Tag Archives: small business

Small Business Expect Revenue to Grow in 2021

Well over half of small businesses expect their revenue to increase over the next 12 months. This compares to fall of 2020, when just 34% of small business owners were confident of increasing revenue. This positive statistic about the outlook of small businesses after the unprecedented disruption of 2020 and early 2021, was unveiled by the Bank of America.

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Bank of American Small Business Owner Report 2021

Bank of America’s 2021 Small Business Report was based on a survey of nearly 1,000 small business owners. The survey was conducted in March 2021. It reveals that economic confidence and business outlook is witnessing a rebound. 56% of participants say they are confident the local economy will improve, which is a significant rise from 39% last fall. Half of respondents anticipate the national economy will expand, up from 37% in fall 2020.

Small Business Planning on Hiring in Forthcoming Months

Such is the confidence among small business that 21% plan to hire in coming months, a 7% rise from fall 2020. These heartening figures confirm just how much the small business community is progressing as the nation continues to lift lockdown restrictions. The research also shows what small businesses are doing to help aid recovery. 62% say they have been building a digital strategy, and 30% have been accepting forms of cashless payments. The Bank of America’s report provides important insight into strategies small businesses are adapting to pave the way for a rebound.

The Backbone of the US Economy

Talking about the resilience of small business and the moves they are taking to secure recovery, Sharon Miller, head of Small Business at the Bank of America commented:

“Small business owners have showed time and again during the pandemic that they are the resilient backbone of our economy and of local communities throughout the country. From providing essential services to revamping operating models, I am inspired by the dedication and passion of entrepreneurs across the country and encouraged to see their renewed optimism about the future of their businesses.”

“Almost 80% of those surveyed say a widely available vaccine and/or herd immunity in their community will play a pivotal role in bringing business back to pre-pandemic levels,” Miller continued.

Leading Concerns

The research also looked at the leading concerns small businesses are facing. The political environment and health care costs are among the top concerns, with 71% and 64% reporting such concerns, respectively. These figures are consistent with those reported in the fall of 2020. Worries that have witnessed a drop in prevalence since last fall are those about the pandemic. 55% of those surveyed in the last Bank of America report highlighted such concerns, down from 75% last fall. Fears about consumer spending has also dropped 75% last fall to 55%.

Steps to Aid Recovery

The report also explores the steps small business owners are taking to help aid recovery. It found that 62% of business owners have adopted new digital tools and strategies to optimize operations in response to the pandemic. Such digital initiatives include 47% of small businesses interacting with customers virtually, and 36% interacting with employees virtually. 30% have started accepting digital payments, and 26% have enhanced their social media presence. While the report presents a positive picture of small businesses gathering momentum after months of hardship, it confirms the value of taking savvy steps to gain momentum and boost revenue, such as taking operations online.

Why Your Business Should Have an Active Social Media Presence

Free Vector | Illustration of social media marketing app

Did you know that the ad spend on Facebook grew by almost 30% in 2020? According to the same report, the trend indicated that business budgets were tightened. However, more budget was allocated to digital channels and social media. This is also the expected trend for 2021. If you’re still not investing in social media marketing, it’s time to get on board with the trends. Here are benefits you can get from it:

Boost Brand Awareness

One of the biggest advantages of having an active social media is the increase in brand awareness. Social media allows businesses a platform to reach out to users who may not have heard of them before. Social media also allows you to enable sending targeting ads. When you send relevant ads based on a user’s preferences, they are more likely to be interested in your content. This feature also allows you to target ads based on different criteria which may include location, gender, age, etc.

Increase Website Traffic and Leads

As more people see what you have to offer, you are likely to see an increase in website traffic. Since you are reaching out to targeted audience, you are also likely to see more traffic coming from qualified leads. This may lead to a boost in lead generation efforts. Not only that, you’re also likely to see a boost in average time spent on a website.

Pro Tip: To keep track of your leads coming from different platforms, use an advanced program specially designed for lead generation.

Improve your Brand Recall

A memorable social media marketing campaign can go a long way in creating a lasting impression in front of your target audience. It’s okay if users don’t purchase your product right away. If users can remember your brand easily, you can move them down the sales funnel with a few more touchpoints. Social media helps you boost your visibility and improve your ad recall. If you run a social media campaign for a long time, you can make sure that you are reaching out to more people and improving their ability to recognize your brand.

Get More Brand Credibility

Social media allows you to work with influencers to promote your products on different channels. Not only can you boost your reach and get more engagement, but you can also boost your brand credibility. Social media influencers work hard to build relationships with their followers.  Because of their expertise, they hold credibility in their field and therefore, their followers wait for their recommendations and advice. In addition, other sponsored content can also help you establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry.

Get more Engagement

When you upload content on social media that resonates with your audience, they are likely to respond to it. You’ll get more likes, shares, and comments if the content strikes a chord with them. This can result in a boost in engagement. You can also do things like host contests, create polls, and publish live videos to keep your audience entertained. These things matter because  in order to turn a prospect into a customer, you need to keep them engaged. It’s a stepping stone in the right direction.

Get Detailed Customer Insights

One of the biggest advantages of advertising through social media is that you can get access to customer insight. All social media platforms collect user data. From user insights to demographics, these platforms record all kinds of behavioral data. When you run an ad campaign, you can also see how people are engaging with your content. This data can help you figure out which content your audience resonates with the most. Based on that, you can create a more robust content and marketing strategy.

This data can help you learn how to get the most out of your ad spend. In the long run, it can help your business save money and get the most out of your budget through campaign optimization. Once you have data on what works, you can leverage retargeting to follow up multiple times with users who may be interested in your brand. This, in turn, can help you boost your conversion rate.

Conclusion

Regardless of your industry or business size, social media can be a powerful tool to grow your business. It can help you get more visibility, reach out to a broader audience, and generate more qualified leads. Not only can it help you increase your sales and revenue, it can also help you create more cost-effective campaigns. You can leverage social media to gain more credibility and improve your brand recall value. By tracking your campaign results, you can optimize future social media campaigns for better results. Don’t miss out on the multiple benefits social media can offer.

IRS Expected to Audit More Small Businesses in 2021

After years of low examination rates, the IRS announced it will increase audits of small businesses by 50 %. This news comes during a time when complex tax law changes and economic stimulus programs, in response to COVID-19, have made businesses’ books even more complicated than usual.

Tax Audit Vector Images (over 3,100)

The Illinois CPA Society cautions this could lead to audits and enforcement actions against many different businesses. These businesses range from long-held family-owned operations to the many online businesses launched as the pandemic drags on.

With the IRS planning to hire more specialized auditors to begin strengthening its enforcement efforts, ICPAS offers the following tips to safeguard your business interests and help avoid an audit:

Keep Clear Records

Accurately and honestly reporting all income, deductions, credits, expenses, and other figures can help keep an audit at bay. Make sure you have adequate documentation to support the figures reported on your business’ information return. This will make your individual tax return less likely to be have errors or be audited.

Mind your deductions

Unusual itemized deductions raise red flags for auditors, especially now that most taxpayers only claim the standard deduction. If your small business is driving you to seek unique deductions or report business losses, enlist the help of a CPA to guide you. Reporting losses for three years or more could increase your risk of an examination into whether you’re actually in business.

Make your estimated tax payments

If you anticipate owing more than $500 in taxes for your business entity throughout the year, you should be making quarterly estimated tax payments. Failing to make these payments raises your risk of an audit and/or penalties.

Go Digital

Today’s bookkeeping software utilizes tools to keep your records accurate and secure. This helps your CPA electronically prepare and file your tax returns—the best method for preventing the filing of erroneous returns that might trigger an audit.

Read up on the rules

Since many small businesses are formed as partnerships, it’s important to determine if yours is subject to the Centralized Partnership Audit Regime, which dramatically changed IRS partnership audit procedures.

5 WAYS TO GIVE BACK ON A BUDGET: GIVING SEASON FOR BUSINESSES

1. Collaborate with a Charity

There are several different ways giving businesses can collaborate with charities. Perhaps the most public way is to donate a portion of sales to a charitable organization. Also, you can prompt buyers to round up to the nearest dollar or make a larger donation at checkout. This puts your partnership with the organization square in front of your customers. This spreads awareness around not only a cause important to the business but sharing the mission of the specific organization.

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2. Reward Referrals with Donations

Incorporating donations into a referral program is a great way to encourage engagement among current customers. This is in addition to giving back and boosting sales. For example, small business owners can set up a referral program to support local schools. Customers can pick a local school to receive a donation or new school supplies with every successful referral.

3. Take a Day off to Volunteer Together

There is evidence to support that volunteering lowers stress and helps us live longer. However, finding time to volunteer is difficult no matter how motivated we are.

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4. Food and Clothing Drive

An alternative to taking time away from work, that also engages employees, is organizing a food and clothing drive. A good way to bring in more goods is to set up a friendly competition, breaking staff up into multiple teams. A prize for the winning team is letting them pick a charitable organization that the business will make a donation to.

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5. Pro-Bono Work

Finally, business owners and their employees can give back to communities by offering their services to local organizations. For example, a small event planning firm can organize a silent auction, or a boutique ad agency can create an advertisement for a local charity. There are a multitude of ways to apply business skills to make an impact.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Update

If you received a PPP loan, please make sure you read the PPP Loan Forgiveness rules, and contact if you need assistance.  We felt the US Chamber of Commerce Guide was well written.  You can view it at https://www.uschamber.com/report/guide-ppp-loan-forgiveness

If you have questions, or need assistance with preparing for the loan forgiveness application, please contact us for assistance.

Update 4: Tax and Financial Update due to Coronavirus

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 advisors@verticaladvisors.com. 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.

  1. Section 1102 Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPL):
    1. This is a section 7(a) SBA loan
    2. 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.
    3. VA Update: look at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP–Fact-Sheet.pdf for information about the PPP loans.
      1. 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.
      2. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply.
        1. 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.
  1. 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.
    1. 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.
  2. Government guarantees 100% of the loan through December 31, 2020
    1. Guarantee drops to 75% for loans exceeding $150,000 and
    2. 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.
  1. Eligible businesses are small business (500 or less of employees), nonprofit, veteran’s organization or tribal businesses.
    1. Includes sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals.
  2. 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.

 

  1. How to Calculate the Loan Amount / Maximum Loan Amount:
    1. In summary, average monthly payroll from 2019 multiplied by 2.5.
    2. 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:
    1. 2019 Payroll, including the last 12 months
    2. 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)
    3. Health care costs. All insurance premiums paid by the business owner under a group health plan.
    4. Retirement – your company retirement plan funding paid by the company.
  1. 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.
  2. Payroll Costs as defined in the bill.
    1. Payroll Costs Included:
      1. 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.)
      2. Payment of cash tip or equivalent
  • Payment for vacation, parental family, medical or sick leave
  1. Allowance for dismissal or separation
  2. Payment required for the provision of group health care benefits including insurance premiums.
  3. Payment of any retirement benefits; or
  • Payment of State or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees and
    1. Payroll can’t exceed more than $100,000 a year.
  • Self-employed , Sole Proprietor.
    1. 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.
    2. 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. 
  1. Excluded Payroll Costs:
    1. An annual salary over $100,000 / year.
    2. Payroll taxes
  2. If a seasonal employer, there is an alternative calculation for an average 12-week period from February 15, 2019 and ending June 30, 2019.
  3. Multiplied by 2.5. NOT to Exceed $10MM
  4. VA Example: If average monthly payroll was $100,000, then multiple by 2.5 = $250,000.
  5. If the business was not in business from February 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019, there is another calculation.
  6. 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. 

 

 

  1. Waives affiliation rules for businesses in hospitality and restaurant industries franchise.
    1. 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.
  2. Defines covered loan period as beginning on February 15, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2020.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Waives both borrower and lender fees for participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  8. Waives the credit elsewhere test for funds provided under this program.
  9. Waives collateral and personal guarantee requirements under this program.
  10. 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.
  11. Maximum interest rate will be 4%.
  12. No prepayment fees.
  13. Allows complete deferment of 7(a) loan payments for at least six months and no more than a year.
  14. Increases SBA Express loan from $350,000 to $1MM through December 31, 2020.
  15. If head count reduces 25% or more, it will hurt the loan forgiveness, or make the loan not forgiven at all.

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  1. Section 1106 Loan Forgiveness:
    1. 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.
    2. The loan forgiveness seems to be only for PPL / PPP loans.
    3. Amount forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan.
    4. Eligible payroll costs do not include compensation above $100,000 in wages.
    5. 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.
    6. Loan forgiveness / cancellation will not be included in borrower’s taxable income.
    7. 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.
  2. Section 1110 Emergency EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) Grant:
    1. Allocated $10B in funding for EIDL.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. The loans may be used for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.
    6. The EIDL grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL.
    7. 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.
      1. 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.
    8. Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on January 31, 2020.
    9. 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.
    10. Typically, the $10,000 grant would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the payroll protection plan.
    11. Waived personal guarantee on advances and loans not exceeding $200,000.
    12. The approval should be based on solely on the credit score of the applicant and no requirement for tax returns or tax return transcripts.
    13. 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.

  1. 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.
    1. Businesses & Other Employers:
      1. 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.

 

United States Senate - Wikipedia

  1. 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.
  2. 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%.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
    1. 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. 

 

 

  1. Individuals:
    1. 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.
      1. The rebates phase out at $99,999 for single and $199,000.
    2. Expansion of unemployment benefits, including self-employed, and gig-economy workers. Unemployment insurance to include an additional $600 / week for an additional 13 weeks.
    3. 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.
    4. Exclusion of certain employer payments of student loans up to $5,250 will not be treated as taxable income to the employee.
    5. Temporary Relief Federal Student Loan: Deferral of student loan payments on principal and interest for 6 months through September 30, 2020.
  2. Other Items:
    1. 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.
      1. 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.

 

The CARES Act Has Passed: Here Are The Highlights

  1. Additional Information regarding HR 748 CARES ACT ,
    1. Relief for Individuals, Families, and Businesses. Rebates and Other individual Provisions.
      1. 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:
        1. Net income tax liability, or
        2. $1,200 ($2,400 in the case of joint returns)
          1. The credit should not be less than $600
          2. $500 per qualifying children
        3. Eligible individuals are based on adjusted gross income (AGI) of
          1. $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.
        4. 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.
          1. This means that IRA, HAS and MSA contributions are extended to July 15, 2020 also.
        5. 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.
          1. You can read about these due date extensions at:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/filing-and-payment-deadlines-questions-and-answers

  1. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. Income inclusion of premature distribution. A taxpayer can spread the taxability of the premature distribution over 3 years.
  2. 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.
    1. Loan repayments will be delayed by 1 year.
  3. Charitable Contributions: The allowance to deduct more charitable donations have been increased for both individuals and Corporations.
    1. 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%.   
  4. 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.
  1. Business Provisions:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
      1. 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.
    3. 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.
      1. 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. 
    4. A taxpayer may elect out of the 5-year NOL carry back. If elected, it can’t be changed. It is irrevocable.
      1. 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.
    5. 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).
      1. 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.
    6. 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.
      1. VA Comment: This means a taxpayer that this limitation would apply to will be allowed more of an interest deduction.
    7. Technical correction for qualified Improvement Property: This bill corrected a prior law error.
      1. 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.
      2. Due to legislative oversight, the law accidentally excluded improvements property to be eligible from 100% bonus depreciation.
      3. 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.
    8. Foreign controlled corporation/shareholder:
      1. The bill is changing the US owned foreign corporation from 10% to 50%.
    9. 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.
  • Other Considerations:
    1. 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.
    2. You can review a lawsuit regarding this at https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2020/03/19/561638.htm

 

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 advisors@verticaladvisors.com to request a copy or you can read it on our website at www.verticaladvisors.com under blogs.

Action Items:

  1. Get your information ready for a loan if you need it. We are expecting PPL loans to be processed quicker than other SBA loans. However, we don’t know yet. See the US Chamber of Commerce publication at https://www.google.com/search?q=us+chamber+of+commerce+coronavirus+emergency+loans&oq=us+chamber+of+&aqs=chrome.5.0l2j69i59j69i57j0l3j69i60.11468j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Consider amending 2018 and/or 2019 tax returns for the following:
    1. NOL’s: Now NOL’s from 2018 – 2020 can be carried back up to 5 years.
      1. 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.
    2. Interest deduction limitations
    3. Business loss limitations

Lastly, and as always, please contact us if you need assistance or have any questions.  Contact us at advisors@verticaladvisors.com

Update 3: Tax and Financial Update Due to Coronavirus

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 advisors@verticaladvisors.com. 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 provision is the same or similar.

The Senate bill S. 3548 turned into H.R. 748, and this bill was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020.  There have been some minor changes from the S.3548 bill, so I’ll discuss the highlights of the changes below.

 

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  1. Section 1102 Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP):
    1. This is a section 7(a) SBA loan
    2. 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.
    3. Government guarantees 100% of the loan through December 31, 2020
      1. Guarantee drops to 75% for loans exceeding $150,000 and
      2. 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. 
  1. Eligible businesses are small business (500 or less of employees), nonprofit, veteran’s organization or tribal businesses.
    1. Includes sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals.

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  1. How to Calculate the Loan Amount / Maximum Loan Amount:
    1. In Summary, average monthly payroll from 2019 multiplied by 2.5.
    2. 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.
      1. Payroll Costs as defined in the bill.
        1. Payroll Costs Included:
          1. Salary, wage, commission, or similar compensation
          2. Payment of cash tip or equivalent
  • Payment for vacation, parental family, medical or sick leave
  1. Allowance for dismissal or separation
  2. Payment required for the provision of group health care benefits including insurance premiums.
  3. Payment of any retirement benefits; or
  • Payment of State or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees and
    1. Payroll can’t exceed more than $100,000 a year.
  • Self-employed , Sole Proprietor.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.

Payroll free stock photos - StockFreeImages 

  1. Excluded Payroll Costs:
    1. An annual salary over $100,000 / year.
    2. Payroll taxes
  2. If a seasonal employer, there is an alternative calculation for an average 12-week period from February 15, 2019 and ending June 30, 2019.
  3. Multiplied by 2.5. NOT to Exceed $10MM
  4. VA Example: If average monthly payroll was $100,000, then multiple by 2.5 = $250,000.
  5. If the business was not in business from February 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019, there is another calculation.
  6. 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. 
  1. Waives affiliation rules for businesses in hospitality and restaurant industries franchise.
    1. 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.
  2. Defines covered loan period as beginning on February 15, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2020.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 duplicative funds for the same uses from another SBA program.
  7. Waives both borrower and lender fees for participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  8. Waives the credit elsewhere test for funds provided under this program.
  9. Waives collateral and personal guarantee requirements under this program.
  10. 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.
  11. Maximum interest rate will be 4%.
  12. No prepayment fees.
  13. Allows complete deferment of 7(a) loan payments for at least six months and no more than a year.
  14. Increases SBA Express loan from $350,000 to $1MM through December 31, 2020.
  1. Section 1106 Loan Forgiveness:
    1. 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.
    2. The loan forgiveness seems to be only for PPL / PPP loans.
    3. Amount forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan.
    4. Eligible payroll costs do not include compensation above $100,000 in wages.
    5. 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.
    6. Loan forgiveness / cancellation will not be included in borrower’s taxable income.

 

  1. Section 1110 Emergency EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) Grant:
    1. Allocated $10B in funding for EIDL.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. The loans may be used for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.
    6. The EIDL grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL.
    7. 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.
    8. Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on January 31, 2020.
    9. 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.
    10. Typically, the $10,000 grant would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the payroll protection plan.
    11. Waived personal guarantee on advances and loans not exceeding $200,000.
    12. The approval should be based on solely on the credit score of the applicant and no requirement for tax returns or tax return transcripts.

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 “V3” (version 3) on my memo above. There are various other social service updates, but our memos will focus mainly on finance, business and tax updates.

  1. 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.

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    1. Businesses & Other Employers:
      1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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%.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
    1. 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. 

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  1. Individuals:
    1. 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.
      1. The rebates phase out at $99,999 for single and $199,000.
    2. Expansion of unemployment benefits, including self-employed, and gig-economy workers. Unemployment insurance to include an additional $600 / week for an additional 13 weeks.
    3. 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.
    4. Exclusion of certain employer payments of student loans up to $5,250 will not be treated as taxable income to the employee.
    5. Temporary Relief Federal Student Loan: Deferral of student loan payments on principal and interest for 6 months through September 30, 2020.
  2. Other Items:
    1. 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.
      1. 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.

 

  1. Additional Information regarding HR 748 CARES ACT ,
    1. Relief for Individuals, Families, and Businesses. Rebates and Other individual Provisions.
      1. 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:
        1. Net income tax liability, or
        2. $1,200 ($2,400 in the case of joint returns)
          1. The credit should not be less than $600
          2. $500 per qualifying children
        3. Eligible individuals are based on adjusted gross income (AGI) of
          1. $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.
        4. 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.
          1. This means that IRA, HAS and MSA contributions are extended to July 15, 2020 also.
        5. 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.
          1. You can read about these due date extensions at:

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/filing-and-payment-deadlines-questions-and-answers

  1. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. Income inclusion of premature distribution. A taxpayer can spread the taxability of the premature distribution over 3 years.
  2. 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.
    1. Loan repayments will be delayed by 1 year.
  3. Charitable Contributions: The allowance to deduct more charitable donations have been increased for both individuals and Corporations.
    1. 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%.   
  4. 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.

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  1. Business Provisions:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
      1. 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.
    3. 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.
      1. 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. 
    4. A taxpayer may elect out of the 5-year NOL carry back. If elected, it can’t be changed. It is irrevocable.
      1. 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.
    5. 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).
      1. 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.
    6. 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.
      1. VA Comment: This means a taxpayer that this limitation would apply to will be allowed more of an interest deduction.
    7. Technical correction for qualified Improvement Property: This bill corrected a prior law error.
      1. 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.
      2. Due to legislative oversight, the law accidentally excluded improvements property to be eligible from 100% bonus depreciation.
      3. 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.
    8. Foreign controlled corporation/shareholder:
      1. The bill is changing the US owned foreign corporation from 10% to 50%.
    9. 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.

Please read our memo dated March 17, 2020 and March 35, 2020 which were Versions 1 and 2. If you can’t find it, please contact us at advisors@verticaladvisors.com to request a copy or you can read it on our website at www.verticaladvisors.com under blogs.

Action Items:

  1. Get your information ready for a loan if you need it. We are expecting PPL loans to be processed quicker than other SBA loans. However, we don’t know yet. See the US Chamber of Commerce publication attached. If you need assistance, please contact us.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Consider amending 2018 and/or 2019 tax returns for the following:
    1. NOL’s: Now NOL’s from 2018 – 2020 can be carried back up to 5 years.
      1. 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.
    2. Interest deduction limitations
    3. Business loss limitations

 

Lastly, and as always, please contact us if you need assistance or have any questions. 

Update 2: Tax and Financial Updates due to Coronavirus

Coronavirus - Harford County Health

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 advisors@verticaladvisors.com. We are focused on staying up to date on the tax, accounting and finance updates to assist everyone with these challenges. Things are changing hourly, and discussions on the news don’t completely explain the law as written. So, we are explaining in as much detail as we can for the moment. Our focus on this memo are certain provisions we feel are important to our clients.

I read on the Wall Street Journal app this morning at 8:00 a.m. PST today, March 26, 2020, that the Senate passed Senate bill S.3548, the CARES Act. However, when I looked for the formal acknowledgement on www.congress.gov at 3:30 p.m. PST on March 26, 2020, the status doesn’t say it was passed. So, my discussions are based on the actual bill text that is assumed to be passed by the Senate.

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 is expected to pass the senate, the house and be signed by the president have financial and accounting information requirements necessary for the financial assistance. Accordingly, we are available to assist any client in the SBA application process for financial assistance.

The tax and financial laws are changing daily, therefore I marked this memo with “V2” (version 2) on my memo above. There are various other social service updates, but our memos will focus mainly on finance, business and tax updates.

Congress Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

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 introduced bill at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548

Business images · Pexels · Free Stock Photos

    1. Businesses & Other Employers:
      1. Retention 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.
      2. Deferral of employer portion of payments for certain payroll taxes.
      3. Modification of net operating loss (NOL) and limitation rules. Will allow some NOL’s incurred in 2018, 2019, and 20120 to carry them back for refunds to 5 years. This carry back law was exempt for tax years beginning 2018 under the new tax laws that Trump and Congress enacted. Due to this financial crisis they are not allowing NOL carry backs for these periods to be carried back.
      4. Modification of the deduction limitation on business interest rules of IRC section 163(j).
      5. Qualified improvement property technical correction, allowing qualifying interior improvements of buildings to be immediately expenses rather than depreciated over 15 years.
      6. 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.
      7. Expansion of the ways the SBA can help small business.
        1. Loans for small employers with 500 employers or less, including non-profits would be eligible to apply for loans. The size of the loan would be tied to the applicant’s average monthly payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities payment and other debt obligations over the previous year.
        2. The portion of the loan used to cover payroll and payments on pre-existing debt would be forgiven.
        3. Loans are supposed to be streamlined with SBA, and SBA approved banks.
        4. If a business doesn’t have payroll, or not a large amount of payroll, SBA will expand loans for:
          1. Payroll, supply chain disruption, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations.
          2. SBA express loans would be increased from $350k to $1MM.

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  1. Individuals:
    1. 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.
    2. Expansion of unemployment benefits, including self-employed, and gig-economy workers.
    3. 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.
    4. Exclusion of certain employer payments of student loans.

 

Additional Information regarding 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 introduced bill at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548 . These additional steps can cause other changes.  However, based on the proposed S 3548 bill, I’m providing some additional details listed below:

    1. Division A – Small Business Interruption Loans
      1. SBA 7(a) Loan Program
        1. This is the most popular loan program with the SBA for small business.
        2. Covered period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020.
        3. Listening to Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin on March 25, 2020, he stated he expects the loans to be processed by all FDIC banks in a simple format and expect loans to be processed in a day. That would be wonderful.
          1. He did state that they expect to have the money and process ready to provide the funds by 3 weeks which would be around April 15, 2020, but it depends on Congress, and a lot of moving parts.
          2. Secretary of the Treasury also stated the following:
            1. The loans are supposed to be for 8 weeks of payroll, and overhead.
              1. VA Comment: We need to get details on what is included in payroll and overhead, but the Secretary’s discussion seems prudent. However, the proposed S.3548 bill states to take the average monthly payroll for the prior year, plus included overhead and multiple by 4. Can’t exceed $10MM. So, I don’t read the 8 weeks of payroll. Perhaps that was his quick explanation.
            2. This part of the law is for companies with no more than 500 employees.
            3. The maximum loan amount would be the lesser of:
            4. The average total monthly payments for payroll, mortgage payments, rents payments and payments on any other debt obligations incurred during the 1 year period before the date on which the loan is made, except if the employer is seasonal, then they would use the average monthly payments between March 1, 2019 and ending June 20, 2019
              1. Then multiple by 4.
              2. or;$10,000,000.
                1. VA Comment: If you are considering requesting financial relief, then I recommend you get your numbers and support ready for the application process. Plus, you will need to make sure you have enough cash to get you to the date of receiving the financial assistance which is expected to be around April 15, 2020. I would expect that we should have payroll reports that support the numbers on a worksheet that calculates the average, plus your average other included overhead expenses. Being prepared should allow you to get the financial assistance quicker.
  1. Allowable Uses of Program Loans:
    1. Payroll support, including paid sick, medical, family leave and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during the periods of leave.
      1. Employee salaries (calculating based on the average number of employees for each pay period)
      2. Mortgage payments
  • Rent (including rent under a lease agreement)
  1. Utilities and
  2. Other debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period.
  1. Loan Considerations: The proposed bill is requiring that the lending institution only consider the following:
    1. Was the borrower in operations on March 1, 2020; and
    2. Had employee for whom the borrower paid salaries and payroll taxes.
    3. Fees will be waived for these loans.
    4. The Federal government will guarantee 100% of the loan.
  2. Eligible Borrower means:
    1. Small business concern; or
    2. An organization made eligible by section (b) which discuses private or public nonprofit organizations with 500 or less employees.
      1. VA Comment: Prior to this bill, the SBA typically didn’t allow loans to non-profits.
    3. Deferment of 7(a) Loan. The proposed bill requires the lender to provide complete deferment relief for impacted borrowers with 7(a) loans.
      1. VA Comments: This provision seems to state that payments for the covered loans would be deferred for a period of not more than 1year. 
    4. Express Loans will be increased from $350,000 to $1,000,000.
      1. Substantially affected by COVID-19 means:
        1. Supply chain disruptions
        2. Staffing challenges.
        3. A decrease in sales or customers; or
        4. Shuttered business.
          1. VA Comment: If you have a business that doesn’t have any payroll, or not much payroll, then perhaps an SBA 7(a) loan for lost revenue would be the best option. An impacted industry might be owners of rental properties.  They might not have much payroll, so a loan might be necessary to offset the loss or deferral of rents.  I believe the spirt of this financial package is to get money into the hands of businesses and individuals so they can pay rent. 
  1. No Prepayment Penalty for loans made on or before December 31, 2020.
  2. Loan Forgiveness:
    1. A 7(a) loan for the covered period which is beginning on March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
    2. An eligible recipient shall be eligible for forgiveness of indebtedness on a covered 7(a) loan in an amount equal to the cost of maintaining payroll continuing during the covered period.
      1. Payroll costs have limits.
        1. Compensation to an individual employee can’t exceed $33,333 during the covered period.
        2. Qualified sick leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7001 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act; or
        3. Qualified family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
          1. VA Comments: It seems that the loan forgiveness is not meant to forgive loans used for compensation, sick or family leave in which the employer would receive a credit also. Seems like they don’t want a double dip. If a company utilizes the credit method, there will need to be an adjustment. 
          2. VA Comments: The borrower will probably have to provide financial statements, and federal, state employee records, and unemployment insurance filings, and a certification. If there is NO documentation, then there will be no forgiveness. This should be done prior to apply for the forgiveness.
      2. Upon application for the loan forgiveness, the lender will require documentation to support the loan forgiveness within 15 days, so be prepared when you start the process. The lender will provide a forgiveness decision within 15 days.
  1. Treatment of Amounts Forgiven: Amounts which have been forgiven under the law shall be considered canceled indebtedness by lenders, BUT Not Taxable.
    1. VA Comment: The bill states the forgiveness of debt will be treated as cancelation of indebtedness. However, a section in the proposed bill under “Taxability” states, Cancelation of indebtedness under this section shall be excluded from gross income for purpose of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  2. If there is a reduction of employees, then there can be a reduction of the loan forgiveness.
    1. VA Comment: I read or heard that the forgiveness of any part of the debt wouldn’t negatively affect the credit score of the borrower, but I didn’t read that provision in this bill. This might be an issue that needs to be corrected.   

 

  1. Relief for Individuals, Families, and Businesses. Rebates and Other individual Provisions.
    1. 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:
      1. Net income tax liability, or
      2. $1,200 ($2,400 in the case of joint returns)
        1. The credit should not be less than $600
        2. $500 per qualifying children
      3. Eligible individuals are based on adjusted gross income (AGI) of
        1. $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.
      4. 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.
      5. Individual ES Payments: Different from the prior communication from Treasury, this bill states that individual estimated tax payments are not due before October 15, 2020.

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  1. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. Income inclusion of premature distribution. A taxpayer can spread the taxability of the premature distribution over 3 years.
  2. 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.
    1. Loan repayments will be delayed by 1 year.
  3. Charitable Contributions: The allowance to deduct more charitable donations have been increased for both individuals and Corporations.
    1. 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%.   

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  1. 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.
  1. Business Provisions:
    1. 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 October 15, 2020.
    2. 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.
      1. 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.
    3. 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.
      1. 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. 
    4. A taxpayer may elect out of the 5-year NOL carry back. If elected, it can’t be changed.  It is irrevocable.
      1. 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. 
    5. 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).
      1. 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. 
    6. 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.
      1. VA Comment: This means a taxpayer that this limitation would apply to will be allowed more of an interest deduction. 
    7. Technical correction for qualified Improvement Property: This bill corrected a prior law error. 
      1. 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.
      2. Due to legislative oversight, the law accidentally excluded improvements property to be eligible from 100% bonus depreciation.
      3. 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.
    8. Foreign controlled corporation/shareholder:
      1. The bill is changing the US owned foreign corporation from 10% to 50%.
    9. 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.

Please read our memo dated March 17, 2020 which was Version 1. If you can’t find it, please contact us at advisors@verticaladvisors.com to request a copy or you can read it on our website at www.verticaladvisors.com under blogs.

Lastly, and as always, please contact us if you need assistance or have any questions.