I hope you are all well and staying safe. We are continuing to monitor events, and while it is ever evolving, we hope you are finding this useful.
We had hoped to be able to bring you news of a new Federal Stimulus Bill which is sorely needed to provide financial assistance to the economy as a whole. However, today is not the day after a vote failed over concerns that the bill is disproportionately helping companies, and more benefits need to be offered to families and health care providers.
The Treasury Department and the IRS confirmed that for any “Person” with an income tax return or income tax payment due on April 15, 2020, that due date has been postponed until July 15, 2020. A “Person” is defined as an individual, trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation. New York State has joined with the Federal Government to extend the filing deadline to July 15, 2020, however we do not currently have an official notice or link to provide. If you are due a tax refund, you will want to file your tax return as soon as you can. If you owe money, you have until July 15, 2020 to make the payments, without penalty or interest. For those of you who pay estimated taxes which are due April 15, the relief applies to estimated tax payments which are also now due by July 15, 2020.
New York State has waived penalties and interest for NYS Sales Tax returns which were due March 20. For relief, visit the department’s website. If you receive a penalty notice, follow the instructions on the notice or contact your tax professional. NYS has also suspended state debt collection including Student Loan and Medical Debt. The Federal Government has suspended Federal student loan payments for 60 days. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that employers are required to provide job protection and paid sick leave to those who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19. There are resources out there to help small businesses and we should take advantage of them. New York City has enacted the NYC Employee Retention Grant Program to help retain employees as businesses face decreased revenue. The U.S. Small Business Administration is rolling out federal disaster loans or businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters. The Families First Coronavirus Response extends coronavirus coverage for free testing to Medicaid beneficiaries and group health insurance plans, with no cost sharing.
Now that New York is on a 100% closure for non-essential businesses, there seems to be some confusion on what an essential business is. A list of essential services can be found here. Sole practitioners, and other businesses with a single occupant/employee are deemed exempt. The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a memorandum on identification of essential critical infrastructure workers during the COVID-19 Response. That list can be found here. It has come to our attention that the Empire State Development Corporation has issued guidance for lawyers in New York. It is our understanding that law firms and other providers of legal services are essential businesses only to the extent that their services are currently needed to support the essential functions of health care providers, utilities, state and local governments, the federal government, financial institutions, businesses that have been designated an essential; or to support criminal defendants in court proceedings or individuals in family court proceedings; or to participate in proceedings concerning the imminent release or detention of individuals subject to criminal or civil detention under any applicable provision of state or federal law, or proceedings to address emergency risks to health, safety or welfare. This is a new development and we will provide the links as soon as we are able.
Given that Governor Cuomo has asked non-essential employers to have 100% of their office staff to work from home, we are mostly working remotely, but have ensured that there is someone in our office at all times. Please connect with us and with others on website, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Better yet, invite your colleagues to connect with us! The more the merrier.
Stay safe, and stay healthy, and thank you for being part of the iLaw family.