Our offices will be closed on 12/22, 12/25 and 1/1 in observance of the Holidays.
Our offices will close at 3pm on January 11th for an internal event.
Our offices will be closed on 12/22, 12/25 and 1/1 in observance of the Holidays.
Our offices will close at 3pm on January 11th for an internal event.
Barring further action by Congress, many of the TCJA rules are scheduled to expire after 2025 and some may revert to tax rules that were effective in 2017. To learn more, review our chart of meal + entertainment deductions by category and tax year.
The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (H.R. 7010) (PPP Flexibility Act), enacted on June 5, 2020, makes welcome changes to the forgiveness rules for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans made to small businesses in response to the novel coronavirus global pandemic (COVID-19). The PPP Flexibility Act greatly increases the likelihood that a large percentage of a borrower’s PPP loan will be forgiven. PPP loans (and related forgiveness) were created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Public Law 116-136), which was enacted on March 27, 2020. The PPP Flexibility Act also eliminates a provision that made recipients of PPP loan forgiveness ineligible to defer certain payroll tax deposits.
The PPP Flexibility Act does not address whether employers can deduct the expenses underlying their PPP loan forgiveness. In Notice 2020-32, the IRS announced that employers could not deduct such expenses, but congressional leaders vowed to reverse the IRS’s position in future legislation. On June 3, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal (D-MA), said that in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill he intends to clarify that the loan forgiveness expenses are tax deductible. But negotiations on that bill are still in the early stages.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Expanded
The PPP Flexibility Act makes the following changes:
1. Extends the “covered period” for PPP loan forgiveness from eight weeks after loan origination to the earlier of (i) 24 weeks after loan origination or (ii) December 31, 2020. Borrowers who received their loans before this change can elect to use their original or alternative payroll eight-week covered period.
In connection with passing the PPP Flexibility Act, a Statement for the Record was issued by several Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, clarifying that the Small Business Administration (SBA) will not accept applications for PPP loans after June 30, 2020. The statement says: “Our intent and understanding of the law is that, consistent with the CARES Act as amended by H.R. 7010, when the authorization of funds to guarantee new PPP loans expires on June 30, 2020, the SBA and participating lenders will stop accepting and approving applications for PPP loans, regardless of whether the commitment level enacted by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act has been reached.” Given this affirmation, very few loans will have fewer than 24 weeks as a covered period.
2. Replaces the June 30, 2020, date for the rehire safe harbor with December 31, 2020.
Additional guidance is needed to determine if a borrower who elects their original or alternative payroll eight-week covered period would also retain the June 30, 2020, date for the rehire safe harbor.
3. Expands the rehire exception based on the non-availability of former employees and applies that exception when the need for workers is reduced to comply with COVID-19 standards. Specifically, PPP loan forgiveness would not be reduced due to a lower number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees if:
4. Allows up to 40% of the loan proceeds to be used on mortgage interest, rent or utilities (previously such expenses were capped at 25% of the loan proceeds), while at least 60% of the PPP funds must be used for payroll costs (down from the 75% that was noted in SBA guidance). This applies even if the borrower elects to use the eight-week covered or alternative payroll covered period. If the borrower does not use at least 60% of the loan on payroll costs, then it appears that no forgiveness would be available (i.e., the 60% would be a “cliff,” even though it was previously unclear whether the 75% limit would allow for partial loan forgiveness for payroll costs of less than 75% of loan proceeds).
Some members of Congress are considering a “technical correction” that would provide that the new 60% limit is not a “cliff” (thereby allowing partial loan forgiveness if less than 60% of PPP loan proceeds are used for payroll costs).
5. Provides a five-year term for all new PPP loans disbursed after June 5, 2020. Loans disbursed before that date would retain their original two-year term unless the lender and borrower renegotiate the loan into a five-year term.
6. Changes the six-month deferral period for loan repayments and interest accrual so that payments on any unforgiven amounts will begin on either (i) the date on which loan forgiveness is determined or (ii) 10 months after the end of the borrower’s covered period if forgiveness is not requested.
Although the PPP Flexibility Act doesn’t clearly say as much, it appears that the $100,000 maximum on cash compensation paid to any one employee that is eligible for PPP loan forgiveness would continue to apply, such that the $15,385 cap (for eight weeks) would now be $46,153 (for 24 weeks).
The PPP Flexibility Act does not address whether the loan forgiveness cap for “owner-employees” (i.e., 8/52 of their 2019 compensation) would change to 24/52 of their 2019 compensation.
Notwithstanding some commentary that has been released, the statute does not appear to allow borrowers to request PPP loan forgiveness as soon as they spend all of their PPP funds in the ninth to 24th weeks following receipt of their PPP funds. That is because the CARES Act has been amended to substitute “24 weeks” for “eight weeks,” so absent additional guidance, it seems that borrowers must wait until the end of the 24-week period to request PPP loan forgiveness, unless they elect to use the original eight-week period (regular or alternative payroll covered period).
These changes garnered nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in both the House and Senate because the CARES Act assumed that most businesses would be up and running in a matter of weeks. But more time is needed to incur forgivable costs, because many businesses are at or near the end of their initial eight-week loan forgiveness period, yet they remain partially or fully suspended by governmental orders.
Payroll Tax Deferral Expanded
In addition to PPP loan changes, the bill allows all employers, even those with forgiven PPP loans, to defer the payment of 2020 employer’s Social Security taxes, with 50% of the deferred amount being payable by December 31, 2021, and the balance due by December 31, 2022. Previously, the CARES Act prohibited such payroll tax deferral after a borrower’s PPP loan was forgiven.
President Trump is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 27, 2020, the President signed the bipartisan CARES Act that provides $100 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. This funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to ensure uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19.
Recognizing the importance of delivering funds in a fast and transparent manner, $30 billion is being distributed immediately – with payments arriving via direct deposit beginning April 10, 2020 – to eligible providers throughout the American healthcare system. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers, and will not need to be repaid.
Yes. The CMS Accelerated and Advance Payment Program has delivered billions of dollars to healthcare providers to help ensure providers and suppliers have the resources needed to combat the pandemic. The CMS accelerated and advance payments are a loan that providers must pay back. Read more information from CMS.
All relief payments are being made to providers and according to their tax identification number (TIN). For example:
The Administration is working rapidly on targeted distributions that will focus on providers in areas particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, rural providers, providers of services with lower shares of Medicare reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population, and providers requesting reimbursement for the treatment of uninsured Americans.
The Trump Administration is committed to ensuring that Americans are protected against financial obstacles that might prevent them from getting the testing and treatment they need from COVID-19.
SOURCE: https://www.hhs.gov/provider-relief/index.html; Content created by Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA); Content last reviewed on April 13, 2020
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted business continuity across all industries, and retail is already feeling the impact. While retailers’ primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of their professionals and customers, this crisis requires specialized urgency and sensitivity given the widespread impact and uncertainty of the pandemic’s duration.
Unlike other industries, retail is an anomaly in that there is a stark difference between how companies in different sectors are absorbing the COVID-19 shock. For grocers and general merchandisers, supply and demand curves have skewed way off the charts and retailers are struggling to keep up with historic demands for soap, disinfectants, paper towels and shelf-stable food. For example, during the week of February 23-29, hand sanitizer revenue sales increased 420% and both Clorox/Lysol wipes and canned food revenue sales experienced a 183% increase from the week prior, according to Bloomreach.
On the contrary, specialty and luxury retailers are experiencing a dip in demand due the fact that their goods are considered “non-essential”. As a result of social distancing mandates and shifting consumer priorities, COVID-19 is brick-and-mortars’ latest impediment, validated by a recent GlobalData study which states that 12.1% of people admitted to visiting malls less in response to the outbreak. In addition, some retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom, H&M and Ikea have shut their doors across the U.S. until further notice in an attempt to help contain the outbreak. These developments only compound the trend of declining foot traffic due to e-commerce growth that retailers have been grappling with in recent years.
While it may seem natural for transactions to be diverted to online, e-tailers are not necessarily experiencing smooth sailing either. For example, Amazon is seeing huge surges in demand, and yet, the same GlobalData study shows that Amazon is the least cited destination for stocking up (6.0%) compared with Walmart (21.9%), Costco (8.5%) and pharmaceutical convenience stores such as CVS (7.1%). This could perhaps be explained by e-commerce price gouging, and sheds light on the fact that even during dire circumstances, consumers will still look for that perfect balance between high convenience and low cost. In fact, just over one-third (34%) of consumers list price as their top priority for essential retail purchases today, compared with 20% who rate convenience first, according to a recent BDO survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+.
Pre-COVID-19, almost three-quarters (73%) of retail CFOs said their business was thriving and just 22% said a potential economic downturn was their business’s greatest threat, according to BDO’s 2020 Retail Rationalized Survey. Now with the reality of COVID-19 and subsequent stock market decline, continued momentum is threatened, and retailers should prepare to pivot under new constraints. With a market that recently entered into bear territory and the economy’s cyclical nature, the looming recession could be upon us sooner than once anticipated.
Here’s what retailers can do in the interim:
Looking ahead, monitoring announcements from the CDC and WHO can help guide the trajectory in which remedial steps should be taken. The retail industry has time and again experienced hardship and proved its resilience above the turbulence.
To learn more about how your organization can navigate immediate disruptions due to the novel coronavirus and prepare for the future, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Survey Methodology for the Harris Poll: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of BDO USA from March 25-26, 2020 among 1,045 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact your trusted advisor.
|UPDATED 3/19/20, 10:30 a.m.
IRS Updates on Tax Payments
**Please note: we are planning a client webinar for early next week to explain how the tax deferrals will work. Event details will be posted on our website.**
The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.
To clarify, the federal tax payment deferrals include 2019 tax payments as well as 2020 first quarter estimated federal tax payments.
This applies to federal taxes, states taxes vary. Colorado officials said they would mirror IRS guidance as it is updated amid the pandemic. See the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)’s state-by-state guide for more information.
The guidance also allows corporate taxpayers a similar deferment of up to $10 million of federal income tax payments that would be due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.
The current guidance does not change the April 15 filing deadline, or the requirement to file for an extension if you do not file by April 15. We anticipate this also may change; however, we are working diligently toward these deadlines.
Read the full IRS guidance here.
We are monitoring the Treasury Website and the IRS Website for updates and will continue to post the latest information to our Coronavirus Updates page.
SKR+CO Document Exchange – New Secure In Person Dropbox:
SKR+CO installed a secure dropbox on the 3rd floor of our building. Clients may drop documents off securely, should you prefer to do so in person. Please use an envelope, clips or rubber bands to keep your documents organized.
Access to the 4th floor will only be available to SKR+CO essential personnel, effective immediately.
USPS mail services, secure email and the client portal are also available to exchange and securely share documents with your CPA. As always, please call your CPA with questions — our receptionist is happy to connect you as we work remotely.
SKR+CO Client Information:
In an abundance of caution, please avoid unnecessary trips to the SKR+CO office. Instead, we highly encourage:
Sharing documents digitally via the SKR+CO client portal and/or secure email, both located on our client center page.
If possible, please share and/or sign documents electronically via our portal or secure email.
Business Recovery Information:
Webinar: We are preparing a webinar for clients regarding business recovery.
Social Media: We will share information placed on our update page through our social media platforms, should you prefer accessing information via those channels.
Business Recovery: Please review the Business Recovery Guide
Additional information from the IRS regarding coronavirus can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
We will list closure status or other updates on our website and our social media channels.
“After the natural disasters in the fall of 2013, the Colorado SBDC disaster relief team worked with federal, state and local resources to produce a comprehensive guide to assist Colorado businesses in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters and emergencies.” Click here for the guide . More information can be found on the SBDC Website
Stay up to date with the latest SKR+CO information. Sign up for our newsletter where we will update you with new information as it becomes available to us. You can join our newsletter by signing up at the bottom of our Client Center page.
Do you drive a heavy vehicle for work? It could lighten your tax load. If you’re a business owner, your SUV, pickup truck or van may be eligible for 100% first-year bonus depreciation. But it must:
See below for some business vehicles that can do the heavy lifting.
Other rules apply. Contact your trusted advisor for details.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released the finalized rule on overtime exemptions for white-collar workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is expected to expand the pool of nonexempt workers by more than 1 million.
The new rule is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2020. Affected employers should consider prompt action to reduce the impact to their bottom lines
The new rule
Under the finalized overtime exemptions regulations, an employer generally cannot classify an employee as exempt from overtime obligations unless the employee satisfies three tests:
The DOL’s final rule specifically increased the salary level test (previously $455 per week or $23,00 annually). Therefore, if an employee’s salary exceeds the new level, the employee will be ineligible for overtime if he or she primarily performs executive, administrative or professional duties. If their salary falls below it, the employee is nonexempt, regardless of duties.
Employers can use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid annually or more frequently to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level test. If an employee does not earn enough in such bonuses or payments in a given year to remain exempt, the employer can also make a catch-up payment within one pay period of the end of the year. However, the payment will count only toward the prior year’s salary amount.
Highly compensated employees
Neither the salary basis nor the salary level test applies to certain employees (for example, doctors, teachers and lawyers). The new rule provides a more relaxed duties test for certain highly compensated employees (HCEs) who are paid total annual compensation of at least $107,432 (including commissions, nondiscretionary bonuses and other nondiscretionary compensation) and at least $684 salary per week.
The final rule sets the total annual compensation threshold at the 80th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried employees nationally.
The DOL opted against automatic adjustments to salary thresholds every three or four years. Instead, the final rule simply indicates the department’s intent to update the earnings thresholds “more regularly in the future,” following the notice-and-comment rulemaking process.
Employers should begin taking measures to achieve compliance — and minimize the hit to their finances — when the final rule takes effect. Your business may already be well-prepared if you have previously gone through this process. Take care, though, to not rely on past findings as circumstances may have shifted.
A good first step is to check employees’ salary levels against the new thresholds. It may be advisable to give raises to employees who fall just under a threshold and routinely work more than 40 hours per week. Or consider redistributing workloads or scheduled hours to prevent newly nonexempt employees from working overtime.
This also is a good time to review employees’ job duties against the tests for the various exemptions. Check duties on a regular basis, as this is a ripe area of litigation for employees who contend that they deserve overtime despite their job titles. Courts and the DOL agree that actual duties, not job title or even job description, are what matters.
If, according to the final rule, you reclassify currently exempt workers as nonexempt, you must establish procedures for accurately tracking their time to ensure proper overtime compensation. Reclassified employees may require some training on timekeeping procedures.
Some employers may find that the new overtime rule substantially increases their compensation costs, including their payroll tax liability.
Contact your trusted advisor to ensure your company is in compliance with the new rule, as well as all payroll tax obligations.
Year-end tax planning will be just as complicated as it was last year due to the complexity of new tax regulations for businesses and individuals. This is of the essence as tax planning strategies to reduce your 2019 tax bill must be taken before year end.
Take advantage of planning strategies for individuals
Individuals often can reduce their tax bills by deferring income to the next year and accelerating deductible expenses into the current year. To defer income, for example, you might ask your employer to pay your year-end bonus in early 2020 rather than in 2019.
To accelerate deductions, consider increasing your IRA or qualified retirement plan contributions to the extent that they’ll be deductible. Such contributions also provide some planning flexibility because you can make 2019 contributions to IRAs, and certain other retirement plans, after the end of the year.
Other year-end tax planning strategies to consider include:
Offsetting capital gains. If you sold stocks or other investments at a gain this year — or plan to do so — consider offsetting those gains by selling some poorly performing investments at a loss.
Reducing capital gains is particularly important if you are subject to the net investment income tax (NIIT), which applies to taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly). The NIIT is an additional 3.8% tax on the lesser of 1) your net income from capital gains, dividends, taxable interest and certain other sources, or 2) the amount by which your MAGI exceeds the threshold.
In addition to reducing your net investment income by generating capital losses, you may have opportunities to bring your MAGI below the applicable NIIT threshold by deferring income or accelerating certain deductions.
Charitable giving. If you plan to make charitable donations, consider donating highly appreciated stock or other assets rather than cash. This strategy is particularly effective if you own appreciated stock you would like to sell but you don’t have any losses to offset the gains.
Donating stock to charity allows you to dispose of the stock without triggering capital gains taxes, while still claiming a charitable deduction. Then you can take the cash you’d planned to donate and reinvest it in other securities.
Contact your trusted advisor to discuss end of year planning for you and your business.
With the holiday season right around the corner, it is a good time for business owners to focus on strategic planning for next year. Here are some ways to get started.
A good place to find inspiration for strategic objectives is your financial statements. They will tell you whether you are excelling or struggling so you may decide how strategically ambitious or cautious to be in the coming year.
Use the numbers to look at key performance indicators such as gross profit, which tells you how much money you made after your production and selling costs were paid. It’s calculated by subtracting the cost of goods sold from your total revenue. Also calculate current ratio, which is calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities. It helps you gauge the strength of your cash flow.
A CFO or CPA-prepared budget can serve as more than just a management tool – it also can be presented to lenders and investors who want to know more about your start-up’s operations and its expected financial results. Review your findings with your CPA or a CFO consultant if you do not already have a CFO on staff.
Human resources is another critical area of strategic planning. Consider last year’s employee turnover rate. High turnover could be a sign of poor training, substandard management or low morale. Any of these problems could undercut the strategic objectives you set.
Examine sales and marketing. Did you meet your goals for new sales last year, as measured in both sales volume and number of new customers? Did you generate an adequate return on investment for your marketing dollars?
Finally, take a close look at your production and operations. Many companies track a metric called customer reject rate that measures the number of complete units rejected or returned by external customers. Sometimes a business must improve this rate before it moves forward with growth objectives. If yours is a service business, you should similarly track and assess customer satisfaction.
Set new objectives
With a review of your financials and key business areas complete, you can more reasonably set goals for next year under the banner of your strategic plan. On the financial side, for instance, your objective might be to boost gross profit from 20% to 30%. But how will you lower your costs or increase efficiency to make this goal a reality?
Or maybe you want to lower your employee turnover rate from 20% to 10%. Strategize what will you do differently from a training and management standpoint to keep your employees from jumping ship this year.
Don’t let year end creep any closer without reviewing your business’s recent performance. Then, use this data to set realistic goals for the coming year.
Contact your trusted advisor to choose the best metrics numbers and put together a solid strategic plan.
Owners of certain rental real estate interests have final guidance on what qualifies for the qualified business income (QBI) deduction.
QBI in a nutshell
QBI equals the net amount of income, gains, deductions and losses — excluding reasonable compensation, certain investment items and payments to partners for services rendered. The deduction is subject to several significant limitations; however, QBI generally allows partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), S corporations and sole proprietorships to deduct as much as 20% of QBI received.
Many taxpayers involved in rental real estate activities were uncertain whether they would qualify for the deduction. The final guidance leaves no doubt that individuals and entities that own rental real estate directly or through disregarded entities (entities that are not considered separate from their owners for income tax purposes, such as single-member LLCs) may be eligible.
The safe harbor applies to qualified “rental real estate enterprises.” For purposes of the safe harbor only, the term refers to a directly held interest in real property held to produce rents. It may consist of an interest in a single property or multiple properties.
You can treat each interest in a similar property type as a separate rental real estate enterprise or treat interests in all similar properties as a single enterprise. Properties are “similar” if they are part of the same rental real estate category (that is, residential or commercial). In other words, you can only hold commercial real estate in the same enterprise with other commercial real estate. The same applies for residential properties.
Bear in mind, if you opt to treat interests in similar properties as a single enterprise, you must continue to treat interests in all properties of that category — including newly acquired properties — as a single enterprise. If, however, you choose to treat your interests in each property as a separate enterprise, you can later decide to treat your interests in all similar commercial or all similar residential properties as a single enterprise.
Notably, the guidance provides that an interest in mixed-use property may be treated as a single rental real estate enterprise or bifurcated into separate residential and commercial interests.
Safe harbor requirements
The final guidance clarifies the requirements you must fulfill during the tax year in which you wish to claim the safe harbor. Requirements include:
Keeping separate books and records. You must maintain separate books and records reflecting income and expenses for each rental real estate enterprise. If the enterprise includes multiple properties, you can meet this requirement by keeping separate income and expense information statements for each property and consolidating them.
Performing rental services. For enterprises in existence less than four years, at least 250 hours of rental services must be performed each year. For those in existence at least four years, the safe harbor requires at least 250 hours of rental services per year in any three of the five consecutive tax years that end with the tax year of the safe harbor.
The rental services may be performed by owners or by employees, agents or contractors of the owners. Rental services include:
Financial or investment management activities, studying or reviewing financial statements or reports, improving property, and traveling to and from the property do not qualify as rental services.
Maintaining contemporaneous records. For all rental services performed, you must keep contemporaneous records that describe the service, associated hours, dates and the individuals who performed the service. If services are performed by employees or contractors, you can provide a description of them, the amount of time employees or contractors generally spent performing those services, and time, wage or payment records for the individuals.
This requirement does not apply to tax years beginning before January 1, 2020. The IRS cautions, though, that taxpayers still must establish their right to any claimed deductions in all tax years, so be prepared to document your QBI deduction.
Providing a tax return statement. You must attach a statement to your original tax return (or, for the 2018 tax year only, on an amended return) for each year you rely on the safe harbor. If you have multiple rental real estate enterprises, you can submit a single statement listing the requisite information separately for each.
Excluded real estate arrangements
The safe harbor is not available for all rental real estate arrangements. The guidance excludes:
The guidance states that taxpayers that do not qualify for the safe harbor may still be able to establish that an interest in rental real estate is a business for purposes of the deduction.
The final safe harbor rules apply to tax years ending after December 31, 2017, and you have the option of instead relying on the earlier proposed safe harbor for the 2018 tax year. Plus, you must determine annually whether to use the safe harbor.
Contact your trusted advisor to determine whether you are eligible for this and other valuable tax breaks.