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Coronavirus—Protecting you and our staff

Dear Clients & Contacts of Barwick CPA:

Barwick CPA is concerned about the health and safety of our clients and staff. As you are aware of, there are many COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in Maryland and the United States. We want you to know and assure you that Barwick CPA has taken precautions and safety measures to protect our clients and staff. Importantly, we have no cases of the virus reported among employees of Barwick CPA. Furthermore, we have instructed all staff if they have come into contact with anyone who have or being tested for the virus not to come into the office We have further requested that all staff that are over age 65 or staff members with pre-existing health conditions to work from home.

Barwick CPA is ready to continue to serve you during the disruption which might occur from this virus, while also remaining responsible in light of public health recommendations from the federal government, Maryland state government, and local jurisdictions. Our office is open. We will be happy to receive you and your documents in person if you choose.

Please put your safety first and we have several other options to interact and communicate with you at Barwick CPA instead of face to face. These options include transmitting data electronically or by mail. In lieu of face to face meetings, we can communicate with you on the phone, texting, or virtual meeting technology (Zoom Conferencing.) Please contact Carl Turner at 410-692-5283 if you would like to transmit your tax or accounting data electronically and you are not currently enrolled in any of our electronic file sharing systems (portal system.) Furthermore, we have technology in place for you to sign your tax returns electronically.

We are monitoring the federal and state governments concerning various proposed regulations that will be started to help businesses and individuals who have been economically hurt with the COVID-19. We are monitoring the Internal Revenue Service and State governments concerning any extensions of time for filing and paying tax liabilities that they will implement for taxpayers with the April 15th deadline. As soon as we are alerted, we will communicate any passed tax regulations as it relates to COVID-19.

Barwick CPA operates on an advanced technology platform which allows us to serve clients in the office, at a client location, or at home. As a result, we expect any disruption that occurs to be minimal should events require us to close the office for a period of time. While our goal is to maintain the highest level of service during this health crisis, we are remaining flexible with our team members who are balancing family needs in this health crisis.

We encourage you and your family to take all precautions necessary to stay safe during this health crisis. We thank you for putting trust in Barwick CPA. We are always here if you have any questions or concerns.

Very truly yours,

Laura A. Barwick CPA


COVID-19 ASSISTANCE

Dear Clients,

These have been difficult times and we are committed to guiding our clients and providing up to date information concerning the Covid-19 (Coronavirus.) There are loans and financial assistance available from the Federal and Maryland to support businesses affected by COVID-19. We are equipped with assisting in completing the applications for the available funding.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

The Small Business Administration is offering a low-interest federal disaster loan, if you qualify and are in a federally declared disaster area, up to $2,000,000 per business.  Maryland is a declared disaster area. The loan is permitted to be used on paying fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses that can’t be paid because of the disaster impact. Interest rate will be 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. The term of the loan would be up to 30 years. 

You can apply for assistance at: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

State of Maryland – Maryland Department of Commerce

The Maryland Department of Commerce is offering the following assistance to businesses:

  1. Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund - Ability to borrow up to $50,000, deferrals of any payments for the first twelve (12) months, and payments of principal and interest from thirteen (13) to thirty-six (36) months.

    https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-loan-fund

  2. Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund – Grants up to $10,000 not to exceed 3 months of cash flow operating expenses for Maryland businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 with 50 or fewer employees.

    https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-grant-fund

  3. Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund – A $5,000,000 incentive to help Marylander manufacturing companies to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country.  More information will be available on March 27, 2020.

    https://govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-business


State of Maryland – Department of Labor – Layoff Aversion Fund

http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/covidlafund.shtml

The Layoff Aversion Fund is designed to “support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. The award (up to $50,000 per applicant), will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs.”  The Department of Labor will award grants from now through 30 days after the State of Emergency.

This fund is designed to help businesses for the following:

  1. Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing remote access equipment to allow employees to work remotely from home versus being laid off.
  2. Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing software or programs that an employee would need to use from home.
  3. Supporting businesses that take advantage of the Work Share Unemployment Insurance Program.
  4. Providing funds to cover the costs of cleaning/sanitization services so that the employees are able to work at the work site.
  5. Paying for liability insurance for restaurants that convert to delivery while under emergency circumstances.
  6. Providing funds for training or professional development opportunities to avoid layoffs.
  7. Adopting other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs.

The application for the grant can be found: http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/covidlafund.shtml

If you have further questions or would like assistance, please feel free to contact a member of our team at 410.692.5283

Thanks,

Your Barwick CPA Team

Download our SBA Disaster Loan Process Presentation >>

Helpful Resources including PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

Tax Update announcement - 04/10/2020

IRS extends additional federal tax deadlines to cover individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and others

Last month, the IRS announced that taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to file and pay federal income taxes (originally due on April 15, 2020). On April 9, 2020, the IRS expanded this tax relief effort to additional returns, tax payments and other actions.

As a result, extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020. Individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers qualify for the extension. This means that anyone, including Americans who live and work abroad, can now wait until July 15, 2020 to file their 2019 federal income tax return and pay due taxes.

Estimated tax payments

Additionally, any individual or corporation with a quarterly estimated tax payment due on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020, can wait until July 15, 2020 to make a payment—without penalty. This means that estimates normally due June 15, 2020 are now due one month later on July 15, 2020.

Extension of time to file beyond July 15

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request an extension to October 15, 2020.

Note: This is an extension to file the tax return. It is not an extension to pay taxes owed. Taxes owed are still due by the July 15, 2020 deadline.

CARES Act for businesses update

March 29, 2020 - last updated (04/03/2020)

The following represents a summary of the recently signed into law CARES Act—also referred to as the Stimulus Package. Specifically, we are providing a summary of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Title 1 of the CARES Act, entitled “Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act,” provides relief for small businesses and their employees who are adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The key provision in this Act is the Paycheck Protection Program—an emergency lending facility to provide small business loans on favorable terms to borrowers impacted by the current economic state.

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM – KEY POINTS

The following offers highlights of the Paycheck Protection Program that small business owners need to be aware of and consider as they move forward:

  • Available to businesses with 500 employees or less.
  • Loan period ranges from February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
  • Loan amount equates to 2.5 times average monthly payroll expenses for 12 months prior to the loan origination—up to $10 million.
  • Loan interest rate is 1.0% (Treasury changed from 0.5% on 04/02/2020.)
  • Loan duration is 2 years. (Treasury changed from a max of 10 years on 03/31/2020.)
  • Loan forgiveness is available—A borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent on the following items, during the eight-week period beginning on the loan origination date:
    • Payroll costs
    • Mortgage interest incurred in the ordinary course of business
    • Rent paid based on a leasing agreement
    • Payments for utilities—including electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone or internet
    • Additional wages paid to tipped employees
      Note: The loan forgiveness amount can be reduced if there is a reduction in the number of employees or a reduction of greater than 25% in wages paid to employees.
  • Note: The loan forgiveness amount can be reduced if there is a reduction in the number of employees or a reduction of greater than 25% in wages paid to employees.

    Note: To have loan amounts fully forgiven, at least 75% of forgiveness amount calculated must be for payroll costs. (This is a NEW requirement from the Treasury as of 03/31/2020.)

  • Collateral is not required to secure the loan.
  • No personal guarantee is required to secure the loan.
  • Loan repayments are automatically deferred for six months and up to one year. This includes interest, fees and loan principal.
  • Payment Protection Program loans are applied for through approved banks. The SBA may administer some loans based on viability.
  • For businesses that have been denied SBA loans previously, lending requirements are more lenient.

CARES ACT – ADDITIONAL KEY POINTS

Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit

  • The Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit cannot be used in conjunction with the Payroll Protection Program or any other loan where payroll costs are forgiven.
  • Employee retention credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages with a cap of $10,000 wages. Maximum credit per employee is $5000.
  • The employer’s gross receipts must be 50% or less than the same calendar quarter in 2019 to qualify.
  • For employers with 100 or less employees, qualified wages are defined as wages paid for all employees during the period—whether they were able to work or not. For employers with 100 or more employees, qualified wages are defined as wages paid to employees not providing services.

Deferral of Employer Social Security Taxes

The deferral of employer social security taxes cannot be used in conjunction with the Payroll Protection Program. This allows an employer to defer their portion of Social Security taxes from March 27, 2020 to January 1, 2021. 50% is due by December 31, 2021 and the remainder by December 31, 2022.

Bonus Depreciation

This allows employers to expense qualified improvement property under the section 168 bonus depreciation rules.

CARES Act for individuals update

March 28, 2020

The following represents a summary of the recently signed into law CARES Act—also referred to as the Stimulus Package.

RECOVERY CHECKS – KEY POINTS

Recovery check distribution amounts—Single taxpayers will receive $1,200 and joint taxpayers will receive $2,400. There is an additional $500 for each qualifying child.

The recovery check is considered a credit for 2020, but paid in advance.

The amount is reduced (but not below zero) by 5% of each dollar a person’s adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds. Consider the following:

  • Married filing joint: $150,000 (AGI over $198,000 does not qualify)
  • Head of household: $112,500 (AGI over $146,500 does not qualify)
  • Single: $75,000 (AGI over $99,000 does not qualify)

Consider the following example:

  • A married couple with no children has an AGI of $190,000.
  • $190,000 is $40,000 above the $150,000 amount shown above.
  • The couple’s check is reduced by 5% of $40,000, which is $2000.
  • Therefore, they would receive a check for $400. (i.e., $2400 - $2000 = $400)

Other key details for recovery check eligibility include:

  • Nonresident aliens are not eligible for the rebate.
  • If a taxpayer has an outstanding debt (which the IRS would typically offset a refund by paying that debt), recovery dollars will not be used to offset that debt.
  • Amount will be direct deposited into the account on the last filed return. Every taxpayer will receive a letter indicating their recovery check was dispersed. If the letter is not received, there will be a specific phone number to call to have the check re-issued.
  • AGI will be accessed from 2019 returns if filed at the time of determination. Otherwise, 2018 returns will be used. Taxpayers who have not filed a return will not receive a check unless they did not file because they only have SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 (social security). The Treasury Department will review those forms for 2019 and issue the appropriate amount via check.

UNEMPLOYMENT – KEY POINTS

Any employee who was furloughed or part of a layoff is eligible for state unemployment. Details are as follows:

  • Unemployment amount via the state typically ranges from 30-50% of the standard wage, depending on the state.
  • The amount a person will receive for unemployment over four months will be the amount the state would already provide, but increased by $600 per week through July 31, 2020. For example, if a person is eligible for $300 weekly, they will receive $900 per week over four months or through July 31, 2020, whichever comes first.
  • If an employee is already unemployed due to COVID-19, the $600 weekly additional payment will be paid retroactively.
  • Self employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig workers are eligible for unemployment under this program.

RETIREMENT DISTRIBUTIONS – KEY POINTS

Ability to withdraw up to $100,000 retirement in 2020 for COVID-19-related purposes without 10% penalty—The distribution is taxable over a 3-year period unless electing to pay it back within 3 years. This essentially equates to a loan unless it is not paid back within the 3-year timeframe. This rule applies to individuals:

  • Diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Who have family (spouse or dependent) who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Who have adverse financial consequences in relation to COVID-19
  • Who include the distribution in taxable income (unless they elect the 3-year payback)

Waived required minimum distributions (RMD) from individual retirement accounts—The required minimum distribution for 2020 has been waived.

This also applies to retirees who turned 70 1/2 in 2019 and are required to take their RMD by 4/1/20. If the retiree that turned 70 1/2 in 2019 still intends to take their RMD, this must happen by April 1, 2020—otherwise, the same penalty for late withdrawal will be applied.

CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS - KEY POINTS

Above-the-line charitable contribution—For tax year 2020, if a taxpayer does not itemize deductions, they can deduct up to $300 in addition to standard deduction for cash charitable contributions (no stock contributions).

Charitable contribution limitation by AGI—The 60% adjusted gross income limitation has been removed for 2020 (other than from donor advised funds).

Tax Update announcement - 03/27/2020

In an effort to provide continued clarity around changes to tax law, we are offering this update to our previous tax announcements. As such, we have removed a few of our previous tax update posts.

Below, you will find a list of frequently asked questions in reference to the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Notice 2020-18 (PDF). In this Notice, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced special Federal income tax return filing and payment relief in response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.

You can review the IRS page for additional information here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for relief under the Notice?

Any person with a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020 is eligible for relief under the Notice. “Person” includes any type of taxpayer such as an individual, a trust, an estate, a corporation or any type of unincorporated business entity. The payment due refers to both 2019 Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income) and 2020 estimated Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income)—regardless of the amount owed. The return or payment must be due on April 15, 2020—this relief does not apply to Federal income tax returns and payments due on any other date.

Do I have to actually be sick, quarantined or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for payment relief?

No, you do not have to be sick, quarantined or have any other impact from COVID-19 to qualify for relief. You only need to have a Federal income tax return or payment due on April 15, 2020 as described above.

I am a fiscal year filer. My Federal income tax return for fiscal year 2019 is due on April 15, 2020. Am I an “Affected Taxpayer” eligible for relief under the Notice?

Yes, the relief provided in the Notice applies to Federal income tax returns and payments in respect of an Affected Taxpayer’s 2019 taxable year and postpones those 2019 return filings and payments due on April 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020. If your Federal income tax return for your fiscal year ending during 2019 is due on April 15, 2020, whether that is the original due date or the due date on extension, your due date is postponed to July 15, 2020.

Does this relief apply to state tax liabilities?

No, this relief applies only to Federal income tax payments. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the Federal filing and payment deadline. We urge you to check with your state tax agencies for those details. More information is available here.

I haven’t filed my 2019 income tax return yet (that would have been due on April 15), but I expect to file it by July 15. What do I need to do?

Nothing, except file and pay any tax due with your return by July 15. You don’t need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic Federal tax filing and payment relief. If you expect a refund, you are encouraged to file your return as soon as you can so that you can receive your refund. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. If you need more time beyond July 15 to file your return, request an automatic extension of time to file as described next.

What if I am unable to file my 2019 income tax return (that would have been due on April 15) by July 15, 2020?

If you are an individual, you can request an automatic extension to file your Federal income tax return if you can’t file by the July 15, 2020 deadline. The easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through your tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses, including trusts, must file Form 7004.

You must request the automatic extension by July 15, 2020. If you properly estimate your 2019 tax liability using the information available to you and file an extension form by July 15, 2020, your tax return will be due on October 15, 2020. To avoid interest and penalties when filing your tax return after July 15, 2020, pay the tax you estimate as due with your extension request.

I already filed my 2019 income tax return (that would have been due on April 15) and I owe taxes, but I haven’t paid yet. What do I need to do to avoid interest and penalties?

To avoid interest and penalties, pay your taxes in full by July 15, 2020. If you filed Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR, the tax payment amount can be found on line 23. If you filed Form 1040-NR, the tax payment amount can be found on line 75. For a corporation filing Form 1120, the tax payment amount can be found on line 35.

Interest and penalties will begin to be charged after July 15 for any amount remaining unpaid by that date.

I already filed my 2019 income tax return that would have been due on April 15 and scheduled a payment of taxes for April 15, 2020. Will this payment be automatically rescheduled to July 15, 2020?

No, the payment will not be automatically rescheduled to July 15, 2020. If you do nothing, the payment will be made on the date you chose. Here is information on how to cancel and reschedule your payment:

  • If you scheduled a payment through IRS Direct Pay, you can use your confirmation number from the payment to access the “Look Up a Payment” feature. You can modify or cancel a scheduled payment until two business days before the payment date. The email notification you received when you scheduled the payment will contain the confirmation number.
  • If you scheduled a payment through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), click on “Payments” from the EFTPS home page, login, click “Cancel a Tax Payment” from the left menu and follow the instructions. You must do so at least two business days before the scheduled payment date.
  • If you scheduled a payment as part of filing your tax return (authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal), you may revoke (cancel) your payment by contacting the U.S. Treasury Financial Agent at 888-353-4537. You must call to make a payment cancellation request no later than 11:59 p.m. ET two business days prior to the scheduled payment date.
  • If you scheduled a payment by credit card or debit card, contact the card processor to cancel the payment.

The Notice postpones the deadline for first quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments due on April 15, 2020. What about second quarter estimated tax payments due on June 15? Have they been postponed as well?

No, second quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are still due on June 15, 2020. First quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020.

Does this relief provide me more time to contribute money to my IRA for 2019?

Yes. Contributions can be made to your IRA for a particular year at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns has been postponed to July 15, 2020, the deadline for making contributions to your IRA for 2019 is also extended to July 15, 2020. For more details on IRA contributions, see Publication 590-A - Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offering disaster assistance in response to COVID-19

March 21, 2020

Under the recently enacted Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (the Act), small businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 can apply for low-interest federal disaster loans through SBA. Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for working capital loans of up to $2 million.

We’ve highlighted the following key details of the Act for you here, but you can also learn more by visiting the COVID-19 disaster assistance page on SBA’s website.

  • State governors must first request access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Once the declaration is made, information on the application process for disaster loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the given state.
  • Loans carry an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.
  • Loans can be used to cover accounts payable, debts, payroll and other bills.
  • Loans can be offered with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable—up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Businesses will apply for loans online and select “Economic Injury” as the reason for seeking assistance.
  • SBA offers disaster assistance via its customer service center. If you have questions or want to check if your state is eligible, contact U.S. Small Business Administration via phone at 800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The coronavirus situation is changing rapidly, as are the updates to various relief efforts. We will continue to monitor news and keep you updated as clarification is provided.

If you have questions, be sure to reach out to us. Our entire team is here to support and guide you!

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) expanded to provide relief to those affected by COVID-19

March 20, 2020

“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA), which goes into effect April 2, 2020 and expires December 31, 2020, responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing additional assistance in the areas of COVID-19 testing, sick leave, food assistance and more. We’ve compiled key details of FFCRA that we believe you need to know.

In summary, the Act:

  • Requires private insurance plans to provide free COVID-19 testing.
  • Requires employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to workers affected by COVID-19 and expands family and medical leave.
  • Offers increased funding for state unemployment insurance, food stamp and nutritional programs.

More specifically, here’s what FFCRA means for both business owners and employees in the areas of sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.

  • Employees are eligible for up to two weeks of sick leave (full pay for self, 2/3 pay for family care) for illness, quarantine or school closures.
  • Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for school closures (10 days unpaid and then up to 10 weeks at 2/3 pay).
  • FMLA expansion covers:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 employees.
    • Employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days (some exclusions may apply).
    • Employees who must care for children under the age of 18 in the event of school and place-of-care closures or if care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19.
  • Emergency paid sick leave covers:
    • Employers with fewer than 500 employees.
    • All employees no matter the length of employment (some exclusions may apply).
  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

Department of Labor Links:

  • FFCRA: Questions and Answers
  • As part of the FFCRA, employers are required to provide notice to employees of the Act’s provisions. An example of the required notice has been made available by the Department of Labor and can be downloaded here: FFCRA NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES.
  • In addition, the Department of Labor has made available a FAQ page discussing the notice requirements: FFCRA NOTICE – FAQ.

The coronavirus situation is changing rapidly, as are the updates to various relief efforts. We will continue to monitor news and keep you updated as clarification is provided.

If you have questions, be sure to reach out to us. Our entire team is here to support and guide you!