Effective 3/17/2020 Governor Charlie Baker announced an Emergency Order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants effective until 4/6/2020. With the unforeseeable turn of events for our State and Nation, we believe it is best to take advantage of the resources that are available to you.
The tax filing deadline is July 15th , if you are entitled to a refund, we recommend filing as soon as possible.
In the following pages you will find some general information, guidelines and websites on applying for unemployment.
For unemployment claims:
DUA may pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional, or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. The worker need not provide medical documentation and need only be available for work when and as able.
To assist individuals who cannot work due to the impact of COVID-19, the Baker-Polito administration filed emergency legislation that will allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the 1 week waiting period for unemployment benefits. This means that DUA would be authorized to pay benefits without delay to persons who become unemployed because of lay-offs or business shutdowns taken in response to the virus, because of quarantine orders or directives or illness that prevents them from leaving their homes, or because they must care for a sick or quarantined family member.
Temporary workplace shutdowns
Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development EOLWD and DUA also filed emergency regulations that allow people impacted by COVID-19 to collect unemployment benefits if their workplace is shut down and expects to reopen. This applies to all employees (full and part time) who are impacted by such shutdowns. Claimants are urged to file unemployment claims online.
The following conditions apply to temporary shutdowns:
Employers who have been paying into the system for themselves (are receiving a W-2) are able to apply as well.
Self-employed individuals and contract employees
Currently self-employed individuals and 1099 contract employees are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If the President of the United States makes a disaster unemployment declaration for Massachusetts or nationwide, the self-employed and 1099 contractors would become eligible for unemployment assistance. This is already coded into the DUA system and would be available immediately upon declaration and press release announcement.
If a person contracts the virus for any work-related reason, that person could be eligible for workers’ compensation. If you qualify, you can receive payments to partially replace your paycheck and for medical care related to your injury. Learn more about workers' compensation.
In most cases, a claimant is not eligible for both unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation.
Apply for benefits online
Due to the volume DUA is experiencing at this time the fastest way to process a claim is online, which remains fully operational.
To further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 all in-person services are currently unavailable at all Career Centers and unemployment walk-in centers across Massachusetts. However, those individuals requiring additional services may head here. This contact form should be used primarily by those with disabilities, special needs, and language barriers.
In addition to staffing up the remote call center capabilities, the DUA contact center will likely be extending hours and including weekends in the near future.
To apply for unemployment, you need to provide personal information including your Social Security number, birth date, home address, email address (optional), and phone number.
You also need information about your employment history from the last 15 months, including:
You may need additional information in certain situations:
SMALL BUSINESS RECOVERY LOAN FUND:
The Baker-Polito Administration announced economic support for small businesses with a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief to those that have been affected by COVID-19. – The loan was closed on 3/19/20 at noon we have left this info incase it is refunded.
The $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will provide emergency capital up to $75,000 to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full- and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first 6 months. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) has capitalized the fund and will administer it.
How to Apply:
Please complete the application found on MGCC’s website, EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org.
Completed applications can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “2020 small Business Recovery Loan Fund”.
MGCC can be reached by email: email@example.com
General Terms and Conditions
Approval contingent on business being profitable prior to 3/10/20 and no adverse personal credit reports 60 days past due for the last six months.
Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and Emergency Economic Injury Grant
Criteria for loan approval:
MA Administrative Tax Relief Measures
On Wednesday, March 18, the Baker-Polito Administration announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
As of March 18, 2020, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns was also extended to July 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible.
This payment relief includes:
Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.
Corporations: For C Corporations, income tax payment deadlines are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of their 2019 tax due.
This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.
Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. If you file your tax return or request an extension of time to file by April 15, 2020, you will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.
The IRS reminds individual taxpayers the easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses must file Form 7004.
This relief only applies to federal income tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax including payroll. Taxpayers may also need to file income tax returns in up to 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details. More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.
Personal income tax returns and payments due April 15, 2020 will now be due July 15, 2020. Detailed guidance is forthcoming.
The DOR recognizes that taxpayers may need assistance with various tax, child support, and municipal obligations due to the impact of the coronavirus.
In many instances, taxpayers automatically receive at least six extra months to file their tax returns, as long as they satisfy certain tax payment requirements. See AP 604: Extensions of Time to File Tax Returns.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) provides certain tax relief for employers and employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act requires private sector employers with fewer than 500 workers and government entities to provide: (1) paid sick leave (two weeks for full-time employees and average hours over a two-week period for part-time employees) necessary to respond to COVID-19 issues; and (2) as many as 12 weeks of job-protected leave to employees to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed. Employers will receive a refundable payroll tax credit for these additional required wages being paid to impacted employees.
In IR-2020-57, the IRS provides an early framework of its plans to allow small and midsize employers to immediately take advantage of the two new refundable payroll tax credits, fully reimbursing them for the cost of providing COVID-19-related leave to their employees. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted at Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. The framework has been laid out but the mechanics, forms and software is not yet available, we will keep you updated as information is released. Please call our office to discuss the implementation of this option.
Please note that If, prior to the FFCRA’s effective date, your employer sent you home and stops paying you because it does not have work for you to do, you will not get paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave but you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because it is required to close pursuant to a Federal, State, or local directive
See frequently asked questions here https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
The Act provides paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19-related reasons and creates the refundable paid sick-leave credit and the paid childcare-leave credit for eligible employers. Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave under the Act. Eligible employers will be able to claim these credits based on qualifying leave they provide between the effective date and December 31, 2020. Equivalent credits are available to self-employed individuals based on similar circumstances.
The Act provides that employees of eligible employers can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee's pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. An employee who is unable to work because of a 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, and/or the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can receive two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the employee's pay. An employee who is unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, may in some instances receive up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded paid family and medical leave at two-thirds of the employee's pay.
For an employee who is unable to work due to (1) being under coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or (2) having coronavirus symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers may receive a refundable sick-leave credit for sick leave at the employee's regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.
For an employee who is caring for someone with coronavirus or caring for a child because the child's school or childcare facility is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee's regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit, determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.
In addition to the sick-leave credit, for an employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for a child whose school or childcare facility is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus, eligible employers may receive a refundable childcare-leave credit equal to two-thirds of the employee's regular pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted toward the childcare-leave credit. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.
How the COVID-19-leave credit will work
When employers pay their employees, they are required to withhold from their employees' wages federal income tax and the employee share of Social Security/Medicare (FICA). Employers then are required to deposit these federal withholding taxes with the IRS, along with the employer share of FICA, and to report the wages and taxes on the federal employment tax return (Form 941 series).
Under IRS guidance anticipated this week, eligible employers that pay qualifying sick or childcare leave will be able to reduce their federal payroll tax deposit by the amount of qualifying sick and childcare leave paid.
The federal payroll taxes that employers may withhold for this purpose include federal income tax withholding, the employee share of FICA and the employer share of FICA for all employees.
If there are insufficient federal payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and childcare leave paid, employers will be able file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure are expected to be announced this week.
If an eligible employer paid $5,000 in sick leave and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in payroll taxes, including taxes withheld from all its employees, the employer could use up to $5,000 of the $8,000 of taxes it was going to deposit for making qualified leave payments. The employer would only be required under the law to deposit the remaining $3,000 on its next regular deposit date.
If an eligible employer paid $10,000 in sick leave and was required to deposit $8,000 in taxes, the employer could use the entire $8,000 of taxes to make qualified leave payments and file a request for an accelerated credit for the remaining $2,000.
Equivalent childcare-leave and sick-leave credit amounts are available to self-employed individuals under similar circumstances. These credits will be claimed on their income tax returns and will reduce estimated tax payments.
Small business exemption
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be eligible for an exemption from the leave requirements relating to school closings or childcare unavailability where the requirements would jeopardize the ability of the business to continue. The exemption will be available in circumstances involving jeopardy to the viability of an employer's business as a going concern. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will provide emergency guidance and rulemaking to articulate this standard.
DOL will be issuing a temporary non-enforcement policy that provides a period of time for employers to come into compliance with the Act. Under this policy, DOL will not bring an enforcement action against any employer for violations of the Act so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. DOL will instead focus on compliance assistance during this time period.