Helping you save money and plan for your future.

April 11th -- What you MUST know, and DO as soon as possible

  • New Jersey finally makes it official - their due date is now July 15th.
  • New York moves it’s first estimated tax payment from April 15th to June 15th.
  • The IRS moves their first from June 15th to July 15th

Everything, it seems, is in flux.

We are reminded of Paul Simon's old song, "Peace Like a River." He had a verse:
 
And I remember, Misinformation followed us like a plague

Nobody knew from time to time, if the plans had changed,

oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, if the plans were changed.

 
 
Here is what YOU need to know, IF YOU:

 

  • ARE EXPECTING AN ADVANCE STIMULUS REBATE
  •  
  • ARE AN EMPLOYEE WHO GETS WAGES, BUT IS NOT WORKING DUE TO THE VIRUS
  •  
  • EMPLOY PEOPLE
  •  
  • ARE SELF-EMPLOYED.
(Scroll down to what applies to you).

 

If You Pay Estimates:

This changed AGAIN!

The June 15th IRS payment has been pushed back to July 15th. 

Now the schedule is:

  • July 15th
  • July 15th
  • September 15th
  • January 15th
They want you to make your first 2 payments on July 15th, per IRS Notice 2020-23.


IF you are expecting an Advance Stimulus Payment, you must know:

  • How to know for sure you are going to get one
  • How to make sure that the IRS gets you your money quickly
 

Q. How do I know if I qualify for the Advance Payment?

It depends on if your 2019 returns have been filed or not. 

To review.

  • If your 2019 tax returns have been prepared:
    •  look at line 8b on page 1 of your 1040.
That amount, on that line, is your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). IF you have filed a 2019 return, that number will determine if you are going to get an Advance Rebate, and how much you will get.

Your Filing Status is in the very top of the return:

  • If your Filing Status is "Single" or "Married filing Separately," or "Qualifying Widow(er)" AND
    • your AGI is less than $75,000:
      • You will get the full $1,200.
    • your AGI is between $75,000 and 99,000:
      • You will get something, but not the full $1,200.
      • It drops $50 per thousand.
    • If your AGI is higher than $99,000, you get no Advance Rebate, but if your 2020 income is less, you may receive some of it on your next year's tax return.

  • If your Filing Status is "Head of Household,"  AND:
    • your AGI is less than $112,500:
      • You will get the full $1,200.
    • your AGI is between $112,500 and 136,500:
      • You will get something, but not the full $1,200.
      • It drops $50 per thousand.
    • If your AGI is higher than $136,500, you get no Advance Rebate, but if your 2020 income is less, you may receive some of it on your next year's tax return.
  
  • If your Filing Status is "Married Filing Jointly," AND:
    • your AGI is less than $150,000:
      • You will get the full $2,400.
    • your AGI is between $150,000 and 198,000.
      • You will get something, but not the full $2,400.
      • It drops $50 per thousand.
    • If your AGI is higher than $198,000, you get no Advance rebate, but if your 2020 income is less, you may receive some of it on your next year's tax return.
 


Q. If it turns out they give me too much, will I have to pay it back?

A. NO.

Q.If I owe the IRS money, will they apply it against my balance?

A. NO.

Q. But what if I haven't filed my 2019 returns yet?

Then the IRS will look at your 2018 return.

On your 2018 return, if you filed a 1040, your AGI is on page 2, line 7.The same income standards apply.

Q. How do I make sure that the IRS gets me my money quickly?

A. IMPORTANT: IF THEY MAIL YOU A CHECK, IT MAY TAKE 5 MONTHS TO ARRIVE. YOU MUST MAKE SURE THAT THE IRS HAS DIRECT DEPOSIT INFORMATION FOR YOU!

Q. Okay. So, How Do I Make Sure That They Have My Direct Deposit Information?

A. If your last refund was direct deposited to your account, or if you asked the IRS to withdraw what you owe them from your account, then the last account you used is the account they (are supposed to) have on file for you.

From the IRS website:

How will the IRS know where to send my payment?

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

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

Q. What if I changed my bank, or I closed that account, or I needed to change my account number because of potential fraud? How do I make sure that they know my new account number?

A. The IRS has a website, Economic Impact Payments, with a link for if you are a Filer or a non-filer:

From the Website:


Filers can use this link to :
  • Check your payment status
  • Confirm your payment type: direct deposit or check
  • Enter your bank account information for direct deposit if we don't have  your direct deposit information and we haven't sent your payment yet
  • They say that it will be ready "mid-April." I will let you know when I know it's working.

You can use this app to:

Update your information

Direct deposit:
Use the Get My Payment application (coming mid-April) to let us know your bank account information if we don't have your direct deposit information and we haven't sent your payment.

Q. What if I don't update direct deposit?

A. Then the IRS will mail you your check to the address you last used to file your return.

And it will take up to 5 months to get that check.

Q. How do I let them know I have moved?


 

If You are an Employee, Who gets wages, But is NOT WORKING Due to the Virus:


The FFCRA became law BEFORE the CARES Act, and provides relief if:

  • Your employer had less than 500 employees
  • You had to stop working, and cannot telework, because:
  1. You were subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; 
  2. You were advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19; 
  3. You are (or were) experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis; 
  4. You are caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. You are caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or 
  6. You are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


If any of the above are true, you are entitles to 

PAID LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS 

Generally, employers covered under the Act must provide employees: 

Up to two weeks (80 hours, or a part-time employee’s two-week equivalent) of paid sick leave based on the higher of their regular rate of pay, or the applicable state or Federal minimum wage, paid at: 

  • 100% for qualifying reasons #1-3 above, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total; 
  • 2/3 for qualifying reasons #4 and 6 above, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total; and 
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 2/3 for qualifying reason #5 below for up to $200 daily and $12,000 total. A part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

The US Department of Labor is enforcing this, as much as they enforce anything these days. There is a number to file a complaint: 866-487-9243.

If you were laid off, or your business closed, there is always, and this is very difficult to get right now:

  • UNEMPLOYMENT.
I know. I know. I know. You've been calling, and calling, and navigating the website, and you can't get through. NYS Unemployment Division is woefully understaffed and overwhelmed. They now have a separate day of the week to call depending on the first letter of your last name. You will eventually get though, and your benefits should be retroactive to the day you were unemployed. And, the Federal government will add $600 a week on top of what the State provides. 

The NYS Unemployment website now says:

 
The best way to file a new claim for unemployment insurance is through our improved online filing system. File a new claim here. This is only for new claims. If you already have a claim, please go to labor.ny.gov/signin to make weekly certifications or to view your claim information.
 
New Yorkers who have already filed partial claims under the old UI system and were told to call the call center to finish their application should NOT - instead, the DOL call center will call these New Yorkers directly.

If You EMPLOY People:

FIRST:

  1.  The FFCRA above may apply to you. There are credits for you, listed here.
They include:

  • Eligible Employers are entitled to receive a credit in the full amount of the qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages, plus allocable qualified health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare tax, paid for leave during the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020. 
Important note for employers: It says "Beginning April 1st," so that's the 2nd quarter payroll. this will have nothing to do with payroll taxes due on April 30th.

SECOND:


We've written about this before.  You will need to apply through a bank or credit union.  

You can borrow up to 2.5 times your average monthly payroll costs.

  • Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. 
  • The program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who have already been laid off back onto payrolls. 
  • Loans are available through June 30, 2020. 
  • Seasonal business expenses will be measured using a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019 or March 1, 2019 (whichever the seasonal employer chooses) and ending June 30, 2019. 
  • A special calculation also applies to taxpayers not in business during the first half of 2019.

PPP loan funds can be used to cover


  • Payroll costs
  • Group health care benefits during periods of paid, sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums. 
  • Interest on a mortgage obligation 
  • Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020 
  • Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020 
  • Interest on any debt incurred before February 15, 2020 
And you have to go to an FDIC approved lender to get it.

NEW INFORMATION:  

  • The maximum length of the loan is now set at 2 years.
  • The Administration settled on an applicable interest rate of 1%

And, as we've mentioned before,the loan is forgivable, tax-free, if for qualified expenses incurred for the first 8 weeks after receiving the loan.

NOTE that the CARES Act expressly excludes qualified sick and family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under FFCRA.


We've written about this a lot already. It's a streamlined process, and allows for a $10,000 grant that is (ha!) supposed to be given out (ha ha!) within 3 days of the application. (In my webinar on Friday, not a single accountant had heard of any of their clients receiving this yet. This appears to have been a tad "optimistic." We shall see).


Last, but not least, if you are SELF-EMPLOYED:

You have 3 options also available to you:


Q. But I'm self-employed. I don't have employees! I don't give out paychecks! How does the PPP apply to me?

A.  For sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals: Includes the sum of payments of any compensation to, or income of, a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation and that is in an amount that is not more than $100,000 in one year, as pro-rated for the covered period (Act Sec. 1102).

For some reason, they differentiate between "Sole Proprietors," "Independent Contractors" and "Self-employed Individuals" and they require you to call yourself one of the three - without defining any of them! 

The best that I can tell you is that
If you have a business and you have people working under you, either getting 1099s or W-2s, you might be considered a "Sole Proprietor." 
If you work for companies and receive 1099s for what you do, you might be considered an "Independent Contractor." 
If you basically work for yourself, and get paid by clients and customers for your work, you might be considered a "self-employed individual."

 
Q. I've heard how hard it is to apply for Unemployment. How do I even know how to answer the questions as someone who was never qualified to apply before, because I do not earn wages?

A. On New York State's Unemployment page, they have a guideline for you. They write:

If you are self-employed, you may now file for Unemployment Insurance benefits online. See the Guidance for Self-Employed Individuals.

That's "all" we have for you today.  It all might change by Wednesday, or Friday; who knows? But we will continue to follow these developments.  




 
David is a registered representative at LifeMark Securities Corp.

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