Copyright 2020 - Pfeiffers Accounting & Consulting LLC

New Law Requires Small Business to Provide Paid Leave

Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides worker benefits

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a new law passed last week that offers COVID-19 assistance for both employees and employers.

This new law provides businesses with fewer than 500 employees the funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members.

Here are the details of the new law’s benefits:

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers: The new law provides employees of eligible employers two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee’s pay where the employee can’t work because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Other Paid Leave for Workers: Employees can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of leave at two-thirds the employee’s pay if they need to care for someone in the following situations: The need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, to care for a child whose school is closed or childcare provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Extended Leave: In some instances, an employee may receive up to an additional ten weeks of expanded paid family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s pay.
  • Companies will get paid back: Businesses who pay employees the mandatory sick and childcare leave according to the new law will get completely reimbursed through a payroll tax credit.

What it means for you

  • Employees can take the necessary time to recover from being infected with COVID-19, or to care for a loved one, without fear of losing their job or salary.
  • Employers can help their employees financially while navigating COVID-19 related shutdowns.

Tax Deadlines Move to July 15th


The April 15 federal income tax filing due date has been moved to July 15, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS recently announced. Here is what you need to know:

  • The due dates for all tax payments normally due April 15 have been pushed back 90 days to July 15, regardless of the amount owed. This applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.
  • Payments that can be extended to July 15 include income tax payments and self-employment tax payments that are associated with the 2019 taxable year. Also extended are estimated income tax payments for the 2020 taxable year.
  • The 90-day extension from April 15 to July 15 is automatic. No additional forms must be filed to receive the 90 day extension.

Some thoughts

While the federal government grants you an additional 3 months to file and pay your 2019 taxes, you may wish to still file your tax return by April 15. Here are some thoughts on different situations.

You anticipate a refund. If you are expecting a refund, file your tax return immediately. A refund right now can come in handy.

An extension might still make sense. This change automatically extends everyone's due date to July 15. But you may still wish to file a tax extension to move your tax return date to October 15, 2020. While payments are now due on or before July 15, a traditional extension still buys you more time to file your tax return.

Watch for state announcements. States are rolling out their own guidelines for extensions. Since most states require copies of federal tax return information, be prepared to still file by April 15. Remember, even if you wait until later to file your federal return and pay your tax, you may have to file your state and/or local return sooner.

What if I get a penalty anyway? Affected taxpayers subject to penalties and additional tax despite this relief provision may seek a waiver.

Rest assured, as the rules and deadlines change, updates will be provided. In the meantime, please stay safe during this challenging time.

Note: This is a fast changing topic. These rules are as of March 24, 2020.

IRS Data Theft Problem

Here's how to minimize your risk

What better place for online thieves to target than a database that contains 300 million+ Social Security numbers and a treasure trove of financial information?

The IRS has 52 Internet applications to help U.S. citizens comply with their tax obligations. But these online portals, which collect, process and store large amounts of personal information and tax data, are also a potential gateway for online criminals and identity thieves.

While the IRS’s electronic authentication security controls have improved, the Treasury Inspector General recently said that the IRS’s internet applications are not yet compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines.

Here’s what you can do to protect your tax-related identity and information while the IRS tries to improve its security controls:

  • Use the IRS’s Internet applications judiciously. Think you need to use one of the IRS’s online applications? Consider requesting or obtaining certain information via the U.S. Postal service. Simply decide if you’re willing to take a risk using an application that isn’t compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
  • Get an IP PIN. An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number that helps prevent filing fraudulent federal income tax returns. If you are a confirmed victim of identity theft, the IRS will mail you an IP PIN after the fraudulent tax issue has been identified. If you are not the victim of tax-related identity theft, you can voluntarily ask the IRS to issue you an IP PIN if you live in certain states. Additional states will be added until the IP PIN program is available nationwide.
  • Review your credit report once a year. Check your credit report for any unauthorized activity or errors. This periodic review can often be the earliest warning that your private information is compromised.

There's Still Time to Fund Your IRA

There is still time to make a contribution to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA for the 2019 tax year. The annual contribution limit is $6,000 or $7,000 if you are age 50 or over.

Prior to making a contribution, if you (or your spouse) are an active participant in an employer's qualified retirement plan (a 401(k), for example), you will need to make sure your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) does not exceed certain thresholds. There are also income limits to qualify to make Roth IRA contributions.

Maximum 2019 IRA Contribution amounts: $6,000 or $7,000 (with age 50+ catch-up provision)

Theres Still Time to Fund Your IRA image

Note: Married traditional IRA limits depend on whether either you, your spouse or both of you participate in a qualified employer-provided retirement plan. If married filing separate and either spouse participates in an employer's qualified plan, the income phaseout to contribute is $0-10,000.

If your income is too high to take advantage of these IRAs you can always make a non-deductible contribution to an IRA. While the contributions are not tax-deferred, the earnings are not taxed until they are withdrawn.