TAX WEBINAR WITH THE IRS-IS YOUR ASSISTANCE TAXABLE?
Thursday, April 16, 2020
9:30-10:30 AM
 
Guest speaker, Nancy Feliciano, Stakeholder Liaison, Area 2
Topic: Business tax relief credits, Economic Impact Payments, Other relief payments as taxable income and all other IRS tax related concerns relative to COVID19.
 
You must register for the event at WindhamChamber.com to get a video link and password. If you have a specific question, please email it to us at  diane@windhamchamber.com .
 
CALL TO ACTION FOR $$ FOR ALL SMALL BUSINESSES!!
The Paycheck Protection Program, launched April 3, has run out of money—with just 4% of Connecticut small businesses approved for these critical loans. With small businesses across the state running out of time, the U.S. Congress is deadlocked over adding more capital to the program. And applications for another vital emergency funding source, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, were also suspended after it ran out of money.
 
Take a moment to reach out to Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, and tell them to do the right thing by Connecticut’s hard hit small businesses. Please act today and contact both Senator Richard Blumenthal (202.224.2823 or  use this email form ) and Senator Chris Murphy (202.224.4041 or  use this email form ).
 
And also contact your U.S. House Representative (or all of them):
 
·         Rep. John Larson (CT-1): 202.225.2265 |  email
·         Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-2): 202.225.2076 |  email
·         Rep. Rosa De Lauro (CT-3): 202.225.3661 |  email
·         Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4): 202.225.5541 |  email
·         Rep Jahana Hayes (CT-5): 202.225.4476 |  email
 
Please contact both senators and your representative today—Connecticut’s small businesses cannot wait any longer. Tell them to pass the bill for additional funding ASAP!
 
NEW KIND OF FRAUD FOR EMPLOYERS-BEWARE
As if  Covid-19  were not already a big enough challenge for your business,  the FBI  has a warning this week about something new and frankly a little depressing: trusted employees  committing fraud  by taking advantage of the current crisis.
 
The FBI's Office of Private Sector warned companies this week that it's seen multiple reports of employees using fake doctor's notes and other documentation to back up false claims of having been diagnosed with Covid-19. More than simply trying to get a free sick day, the FBI warns, the nature of Covid-19 and the fact that companies will want to disinfect work areas and ask other employees to self-quarantine means that fake Covid-19 claims can cost affected employers lots of money.
 
In the report the FBI described an unnamed "critical manufacturing company" at which an employee told his or her bosses that they'd tested positive for Covid-19, and turned in "what appeared to be documentation from a medical facility." "In response," the FBI said, "the company shut down the affected manufacturing facility to disinfect the location, ceasing production and halting delivery of necessary materials to the plant. The company notified all employees at the facility, including four workers who had close contact with the reportedly infected employee and were required to self-quarantine." Ultimately, the employer became suspicious and realized that the documentation the employee turned in was bogus, the FBI said. 
However, the "victim company" lost $175,000 because of the lost productivity, according to the FBI. Also, a co-worker who thought they'd been exposed to the virus because they'd worked with the employee who reported being infected lost money by renting an apartment, so as to stay away from family during self-quarantine.
 
You have the right as an employer to ask for appropriate documentation that you can verify.
 
STIMULUS CHECKS ON THEIR WAY!
We are repeating this story because of the number of questions we are receiving….
The bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) authorized direct payments to Americans who are facing unexpected costs and financial hardship due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. These payments are referred to as “rebates” or “economic impact payments”. For more information on incoming direct payments to individuals and families – including who qualifies, and how much you can expect to receive – visit my COVID-19 Resource Page.

The IRS has issued a statement urging taxpayers to keep on the lookout and exercise extra caution in response to a recent surge of fraudulent IRS calls and email phishing attempts related to these payments, often referring to them as “stimulus checks”.

The IRS has issued a warning that scammers may:
  • Emphasize the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment” while seeking personal financial information. For reference, the official term is economic impact payment.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
  • Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information, saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. These scams could be conducted by social media of even in person.
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Remember: the IRS will NEVER call or send an unsolicited email requesting personal financial information. If you receive a surprise email appearing to be from the IRS, DO NOT open or click on attachments and links.

The IRS will work to deliver rebates quickly in the form of advance payments. For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, or who receive Social Security benefits, payment processing will be based on payment or address information already on file with the IRS or Social Security Administration. Electronic distributions will be automatic to an account the payee authorized January 1, 2018 or later. 

Additionally, the Treasury and IRS launched new tool to help non-filers register for Economic Impact Payments. To access the tool, visit  IRS.gov  and click on “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here” to enter your information. If you have not filed federal taxes for 2018 or 2019 and do not receive Social Security benefits, I would strongly encourage you to go to  IRS.gov  as soon as possible and enter your payment information into the system so that you do not have your Economic Impact Payment delayed. If you filed in 2018 and 2019 but paid the IRS, so you did not give them your bank info to deposit money, you should go to the above site and register your banking information so they know where to send your money.
 
YOU CAN GET FREE SOFTWARE TO FILE YOUR TAXES FOR FREE:
Here’s how Free File works:
Taxpayers whose income was $69,000 or less last year are eligible for the free software. There also is Free File Fillable Forms, an electronic version of IRS paper forms. It has no income limitations. Free File options are available at  IRS.gov/FreeFile .
  1. Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile to see all Free File options.
  2. Browse each of the offers or use a "look up" tool to help you find the right product. Each Free File partner sets its own eligibility standards generally based on income, age and state residency. But if the taxpayer's adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less, they will find at least one free product to use.
  3. Select a provider and follow the links to their web page to begin a tax return.
  4. Taxpayers should complete and e-File a tax return only when they have all the income and deduction records they need. The fastest way to get a refund is by filing electronically and selecting direct deposit. For those who owe, use direct pay or electronic options.
Please note: Because of COVID-19, the IRS is not processing paper tax returns at this time. Electronic filing options remain available. To receive a refund electronically, use the electronic filing option for Free File and use direct deposit.
 
FREE LIFE INSURANCE FOR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
MassMutual announced the launch of  HealthBridge , which will provide free term life insurance to the brave and resilient frontline healthcare workers across Massachusetts and Connecticut risking their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are offering local healthcare workers who are putting their safety on the line no-cost policies of up to $25,000.
 
All active employees of licensed hospitals, urgent care centers or emergency medical services providers in Massachusetts and Connecticut whose jobs may involve occupational exposure to the virus are eligible for the 3-year term life policies. By uploading proof of employment and filling out a short application on the  HealthBridge  page, qualified healthcare workers will receive this free element of financial protection – completed fully online – from MassMutual.
 
UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS-WBDC TOWN HALL
The Women’s Business Development Center is hosting a Town Hall on Friday, April 17, 1:30PM - 2:30PM for a virtual conversation with Governor Ned Lamont and Stamford Health President and Chief Executive Officer Kathleen Silard. The Governor and Ms. Silard will provide updates and
developments related to the COVID-19 response in Fairfield County and throughout Connecticut.
Or dial in at: (646) 558-8656
Conference ID: 982 9221 4645
 
COVID 19 MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR INSURED IS 100% COVERED
CT’s Insurance Department announced that anyone who has health insurance coverage, even with high deductibles, can receive COVID19 testing and treatment with no out of pocket costs. If you have a self-funded health plan for your employees you are being asked to waive testing and treatment costs as well but you are not mandated to do so. Medicaid and HUSKY patients will get free care.

NEW GRANT FROM LAST GREEN VALLEY
The Last Green Valley has a new grant for non-profits up to $1500 to help them build capacity during this crisis. The grant can be used for equipment, services and training to help organizations improve communication or provide alternative means of engaging the public. It must be matched.  For more info read this >

MAPLE FESTIVAL 2020
It is with very deep disappointment that we announce that this year’s Hebron Maple Festival is cancelled. The Chamber, the Town of Hebron, the Chatham Health District and Windham Arts worked closely in making the decision in March to postpone the event to May. It is now clear that we will not be able to hold the event at that time. In fact, with rumors from government, we may not be able to hold any large gathering for quite some time. We are all looking forward to a healthy spring, summer and fall and have our fingers crossed that next March will not only be virus-free but will also provide us with beautiful maple syrup making weather. This of course means that everyone must do their best during this year to make and taste as many mapley things as possible and stop by your local maple sugar house to purchase local syrup. See you all next March!
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