent returns may visit IRS.gov for payment options. The longer the debt is owed, the more penalties and interest accrue.

Field collection activities – IRS stopped field revenue officer enforcement actions, such as liens and levies. Revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where necessary.

Automated liens and levies – IRS delayed issuing new automated and systemic liens and levies. Taxpayers experiencing a hardship due to a levy should reach out to their assigned IRS contact or fax their information to (855) 796-4524.

Certifications to the State Department – IRS has delayed new certifications of taxpayers who are considered seriously delinquent. This affects a person’s ability to receive a new or renewed passport. Existing certifications will remain in place unless their tax situation changes. 

Private debt collection – IRS will not forward new delinquent accounts to private collection agencies during this period.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: IRS People First Initiative provides relief to taxpayers facing COVID-19 issues. https://go.usa.gov/xvstN

Low-income individuals are eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment.  Those who do not have a regular filing requirement can use the free, online tool Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info to quickly and easily register to receive their payment. There is also a Spanish language version of the tool available.

The Non-Filers tool is for married couples with incomes below $24,400 or single people with income below $12,200. This includes couples and individuals who are homeless. Usually, married couples qualify to receive $2,400 while single people qualify to get $1,200. People with dependents under 17 can get up to an additional $500 for each child.

Even if a person doesn’t work, they can still qualify for an Economic Impact Payment. However, if they were claimed as a dependent by someone else, they are not eligible.

If a person is not required to file a federal income tax return, they generally qualify for an Economic Impact Payment. Since the IRS does not know who these people are, the only way they can get the Economic Impact Payment is to register with the IRS.

For those who don’t normally file a tax return, the process is simple and only takes a few minutes. First, visit IRS.gov and look for Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here. Then provide basic information including Social Security Number, name, address, and dependents.

The IRS will use this information to confirm eligibility and send the Economic Impact Payment. No tax will be due as a result of receiving the payment. Entering bank or financial account information will allow the IRS to quickly deposit the payment directly in a savings or checking account.  Otherwise, the payment will be mailed. Information entered on this site is secure.

Who should not use the tool?
Anyone who already filed either a 2018 or 2019 return does not qualify to use this tool. Similarly, anyone who needs to file either a 2018 or 2019 return should not use this tool, but instead they should file their tax returns. This includes anyone who files a return to claim various tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-and moderate-income workers and working families.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Low-income people are eligible to get an Economic Impact Payment. https://go.usa.gov/xvvam

SSI and VA recipients who have children and weren’t required file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 should visit the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool on IRS.gov by May 5.

This will help ensure they receive their full Economic Impact Payment as soon as possible. This tool is available in English and Spanish.

$1,200 automatic payments have started for those receiving Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI) and Railroad Retirement benefits. Payments for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return in the last two years will start soon.

In order to add the $500 per eligible child to these payments, the IRS needs the dependent information before the payments are issued. Otherwise, their payment will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount will be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.

This group should receive their Economic Impact Payment by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.
More information related to veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments is available at VA.gov.

Social Security Administration and Railroad Retirees
People who receive Social Security retirement, survivors or disability insurance benefits (SSDI) and Railroad Retirement benefits (RRB) should begin getting their Economic Impact Payments this week. This includes those who don’t normally file a tax return.

Beneficiaries who don’t normally file a tax return and have a child but didn’t register on the Non-Filer tool by April 22 will still receive their $1,200 Economic Impact Payment automatically beginning the first week of May. However, since the deadline has passed, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child will be paid after they file a tax return for 2020.

Direct Express account holders can use the Non-Filers tool, but they can’t receive theirs or their child’s Economic Impact Payment in their Direct Express account. They only select a bank account for direct deposit or leave bank information blank to receive a check by mail.

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: SSI and VA recipients with a child who don’t file taxes should visit IRS.gov now. https://go.usa.gov/xvVQW

WASHINGTON – Working with the Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service today unveiled the new Get My Payment with features to let taxpayers check on their Economic Impact Payment date and update direct deposit information.

With an initial round of more than 80 million Economic Impact Payments starting to hit bank accounts over the weekend and throughout this week, this new tool will help address key common questions. Get My Payment will show the projected date when a deposit has been scheduled, similar to the “Where’s My Refund tool” many taxpayers are already familiar with.

Get My Payment also allows people a chance to provide their bank information. People who did not use direct deposit on their last tax return will be able to input information to receive the payment by direct deposit into their bank account, expediting receipt.

Get My Payment will offer people with a quick and easy way to find the status of their payment and, where possible, provide their bank account information if we don’t already have it,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Our IRS employees have been working non-stop on the Economic Impact Payments to help taxpayers in need. In addition to successfully generating payments to more than 80 million people, IRS teams throughout the country proudly worked long days and weekends to quickly deliver Get My Payment ahead of schedule.”

Get My Payment is updated once daily, usually overnight. The IRS urges taxpayers to only use Get My Payment once a day given the large number of people receiving Economic Impact Payments.

How to use Get My Payment
Available only on IRS.gov, the online application is safe and secure to use. Taxpayers only need a few pieces of information to quickly obtain the status of their payment and, where needed, provide their bank account information. Having a copy of their most recent tax return can help speed the process.

  • For taxpayers to track the status of their payment, this feature will show taxpayers the payment amount, scheduled delivery date by direct deposit or paper check and if a payment hasn’t been scheduled. They will need to enter basic information including:
    • Social Security number
    • Date of birth, and
    • ailing address used on their tax return.
  • Taxpayers needing to add their bank account information to speed receipt of their payment will also need to provide the following additional information:
    • Their Adjusted Gross Income from their most recent tax return submitted, either 2019 or 2018
    • The refund or amount owed from their latest filed tax return
    • Bank account type, account and routing numbers

Get My Payment cannot update bank account information after an Economic Impact Payment has been scheduled for delivery. To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change bank account information already on file with the IRS.

A Spanish version of Get My Payment is expected in a few weeks.

Don’t normally file a tax return? Additional IRS tool helps non-filers
In addition to Get My Payment, Treasury and IRS have a second a new web toolallowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return.

The Non-filers: Enter Payment Info tool, developed in partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, provides a free and easy option designed for people who don’t have a return filing obligation, including those with too little income to file. The new web tool is available only on IRS.gov, and users should look for Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here to take them directly to the tool.

Non-filers: Enter Payment Info is designed for people who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who don’t receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits. Additional information is available at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.

No action needed by most taxpayers
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will receive the payments automatically. Automatic payments will also go in the near future to those receiving Social Security retirement, or disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits.

General information about the Economic Impact Payments is available on a special section of IRS.gov: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center.

Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments
The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. To use the new app or get information, taxpayers should visit IRS.gov. People should watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information. Remember, go directly and solely to IRS.gov for official information.

More information
The IRS will post frequently asked questions on IRS.gov/coronavirus and will provide updates as soon as they are available.

WASHINGTON — To help taxpayers, the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced today that Notice 2020-23 extends additional key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses.

Last month, the IRS announced that taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay federal income taxes originally due on April 15. No late-filing penalty, late-payment penalty or interest will be due.

Today’s notice expands this relief to additional returns, tax payments and other actions. As a result, the extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers qualify for the extra time. This means that anyone, including Americans who live and work abroad, can now wait until July 15 to file their 2019 federal income tax return and pay any tax due.

Extension of time to file beyond July 15

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request an extension to Oct. 15, 2020, by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004. An extension to file is not an extension to pay any taxes owed. Taxpayers requesting additional time to file should estimate their tax liability and pay any taxes owed by the July 15, 2020, deadline to avoid additional interest and penalties.

Estimated Tax Payments

Besides the April 15 estimated tax payment previously extended, today’s notice also extends relief to estimated tax payments due June 15, 2020. This means that any individual or corporation that has a quarterly estimated tax payment due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, can wait until July 15 to make that payment, without penalty.  

2016 unclaimed refunds – deadline extended to July 15

For 2016 tax returns, the normal April 15 deadline to claim a refund has also been extended to July 15, 2020. The law provides a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund.  If taxpayers do not file a return within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by the July 15, 2020, date.

IRS.gov assistance 24/7

IRS live telephone assistance is currently unavailable due to COVID-19. Normal operations will resume when possible. Tax help is available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov.  The IRS website offers a variety of online tools to help taxpayers answer common tax questions. For example, taxpayers can search the Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Topics, Frequently Asked Questions, and Tax Trails to get answers to common questions. Those who have already filed can check their refund status by visiting IRS.gov/Refunds.

IR-2020-61, March 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.

The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?
Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.

How can I file the tax return needed to receive my economic impact payment?
IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.

I have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?
Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.

I need to file a tax return. How long are the economic impact payments available?
For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.

Where can I get more information?
The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.

The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but remains committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. Check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS assistors who are helping process 2019 returns.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the Trump administration is determined to support American businesses and workers.

“We want all small businesses to keep employees so that they can reopen those businesses quickly when its medically sufficient,” Mnuchin told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Monday morning.

He reiterated that any small business with fewer than 500 employees is eligible for a loan amounting to two months of payroll and some overhead and that it will be forgiven if the company keeps its workers or rehires them.

I assure you that the Treasury will be working with the SBA, that we’re going to add an enormous number of new lenders,” he said. “Basically, this is going to work that any small business can go into a bank very quickly, get the loan underwritten and get the money fast.”

The Senate failed to advance the $1.4 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package on Sunday evening with Democrats saying the bill went too far in helping big corporations and didn’t go far enough in aiding individuals and health care providers. Another vote is expected on Monday.

Meanwhile, Mnuchin also discussed the administration and Congress’ efforts to keep airlines afloat as the economy weighs on the industry.

“There are no bailouts,” Mnuchin said. “This is not about bailing anybody out. There is a special provision that we are in the process of negotiating for airlines. Airlines do provide significant resources and national security issues. We want the airlines to continue to be able to operate domestic air travel.”

Read more at Fox Business here »

WASHINGTON – To help people facing the challenges of COVID-19 issues, the Internal Revenue Service announced today a sweeping series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions.

“The IRS is taking extraordinary steps to help the people of our country,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “In addition to extending tax deadlines and working on new legislation, the IRS is pursuing unprecedented actions to ease the burden on people facing tax issues. During this difficult time, we want people working together, focused on their well-being, helping each other and others less fortunate.”

“The new IRS People First Initiative provides immediate relief to help people facing uncertainty over taxes,” Rettig added “We are temporarily adjusting our processes to help people and businesses during these uncertain times. We are facing this together, and we want to be part of the solution to improve the lives of all people in our country.”

These new changes include issues ranging from postponing certain payments related to Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise to collection and limiting certain enforcement actions. The IRS will be temporarily modifying the following activities as soon as possible; the projected start date will be April 1 and the effort will initially run through July 15. During this period, to the maximum extent possible, the IRS will avoid in-person contacts. However, the IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations.

“IRS employees care about our people and our country, and they have a strong desire to help improve this situation,” Rettig said. “These new actions reflect just one of many ways our employees are working hard every day to assist the nation. We care, a lot. IRS employees are actively engaged, and they have always delivered for their communities and our country. The People First Initiative is designed to help people take care of themselves and is a key part of our ongoing response to the coronavirus effort.”

More specifics about the implementation of these provisions will be shared soon. Highlights of the key actions in the IRS People First Initiative include:

Existing Installment Agreements – For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are suspended. Taxpayers who are currently unable to comply with the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement, including a Direct Deposit Installment Agreement, may suspend payments during this period if they prefer. Furthermore, the IRS will not default any Installment Agreements during this period.  By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.

New Installment Agreements – The IRS reminds people unable to fully pay their federal taxes that they can resolve outstanding liabilities by entering into a monthly payment agreement with the IRS. See IRS.gov for further information.

Offers in Compromise (OIC) – The IRS is taking several steps to assist taxpayers in various stages of the OIC process:

  • Pending OIC applications – The IRS will allow taxpayers until July 15 to provide requested additional information to support a pending OIC. In addition, the IRS will not close any pending OIC request before July 15, 2020, without the taxpayer’s consent.
  • OIC Payments – Taxpayers have the option of suspending all payments on accepted OICs until July 15, 2020, although by law interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.
  • Delinquent Return Filings – The IRS will not default an OIC for those taxpayers who are delinquent in filing their tax return for tax year 2018. However, taxpayers should file any delinquent 2018 return (and their 2019 return) on or before July 15, 2020.
  • New OIC Applications – The IRS reminds people facing a liability exceeding their net worth that the OIC process is designed to resolve outstanding tax liabilities by providing a “Fresh Start.” Further information is available at IRS.gov

Non-Filers –The IRS reminds people who have not filed their return for tax years before 2019 that they should file their delinquent returns. More than 1 million households that haven’t filed tax returns during the last three years are actually owed refunds; they still have time to claim these refunds. Many should consider contacting a tax professional to consider various available options since the time to receive such refunds is limited by statute. Once delinquent returns have been filed, taxpayers with a tax liability should consider taking the opportunity to resolve any outstanding liabilities by entering into an Installment Agreement or an Offer in Compromise with the IRS to obtain a “Fresh Start.” See IRS.gov for further information.

Field Collection Activities – Liens and levies (including any seizures of a personal residence) initiated by field revenue officers will be suspended during this period. However, field revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where warranted.

Automated Liens and Levies – New automatic, systemic liens and levies will be suspended during this period.

Passport Certifications to the State Department – IRS will suspend new certifications to the Department of State for taxpayers who are “seriously delinquent” during this period. These taxpayers are encouraged to submit a request for an Installment Agreement or, if applicable, an OIC during this period. Certification prevents taxpayers from receiving or renewing passports.

Private Debt Collection – New delinquent accounts will not be forwarded by the IRS to private collection agencies to work during this period.

Field, Office and Correspondence Audits – During this period, the IRS will generally not start new field, office and correspondence examinations. We will continue to work refund claims where possible, without in-person contact. However, the IRS may start new examinations where deemed necessary to protect the government’s interest in preserving the applicable statute of limitations.

  • In-Person Meetings – In-person meetings regarding current field, office and correspondence examinations will be suspended. Even though IRS examiners will not hold in-person meetings, they will continue their examinations remotely, where possible. To facilitate the progress of open examinations, taxpayers are encouraged to respond to any requests for information they already have received – or may receive – on all examination activity during this period if they are able to do so.
  • Unique Situations – Particularly for some corporate and business taxpayers, the IRS understands that there may be instances where the taxpayers desire to begin an examination while people and records are available and respective staffs have capacity. In those instances when it’s in the best interest of both parties and appropriate personnel are available, the IRS may initiate activities to move forward with an examination — understanding that COVID-19 developments could later reduce activities for an agreed period.
  • General Requests for Information – In addition to compliance activities and examinations, the IRS encourages taxpayers to respond to any other IRS correspondence requesting additional information during this time if possible.

Earned Income Tax Credit and Wage Verification Reviews – Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to respond to the IRS to verify that they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit or to verify their income. These taxpayers are encouraged to exercise their best efforts to obtain and submit all requested information, and if unable to do so, please reach out to the IRS indicating the reason such information is not available. Until July 15, 2020, the IRS will not deny these credits for a failure to provide requested information.

Independent Office of Appeals – Appeals employees will continue to work their cases. Although Appeals is not currently holding in-person conferences with taxpayers, conferences may be held over the telephone or by videoconference. Taxpayers are encouraged to promptly respond to any outstanding requests for information for all cases in the Independent Office of Appeals.

Statute of Limitations – The IRS will continue to take steps where necessary to protect all applicable statutes of limitations. In instances where statute expirations might be jeopardized during this period, taxpayers are encouraged to cooperate in extending such statutes. Otherwise, the IRS will issue Notices of Deficiency and pursue other similar actions to protect the interests of the government in preserving such statutes. Where a statutory period is not set to expire during 2020, the IRS is unlikely to pursue the foregoing actions until at least July 15, 2020.

Practitioner Priority Service – Practitioners are reminded that, depending on staffing levels and allocations going forward, there may be more significant wait times for the PPS. The IRS will continue to monitor this as situations develop.

“The IRS will continue to review and, where appropriate, modify or expand the People First Initiative as we continue reviewing our programs and receive feedback from others,” Rettig said. “We are committed to helping people get through this period, and our employees will remain focused on these and other helpful efforts in the days and weeks ahead. I ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience – as we navigate our way forward together. Stay safe and take care of your families, friends and others.”

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

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

Key Takeaways

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers 
    • For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
  • Complete Coverage
    • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
    • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
    • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
  • Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.
  • Fast Funds
    • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
    • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
    • Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
  • Small Business Protection

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

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

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

Background

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

Paid Leave

The Act provides that employees of eligible employers can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee’s pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and seeking a medical diagnosis. An employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, to care for a child whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay. An employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, may in some instances receive up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded paid family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay.

Paid Sick Leave Credit

For an employee who is unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.

For an employee who is caring for someone with Coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Child Care Leave Credit

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

Prompt Payment for the Cost of Providing Leave

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

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

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

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

Examples

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

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

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

Small Business Exemption

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

Non-Enforcement Period

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

For More Information

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

Notice 2020-17; Payment relief on account of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. The Treasury Department and IRS are extending the due date for Federal income tax payments due April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, for payments due of up to $10 million for corporations and up to $1 million for individuals – regardless of filing status – and other unincorporated entities. Associated interest, additions to tax, and penalties for late payment will also be suspended until July 15, 2020.

Notice 2020-17 will be in IRB 2020-15, dated April 6, 2020.

The IRS established a special webpage on IRS.gov/coronavirus to include all of the available tax-related information. This page will be updated as more information is available.

Treasury News Release:  Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Deferring Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

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