Mirick O'Connell COVID-19 Legal Updates
Tax Law | Employment Law | Construction Law

The IRS issued additional guidance yesterday regarding the new July 15th tax return and tax payment extensions that it announced last week. Here are some key takeaways:

  • The extensions apply to all types of income tax returns and income tax payments that would otherwise be due on April 15th, including income tax returns for trusts and estates, but importantly, the extensions do not apply to estate and gift tax returns, estate or gift tax payments, or to payroll and excise tax returns, deposits or payments

  • First quarter 2020 estimated payments that would normally be due on April 15th will be due on July 15th. As of right now, second quarter estimated payments will continue to be due on June 15th, resulting in second quarter estimated payments being due a month prior to the first quarter payment

  • You do not need to file an extension form to qualify for the July 15th filing and payment extensions—the extensions automatically apply

  • If you are unable to file your income tax return by July 15th you can obtain an automatic extension of time to file until October 15th but you must affirmatively request this extension by July 15th

  • The elimination of penalties and interest on 2019 tax payments only applies to 2019 income tax payments that would otherwise be due on April 15th and now can be made on July 15th. The relief does not change the rules for 2019 estimated payments, which will be subject to penalties if they were not timely made by their regular due dates in 2019

  • The deadline for making contributions to an IRA for 2019 has been extended to July 15th and a similar extension is now available for contributions for 2019 to a Health Savings Account (HAS) and an Archer Medical Savings Account (MSA)

  • The grace period to make contributions to qualified retirement plans under Section 404(a)(6) of the federal tax code for calendar 2019 has been extended to July 15th for employers with a federal tax return due date of April 15th

  • Although the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website states that the DOR is “working on a plan to provide relief with respect to Massachusetts returns and payments” the DOR has not yet made an official announcement providing confirmation or details

Trusts and Estates Group
Trusts and Estates Group
Department of Labor Releases Poster of Employee Rights under
Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Acts

On March 25, 2020, the Department of Labor released a notice of employee rights under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA). A copy of the notice can be found here . Pursuant to the provisions of the EPSLA and EFMLA, employers are required to post a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place on their premises where notices are customarily posted. In addition to a physical posting, if your workforce is currently remote, employers should circulate a copy of the notice via email and/or post it on their internal internet.  

 If you have any questions regarding the notice or any employment issues resulting from COVID-19, please contact any member of our Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Team.
Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Group
We are excited to introduce our new podcast, On Air with Mirick O'Connell.

Today's guest is Amanda Baer. Amanda discusses the Emergency Sick Leave Act.

Click on the graphic below to listen to her episode.

Since our blog post on March 18 , a lot has happened from both a health and regulatory standpoint as far as the impact from the outbreak of COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) on local and state construction practice. Here is an update, as of today, March 25.

On March 23, Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon.

The order appended a list of designated essential services , based on federal guidance and amended to reflect the needs of Massachusetts’ unique economy, including

“Construction Workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction)”

“Workers – including contracted vendors – involved in the construction of critical or strategic infrastructure including public works construction, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, nuclear, oil refining and other critical energy services, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, and internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services)”

“Workers who maintain, ensure, or restore the reliable generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power”

“Workers to ensure continuity of building functions”

The industry therefore largely interpreted the order to mean that most construction work was deemed a COVID-19 Essential Service and would be permitted to continue unimpeded.
Notably, the order also provided that it:

“supersedes and makes inoperative any order or rule issued by a municipality that will or might in any way impede or interfere with the achievement of the objectives of this Order. With respect to work or travel in particular, any order or rule issued by a municipality is hereby made inoperative to the extent: (1) such municipal order or rule will or might interfere with provisions of this Order ensuring the continued operations of COVID-19 Essential Services; or (2) such municipal order or rule will or might interfere with the free travel anywhere within the Commonwealth of any person who is a member of any COVID-19 Essential Workforce where such travel is made in connection with the ongoing operation of COVID-19 Essential Services.”

On its face, this order appeared to supersede and render inoperative prior directives from municipalities, including the City of Boston, which had ordered a systematic shut down of most construction work. Industry participants quickly appealed to the Governor’s Office for clarification.


Yesterday, March 25, 2019, the Governor’s Office, through its Chief Legal Counsel, issued written guidance regarding the effect of the March 23 emergency order insofar as the order intersects with municipal efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Importantly, the guidance provides that “all construction projects are to continue operations during the state of emergency, but to do so with allowance for social distancing protocols consistent with guidance provided from the Department of Public Health … Local policies, regulations, or directives that provide otherwise are in direct conflict with the Order and should be withdrawn … construction projects should continue as long as they observe social distancing protocols and otherwise can continue to operate safely.”

According to this guidance, Massachusetts cities and towns may not impose a ban on construction and may not order work to cease on existing projects, as such actions are in violation of the emergency order.  However, all projects in the Commonwealth must adopt and implement COVID-19 Guidelines and Procedures for all Construction Sites and Workers at all Public Work , which are enclosed with the letter.

Industry participants are cautioned that, until cities and towns take formal action to withdraw the orders currently in place, the restrictions in cities such as Boston will remain in effect. The situation remains fluid and there is likely to be further, imminent instruction from city and state authorities. Indeed, just a few hours after the Governor’s Office released its guidance, the City of Boston responded with its own bulletin , stating that, “[d]ue to the public health emergency in Boston and across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this pause is still in effect until further notice.

The Mirick O’Connell Construction Practice Group will continue to monitor these events.   
Construction Law Group

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