As we’re all aware, 2020 has been an extraordinarily complex year — that complexity is reflected in taxpayers’ tax situations, whether they’re businesses or individuals. While there is plenty of time before this year’s tax returns need to be filed, the constantly changing economic situation, the presidential election, and the host of COVID-19 legislative provisions mean that some tax moves will only be effective if they’re made before the end of the year.
We’ve brought together some of our best year-end tax-planning coverage, ranging from reminders of classic strategies to deep dives into rules specific to COVID-19 tax relief. For each article, we’ve highlighted a strategy or two, but they all offer a host of potential tax savings — for those who act fast.
For businesses and individuals:
In early October, Top 10 Firm Grant Thornton put together a list, a mix of strategies for both companies and individual taxpayers, including:
Making sure to use the above-the-line charitable deduction
Accelerating AMT refunds
Taking advantage of new bonus depreciation rules from the CARES Act
New for the end of the year:
In an interview, Wolters Kluwer’s Mark Luscombe dives into some of the most important new year-end planning issues, including:
Employee tax credits and deferrals related to payroll taxes that expire at the end of 2020
Tax provisions that offer retroactive relief
The implementing expiration of the expanded ability to make penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans
With a number of COVID-19 related tax relief provisions, Laura Davison of Bloomberg News talks about how year-end planning has been turbocharged. Here are the provisions set to expire:
The removal of the cap on individuals’ business loss deductions
The one-time deduction for charitable gifts for taxpayers taking the standard deduction
Planning around the election:
Tax planners knew that the November election could have a major impact on year-end planning. Particularly, if a Biden win brought in a whole new approach to tax legislation. Accounting Today columnist Mark Luscombe, of Wolters Kluwer, offered strategies for both possible outcomes in Georgia, including:
With a Republic win, focusing more on tax-loss harvesting and less on Roth IRA conversions
With a Democratic win, preparing for the possibility of higher capital gains and income tax rates
Three-quarters of the way there:
In a column just before the election, Wolters Kluwer’s Mark Luscombe summarized the year-end planning developments thus far in the year including:
The restoration of NOL carrybacks for up to five years
A number of COVID related corrections and extensions to the Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017
COVID-19 sick leave and family leave, and employee retention provisions
Acceleration and declaration:
After a “year like no other” this early December list from AG FinTax’s Anil Grandhi included tips on lowering taxes by:
Accelerating business purchases
Adding children or spouses to the payroll
Deferring or accelerating income
From one year to another:
Not everything can be wrapped up by the end of the year. Accounting Today’s senior tax editor, Roger Russell, covers the issues from 2020 that will have an impact on 2021:
The tax impacts of remote work
How to handle emergency retirement plan withdrawals under the CARES Act
The taxability of unemployment benefits
In under the wire:
While many of them don’t need to be taken up by December 31st, the last-minute COVID relief legislation signed by President Trump included a number of tax provisions including:
Many businesses have struggled financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some businesses have benefited from the PPP and SBA EIDL programs. We expect most businesses to receive loan forgiveness for their PPP loan, but if you received an EIDL loan, you might be concerned on how you are going to pay it back. Generally, if a business had to receive a loan during 2020, it means they incurred more expenses than revenue, and thus needed a loan. This should mean the company or business will have a loss for the 2020 tax year. If you expect your business to have a loss, then there may be an opportunity to take that business loss and turn it into cash. The CARES Act changed the tax laws related to net operating loss (NOLs) options, in which the CARES Act allows NOLs to be carried back up to five (5) years if the loss was incurred in tax years 2018, 2019 and/or 2020. If you incurred a NOL then you might be able to carry it back up to 5 years and receive a cash refund based on taxes paid in those years. If you incurred a loss, and generated a NOL, speak with your tax advisor before the end of the year to determine if you can benefit from the NOL carry back.
Guidance Released for Plan Distributions and Loans for COVID-19 Victims:
The IRS has provided guidance relating to section 2202 of the CARES Act, which allows qualified individuals to receive favorable tax treatment with respect to distributions from eligible retirement plans that are coronavirus-related distributions. A coronavirus-related distribution of up to $100,000 is not subject to the 10% additional tax under IRC Sec. 72(t) and generally is includible in income over a three-year period. However, qualified individuals have three years to repay a coronavirus-related distribution to a plan or IRA and undo the tax consequences of the distribution. The CARES Act also increases the allowable plan loan amount under IRC Sec. 72(p) and permits a suspension of loan repayments due from 3/27/20 through 12/31/20 that are made to qualified individuals. The guidance expands the definition of who is a qualified individual and is intended to assist employers, plan administrators, trustees, and custodians by providing guidance on how plans may report coronavirus-related distributions and how taxpayers may report these distributions on their individual federal income tax returns. Notice 2020-50 and News Release IR 2020-124.
Please contact us at 949-756-8080 if we can be of assistance.
The U.S. Senate has passed the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which loosens several of the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP’s) more onerous restrictions regarding loan forgiveness. President Trump has signed the bill into law.
The new law follows the May 22, 2020, release of an interim final rule from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) on PPP loan forgiveness requirements. Among other areas, that guidance addresses the calculation of full-time employees and total salary or wages for purposes of loan forgiveness reductions.
The PPP in a nutshell
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) established the PPP to help employers cover payroll during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The program is open to U.S. businesses with fewer than 500 employees — including sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, independent contractors and nonprofits — affected by COVID-19. The loans may be used to cover payroll, certain employee health care benefits, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on any other existing debt for the “covered period.”
Under the CARES Act and subsequent guidance, the covered period ran for eight weeks after loan origination. The PPP Flexibility Act extends that period to the earlier of 24 weeks after the origination date or December 31, 2020.
PPP loan proceeds applied to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities are subject to 100% forgiveness if certain criteria are met. Earlier Treasury Department regulations indicated that eligible nonpayroll costs couldn’t exceed 25% of the total forgiveness amount, but the PPP Flexibility Act raises the threshold to 40%.
At least 60% of the loan must be spent on payroll costs to qualify for any forgiveness. For unforgiven costs, the new law extends the repayment period from two years to five years. However, employers are still required to maintain their staff headcount and payroll to qualify for full forgiveness.
Loan forgiveness may be reduced if:
The average weekly number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees is reduced, or
Salaries and wages are cut by more than 25% for any employee who made less than $100,000 annualized in 2019.
Borrowers originally had until June 30, 2020, to restore full-time employment and salary levels from reductions made between February 15, 2020, and April 26, 2020, and avoid reductions in the forgiveness amount. The PPP Flexibility Act extends that deadline to December 31, 2020.
The covered period
Although the CARES Act provides that the covered period runs for eight weeks from the date of origination, the May 22 guidance lays out an alternative covered period. Borrowers with a biweekly, or more frequent, payroll schedule can elect to base their calculations on the eight-week period beginning on the first day of their first pay period following the disbursement date.
Note that the alternative covered period is available only for calculating payroll costs; it doesn’t apply to calculating mortgage interest, rent or utilities. And, if a borrower does use the alternative period to compute payroll costs, it also must use that alternative period to calculate FTE employees and salary or wage reductions.
The May 22 guidance clarifies that payroll costs paid or incurred during the covered period are eligible for forgiveness. Nonpayroll costs are eligible for forgiveness if paid during the covered period or incurred during that period and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if the billing date is after the covered period.
According to the guidance, payroll costs include bonuses and hazard pay, as well as salary, wages and commission payments to furloughed employees (as long as they don’t exceed an annual salary of $100,000, as prorated for the covered period). They’re considered paid on the day paychecks are distributed.
Payroll costs are deemed to be incurred on the day the employee’s pay is earned. Payroll costs incurred but not paid during the borrower’s last pay period in the covered period are eligible for forgiveness if paid on or before the next regular payroll date. An eligible nonpayroll cost must be paid during the covered period or incurred during the period and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if the billing date is after the covered period.
The guidance makes clear that costs related to personal property (for example, office equipment) are eligible nonpayroll costs. Mortgage interest payments for real or personal property are included, as well as rent or lease payments for real or personal property. Advance payments on mortgage interest, however, aren’t eligible for forgiveness. Utility payments include payments for electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone or internet access.
The FTE reduction
The May 22 guidance spells out that when determining whether an adjustment in the forgiveness amount is necessary due to an FTE reduction, the number of FTE employees is calculated using a 40-hour workweek. For each employee, the average number of hours paid (not worked) per week is divided by 40. The maximum for each employee is capped at 1.0 FTE employee.
For employees who were paid for less than 40 hours per week, borrowers can calculate the average number of hours the employee was paid per week during the covered period. The guidance also provides a simplified method, under which employees who work 40 hours or more per week are assigned a 1.0, and those who work less are assigned a 0.5. Borrowers must select one of these two approaches and apply it consistently to all part-time employees.
The amount of loan forgiveness may be reduced if the average weekly FTE during the covered period is less than its average FTE in 1) the period of February 15, 2019, through June 30, 2019, 2) the period of January 1, 2020, through February 29, 2020, or 3) in the case of seasonal employers, either of the preceding periods or a consecutive 12-week period between May 1, 2019, and September 15, 2019. The borrower can elect which period to use as its reference period. The good news is that the comparison isn’t made against the last full quarter worked, as some borrowers feared.
The May 22 guidance also includes exceptions for employees who:
Reject a good faith offer to return at the previous pay and hours (borrowers must maintain documentation of the offer and rejection and notify the state unemployment office of an employee’s rejected offer within 30 days of the rejection), and
During the covered period, were fired for cause, voluntarily resigned or voluntarily requested and received a reduction in hours.
Any FTE reductions due to these reasons won’t reduce the forgiveness amount.
The PPP Flexibility Act adds a new exemption based on employee availability. For the period from February 15, 2020, through December 31, 2020, the amount of loan forgiveness won’t be reduced due to a reduction in the number of FTE employees if a borrower 1) is unable to rehire an individual who was an employee on or before February 15, 2020, or 2) can demonstrate an inability to hire similarly qualified employees on or before December 31, 2020.
The exemption also applies if the employer is unable to return to the same level of business activity it was operating at before February 15, 2020, due to governmental requirements or guidance issued from March 1, 2020, through December 31,2020, related to COVID-19 safety standards.
The salary/wage reduction
The CARES Act indicates that the forgiven loan amount may be reduced if the total salary or wages of any applicable employee is reduced more than 25% of the “total salary or wages” in the “the most recent full quarter during which the employee was employed before the covered period.” With the covered period running only eight weeks, borrowers fretted that the total wages in the covered period would almost certainly fall more than 25% compared to a full quarter.
The PPP Flexibility Act doesn’t address this concern, but the SBA’s loan forgiveness application does. In making the determination of whether salary or wages were reduced 25%, it compares “average annual salary or hourly wage” for the relevant periods — not total wages.
In addition, to ensure that borrowers aren’t doubly penalized, the May 22 guidance directs that the salary/wage reduction applies only to the portion of the decline in employee salary and wages that isn’t attributable to the FTE reduction.
Delayed payment of payroll taxes
The PPP Flexibility Act also takes steps to ensure borrowers have full access to the CARES Act’s payroll tax deferment, which is intended to provide businesses with adequate capital to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law provides that the delayed payment of employer payroll taxes on top of the receipt of a PPP loan doesn’t constitute impermissible double dipping.
Fast and furious
The rules for the PPP — whether in legislative, regulatory or other forms — continue to emerge at a brisk pace, often updating previous guidance. We can help ensure you’re satisfying all of the requirements to obtain a loan and secure full forgiveness.
This morning listening to the news, I heard that the jobs report showed 3MM job added. That is great! In listening to the news but more importantly speaking with our clients, everyone seems ready to open and or get their business back to normal or bigger. President Trump has stated he expects the US economy to bounce back strong. A lot of our clients want to believe President Trumps statements about the economy getting back to normal, but we need to see the results to convince us. The fact that the job report showed 3MM jobs added seems to be the beginning of support for the Presidents statements and supports what I’m hearing from our clients and business owners. Please read this memo in conjunction with our memo dated April 2, 2020 that discusses the CARES Act.
Today, President Trump signed H.R. 7010 which revised the PPP Act. The revisions were small but should be helpful. The revisions are focused on the loan forgiveness section and are as follows:
Section 1106 of the CARES Act discusses PPP Loan Forgiveness:
Change in Covered Period. The covered period is the time one needs to spend the PPP funds:
The original CARES act stated the covered period to use the PPP funds was 8 weeks. H.R. 7010 changes the covered period to the earlier of 24 weeks or December 31, 2020.
Change in the requirements of the PPP funds spent on payroll costs:
The CARES Act didn’t define a specific percentage needed to be spent on payroll and no payroll. The SBA provided regulations which stated at least 75% needed to be spent on payroll costs. H.R. 7010 states that 60% must be spent on qualified payroll and 40% on the non-payroll items.
Payroll costs include employees’ wages during the covered period which can’t exceed $100k / annual.
Includes health insurance premiums
Doesn’t include employer payroll taxes
Other costs for the 40% (rent, interest on mortgage, utilities)
Updates on rehiring:
There are reductions in the loan forgiveness if head counts is reduce 25% or more. If an employee quit or was fired, then the business had the option to replace that position with a new employee. However, there were discussions regarding the company asking the employee to come back to work and the employee not accepting. The updates allow additional flexibility regarding employee counts and availability. A company head count will not be hurt if the company can show support and documentation that they were unable to rehire an employee AND unable to hire a similar qualified employee for an unfilled position on or before December 31, 2020.
COVID-19 Safety Standards:
Requires the business to follow requirements established or guidance issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the period March 1, 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020 to maintain standards of sanitation, social distancing and other related safety requirements related to COVID-19. Our firm has used the OSHA guidelines at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf, and we suggest you speak with your HR or labor attorney. Also as stated previously, OSHA may come and check your facility to follow regular requirements and COVID-19 in accordance with the CARES Act. So, make sure you are prepared. Make sure you have your posters up.
Loan Limit Changes:
Any of the PPP that isn’t forgiven is a loan. The interest rate is 1% and the term seems to be changed from two (2) years to five years (5). This area of the law needs to be explained more.
President Trump today again discussed a payroll tax holiday, so stay tuned.
Our firm is back working in the office. Let’s all continue to get back to normal. Please contact us if we can be of any assistance. 949-756-8080.
During 2008/2009, the Great Recession, we learned some things. When the economy is hurt, there are some things we can do to be better prepared, and there are some actions we can take to benefit from the financial stress. During those times, the banks took steps to reduce or close lines of credit and end banking relationships. If you feel this might be an issue for you, and you would like to have more cash, then consider drawing down on your line of credit to hold the cash. This will generally give you the opportunity to get more cash in your bank before the bank would reduce your line of credit. Now, I have not heard from anyone that they banks are doing this yet, but we are going through some financially challenging times. Each individual should consider if this strategy is a good strategy for them and weigh the costs of the interest expenses. Perhaps after a couple of months you can repay the line of credit.
Keep your accounting up to date, as the banks might want to check your financial statements to continue your leading relationship.
Consider if you can benefit from any of the tax law updates, which we have written about. Did you have a net operating loss in 2018, and if so, contact us to discuss how you can get a refund. Were you limited in the amount of interest expense you could deduct in 2018? If so, contact us.
One item in the CARES Act that we did not write about, which was brought up by a client of ours, is that for 2020, the charitable deduction limitation is removed. The law previously stated that a taxpayer cannot take a charitable deduction in 2020 if the deduction exceeded 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI), but with the CARES Act, that limitation has been removed. However, the requirements in general are that the donation must be in cash and typically must go to a 501(c)(3) charity. If you are interested in more information about this, please contact us so we can discuss the whole law and see if this could benefit you.
Some other items to consider:
Due to the stock marketing value dropping, this might be an opportunity to do some estate and gift tax planning with reduced values of securities. Contact us to discuss if you are interested.
If your business revenues have dropped, then most likely the value of your business has probably been reduced. This can provide an option to provide key employees with some equity participation at a reduced value if that will benefit the company. Again, each business is unique, so contact us to discuss.
We are hoping that the economy will be opening back up soon throughout the entire country. We are here to help, so contact us if you need our assistance.
In preparing for receipt of any funds from the Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPPL), one should consider setting up a separate bank account to deposit the PPPL funds in and then to pay out expenses that qualify for loan forgiveness. First, let’s review section 1106 Loan Forgiveness under the CARES Act. It states, Borrower shall be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent by borrower during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan on:
payroll costs (wages up to $100,000 annually per employee, health insurance, and some state taxes)
interest payment on mortgages incurred prior to February 15, 2020,
payment of rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020 and;
payment on any utilities for which service began before February 15, 2020.
Recent updates also stated that 75% or more of the loan forgiveness needs to be for payroll. So, our suggestion is to open a bank account specifically for the PPPL proceeds and qualified expenses listed above. They have the qualified expenses listed above paid out of that account, and hopefully this process will make is easier for banks to see the qualified expenses were paid using the PPPL proceeds and hopefully allow for an easy process for the loan forgiveness. This PPPL process has been challenging for more applicants, so perhaps this separate bank account will make it easier is requesting for loan forgiveness in the future. As long as the business sets up the bank account early and requests checks, then we would expect these qualified expenses can be paid out of this designated account.
Please note this is not a full explanation of the CARES Act or the PPPL program. For more information please review our previous posts and speak with your tax advisor.
The IRS and the Tax Foundation have released some facts, and Q&A regarding the
CARES Act and Employee Retention Credits. Please note, we have provided some write
ups about application of the CARES Act specific to our client base, but some of you may
have additional questions. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and consider reviewing these sites.
This letter is to alert you to a beneficial change in the tax rules for many improvements to interior parts of nonresidential buildings (”qualified improvement property” or ”QIP”). You may recall that following the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (”TCJA”), any QIP placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017 was not considered to be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation. Therefore, the cost of QIP had to be deducted over a 39-year period instead of entirely in the year the QIP was placed in service. That result was due to an inadvertent drafting error by Congress.
The 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (”CARES Act”) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act corrects the TCJA drafting error for QIP. Thus, most businesses are now allowed to claim 100% bonus depreciation for QIP, if certain other requirements are met. What also is helpful is that the correction is retroactive, and it reaches back to apply to any QIP placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017. Unfortunately, improvements related to the enlargement of a building, any elevator or escalator, or the internal structural framework continue to be outside of the definition of QIP.
In the current business climate, you may not be in a position to undertake new capital expenditures, even if needed as a practical matter and even if the substitution of 100% bonus depreciation for a 39-year depreciation period significantly lowers the true cost of QIP. But it’s good to know that when you are ready to undertake qualifying improvements, the generous subsidy of 100% bonus depreciation will be available.
And, the retroactive effect of the CARES Act presents favorable opportunities for qualifying expenditures you’ve already made. We can revisit and add to documentation that you’ve already provided me to identify QIP expenditures.
For not-yet-filed returns, we can simply reflect the favorable treatment for QIP on the return.
If you’ve filed returns that didn’t claim 100% bonus depreciation for what may prove to be QIP, we can investigate based on available documentation as discussed above. If there is QIP that was in fact eligible for 100% bonus depreciation, note that IRS has, for past retroactive favorable depreciation changes, provided taxpayers with detailed guidance for how the benefit is claimed. That is, IRS clarified how much flexibility taxpayers have in choosing between a one-time downward adjustment to income on their current returns or an amendment to the return for the year the QIP was placed in service.
If you had QIP in 2018, and you wish to amend the tax return to take the accelerated depreciation, we are waiting for guidance from the IRS to determine the method for the amendment. Typically bonus deprecation was required unless a taxpayer elected out. On the tax returns we prepared, we typically would have depreciated the QIP based on the law, which didn’t allow bonus deprecation and thus we typically wouldn’t have elected out of bonus depreciation. In addition, if you desire to amend, we will need to determine, how many returns will need to be amended.
If you would like us to amend your tax return, please let us know and we will schedule the return for amendment when we receive guidance from the IRS. We will monitor what your options are as anticipated IRS guidance for the QIP correction is released.
If you have any questions about the news shared above, or about how you can take advantage of it, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has touched so many lives, with both illnesses and hardships. In response to this crisis, our office is working remotely on all accounting and tax projects. The best method to contact us is to email us at [email protected]. We are focused on staying up to date on the tax, accounting and finance updates to assist everyone with these challenges. The final Coronavirus bill that was signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020 is H.R. 748 called the CARES Act. This passed bill was different than the Senate bill I wrote about on March 25, 2020. Some provisions are the same or similar.
Based on new information reviewed and the discussions with our clients, I’m providing an update.
Section 1102 Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPL):
This is a section 7(a) SBA loan
VA Comment: Supposed to be a streamline process. When I speak with bankers, they advise that they are still waiting for guidance from SBA. See attached the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loan Checklist.
Apparently, small business can apply starting April 3, 2020. However, banks need to be prepared. Most banks have sent out emails to their customer to begin compiling information regarding payroll, and health care costs.
Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply.
We are assuming the banks will want to look at and / or have the net self-employed income from your 2019 tax return or financial statements, and they may ask for 1099’s.
VA Update: Based on additional information received from tax discussions, it seems as if a taxpayer can apply for BOTH a PPL and an EIDL, however, if they apply for both, the EIDL can’t be used for payroll, and the PPL is supposed to be used for payroll.
Some businesses may need more money than just the PPL, so the EIDL will be required. Loans under $250,000 seems to require less information and no personal guarantee.
Government guarantees 100% of the loan through December 31, 2020
Guarantee drops to 75% for loans exceeding $150,000 and
85% for loans equal to or less than $150,000.
VA Comments: The Federal loan guarantee reduces at 12/31/2020, as I would expect that large portions of loans will be forgiven for payroll before 12/31/2020.
Eligible businesses are small business (500 or less of employees), nonprofit, veteran’s organization or tribal businesses.
Includes sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals.
VA Comment: Seems like most every business has been negatively affected from COVID-19 and if a business has payroll, they will apply for the PPL.
How to Calculate the Loan Amount / Maximum Loan Amount:
In summary, average monthly payroll from 2019 multiplied by 2.5.
Sum of average total monthly payment by the applicant for payroll costs incurred during the 1-year period before the date on which the loan is made.
VA Comment: The current PPL application, just asks for “payroll costs” and the form doesn’t provide a definition of “payroll costs”, so we are suggesting looking at the summary of the bill that defines “payroll costs”. However, we have seen the banks asking for supporting information about “payroll costs”. These items are:
2019 Payroll, including the last 12 months
2019 Employees – 1099’s for 2019 employees and independent contractors that would otherwise be an employee of your business (Note: Do NOT include 1099s for services)
Health care costs. All insurance premiums paid by the business owner under a group health plan.
Retirement – your company retirement plan funding paid by the company.
Some banks, like Bank of America, have stated that they are currently only going to provide PPL’s for customers that have deposit and lending relationships.
Payroll Costs as defined in the bill.
Payroll Costs Included:
Salary, wage, commission, or similar compensation (not to exceed $100,000. So, if an employee earns $150,000 a year, the company can only use $100,000 a year for the calculation.)
Payment of cash tip or equivalent
Payment for vacation, parental family, medical or sick leave
Allowance for dismissal or separation
Payment required for the provision of group health care benefits including insurance premiums.
Payment of any retirement benefits; or
Payment of State or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees and
Payroll can’t exceed more than $100,000 a year.
Self-employed , Sole Proprietor.
The sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment that isn’t more then $100,000.
VA Comments: If you’re self-employed and you pay yourself with draws, then the banks will probably want to see 2019 1099-MISC and various expenses from your business. If you have employees, then you would calculate as discussed above.
Excluded Payroll Costs:
An annual salary over $100,000 / year.
If a seasonal employer, there is an alternative calculation for an average 12-week period from February 15, 2019 and ending June 30, 2019.
Multiplied by 2.5. NOT to Exceed $10MM
VA Example: If average monthly payroll was $100,000, then multiple by 2.5 = $250,000.
If the business was not in business from February 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019, there is another calculation.
VA Comment: This loan calculation isn’t as rich as the senate proposed bill which was multiplied by 4. Also, the loan doesn’t seem to include payroll taxes for the employee or employer, so the loan seems to be just the net payroll. Not sure this will be a large enough loan for some small business.
Waives affiliation rules for businesses in hospitality and restaurant industries franchise.
VA Comment: This means that restaurant chains that have over 500 employees can treat each location has an individual borrow and they don’t need to consolidate.
Defines covered loan period as beginning on February 15, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2020.
Established the maximum 7(a) loan amount to $10MM through December 31, 2020 and provides a formula by which the loan amount is tied to payroll costs incurred by the business to determine the size of the loan.
Allowable use of the loan includes payroll support, such as employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments.
Provides delegated authority which is the ability for lenders to make determination on borrowers eligibility and creditworthiness without going through all SBA’s channels to all current 7(a) lenders who make these loans to small business and provides the same authority to lenders who join the program and make these loans.
Requires eligible borrowers to make a good faith certification that the loan is necessary due to the uncertainty of current economic conditions caused by COVID -19; they will use the funds to retain workers and maintain payroll. Lease and utility payments; and are not receiving duplicate funds for the same uses from another SBA program.
Waives both borrower and lender fees for participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Waives the credit elsewhere test for funds provided under this program.
Waives collateral and personal guarantee requirements under this program.
Any portion of the loan Not used for forgiveness purposes, the remaining loan balance will have a maturity of not more than 10 years, and the guarantee for that portion of the loan will remain intact.
Maximum interest rate will be 4%.
No prepayment fees.
Allows complete deferment of 7(a) loan payments for at least six months and no more than a year.
Increases SBA Express loan from $350,000 to $1MM through December 31, 2020.
If head count reduces 25% or more, it will hurt the loan forgiveness, or make the loan not forgiven at all.
Section 1106 Loan Forgiveness:
Borrower shall be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent by borrower during an 8 week period after the origination date of the loan on payroll costs, interest payment on any mortgage incurred prior to February 15, 2020, payment of rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020, and payment on any utility for which service began before February 15, 2020.
The loan forgiveness seems to be only for PPL / PPP loans.
Amount forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan.
Eligible payroll costs do not include compensation above $100,000 in wages.
The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year and reduced by the reduction in pay of any employee beyond 25% of their prior year compensation.
Loan forgiveness / cancellation will not be included in borrower’s taxable income.
VA Update: We are reading that Treasury is now stating that 75% or more of the loan forgiveness needs to be for payroll. Thus, no more than 25% of the loan forgiveness can be for non-payroll.
Provides an advance of $10,000 to small business and non-profits that apply for SBA EIDL loans within three days of applying for the loan.
Expands eligibility for access to EIDL’s to include tribal business, cooperatives and ESOP’s with fewer than 500 employees or any individual operating as a sole proprietor or independent contractor during the covered period (January 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Private non-profits are also eligible for both grants and EIDL’s.
EIDL’s are loans up to $2MM that carry interest rates up to 3.75% for companies and up to 2.75% for nonprofits as well as principal and interest deferment up to 4 years.
The loans may be used for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.
The EIDL grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL.
It may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruption or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.
VA Update: If a business needs more money than they can get from the PPL, then they can apply for an EIDL for items other than payroll which the PPL would be used for.
Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on January 31, 2020.
The business that received an EIDL between January 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020 as a result of COVID-19 disaster declaration, is eligible to apply for a PPP loan, or the business may refinance their EIDL into a PPP loan.
Typically, the $10,000 grant would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the payroll protection plan.
Waived personal guarantee on advances and loans not exceeding $200,000.
The approval should be based on solely on the credit score of the applicant and no requirement for tax returns or tax return transcripts.
VA Update: For loans over $250,000, there seems to be more underwriting requirements. May require financial statements, and tax returns. However, we haven’t heard or seen if these rules are being applied.
Most of the financial assistance offered through the first bill called, HR 6201, FAMILIES FIRST CORONRAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT (discussed on our previous memo), and the CARES Act S. 3548 which concluded as HR 748 was included in my discussion below.
The tax and financial laws are changing daily, therefore I marked this memo with “V4” (version 4) on my memo above. There are various other social service updates, but our memos will focus mainly on finance, business and tax updates.
Highlights of the PROPOSED SENATE BILL S 3548, CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF AND ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT OR THE CARES ACT. March 19, 2020. This bill has NOT been passed in the Senate at this time, so it can change, and then the bill would need to go to the House and to the President. You can view the at https://www.congress.gov, search for HR 748.
Businesses & Other Employers:
Retention payroll tax credit for eligible employers that continue to pay employee wages while their operations are fully or partially suspended as a result of certain COVID-19 related government orders. A 50% refundable payroll tax credit on wages paid up to $10,000 during the crisis. The credit is available for employees retained by not currently working due to the crises for firms with more than 100 employees and for all employee wages for firms with 100 or fewer employees.
Delayed Employer-side Social Security payroll tax payments may be delayed until January 1, 2021 with 50% owned on December 31, 2021 and the other half due on December 31, 2022. Deferral of employer portion of payments for certain payroll taxes.
Net Operating Losses: Modification of net operating loss (NOL) and limitation rules. Will allow most NOL’s incurred in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to carry them back for refunds to 5 years. This carry back law was exempt for tax years beginning 2018 under the TCJA, but the CARE Act reverses it. Due to this financial crisis they are allowing NOL carry backs for these periods to be carried back. The Act also removed the 80% utilization of NOL’s for a carry forward, meaning an NOL could only reduce taxable income by 80%.
Business Interest Deduction: Modification of the deduction limitation on business interest rules of IRC section 163(j). The law temporarily changes the business interest deduction limit from 30% to 50% for tax years 2019 and 2020.
Qualified improvement property technical correction, allowing qualifying interior improvements of buildings to be immediately expensed (bonus depreciation or Section 179) rather than depreciated over 15 years for 2018 and future.
Payroll tax credit for eligible employers up to 50% refundable payroll tax credit on wages paid up to $10,000 during the crisis. The credit would be available to employers whose business were disrupted and retained employees, but they were not able to work. Employers with more than 100 employees and under 100 employees have slightly different calculations.
Business Loss Limitation Revision: For years after 12/31/2017, the business loss limitation is suspended. Previously, business losses couldn’t be used to offset non-business income (like wages, investment income) over $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for married filing jointly.
VA Comments: For individuals that have business losses, and perhaps real estate losses from being a real estate professional, this law change may make it desirable to amend the 2018 tax return.
Recovery rebates of up to $1,200 for single and $2,400 for married couples filing jointly, plus $500 per qualifying child. Phaseouts of the rebates are based on adjusted gross income (AGI) starting at $75k for single, and $150k for married couples.
The rebates phase out at $99,999 for single and $199,000.
Expansion of unemployment benefits, including self-employed, and gig-economy workers. Unemployment insurance to include an additional $600 / week for an additional 13 weeks.
Waiver of the 10% penalty for COVID-19 related early distributions from IRAs, 401K and other retirement plans. However, taxability of the distribution will need to be considered.
Exclusion of certain employer payments of student loans up to $5,250 will not be treated as taxable income to the employee.
Temporary Relief Federal Student Loan: Deferral of student loan payments on principal and interest for 6 months through September 30, 2020.
Forbearance of Residential Mortgage Loan Payments (section 4023): Provides up to 90 days of forbearance for multifamily borrowers with a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan who have experienced a financial hardship. Borrowers receiving forbearance may not evict or charge late fees to tenants for the duration of the forbearance period.
Applicable mortgages include loans to real property designed for 5 or more families that are purchased, insured, or assisted by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or HUD.
Additional Information regarding HR 748 CARES ACT ,
Relief for Individuals, Families, and Businesses. Rebates and Other individual Provisions.
Eligible individuals shall be allowed as credit against the tax for the first taxable year beginning in 2020 an amount equal to the lesser of:
Net income tax liability, or
$1,200 ($2,400 in the case of joint returns)
The credit should not be less than $600
$500 per qualifying children
Eligible individuals are based on adjusted gross income (AGI) of
$75,000 and $150,000 in the case of a joint return. Once a taxpayer AGI is either $75k or $150k the credit begins to be reduced and phased out. The phase out is $99k and $198k.
Delay in filing deadlines. In the case for returns for tax year 2019, due dates for April 15, 2020, are delayed to July 15, 2020. This isn’t in the HR 748 bill, but it is noted in IRS Notice 2020-18. An extension is not required. There is an automatic extension till July 15, 2020. However, if the tax return can’t be filed by July 15, 2020, an extension will need to be filed.
This means that IRA, HAS and MSA contributions are extended to July 15, 2020 also.
Individual ES Payments: Different from the Senate bill, 1st quarter estimated tax payments are delayed and due on July 15, 2020. 2nd quarter estimated tax payments are still due on June 15, 2020. This is stated on IRS Notice 2020-18 and Notice 2020-20.
Retirement Accounts: Early withdrawal penalties under IRC section 72(t) which is typically 10% for Federal and then some states add a lower penalty are waived if the early distributions are $100,000 or under.
Amounts distributed may be paid back. There is also a provision that allows taxpayers that took early distributions to make one or more contributions over a three-year period to contribute up to the amount of distributions they took.
Income inclusion of premature distribution. A taxpayer can spread the taxability of the premature distribution over 3 years.
Loans from retirement plans: The bill allows for an increase in loans and not to be treated as distributions. The loan amount is increased from $50,000 to $100,000.
Loan repayments will be delayed by 1 year.
Charitable Contributions: The allowance to deduct more charitable donations have been increased for both individuals and Corporations.
VA Comments: Seems as if the individual 30% / 50% AGI limitation is temporary suspended. The 10% limitation for C Corporations seem to be increased to 25%.
Student Loan Temporary Relief: The bill states the Secretary shall suspend all payments due for loans under part D of title IV for Higher Education Act of 1965 for 3 months.
C Corporation estimated tax payments. Delay of estimated tax payments for Corporations. Like individuals, the required estimated tax payments for C Corporation is delayed till July 15, 2020.
Delay in Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes. The bill states that employers can delay payment of the employer portion of payroll taxes till December 31, 2021 for 50% of the deferral and the balance due on December 31, 2022. This also applies to the estimated payroll deposits.
VA Comment: If a small business is going to request and receive a loan for payroll and overhead, this deferral might not be necessary. If a defer is desired, a liability should be posted on the companies’ financial statements.
Net Operating Loss (NOL) Carrybacks: The NOL carry back was removed for tax years after 12/31/2017. This bill will allow NOL’s generated from year 2018, 2019, and 2020 to carry back and request a refund for up to a 5 year carry back period. The 80% limitation is removed also.
VA Comment: If you incurred a loss in 2018 or 2019, or expect a loss in 2020, please get us the information and quickly as possible so we can begin preparation of a NOL carryback. If your tax return had qualified improvement property and the return couldn’t take the deduction, this new bill corrects that prior error and that deduction might generate a taxable loss for a NOL carryback.
A taxpayer may elect out of the 5-year NOL carry back. If elected, it can’t be changed. It is irrevocable.
VA Comment: For tax returns with NOL’s for 2018 or 2019 that have been filed, the return needs to be amended within 120 days from the enactment of this bill regarding the NOL carryback provision.
Loss limitation for taxpayers other than Corporations: IRC section 461(l)(2) was added by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and was effective for tax years 2018 to 2025 which disallowed any excess business loss for a non-corporate taxpayer. Generally, the law prohibited business losses to only be deducted against no more than $250,000 / $500,000 of non-business income. Any non-deductible business loss was carried forward. The bill removes those limits from being implemented till December 31, 2020 (previously applied on December 31, 2017).
VA Comment: We know this loss limitation occurred with some of our clients, and we will have to review affected taxpayers to ask them if they want us to amend their tax returns. The IRS will need to provide guidance on the amendment process.
Interest Deduction Limitation: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 enacted an interest deduction limitation. For taxpayers where it was applicable, taxpayers with gross sales over $25MM, the interest deduction was limited to 30% of the adjusted taxable income. The bill now increases the limitation amount for 30% to 50% for tax years 2019 and 2020.
VA Comment: This means a taxpayer that this limitation would apply to will be allowed more of an interest deduction.
Technical correction for qualified Improvement Property: This bill corrected a prior law error.
The Tax Cuts & Job Act (TCJA) removed investment barriers by allowing businesses to immediately deduct the cost of certain investments under a provision called 100% bonus depreciation.
Due to legislative oversight, the law accidentally excluded improvements property to be eligible from 100% bonus depreciation.
This bill corrects this error and thus the improvements would be eligible for bonus depreciation and should make this asset a 15-year recovery period.
Foreign controlled corporation/shareholder:
The bill is changing the US owned foreign corporation from 10% to 50%.
Limitation of Paid Leave: Section 110(b)(2)(B) of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is providing limitation. An employer shall not be required to pay more than $200 per day and a $10,000 in aggregate for each employee for paid leave under this section.
Lost Income/ Business Interruption insurance coverage: Our firm and clients have reviewed our insurance policies, and considered filing a claim for lost income or additional expense base on “Civil Authority”, in which the argument is that since the state government demanded the residents to stay at home, there has been some business interruption. In conversations with insurance brokers that the coverage is excluded for a “virus”. However, the argument is that the company didn’t close their business for a virus, as they probably didn’t close during influenza season, they closed because of the state government made a demand. As one can guess, lawsuits are already starting, so we are receiving information that if a business has lost of income or business interruption coverage, review your policy and consider filing a claim.
Please read our earlier memos dated March 17, 2020, March 25, 2020, and March 30, 2020, which were Versions 1 through 3. If you can’t find it, please contact us at [email protected] to request a copy or you can read it on our website at www.verticaladvisors.com under blogs.
Keep sending us your tax information, as we still need to prepare all the returns before the 9/15/2020 and 10/15/2020 due dates.
April 15, 2020 due dates have been delayed to July 15, 2020. If you need more time after that, and extension will need to be filed.
2019 taxes are due July 15, 2020, and 1st quarter estimated tax payments are due July 15, 2020. 2nd quarter ES payments are still due June 15, 2020.
Consider amending 2018 and/or 2019 tax returns for the following:
NOL’s: Now NOL’s from 2018 – 2020 can be carried back up to 5 years.
VA Comment: The election to file a NOL for a 2018 and / or a tax return already filed much be by the extended due date of the 2019 tax return. So, if a 2018 tax return needs to be filed to benefit from the 2018 NOL, that return needs to be prepared and filed before the 2019 tax return if filed.
Interest deduction limitations
Business loss limitations
Lastly, and as always, please contact us if you need assistance or have any questions. Contact us at [email protected]
We provide services to a variety of industries, clients operating in multiple states, and internationally. A client doesn’t have to reside in Southern California for us to be effective. With our technology and experience, we are able to assist clients located throughout the United States.