Hunkered Down, day 6

Financial triage.

Texas got a liquidity lifeline last night. Abbott announced that all Texas counties have been included in the Economic Injury Disaster Declaration, which grants access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The program provides long-term, low-interest loans to small businesses (3.75%) and nonprofits (2.75%) with repayment terms up to 30 years. That’s great news for our local mom-and-pops and employers who are sinking fast.

The turnaround time for the Express loan is reported to be 36 hours. I’m a little skeptical, but I’ll let you know. We are prioritizing these applications and working as quickly as we can to help all of our clients. Bear with us, the 4506-T is already down this morning, and I started at 4am. I’ll keep trying throughout the day and let you know if I get one to go through. Click here to complete the online application at the SBA website.

Proposed: The Main Street Emergency Grant Program would offer grants to small, and possibly mid-sized businesses, and nonprofits to cover payroll and fixed costs, such as rent. The grants would be made avialable “quickly” to provide liquidity and avoid layoffs. This proposal has not been finalized.

Recommendation: Defer the Texas Franchise Tax payment and filing deadline until August 15th, 2020. The delay would defer preparation fees and tax payments for taxpayers, while allowing more time for tax return preparers to help clients navigate the current crisis. Please contact Glenn Hegar at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and encourage him to support this recommendation.

See also:

~Mitzi E. Sullivan, CPA

Mitzi E. Sullivan, CPA is a cloud based professional services provider specializing in cloud accounting.

Hunkered Down, day 4

A new season.

Trying to stay focused. I can hear the news continually in the background and none of it’s good. Working from home is difficult when you want to sit with your family and reach out to others that you can’t be with.

Video conferencing and online services are working well. Praise God! Century Link is actually working. This may be a new normal for many of our clients who are trying these new technologies for the first time. It’s convenient and, hey, you only have to dress from the waste up.

My clients are all scrambling, adapting to the constantly changing markets and conditions. With forced closings, many are laying off, not knowing when their doors will reopen. We desperately need congress to finalize the stimulus package so we can stop trying to hit a moving target. Here’s what I know so far.

Proposed: Small Business Loans and Economic Impact Payments to Individuals

As of this morning, congress is still working out the details and has not passed the bill. The treasury department’s proposal would guarantee small business interruption loans up to 100% of 6 weeks of payroll for a wide range of eligible small businesses.

Two equal economic impact payments would be issued on April 6th and May 18th to eligible individuals. These payments are predicted to be $1,000 to $2,000 each.

In Effect: April 15th Tax Relief

Federal individual and corporate tax payments due on April 15th, 2020 are automatically deferred for up to 90 days without incurring penalty and interest. The deferral includes both 2019, and 1st quarter 2020, income and self-employment taxes. The deferral is expected to add an estimated $300 billion in liquidity to the economy in the near term. The deferral amounts are limited, so call us or check the IRS website for details: Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020 and Notice 2020-17 (PDF), Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic.

See also: Hunkered Down, day 2

In Effect: Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Small business owners in the following designated states are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19): California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington. Click here to apply. Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.

~Mitzi E. Sullivan, CPA

Mitzi E. Sullivan, CPA is a cloud based professional services provider specializing in cloud accounting.

Free Tax Resources Provided by the IRS

  • Free File – prepare and file your federal income tax return for free using tax preparation and filing software.
  • Where’s My Refund? – is an online tool that will track your tax refund. You will need your Social security number or ITIN, your filing status and your exact refund amount to use the tool.
  • Online Payment Agreements – you can apply for a payment plan online to pay off your balance over time.
  • IRS2Go mobile app – Check your refund status, make a payment, find free tax preparation assistance, sign up for helpful tax tips, and more!
  • Online Account – use this tool to view: Your payoff amount, updated for the current calendar day, the balance for each tax year for which you owe, up to 24 months of your payment history and key information from your current tax year return as originally filed.

Hunkered Down, day 2

Wow! What a day. Monday, March 16, 2020 was intense. Tax deadline, concerned clients, family and friends, relocating my staff and all of their equipment to work from home, setting up remote phone and conferencing systems and back up and running by noon. Thanks to my awesome staff for gitin’ er done and to my amazing clients for your support. Not gonna lie, I binged on my quarantine snacks last night and I’m a little bloated this morning.

Looks like today will be chilly and rainy. No worries. We’re all hunkered down anyway. Here’s my plan for the next two weeks:

Count my blessings! I don’t have a clue whether we are overreacting or underreacting. Time will tell. I’m so thankful to live in a community where I trust the motives of my leaders. Thank you, guys, for your honesty and dedication to our community. I am praying wisdom for you all and trusting God to work through you.

Consider my neighbor. As of last night, there were no confirmed cases in Wise County. Let’s do what we can to keep it that way. I have family and friends who are immunocompromised, or work in health care or first response. If you don’t, pretend you do.

Use my gifts. I am diligently working with clients to help them navigate this rapidly transforming economy. The potential impact on our businesses and livelihood is daunting. But necessity is the mother of invention! I see a plethora of excellent ideas and new opportunities every day. My favorite from yesterday is A Touch of Rust Online Market which will replace the market scheduled for March.

Pray. Worrying is terrible for your immune system. There is nothing more destressing than chatting it up with the Creator of the universe. This ain’t His first rodeo. Share your concerns with Him, leave them with Him, then get up and git er done!

The Rapid Response to COVID-19 in the United States

Over the weekend, President Trump and the House of Representatives passed a relief bill for the coronavirus. The new bill includes:

FREE COVID-19 TESTING

The first drive through testing center in DFW will begin today at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas. More testing centers will be added in DFW in the coming days.

PROTECTION FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is required to issue rules and regulations to increase protections against the coronavirus. First responders will be given priority to testing and safety protections.

PAID SICK LEAVE

The benefit must be paid by employers with less than 500 workers. Any worker who contracts the coronavirus will receive 100% of their wages during recovery and isolation period. Employers will be reimbursed by the federal government via tax credit.

FOOD AID

The bill provides $1.3 billion in food aid for low-income pregnant women, senior citizens and food banks. States will be able to provide food stamps to help families and children who would miss out on free meals from schools.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Legislation has provided $1 billion to help those who have been laid off due to the coronavirus outbreak.

What can employers do to help limit the number of outbreaks?

Employers should implement remote working and encourage any employers who have symptoms to stay home. For employees who cannot work remotely, employers must encourage social distancing while at the workplace and provide cleaning supplies for all workstations. Employers should encourage and educate employees on the importance of sanitation and social distancing to help keep the outbreak as minimal as possible.

COVID-19: Economic Impact and Government Relief

With COVID-19 impacting the world economy, President Trump has made plans to help strengthen businesses. Small business loans will be available to eligible organizations negatively impacted by economic slowdown. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been instructed to provide low-interest loans to help strengthen organizations negatively impacted by COVID-19. To receive an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from the SBA, the organization must be in a county who has been approved for an Economic Loss Declaration. Small businesses who receive the EIDL are set to accrue interest at 3.75% and nonprofits at 2.75% with repayment terms extending up to 30 years.

In addition to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, “[President Trump] will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted.” This tax holiday will give businesses a 90 day grace period to pay 2020 Q1 ES payments.