Read the latest on the impact of COVID-19 and BST's response.

                  Latest Updates

        1. SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application for Forgiveness FAQ’s
        2. Payroll Tax Deferral
      1. Funding Sources for Financial Relief

        1. SBA loans
          1. Economic Injury Disaster Working Capital Loans
          2. “Cares” Stimulus 7(a) Loans – A Portion of These Loans Will Be Forgiven
          3. SBA Parameters for the Paychecks Protection Program (PPP)
          4. Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Fact Sheet for Self-Employed or Sole Proprietors
        2. Sick Leave Pay Related to COVID-19
          1. COVID-19 Paid Leave Tool Kit
          2. Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – FAQ
        3. Employer Payroll Tax Delay (“Cares” Act)
          1. Deferment of Employer FICA and Medicare Tax Payments
        4. SBA Application
          1. SBA Application for Forgiveness
          2. SBA Application
      2. Can I Make a Claim on my Insurance for my Business Being Interrupted?

        1. Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19
      3. What Can I Do to Help Me Recover From This Crisis?

        1. How Does My Business Proceed Once the Crisis Ends?
        2. Information/Tips for Individuals to Help Get Through COVID-19 Crisis
        3. Fraud in an Economic Downturn
      4. Tax and Retirement Plan Information Related to the COVID-19 Crisis

        1. Federal Tax Credit Available for Employee Retention
        2. Business Tax Considerations to Provide Liquidity
        3. Retirement Plan Relief- The CARES Act

 

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 10 AM: Can Your Business Survive and Even Thrive During These Trying Times?

Click Here to Read Article

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 1:00 PM: WAMC Vox Pop Financial Advising with Judy Cahee and Jim Lozano

Click Here to Listen to Segment

 

Friday, July 10, 2020 at 12:00 PM: COVID-19 Pandemic Poses Complex HR Policy Questions

Click Here to Read Article

 

Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 10:00 AM: BST Hosted a CARES Act Working Session Webinar with the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce

Click Here to Listen to the Webinar

 

Saturday, June 13, 2020 at 12:00 PM: BST Released a PPP Commerical on the GOLF Channel

Click Here to Watch the Commerical

 

Monday, June 15, 2020 at 11:30 AM: Patience is a Virtue

Who’s on first?

Sometimes it seems like nobody knows the answer to that question when it comes to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness. While it has been difficult to understand some of the rules, I do believe that officials are trying to make this program as beneficial as possible for business owners and nonprofit leaders.

On June 3, the Senate passed the House of Representatives version of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which made some changes to the forgiveness rules for your PPP loan. However, we are still waiting for the SBA & Treasury to issue the specific rules along with a revised forgiveness application.

I realize that during this time of crisis, being patient is not what people want to hear. But that is what we are recommending. The changes in the Flexibility Act should give most businesses plenty of time to spend all of their PPP money and have the loan be forgiven. Rather than try and speculate on what exactly the rules will entail, focus on getting your business back up and running. I do believe that the SBA is going to try to simplify the process for forgiveness. Trying to speculate about the rules will only lead to more confusion after they are issued. 

Here are the changes provided in the PPP Flexibility Act compared to the old rules:

Old Rules

PPP Flexibility Act Change

Under the original rules, your period for covered expenses was 8-weeks from the time of loan disbursement.

The act has changed the covered period to allow for up to 24 weeks to spend the money on covered expenses. Companies can continue to use their original 8-week period if they choose.

Previously 75% of your loan needed to be used for payroll costs and only 25% could be used for other covered expenses in order to receive full forgiveness.

They lowered the requirements that at least 60% of the funds must be used for payroll with 40% available for other covered expenses. If a borrower uses less than 60 percent of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, subject to at least 60 percent of the loan forgiveness amount having been used for payroll costs.

For any unforgiven portion of the PPP loan, the original loan maturity was only two years.

For loans issued on or after June 5, 2020, they have increased the maturity of PPP loans that are approved by the SBA (based on the date SBA assigns a loan number) to five years.  For loans that were issued prior to the June 5 date, borrowers will need to get approval from their lender to move from two to five years. If the lender approves, then the SBA will approve.

Loan payment deferrals originally were six months.

Now the deferral period for borrower payments of principal and interest is until the date that SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender (or, if the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, 10 months after the end of the borrower’s loan forgiveness covered period).

The previous deadline for bringing back employees was June 30, 2020

This was revised in the Flexibility Act to make the new date December 31, 2020.  More specific rules for FTE counts and timing will be forth coming from the SBA.

 

While there were some changes to certain forgiveness criteria, some things remained the same:

  • The deadline to apply for a PPP loan is still June 30, 2020.
  • The calculation for the allowable amount of your loan remains at 2.5 times your monthly average payroll over a 12-month period.

With so much uncertainty in the world, we know it is difficult to be patient as you await the specific forgiveness rules. Here are some things you can do while waiting for those rules to be published:

  • Review the plan you have laid out for restarting your business.
    • If you have PPP money remaining, look at stretching that money out to help you for a longer period as we get closer to normal operations.
    • Make sure your plan gets you through the end of 2020. Things may be very different for the remainder of this year and you should be trying to anticipate and plan for what that means to your business.
    • Have a contingency plan in the event there is another spike of the virus.
  • Continue to keep good documentation for PPP forgiveness.
    • Don’t become complacent just because they have extended the time period to use the money. Once you have used all the PPP money for your covered expenses, you want to be ready to quickly submit your forgiveness application to the bank.
    • The specific rules for FTE counts have not been published yet, but one of the safe harbors for your FTE level post-crisis is to document if you had an inability to rehire people due to reasons related to COVID-19. You may be able to get a pass on the need to be back at pre-crisis FTE levels in order to get full forgiveness. Currently, these rules are very broad in the Flexibility Act, and we anticipate that the SBA will issue more specifics in their next interim rules. In the meantime, document why you could not bring back the same amount of people (people chose to stay on unemployment, business suffered revenue loss and didn’t need as many people, etc.)

Each business has its own unique conditions they must work through as we come out of this crisis. As I have said in the past, reach out to your trusted advisors for assistance. We are all in this together and I know that we are going to come out of this as a stronger community of business leaders.

At BST & Co, we actively work with you to make informed, confident decisions. Let us know how we can help. Reach us at 518-459-6700 or at bstco.com.

 

About the Author

Jim is the Partner in charge of the CFO for Hire division of BST & Co. The CFO for Hire division is an outsourced solution for a company’s operational accounting needs. CFO for Hire delivers timely financial information/reports to better help a business owner or not for profit executive director make more informed business decisions.

Jim’s primary responsibilities are managing complex engagements and leading special projects. He also provides leadership on corporate development, product development, and sales and marketing matters.

jlozano@cfo-for-hire.com/ 518-459-6700

 

Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 4:46 PM: Jim Lozano Interviews with News Channel 13

Click here to Listen to Segment

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 2:00 PM: WAMC Vox Pop: COVID-19 Financial Advising With Judy Cahee and Jim Lozano

Click Here to Listen to Segment

 

Friday, May 8, 2020 at 10:30 AM: How to Document PPP Loan Necessity

On April 23, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued FAQ No. 31 entitled, “Do businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to support the business’ ongoing operations qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan?”

The Treasury pointed out that borrowers are required to certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the applicant.”

Further, they state that “borrowers must make this certification in good faith, taking into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not detrimental to the business. For example, it is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith.”

A few days later on April 28, FAQ No. 37 was issued and raised a similar question with regard to privately- owned businesses with adequate sources of liquidity. The SBA’s response to this question was “see response to FAQ No. 31.” That same day, Interim Final Rule No. 4 was released reiterating the required certification and providing a safe harbor to avoid prosecution and potential criminal liability under the False Claims Act. The safe harbor provides that “any borrower that applied for a PPP loan prior to the issuance of this regulation and repays the loan in full by May 14, 2020, will be deemed by the SBA to have made the required certification in good faith.”

The very next day, FAQ No. 39 stated that the SBA “will review all loans in excess of $2 million, in addition to other loans as appropriate.”

What should a business do to prove PPP loan necessity?

Each business will have its own unique situation that this crisis has caused for their business to require the need for a PPP loan. Therefore, it is somewhat difficult to give specific guidance that all businesses can follow. That being said, listed here are some general recommendations to help your business document your PPP loan necessity.

Document an income statement forecast for the remainder of 2020.

  • Your forecast should include written assumptions for both revenue and Be as detailed as you can with your assumptions. For example, don’t just list the number of full-time employees you will have by month. Try to list each employee that will be onboard. This will give you a great tool to go back and evaluate against actual performance.
  • Document the number of jobs that the PPP loan
  • Consider the potential loss of customers because of potential business closings as a result of the crisis.
  • Consider the impact on business development for the remainder of the year. Most businesses make assumptions at the beginning of the year for new business. Those assumptions have now likely changed and the marketplace climate has changed for the remainder of the year. A good example here would be car dealerships. Not only will consumer spending likely change post crisis, but how dealers will be allowed to sell cars will likely be restricted for the near future.
  • Typical forecasts would be done using historical These are unprecedented circumstances. We recommend being cautious when referencing historical information.
  • The assumptions for the forecast will require you to dig deep and really consider what will happen to your business for the remainder of the year.
  • Once you have completed your forecast, do a comparison to your pre-crisis original budget/projection for Showing a reduction from your pre-crisis plan will be a good first step in documenting the necessity of the loan.

Prepare a cash flow forecast for the remainder of 2020.

  • This forecast should also include written
  • You should consider doing two cash flow forecasts; the first without the PPP loan and the second with the PPP
  • Items to consider in this forecast are:
    • Collectability of current accounts receivable;
    • Change in “days outstanding” for your accounts receivable and possible timelines for extension;
    • Loss of current customers;
    • Extension of vendor payments (document those specific vendor payments that you will not be able to extend).

Evaluate your liquidity options 

  • The term “liquidity” is not specifically defined by the Treasury or the SBA as it relates to the PPP guidelines. Therefore, we recommend that you think through all the possible avenues for If you deem a particular option as not viable, we recommend you document why that option was not viable.
  • List the types of liquidity vehicles you have available to the business along with the amount available for each
  • Incorporate the use of these vehicles in both cash flow scenarios mentioned above. This is one of the reasons we recommend doing a cash flow both with and without the PPP loan. You want to be able to show the impact this crisis would have on your business if you had to exhaust your current liquidity
  • For bank lines of credit, be sure to consider that your bank may reduce the amount of availability or completely call your line of credit depending on the economic impact this crisis has had on your particular industry. If you believe there is a possibility that this could happen, incorporate that into how much liquidity you may have available.

Prepare reports that show monthly performance against your “necessity” forecasts. 

  • Document why there are variances to each forecast and be specific. The more specific you can be on your forecasts, the more specific you can be when comparing current performance against the forecast.
  • If performance exceeds what you projected in your forecast, be sure that you can identify why that happened. While this crisis will have a lot of negative impacts on various industries, it will also have unforeseen positive impacts on some industries. If you are in one of the industries that experiences a positive impact as a result of the crisis that you did not anticipate, it will be important that you are very specific as to what happened so the SBA will understand that you had no way of knowing that this event would happen in the midst of the crises.

This is just an overview of the steps your business should take to prove the necessity of your PPP loan. These steps and processes will change depending on the circumstances surrounding your individual business and industry. Since each business and industry will have unique scenarios, we encourage you to speak with a trusted advisor for assistance when preparing this information to support your need for the PPP loan. For more information, call us at 518-459-6700 or visit us online at www.BSTco.com.

About the Author

Jim is the Partner in charge of the CFO for Hire division of BST & Co. The CFO for Hire division is an outsourced solution for a company’s operational accounting needs. CFO for Hire delivers timely financial information/reports to better help a business owner or not for profit executive director make more informed business decisions.

Jim’s primary responsibilities are managing complex engagements and leading special projects. He also provides leadership on corporate development, product development, and sales and marketing matters.

jlozano@cfo-for-hire.com/ 518-459-6700

 

Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 4:00 PM: The New Workplace

The coronavirus global pandemic will be an event that will forever reshape our lives as well as our workplaces. Just as procedures changed for boarding airplanes after September 11, 2001, so will the impact of this virus change the way we live and work.

Employers who think they will just open the doors, turn on the lights and welcome back employees to “business as usual” may be in for a huge surprise. Returning employees will experience a new work life, perhaps for the long term.

We expect that federal, state and local governments will issue mandatory directives on the policies and procedures needed to welcome employees back to your workplace. One of the potential mandatory directives will be that employers have a “reopening plan” ready to submit to a regulatory agency.

As businesses return to work in large numbers from either full or partial shutdowns, employers will need to rethink, reinvent, respond and reestablish a new regular work life. This will most certainly include the introduction of social distancing measures, reevaluating on-site v. remote staffing needs, shift changes, enhanced cleaning procedures and personal protective equipment.

Employers will have to consider measures to make their workplaces safe for both employees and the public. For example, if you work in the hospitality industry, a risk assessment for your business may include the installation of plexiglass barriers or providing gloves and masks to your employees.

As employees return to work, they will have different priorities formed by the pandemic, working remotely or sheltering in place. We believe those priorities will include maintaining social distancing at the office through experimentation with work setting and being offered more flexibility in work schedules.

We recommend that employers consider the following questions as they begin to develop their reopening plan:

  1. Does the finished plan meet government guidelines at the federal, state and local levels?
  2. Is my business an essential business?
  3. Is my business as a whole or in part “customer facing”?
  4. Am I making an assessment of risk to employees and the public based upon industry and workplace
  5. Are work areas appropriate for social distancing?
  6. Can I institute work schedules that can accommodate better social distancing?

Another big consideration will be what steps businesses can take to mitigate risk. Below are some suggestions to consider as you evaluate risk in your workplace:

Phased-in Approach

  • Don’t have everyone return at once

-For example, have cleaning and sales personnel return initially to refill the pipeline

  • Consider essential vs. non-essential employee roles and the need for these individuals to be on-site

Physical/Environmental

  • Conduct on-site health screenings and testing for returning employees (contact tracing for positive COVID tests)
  • Implement temperature checks daily for employees and the public entering the building
  • Install barriers (sneeze guards) and air changes within the building
  • Provide PPE for employees and the public
  • Close cafeterias, break rooms, kitchens and areas where employees congregate
  • Close or limit the number of people in conference rooms
  • Limit the number of people in reception areas
  • Identify employees who use public transportation

Operational

  • Enhance communication with employees and potential visitors
  • Review cleaning protocols (frequency and areas) with particular attention to doors, elevators, copiers, reception areas and appliances
  • Split shifts for essential and less essential internal workforce by changing start and stop times and include schedules on employee telecommuting
  • Longer term planning will be necessary for where and when to work
  • Provide telecommuting or remote work opportunities
  • Train employees on your “communicable disease” policy
  • Examine your current PTO or sick and family leave policies for any changes moving forward, including social distancing, medical certification, isolation and potential medical clearance for return to work
  • Examine workplaces for social distancing issues
    Develop protocols for handling and isolating employees who are sick, including notification of state and local health organizations
  • Limit travel based upon risk and essential need
  • Limit the size of Face-to-face meetings
  • Review and implement virtual “on boarding” of new employees either onsite or remotely conducted by fellow employees (IT, finance, management and department heads) with multiple interactive videos as part of a mentoring process
  • Onboard and conduct regular check-ins with remote workers
  • Identify potential test sites nearby and a relationship with a health professional who can order tests if necessary
  • Provide mental health services for employees

It is prudent to consider the above points prior to when states give the green light for your business sector to reopen. BST has experienced human resources and business management consultants available to discuss your reopening plan and best practices for your industry. For more information, call us at 518-459-6700 or visit us online at www.BSTco.com.

 

Friday, May 1, 2020 at 3:00 PM: You May Not Get Your Cake and Eat it too

 As “small businesses” scramble to get the second round of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans, the IRS just released a notice that apparently takes away one of the key perceived benefits of the program. The PPP provides loans to small businesses that are to be used to support paying compensation and other specifically permitted expenses. Beyond the very favorable loan terms (1% interest rate, simplified borrowing process, no personal guarantees), the loans also contain a “forgiveness” provision that may essentially convert them to a grant and not a loan that has to be repaid.

The CARES Act provides that borrowers who pay certain qualified expenses could have some or all the PPP loan forgiven. The CARES Act further provides that the amount forgiven would be excluded from taxable income! Thus, not only free money but free non-taxable money!

The business community took the wording and talk to heart and ran with it – government money (non- taxable) to pay ordinary and necessary business expenses (deductions). This scenario would create an added tax benefit beyond the funds. For example, if a small business received a $200,000 loan and used it to pay $200,000 of salaries and benefits to employees and had the loan forgiven the result was thought to be:

 

Cash Flow

Taxable income (loss)

PPP loan (assume forgiven)

200,000

None

Salaries and expenses

-200,000

-200,000

Net impact

0

-200,000

Under this example, the business would get the tax benefit of the deductions which would reduce its other taxable income. Depending on their tax structure and other circumstances, the income tax savings might range from 21-37% of the net impact.

IRS says, “Not so fast!”

In a notice just released (Notice 2020-32), the IRS states that if the PPP funding is partially or fully forgiven, then the expenses paid from the “tax-exempt” funds CANNOT be deducted. They lay out the technical argument that can be boiled down to “(t)he purpose… is to prevent a double tax benefit”.

The recast example above would look like:

 

Cash Flow

Taxable income (loss)

PPP loan (assume forgiven)

200,000

None

Salaries and expenses

-200,000

None

Net impact

0

0

 

From a technical tax perspective, this result may sound logical but you can expect a huge outcry from the business community, tax attorneys and lobbyists who felt one thing was promised and now is being changed. You can expect this will go back to the Congress and/or the courts and may not get fully resolved for a while.

What should the business do now?

The PPP is still a great opportunity to keep the business going during these unprecedentedly difficult and uncertain times. Even if the IRS approach prevails, the survival of the business is the key issue for the short run. Tax consequences are always important and if the business was making borrowing and spending decisions based on the expected tax arbitrage, then you may need to reevaluate your circumstances.

The rules to the PPP (and life in general these days) continue to morph so expect changes. We are here to help so do not hesitate to reach out and ask your questions and concerns.

About the Author

James Cole is a Tax Partner at BST & Co. and has over 25 years of public and private financial, tax and accounting experience. Over the course of his career he has built a strong reputation for expert, current technical knowledge in the constantly changing areas of corporate, partnership and individual taxation While Jim’s tax background is extensive and broad, he has particular expertise in the real estate and medical practice areas, as well as working with closely-held businesses and their owners, providing services ranging from income tax planning strategies to merger and acquisition consulting, ownership transition, and estate planning.

 

Friday, April 24, 2020 at 2:00 PM: Benefit Programs Summary

 BST & Co.has compiled the following guide to the numerous federal funding and relief programs available to businesses and individuals as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We are working closely with the business community to explain the options and to help companies get the funding they need,” said BST & Co. Managing Partner Ron Guzior. “This is a confusing time on many levels and we are here to help businesses and individuals navigate these offerings to determine the best fit for their current needs.”

Paycheck Protection Program

One of the signature initiatives of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the “CARES Act,” is the Paycheck Protection Program. The program is designed to provide small businesses which have been adversely impacted by the pandemic with an incentive to keep workers on the payroll.

Businesses must have fewer than 500 employees per location to qualify for this funding. Most restaurants and hotels, as well as tribal businesses, veterans’ organizations, not-for-profits, independently-owned franchises, sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers and self-employed individuals are eligible.

Qualifying businesses may borrow up to 250 percent of their average monthly payroll expenses, or $10 million, whichever is less. This is meant to cover eight weeks of payroll expenses and debt obligations, including mortgage interest, rent and utilities. One of the most attractive features is that the loan will be forgiven if the funding is used to retain all employees and preserve salary levels.

Qualified applicants should contact their bank as soon as possible now that an additional $310 billion in new funding has been approved by Congress after the initial $350 billion was depleted in less than two weeks.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is not new, but has been expanded through the CARES Act. The EIDL provides small businesses, non-profits, tribal businesses, sole proprietors and contractors with less than 500 employees with up to $2 million in low-interest loans from the SBA. Borrowers can also apply for an emergency grant of up to $10,000, which is said to be available in an expedited manner and will be considered an advance on the overall loan. The advance will be forgiven if it is spent on paid leave, maintaining payroll, mortgage or lease payments.

The SBA is urging eligible businesses to submit applications through its website as soon as possible. The deadline is December 21, 2020. The SBA is allowing businesses to apply for both the Paycheck Protection Program (pending its reopening) as well as an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, provided the funds aren’t used for the same expenses.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

If a small business has a relationship with an SBA Express Lender, they may be eligible to receive an Express Bridge Loan Payment of up to $25,000. These loans are processed quickly and are designed to support businesses which urgently need cash due to temporary loss of revenue. A bridge loan can also provide immediate relief to businesses which are waiting on a decision or disbursement from other sources of funding. Click here for more information.

Deferral of Employment Tax Deposits and Payments

The CARES Act includes a provision which allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of their share of social security taxes through December 31, 2020. This provision also applies to certain taxes for individuals who are self-employed. The deferred taxes will need to be paid in two installments, with the first due by December 31, 2021, and the second due by the same date in 2022.

Employers should check with their payroll processing company for details on how to implement this deferral. Businesses which have received funding via the Paycheck Protection Program cannot utilize this option. However, businesses may take advantage of the provision up until they receive their funding.

Employee Retention Credit

Available to businesses which have not applied for funding via the Paycheck Protection Program, the employee retention credit allows employers of any size to claim a refundable payroll tax credit on their federal employment tax return. This credit is designed to encourage employers whose business is fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19 to keep their staff on the payroll. Employers can receive a maximum credit of up to $5,000 per employee. The provision is effective for wages paid after March 13, 2020, and before December 31, 2020. The average number of full-time employees in 2019 determines qualifying wages.

Businesses can take action on this credit immediately by retaining contributions rather than depositing them with the IRS. This credit can then be claimed on a federal employment tax return.

Federal Stimulus Payments

The economic impact payments – commonly referred to as stimulus checks – are another element of the CARES Act designed to get money directly into the hands of Americans who may be experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic.

The one-time payments, which are based on the adjusted gross income reported on 2018 and 2019 tax returns, could be as much as $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for a couple. People with children are also eligible to receive $500 per child under the age of 17. Individuals who make $99,000 or more and couples whose joint income is more than $198,000 are phased out and not eligible for the stimulus check program. Because the payment is an advance of a tax credit to be reportable on the 2020 income tax return, individuals who don’t receive a payment now could potentially receive the credit when the 2020 tax return is filed if their income has decreased below the phase-out.

If you included your direct deposit information in your tax filings in 2018 or 2019, the payment will be automatically deposited to your bank account. The first wave of payments has already started hitting accounts. The next round of payments is expected to take place this month to social security beneficiaries who don’t file tax returns and receive their benefits by direct deposit. Paper checks will be issued as soon as May to taxpayers who don’t receive their return through direct deposit. Individuals whose income falls below the threshold to file a tax return should visit IRS.gov to complete an application for their payment.

Unemployment Benefits

The CARES Act widely expanded unemployment benefits for individuals who have lost their job or had their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic, including extending these benefits to part-time employees, contractors and gig workers. Individuals who had their workplace close or had to quit their job; are caring for someone whose school or other facility closed; or had a job opportunity fall through because of the COVID-19 are also eligible to receive unemployment benefits. State benefits are supplemented by a $600 weekly increase for up to four months.

In New York, the Department of Labor recommends filing a new claim through its online system which you can click here to access. The Department of Labor also advises individuals to file as soon as they lose their job, otherwise they may miss out on benefits.

Income Tax Deadline Deferrals

The U.S. Treasury and the IRS have extended the federal income tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.This means that individuals have three additional months to file and pay their income taxes. Many states have also extended their tax deadlines to align with the new date, including New York.

It’s important to note that tax refunds do not impact one-time economic impact payments for those who are eligible to receive a stimulus check. The extension to July 15 is automatic, meaning that no action is required and no penalties will be imposed for those who file by the new deadline.

Student Loan Deferrals

The CARES Act also includes a section which provides an automatic suspension of principal and interest payments on certain federally-held student loans through September 30, 2020. Individuals with federal student loans do not need to take any action to initiate this suspension nor is any fee imposed. Numerous private student loan lenders are offering forbearance options or payment suspensions and are required to send a written notification of these benefits to all loan holders. If individuals have not received this information, they should contact their student loan provider directly and as soon as possible to understand their full range of options.

Mortgage and Rent Payments

The government has imposed protections for homeowners with federally-backed mortgages, including the option to ask for a mortgage forbearance, which allows the lender to pause or reduce payments for a limited time. These payments will still need to be made in the future. Homeowners must contact their mortgage lender to request a forbearance and should not be required to submit any documentation providing proof of hardship. Individuals who do not have a mortgage backed by the federal government should contact their lender for their options.

Additionally, the CARES Act prohibits lenders from foreclosing on homeowners for 60 days.

The CARES Act also provides protections for renters, which prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent for 120 days on properties with a federally-backed mortgage. After the 120-day period ends, the landlord cannot require the tenant to vacate without first providing a 30-day notice. Additionally, New York State has mandated a stop on evictions on all residential and commercial properties through at least June 20, 2020.

Retirements Savings Withdrawals

Under the CARES Act, individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 have access to up to $100,000 of their 401(k) without the standard 10 percent penalty that would be imposed for making a withdrawal before the age of 59 ½.

This new rule applies to any individuals who themselves or their spouse or dependent have been diagnosed with COVID-19; has experienced “adverse financial consequences” due to being quarantined or furloughed; who cannot work due to childcare; or business owners who cut operating hours or shut down completely due to the pandemic.

 

Tuesday, April 21 at 6:00 PM: News 10 Interview on SBA Loans

Click Here to Listen to Interview

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 2:00 PM: IRS Addresses Those Items Thought to Have Slipped Through the Cracks

In late March, the IRS announced that certain taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay federal income taxes which were originally due on April 15. Since that guidance addressed the imminent and impending April 15 deadline, there were some taxpayers, tax forms and tax payments that were not covered. Very recently, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23 and has extended this tax compliance relief to additional returns, tax payments and other actions. As a result, the extension relief now generally applies to all taxpayers (“Affected Taxpayers”) that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020 as described below.

Specified Payments

The previous guidance postponed the payments of individual and corporate income tax payments for tax year 2019 that were originally due April 15 until July 15, 2020. It also included the quarterly estimated individual and corporate income tax payments for the 2020 tax year that were originally due April 15. Notice 2020-23 extends this relief to any tax payment for Affected Taxpayers due before July 15, 2020; therefore, tax year 2020 quarterly estimated income tax payments that were otherwise due June 15, 2020 have been extended until July 15, 2020.

Tax-exempt Organizations

The extended relief applies to many forms and tax payments made by tax-exempt organizations, including:

  • Form 990-series annual information returns or notices (Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, 990-BL, 990-N (e-postcard))
  • Forms 8871 and 8872 (applicable to political organizations)
  • Form 5227 (split-interest trust information return)
  • Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return
  • Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations
  • Form 4720, Return of Certain Excise Taxes
  • Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate under Section 501(c)(4)
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments submitted with Form 990-W

Postponement of Time-Sensitive Actions

While much of the Notice 2020-23 relief applies to specific compliance filings and payment due dates, the IRS notice also extends relief to many “time-sensitive actions” that can be postponed due to a federally declared disaster, which is the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of the more significant time- sensitive actions include the 45-day identification and 180-day exchange periods with respect to like-kind exchanges and the election to invest in a qualified opportunity fund (“QOF”) provided the taxpayer invests in a QOF during the 180-day period beginning on the date of the sale or exchange giving rise to the gain. Under the new guidance taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to satisfy the like kind exchange or QOF requirements if the statutory periods ended between April 1 and July 14.

IRS Notice 2020-23 is beneficial to certain taxpayers although paying attention to dates is important. Please call your BST tax advisor with any questions.

 

Monday, April 20, 2020 at 2:41 PM: Got a PPP loan? Here’s How to Make sure you get Loan Forgiveness

Click Here to Read Article

 

Sunday, April 12, 2020 at 9:00 AM: Approval for Small Business Loans

Click Here to Listen to Interview

 

Friday, April 3, 2020 at 8:30 PM: Spectrum News “Ask the Expert”

Click Here to Listen to Segment

 

Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 2:00 PM: Vox Pop- Financial Advice with Bob Canterbury

Click Here to Listen to Interview

 

Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM: $350 Billion Will Be on the Table Soon for Small Business — the Time to Prepare is Now

Click Here to Read Article

 

Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM: SBA Loans and 401k Plans

Click Here to Listen to Interview

 

Saturday, March 29, 2020 at 7:00 AM: Benefits for Small Businesses Loans

Click Here to Listen to Interview

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020, at 5:30 PM: Your Personal Finances Haven’t Been Immune to the Pandemic

Pandemics on the scale of the current COVID-19 crisis don’t come along very often. But the damage they cause is almost impossible to escape.

What’s an investor to do?

“My main objective is to keep people calm and (to advise them) not to make any panicky moves,” said Bob Canterbury, a senior wealth advisor at BST & Co. CPAs in Colonie.

Certainly, those in the stock market have felt the pandemic’s impact.

Hugh Johnson, founder, chairman and chief investment officer at Hugh Johnson Advisors, said Friday afternoon that equities were down 32 percent from their peak and Johnson said the U.S. economy likely would continue contracting through the third quarter, with zero growth for all of 2020. Before the pandemic, the consensus forecast of economists was that the U.S. economy would expand by 1.8 to 1.9 percent this year and next.

How bad might conditions become before we see improvement? After all, state officials were projecting last week that it could be another 45 days before coronavirus cases would even peak.

“This has been the longest bull market,” Johnson pointed out. “But trees don’t grow to the sky.”

The silver lining to the bear market is that we’ve gone from overvalued to being significantly undervalued, Johnson said.

“That doesn’t mean that it’s over. We may have seen the most damage — I cross my fingers — to the markets,” he said. “But the period of volatility is not behind us,” Johnson added. “It’s going to be some time before we get signs of containment and that businesses and individuals are starting to come out and go back to work.”

Economic activity in such industries as airlines, restaurants and manufacturing evaporated as businesses closed and employees stopped working. UBS analysts on Friday predicted a “deep recession” this year. And Goldman Sachs predicted that U.S. gross domestic product in the second quarter would contract by 24 percent, the largest decline in history and two and a half times the size of the previous largest drop of 10 percent in 1958.

When the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates nearly to zero, it was to make borrowing affordable, Canterbury said, acting almost as a lubricant to help businesses survive.

The damage has been deep. Johnson, asked if we might see a depression, said “there’s no question the magnitude of contraction in the second quarter is going to be reminiscent,” but added “I don’t think it is in the cards.”

Johnson said the Federal Reserve was doing what it needs to do, adding liquidity to the financial system.

And Canterbury offered some suggestions to get through this period, such as establishing or maintaining a bigger cash reserve than you would have on hand normally; logging in and looking at your 401(k) account to see whether you want to rebalance accounts; review your health and life insurance coverage and confirming beneficiary designations are up to date; and reviewing your household budget to reduce discretionary spending.

Those saving for their children’s college education through so-called 529 plans might also want to consider whether age-based options, usually more conservative, might be appropriate as their children approach college age.

Economic activity was expected to slow further this weekend as states began suggesting more people stay home. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo declined to call it “shelter in place.”

Johnson said he’s studied previous recessions and pandemics, including the Spanish, Hong Kong and Asian flus and the 1987 market crash. “We eventually recovered in every case,” he said.

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020, at 4:00 PM: IRS Extends Tax Filing Deadline Until July 15, 2020

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the federal tax deadline for an “Affected Taxpayer” will be extended (delayed) to July 15, 2020, from the traditional deadline of April 15, 2020. This favorable development was clarified today with guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service in the form of Notice 2020-18. This further action follows news earlier in the week that the IRS was postponing the due date for making certain Federal income tax payments subject to certain dollar amount limitations.

Today’s notice defines an “Affected Taxpayer” as any one person, including individual, a trust, estate, partnership, associate or corporation, with a Federal income tax payment or a Federal income tax return that is due April 15, 2020. For an Affected Taxpayer, the due date is automatically postponed to July 15, 2020, without the need to file an extension.

Notice 2020-18 further provides that there is NO LIMITATION on the amount of the Federal tax payment that may be postponed. This relief is available solely with respect to Federal income tax payments and Federal income tax returns due on April 15, 2020, with respect to the 2019 taxable year, AND Federal estimated income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, for the 2020 taxable year. This relief includes payments of tax on self-employment income and estimated payments of the same. The notice does not extend to 2020 Federal estimated income tax payments due after April 15, 2020; therefore, the second quarter estimated tax payments, due June 15, 2020, are not postponed.

At this time, we await further information about guidelines from state and local jurisdictions. We will provide an update as soon as they are available.

BST is committed to serving your financial and tax needs during this unsettling period as the

U.S. adapts to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact your BST tax professional for further information and guidance.

 

Friday, March 20, 2020, at 1:00 PM: Breaking Update

Breaking: IRS extends tax filing deadline for individuals to July 15. Previously, payments were allowed to be deferred but now includes an extension to file.

 

Friday, March 20, 2020, at 7:30 AM: Bob Canterbury Interviews with News 10

Click Here to Listen to Interview

 

Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 4:00 PM: Bob Canterbury Interviews with WRGB CBS 6

Click Here to Listen to Interview

 

Thursday, Mach 19, 2020, at 2:00 PM: COVID-19’s Impact on April 15th Tax Deadline

Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2020-17 granting payment relief to certain individuals and businesses who have federal tax payments due on April 15, 2020. THE FILING DEADLINE FOR INCOME TAX RETURNS OR EXTENSIONS REMAINS APRIL 15, 2020.

For individuals who owe 2019 federal income tax (including taxes on self-employment income), as well as a tax year 2020 first quarter estimated income tax payment, the payment deadline has been postponed to July 15, 2020. The total amount of postponed payment is limited to $1 million of tax due regardless of filing status. No interest or penalties will be assessed on the postponed payment.

C Corporations that owe federal corporate income tax for the 2019 tax year and a first quarter 2020 estimated tax payment are postponed until July 15, 2020 for up to $10 million of federal tax due. Similar to affected individuals, the filing date for C corporations income tax returns, or extensions thereto, remains April 15, 2020.

Click Here for Full Details

If you have any questions, please contact your BST tax professional.

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at 5:45 PM: BST is Moving to a Mandatory Remote Working Environment

The COVID-19 situation has intensified and evolved rapidly since we communicated with you last week. As a result, BST is moving to a mandatory remote working environment for employees effective today, March 18, until further notice. We believe this is a necessary step to protect your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of our employees, their families and our communities.

What does this mean for you?

We remain committed to providing exceptional service to you as we are working remotely.

We have robust technology and a culture of flexibility that enables our employees to efficiently and effectively provide client service remotely. In addition, each of business lines has established remote working guidelines to ensure we can continue to work with you and meet your deadlines.

We have asked employees to limit their time at client sites to the minimum critical activities necessary to complete our work. If our teams are scheduled to be at your site, they will reach out to discuss how we will work with you going forward. We have actively been working with clients to determine the best approach for both you and us. Thank you for being so cooperative.

We will continue to tailor our approach to meet your specific needs, and we will adjust and communicate with you as circumstances change. If you have any questions or concerns about your engagement, please reach out to your engagement leader.

Our offices will be closed to outside visitors starting today. This is a difficult decision to make because we value our direct, in-person interactions with you. If we were planning to host an in-person meeting with you, we will reach out to set up a video or phone conference to conduct the meeting.

The impact on tax season

Since we are in the heart of tax season, gathering your information is critical.

We encourage you to provide as much of that information as necessary in an electronic form. You can securely add that to your BST Client Portal; through your electronic organizer; or through our secure email system. If you need help accessing any of these tools, please let us know.

If hard copy information is necessary, our reception area will be open and staffed daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM to allow you to drop off your tax documentation.

When we have completed your returns, we will deliver them using our secure email system. Additional resources to handle this situation through our alliance with RSM.

RSM has created a COVID-19 resource center to help your business.

It includes insights on business continuity planning, tax and regulatory guidance, industry impact and the overall economy. RSM is also launching a weekly webcast series starting today.

We value our relationship with you and we are committed to staying in touch with you as this situation evolves.

We continue to wish you, your teams and your loved ones all the very best.

 

Friday, March 13, 2020, at 4:30 PM: Coronavirus Communication

We are getting all sorts of communication on the Coronavirus and so are the folks who work for us. Many employers are wondering what to say to the people that work for them to help them understand what the company is doing to help them.

Included below is a communication developed to provide information directly to employees. If this works for you, please feel free to use it. Please be sure you are willing to do all the items outlined in this communication.

As COVID-19, more commonly referred to as coronavirus, continues to spread around the world, I want to update you on our current guidance and plans. The health of our people is of the utmost importance to Our Company. We are taking a comprehensive approach to planning, including travel guidance, precautions to prevent the spread of illness, tips on keeping our offices clean, flexibility reminders, client service guidance and business continuity planning in the event of community spread in New York. Please review the guidance from the CDC and State Department of Health which can be found at the following websites:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html or https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

In order to take steps to minimize the spread of illness consistent with the CDC and State Department of Health please comply with the following health hygiene practices to prevent the spread of any illness.

The best way to prevent the spread of any illness is to practice good health hygiene practices, such as these:

  1. Avoid contact with sick people or
  2. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—scrubbing the front and back of your hands, fingers and under each nail. If soap and water is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60%
  3. Stay home if you or a family member are sick—do not come into the office or report to a client site. If you are well enough to work, you may work remotely from home. If you are too sick to work, you should take PTO.
  4. Do not travel if you are This is especially important as symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses, and airlines and airports are screening and/or taking heightened precautions, including potential segregation or quarantine, for travelers who are displaying symptoms of respiratory illness.
  5. If you take public transportation or are in any crowded location, follow local guidelines and wash or sanitize your hands according to the instructions in point #2 after your travel or event is complete.
  6. If you become sick, seek medical care immediately. It is advisable to call your doctor, emergency room or urgent care center before you arrive and tell the doctor about your symptoms and any recent travel.

Keeping our office healthy

We are also recommending additional measures to help keep our office healthy, including:

  1. Posters and reminders to support the health hygiene practices outlined above will be put up in offices as a reminder
  2. We recommend frequent cleaning and wiping down of surfaces at the beginning and end of each day—especially in hoteling spaces and conference rooms—to help prevent the spread of germs.
  3. If you need additional guidance, please consult with me.

Working remotely

Our Company has a culture of flexibility and technology that allows for remote work.

  1. Use our flexibility benefits and work remotely or take PTO when you or a family member are
  2. In the event of school or childcare center closures or where there is risk of exposure, you may work from home.
  3. Take your laptop home with you in the event that you or a family member become ill or if you need to stay at home for childcare

Client service

It is critical that we maintain a high level of service to our clients during this time, as well as following good practices to help keep their workplaces healthy.

  1. Individuals who are working onsite at a client should follow the health hygiene practices and tips for keeping offices safe and healthy that are outlined above, as well as any additional precautions required by the client.
  2. If there is any anticipated impact to client deliverables or deadlines, please communicate early and often with the client.

Travel

Our Company continues to monitor guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other applicable government agencies as it relates to travel, trade, quarantine and screening. Currently we are recommending:

  1. Do not travel if you are sick.
  2. Professionals who have personally traveled or have family in their home that has traveled in China or South Korea for business or personal purposes should adhere to a 14-day quarantine (or the most current CDC guidance) and connect with HR for additional guidance during that period and prior to returning to work.

The above requirements are effective immediately. If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to me. As additional information is provided by federal, state and local health agencies and/or circumstances related to the outbreak change, we will communicate further updates to our workplace standards and precautions.

Thank you for helping keep Our Company and our clients safe and healthy.

 

Friday, March 13, 2020, at 2:50 PM: Client Coronavirus Email

We are getting all sorts of communication on the Coronavirus and so are the folks who work for us. Many employers are wondering what to say to the people that work for them to help them understand what the company is doing to help them.

Included below is a communication developed to provide information directly to employees. If this works for you, please feel free to use it. Please be sure you are willing to do all the items outlined in this communication. The link in this message is for the New York State Department of Health Please remove and include the state DOH where you have employees.

As COVID-19, more commonly referred to as coronavirus, continues to spread around the world, I want to update you on our current guidance and plans. The health of our people is of the utmost importance to Our Company. We are taking a comprehensive approach to planning, including travel guidance, precautions to prevent the spread of illness, tips on keeping our offices clean, flexibility reminders, client service guidance and business continuity planning in the event of community spread in New York.

Please review the guidance from the CDC and State Department of Health which can be found at the following websites:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html or https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/

In order to take steps to minimize the spread of illness consistent with the CDC and State Department of Health please comply with the following health hygiene practices to prevent the spread of any illness.

The best way to prevent the spread of any illness is to practice good health hygiene practices, such as these:

  1. Avoid contact with sick people or
  2. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—scrubbing the front and back of your hands, fingers and under each nail. If soap and water is not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60%
  3. Stay home if you or a family member are sick—do not come into the office or report to a client site. If you are well enough to work, you may work remotely from home. If you are too sick to work, you should take PTO.
  4. Do not travel if you are This is especially important as symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses, and airlines and airports are screening and/or taking heightened precautions, including potential segregation or quarantine, for travelers who are displaying symptoms of respiratory illness.
  5. If you take public transportation or are in any crowded location, follow local guidelines and wash or sanitize your hands according to the instructions in point #2 after your travel or event is complete.
  6. If you become sick, seek medical care immediately. It is advisable to call your doctor, emergency room, or urgent care center before you arrive and tell the doctor about your symptoms and any recent travel.

Keeping our office healthy

We are also recommending additional measures to help keep our office healthy, including:

  1. Posters and reminders to support the health hygiene practices outlined above will be put up in offices as a reminder.
  2. We recommend frequent cleaning and wiping down of surfaces at the beginning and end of each day—especially in hoteling spaces and conference rooms—to help prevent the spread of germs.

Working remotely

Our Company has a culture of flexibility and technology that allows for remote work.

  1. Use our flexibility benefits and work remotely or take PTO when you or a family member are sick.
  2. In the event of school or childcare center closures or where there is risk of exposure, you may work from home.
  3. Take your laptop home with you in the event that you or a family member become ill or if you need to stay at home for childcare purposes.

Client service

It is critical that we maintain a high level of service to our clients during this time, as well as following good practices to help keep their workplaces healthy.

  1. Individuals who are working onsite at a client should follow the health hygiene practices and tips for keeping offices safe and healthy that are outlined above, as well as any additional precautions required by the client.
  2. If there is any anticipated impact to client deliverables or deadlines, please communicate early and often with the client.

Travel

Our Company continues to monitor guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other applicable government agencies as it relates to travel, trade, quarantine and screening. Currently we are recommending:

  1. Do not travel if you are sick.
  2. Professionals who have personally traveled or have family in their home that has traveled in China or South Korea for business or personal purposes should adhere to a 14-day quarantine (or the most current CDC guidance) and connect with HR for additional guidance during that period and prior to returning to work.

The above requirements are effective immediately. If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to Me. As additional information is provided by federal, state and local health agencies and/or circumstances related to the outbreak change, we will communicate further updates to our workplace standards and precautions.

Thank you for helping keep Our Company and our clients safe and healthy.