Message from PSEA's Government Relations Board

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

NEXT WEEK the CARES ACT (Introduced 03/19/)


Requires small businesses to provide employees with

  1. An initial 10 days of Emergency Paid Sick Leave
  2. An additional 12 weeks of Emergency Paid Family/Medical Leave (expands FMLA)

Reimbursement to small businesses for paid leave as tax credits
Advanceable, refundable payroll tax credits

Emergancy Paid Sick Leave - Qualifying Reasons

Must provide Emergency Paid Sick Leave to the extent the employee is unable to work (or telework) because:

(1) The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID 19.
(2) The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self quarantine due to concerns related to COVID 19.
(3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID 19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
(4) The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order or self quarantine as described above.
(5) The employee is caring for a son or daughter if school or childcare is closed/unavailable.
(6) The employee is experiencing “any other substantially similar condition” specified by HHS (catch all).

  • Applies to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees
  • Any employee who works for employer is eligible
  • No minimum days/hours of employment
  • If the EMPLOYEE is sick, employee is entitled to:
  1. Full time Employees 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave
  2. Part time Employees Paid based on the average number of hours the employee worked for the 6 months prior to taking Emergency Paid Sick Leave
  3. Or, if employed for less than 6 months, the average number of hours per week the employee would normally be scheduled

  • At employee’s regular rate for qualifying reasons (1), (2), or (3)
  • Compensated at HIGHER of their regular rate, federal minimum wage, or local minimum wage
  • At 2/3 the employee’s regular rate for qualifying reasons (4), (5), or (6)
  • Capped at the following levels:
  1. •$511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate per person for qualifying reasons (1), (2), and (3).
  2. •$200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate per person for qualifying reasons (4), (5), and (6)

Notice: Employers must post a notice regarding the requirements of the law.
The Secretary of Labor is required to make a model notice publicly available no later than 7 days after enactment of the new law.

  • Employers are entitled to an advanceable, refundable tax credit equal to the amount of the qualified Emergency Paid Sick Leave requirements paid by the employer per quarter .

  • The tax credits for qualified Emergency Paid Sick Leave wages are capped at
  1. $511 per day per person for qualifying reasons (1), (2), and (3).
  2. $200 per day per person for qualifying reasons (4), (5), and (6).

  • The tax credits are applied against employer portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, but employers are reimbursed if their costs for qualified Emergency Paid Sick Leave exceeds the taxes they would owe.

Emergency Paid Family/Medical Leave

  • Applies to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees:
  • A corporation is a single employer, rather than its separate establishments or divisions.
  • Separate entities will be one employer if they meet either the joint employer or integrated employer tests (as set forth in FMLA regulations).
  • Significantly expands FMLA on a temporary basis (12/31/2020).
  • Eligible employees: worked for employer for 30 days prior to Emergency Paid Family/Medical Leave and has a qualifying reason.
  • Provides up to 12 weeks of job protected leave (paid after the first 10 days).

12 weeks of job protected leave when:the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to the need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider of such
son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.

Emergency Family/Medical Leave Pay Obligations

  • First 10 days of Emergency Family/Medical Leave may be unpaid.
  • An employee may elect to substitute accrued PTO, vacation, or sick leave to cover any portion of first 10 days, but employer cannot require an employee to substitute accrued paid leave.
  • After the first 10 days:
  1. Full time employees: Compensated at 2/3 of the regular rate.
  2. Part time employees/irregular schedule: Compensated based on average number of hours employee worked in prior 6 months, or if employed less than 6 months, average number of hours employee would normally be scheduled to work.
  3. Pay capped at $200 per day and $10,000 in aggregate per employee.

Emergency FMLA - Tax Credits

  • Employers subject to the requirements are entitled to a tax credit equal to the amount of the paid FMLA requirements paid by the employer.
  • The tax credits for qualified wages are capped at $200 per day and $10,000 per calendar quarter per employee.
  • The tax credits are applied against employer portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, but employers are reimbursed if their costs for qualified Paid Family/Medical Leave exceeds the taxes they would owe.

NEXT WEEK - CARES Act Business Interruption Loans
  • Loan amount: average monthly payments for payroll, mortgage, rent, debt obligations, up to $10,000,000
  • Uses: payroll support (including paid leave), continuation health
  • insurance premiums, salaries, mortgage, rent, debt obligations
  • Loan forgiveness: equal to maintaining payroll from March 1 June 1
  • May be reduced based on reduction of number of employees based on payroll
formula

DCED
Latest List (Friday Afternoon 03/20/2020) Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services May Continue Physical Operations
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has been working with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Office and the United States Small Business Administration (US SBA) to discuss how the Federal Government can be a source of financial assistance for affected Pennsylvania businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
On Wednesday, March 18 th , Governor Tom Wolf requested that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) implement an SBA disaster declaration to provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.
 
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
 
The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
 
SBA offers loans 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, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
 
Please see the two attachments SBA Disaster Fact Sheet and Three-Step-Process for SBA Disaster Loans on how to apply!
 
In addition to making sure that this federal funding for small business assistance is available, the Wolf Administration is working with the General Assembly to make sure state funding is available for small business assistance too. Small businesses can apply through the Small Business First Fund (SBD), an existing PIDA loan program. More information is available at  https://dced.pa.gov/programs/pennsylvania-industrial-development-authority-pida/

PA Dept of Revenue
Appeals, Penalties, Deadlines, and Estimates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2020

Pennsylvania Extends Personal Income Tax Return Filing Deadline to July 15, 2020

Harrisburg, PA — The Department of Revenue today announced the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns is extended to July 15, 2020. This means taxpayers will have an additional 90 days to file from the original deadline of April 15. The Internal Revenue Service also extended the federal filing deadline to July 15, 2020.

The Department of Revenue will also waive penalties and interest on 2019 personal income tax payments through the new deadline of July 15, 2020. This extension applies to both final 2019 tax returns and payments, and estimated payments for the first and second quarters of 2020.

The filing deadline is being extended at a time when Governor Tom Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 . Under Pennsylvania law the filing deadline for personal income tax returns is tied to the federal income tax due date.

“This is a necessary step that will give Pennsylvania taxpayers extra time to file their returns and make tax payments during a difficult time for everyone,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “Particularly for those who plan to meet with a tax professional to prepare their returns, the new deadline will help everyone follow the Governor’s guidance to stay at home as we all work to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Although the filing deadline has been extended, the Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers who are able to file their returns electronically to do so. This will enable the department to continue to process returns as commonwealth offices are closed. Additionally, if you are expecting a refund from the commonwealth , filing electronically will help avoid a delay in the release of your refund.   

Padirectfile

Taxpayers can electronically file their Pennsylvania tax returns for free through Padirectfile, a secure, state-only electronic income tax filing system that is available through the Department of Revenue’s website. For more information or to begin filing, visit Padirectfile .

Electronic Filing for Free

Free electronic filing options are available to file state and federal returns using software from a reputable vendor (income limits may apply). More vendor information is available on the Department of Revenue’s website.  

Electronic Filing for a Fee

Paid tax preparers and commercial tax preparation software providers that offer electronic filing, or e-filing, for a fee are an option for Pennsylvania taxpayers.  
E-filing offers advantages not available to taxpayers filing by paper, including error-reducing automatic calculators, instant confirmation of successful filing, faster refund processing and direct deposit options. 

July 15 Deadline

All taxpayers who received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2019 must file a Pennsylvania personal income tax return (PA-40) by midnight on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. 

Estimated Payments

The deadline for taxpayers who make quarterly estimated personal income tax payments is also extended to July 15, 2020. That means estimated payments for the first and second quarters of 2020 will be due by July 15, 2020.

Any individual who expects to receive more than $8,000 of Pennsylvania-taxable income not subject to withholding by a Pennsylvania employer must estimate and pay personal income tax quarterly. Estimated tax due dates for individuals are typically April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15, or the first following business day if any deadline falls on a weekend or holiday.
Filing for an Extension

If additional time to file is needed, taxpayers still have the option to file a request for an extension to file their Pennsylvania personal income tax return. The extension is available for up to six months. As an important reminder, an extension of time to file does not extend the deadline to make a payment if you owe taxes to the commonwealth.

Paper Filing

Although the Department of Revenue is strongly encouraging taxpayers to electronically submit their personal income tax returns, taxpayers who file paper returns will still be able to do so. The returns will be considered timely filed as long as they are postmarked on or before the new deadline of July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers who do submit their returns via paper should know that there will be delays in the processing of their returns, due to the fact that Department of Revenue’s offices are closed as part of mitigation efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This could impact the processing of a taxpayer’s refund if they are expecting one.

Appeal Deadline

Because commonwealth offices are currently closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, there will be additional time in certain cases for taxpayers who wish to appeal a tax assessment issued by the Department of Revenue or file a petition for a tax refund with the Board of Appeals . A petition for appeals of all tax types will be accepted as timely filed if it is filed by the later of the following dates:

  • 30 days after the reopening of the Board of Appeals offices; or
  • The original appeal deadline.

Please know that If the appeal deadline fell on a date prior to the closure of commonwealth offices (March 16, 2020), the original appeal deadline is still applicable. In other words, in these cases petitions will be considered as timely filed if they are filed by the last day of the appeal period. Additionally, the Board of Appeals will accept any submission of requested documentation as long as it is received within 30 days after the Board of Appeals offices reopen. 

Visit the Board of Appeals’ Online Petition Center for further information on tax appeals.
Reach the Department of Revenue Online

With the Department of Revenue’s call centers closed due to the mitigation efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to use its Online Customer Service Center, available at  revenue-pa.custhelp.com . You can use this resource to electronically submit a question to a department representative. The department representative will be able to respond through a secure, electronic process that is similar to receiving an email. Additionally, the Online Customer Service Center includes thousands of answers to common tax-related questions.

For more information, visit  www.revenue.pa.gov , where you can find free tax forms and instructions. You can also visit the department’s pages on Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn for additional information.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jeffrey Johnson, 717-787-6960; ra-press@pa.gov

Please share technical observations or concerns with either Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Cares Act or PA Sate Issues to Warren Hudak
We are actively providing feedback to agencies