Tag Archives: Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act

Why Individuals Should Care About the CARES Act: Retirement Plans and Charitable Contributions

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) provides various relief provisions for individuals, including provisions that benefit individuals in relation to their retirement plans and that provide an increase in allowable charitable deductions. Continue reading

PPP Repayment Deadline Extended But Confusion Remains

On May 5, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) in consultation with the Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) announced in a new online FAQ that it is giving extra time for companies to repay loans they applied for and received in good faith under the initial guidance provided by the SBA to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Originally set for May 7, 2020, the deadline to repay the loan without incurring penalties is now extended to May 14, 2020. The SBA also stated that it plans to issue “additional guidance on how it will review certification prior to May 14, 2020.” Continue reading

No Deduction for Expenses Paid with Forgiven PPP Loan Funds

One of the major business-tax relief provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act is the paycheck protection program (“PPP”) loan forgiveness and the accompanying exclusion of the forgiven amounts from taxable income. Over the past month since the CARES Act’s enactment, the IRS has released guidance clarifying the interaction between PPP loan forgiveness and other provisions of the Act. However, a lingering, big-picture question regarding the deductibility of certain business expenses paid for with later forgiven PPP loan funds remained. Such expenses include mortgage interest, rent obligations, utility payments, and payroll costs—all covered uses of a PPP loan.  Continue reading

IRS Releases Guidance on CARES Changes to Business Interest Expense Limitation and Bonus Depreciation for Qualified Improvement Property

The IRS has released guidance on certain business tax provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.  Released on Friday, April 10, Rev. Proc. 2020-22 informs taxpayers how to make certain elections with respect to the newly relaxed business interest expense limitation and provides real estate and farming businesses with the option to make late elections or withdraw pre-CARES elections. One week later, on Friday, April 17, 2020, the IRS announced in Rev. Proc. 2020-25 that  taxpayers may change their depreciation for certain qualified improvement property. It also allows taxpayers to make late, revoke, or withdraw certain depreciation elections. While both revenue procedures are separately significant, their interplay, and the interplay of the associated CARES provisions, may be especially important for certain electing real property and farming businesses.

Continue reading

Application of CARES Act to Tax-Exempt Organizations

The CARES Act provides enhanced financial support for businesses and other eligible entities suffering from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.  While much of the CARES Act provides relief to for-profit businesses (see our previous post), there are specific provisions for nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations (collectively “TEOs”) which help support the operations and fundraising needs of TEOs during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

Operations support for TEOs

Small Business Loan Program.  The CARES Act created a new business loan program known as the “Paycheck Protection Program.”  In addition to certain other businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program is available to TEOs described in either 501(c)(3) (public charities) or 501(c)(19) (veterans organizations).  TEOs falling within these categories are eligible for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, subject to other eligibility criteria, while TEOs not falling within these categories are excluded from the benefits of the Paycheck Protection Program.  TEOs interested in the Paycheck Protection Program should see our previous posts on this subject.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans.  The CARES Act specifically includes the COVID-19 pandemic as a disaster for which most TEOs could obtain disaster assistance loans under the SBA’s 7(b)(2) program.  Qualifying small TEOs may receive a $10,000 advance if the TEO’s number of employees or annual receipts qualify.  The advance under this program is not required to be repaid.

Emergency Relief and Taxpayer Protections.  The CARES Act allocates $500 billion for loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to eligible businesses including TEOs with between 500 and 10,000 employees.  The emergency relief loans are subject to a favorable interest rate (no higher than 2% per annum) and no principal or interest is due during the first six months.

Employee Retention Credit and Delay of Payroll Taxes.  TEOs are eligible for the dollar-for-dollar employee retention credit against payroll tax liability.  The amount of the credit is equal to 50% of the first $10,000 in wages per employee.  TEOs who qualify may delay the employer’s share of payroll taxes through the end of 2020.  The delayed payroll taxes are repaid in two installments, with the first due by December 31, 2021 and the second due by December 31, 2022.

Fundraising support for TEOs

In addition, as we previously discussed, the CARES Act allows a partial above the line deduction of up to $300 of cash contributions to charitable organizations and churches, whether the taxpayer itemizes deductions or not, suspends the 50% of adjusted gross income limitation for charitable deductions by individuals, and increases the 10% limitation for corporations to 25% of taxable income and increases the limitation on deductions for contributions of food inventory from 15 % to 25%.

Attorney Susan B. Hecker contributed to this post. 

IRS Clarifies Interplay Between Employment Tax Deferral and Loan Forgiveness

On Friday, April 10, 2020, the IRS launched a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on the deferral of employment tax deposits and payments. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of social security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes between March 27, 2020 and January 1, 2021. As discussed in our previous blog post, payment of half of these deferred amounts would not become due until December 31, 2021. The second half would be due a year later on December 31, 2022.

Such deferral is, however, prohibited for an employer who receives loan forgiveness under the CARES Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Because the language of the CARES Act makes clear that employment-tax deferral is not disallowed until PPP loan forgiveness actually occurs, it appeared that employers could currently take advantage of such deferral while in the midst of the loan application and forgiveness processes. What remained more uncertain was how the IRS planned to treat previously deferred employment-tax payments once an employer did receive a decision that its lender would forgive the loan.

Question 4 of the FAQ clarifies this interplay between the employment-tax deferral and PPP loan forgiveness as follows:

  • Employers who have received a PPP loan, but whose loan has not yet been forgiven, may defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of social security tax that otherwise would be required to be made beginning on March 27, 2020, through the date the lender issues a decision to forgive the loan.
  • Employers who do so will not incur failure-to-deposit and failure-to-pay penalties.
  • Once an employer receives a decision from its lender that its PPP loan is forgiven, the employer is no longer eligible to defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of social security tax due after that date.
  • The amount of the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of social security tax that was deferred through the date that the PPP loan is forgiven continues to be deferred and will be due on the “applicable dates” (50% on December 31, 2021 and the remaining amount on December 31, 2022).

The IRS has ensured that information will be provided in the near future to instruct employers how to reflect the deferred deposits and payments otherwise due on or after March 27, 2020 for the first quarter of 2020 (January through March 2020). Employers will not be required to make a special election to be able to defer deposits and payments of these employment taxes.

The FAQ also makes clear that the ability to defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of social security tax is in addition to the relief provided in Notice 2020-22, which provides relief from the failure-to-deposit penalty for not making deposits of employment taxes (including taxes withheld from employees) in anticipation of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) paid leave credits and the CARES Act Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). An employer is therefore entitled to defer deposit and payment of its share of social security tax prior to:

  • determining whether it is entitled to the paid leave credits under the FFCRA or the ERTC;
  • determining the amount of employment tax deposits that it may retain in anticipation of these credits (FFCRA and ERTC), the amount of any advance payments of these credits, or the amount of any refunds with respect to these credits; and
  • receiving a determination of PPP loan forgiveness from its lender.

Keep in mind that an employer who has received a loan under the PPP is not eligible for the ERTC. The FAQ, however, essentially provides that employers can defer deposit and payment of their share of social security tax while in limbo with any of these relief provisions. Additionally, while deferral in anticipation of the ERTC may not be warranted (i.e., because an employer has already received a PPP loan), general deferral would still be permissible until that employer receives official notice of loan forgiveness.

Larger employers who are ineligible for the PPP loans, or employers who choose not to apply for these loans, will be able to utilize both the ERTC (if eligible based on economic decline) and employment-tax deferral. The ERTC and other credits that reduce payroll taxes will reduce the amount eligible for deferral.

The IRS Issues Guidance for Partnerships on Amended Returns


On April 8, the IRS released guidance through Revenue Procedure 2020-23 that will allow partnerships to take advantage of certain tax benefits granted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The CARES Act grants certain businesses tax relief in the way of bonus depreciation deductions and an increased business interest deduction limit. This tax relief has been applied retroactively to affect 2018 and 2019 tax years. Partnerships will be allowed to file amended returns for the 2018 and 2019 tax years without first making a request for IRS approval for such changes.

Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2017 (the “BBA”), partnerships which have not elected out of the centralized partnership regime are required to file a tax return for the tax year while also furnishing to its partners tax information regarding the partnership, including each partner’s Schedule K-1. Under the BBA, a Schedule K-1 could not be amended without prior IRS approval once the partnership’s tax return due date has passed. This created an inconsistency with the CARES Act, causing a partnership to be unable to take advantage of retroactive tax benefits without first jumping over a number of IRS procedural hurdles.

To alleviate the stress the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought to partnerships, Revenue Procedure 2020-23 allows partnerships that have filed a tax return for tax years beginning in 2018 or 2019 to file amended partnership returns and furnish amended Schedule K-1s to partners before September 30, 2020. The amended returns may take into account tax changes brought about by the CARES Act affecting a partnership’s tax attributes.

Jamie E. Koepsel
jkoepsel@williamsparker.com
(941) 552-2562

Business Tax Relief in the CARES Act

This post was updated April 6. 

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act (H.R. 748). The CARES Act is the third stimulus package enacted amid the COVID-19 public health emergency, and while not the Act’s primary focus, it contains significant business tax relief. In a previous post, we provided an overview of the entire Act. This post covers the business tax changes and additions.

The key business tax provisions include:

  • The creation of an employee retention credit of up to 50% of the first $10,000 paid to each employee;
  • For taxable years 2018, 2019, and 2020, net operating loss carryovers (“NOLs”) are no longer subject to an 80% cap based on taxable income, and NOLS from 2018, 2019, and 2020 can be carried back five years;
  • For taxable years prior to January 1, 2021, the excess business loss limitation that applies to noncorporate taxpayers is repealed;
  • For taxable years beginning in 2019 or 2020, the interest expense limitation is increased to 50%, and taxpayers can use their 2019 adjusted taxable income for purposes of the 2020 calculation;
  • A technical correction to the depreciation treatment of qualified improvement property;
  • Unused corporate AMT credits through 2021 are accelerated for current full use and refundable for tax years 2018 and 2019;
  • Employer-side Social Security payroll tax payments may be delayed until January 1, 2021, with the first half due December 31, 2021 and the remainder due December 31, 2022;
  • An exclusion from income for certain loan forgiveness on loans taken out pursuant to other provisions of the CARES Act.

Employee Retention Credit

Effective for wages paid between March 13, 2020, and before January 1, 2021, the CARES Act allows for a refundable credit against Social Security taxes for each calendar quarter equal to 50% of the qualified wages paid to each employee. Employers may only take up to $10,000 of qualified wages into account for each employee for all calendar quarters, and the credit may be applied to the first $10,000 of compensation (including health benefits) paid to an eligible employee. This means that an eligible employer may receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee, and there is no cap on the number of employees an employer may include in calculating the amount of the total aggregated credit. If the amount of an employer’s combined employee credits exceeds its quarterly employment taxes (as reduced by other credits), the excess will be treated as a refundable overpayment.

An “eligible employer” with respect to a calendar quarter, is an employer that had been carrying on a trade or business during the 2020 calendar year and (i) has operations that were fully or partially suspended during such calendar quarter due to orders from an appropriate governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings because of COVID-19, or (ii) has a significant decline in gross receipts for such calendar quarter. A significant decline begins with the quarter in which the gross receipts for the quarter were less than 50% of those in the same quarter in the prior calendar year. The decline ends with the quarter in which gross receipts are greater than 80% of the gross receipts for the same quarter in the prior calendar year.

For employers with more than 100 full-time employees, qualified wages are wages paid to employees currently retained even though not providing services for such employers due to either of the COVID-19-related reasons listed above. For employers with less than 100 employees, all wages paid to their retained employees are qualified wages even if the employees are currently still providing services for such employers. Qualified wages may not exceed the amount an employee would have received for working an equivalent amount of time during the 30 days prior a specified period affected by COV1D-19.

The credit is reduced by any credits taken by employers for qualified veterans and research expenditures for small businesses. Additionally, the amount of qualified wages for which an eligible employer may claim the Employee Retention Credit does not include the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages for which the employer received tax credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

There are other limitations that apply to certain employers. Specifically, any eligible employers that receive a covered loan under the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act are not eligible for this credit. Further, if an employer is allowed a Work Opportunity Tax Credit with respect to an employee, then that employee is not included for purposes of this credit for any period with respect to the employer. Keeping in mind that the Paycheck Protection Program is only available for business with fewer than 500 employees, the Employee Retention Credit is therefore available to larger employers who meet the distressed business criteria listed above. Employers qualifying for both the Paycheck Protection Program and the Employee Retention Credit will have to determine which of the two is more advantageous for its particular business. Eligible employers may elect out of the credit for any calendar quarter.

Further, just as with the credits for paid family and sick leave under the FFCRA, these credits do not apply to certain United States government or State government employers. The credit does, however, apply to tax-exempt organizations described under section 501(c) of the Code, which covers everything from charities to business leagues to social clubs to credit unions, etc. Any of these tax-exempt employers is deemed to be an eligible employer with respect to all of its operations (notwithstanding that such operations may not be a trade or business), and the same exclusion for participation in the Paycheck Protection Program applies.

Relaxation of Net Operating Loss Rules

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TJCA”) only just recently changed the net operating loss (“NOL”) rules. For taxable years ending after December 31, 2017, NOLs were allowed to be carried forward indefinitely but could offset only 80% of a taxpayer’s taxable income (a change from 100%) and could no longer be carried back to prior years (previously a two-year carryback was allowed).

The CARES Act now provides that, for tax years beginning before January 1, 2021, the 80% taxable income limit does not apply, which means corporate and noncorporate taxpayers are allowed to use NOLs to fully offset taxable income. It also clarifies how the 80% limitation is to be applied when it goes back into effect for any taxable year beginning after December 31, 2020.

The CARES Act also provides that NOLs arising in a taxable year beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2021 are to be treated automatically as a carryback to each of the five preceding taxable years, unless the taxpayer elects out of the carryback. The carryback therefore operates on an all-or-nothing basis, meaning taxpayers may not choose to carry NOLs back to one particular year within the five-year carryback period. An NOL arising in a tax year beginning in 2018, 2019, or 2020 must be carried back to the earliest year within the five-year carryback period in which there is taxable income, as early as 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively. Considering the pre-2018 corporate tax rate was 35% (versus 21% now) and the top individual rate was 39.6% (versus 37% now), this carryback could be extremely valuable to certain taxpayers.

A taxpayer must make the election to forgo these NOL carrybacks for 2018, 2019, and 2020 at least by the filing deadline for one’s 2020 income tax return (including extensions). The decision to elect out is, however, allowed to be made for each year. This means that a taxpayer may opt out of the 2018 carryback without limiting its decision for 2019 and 2020. The IRS will likely release guidance advising taxpayers how to request refunds for NOL carrybacks or elect out of the automatic carryback. No refund can be claimed until the return for the tax year in which the NOL arises has been filed. For most taxpayers, the 2018 income tax return has been filed, meaning they may request a refund for a year to which a 2018 NOL is carried (the earliest of five prior years with taxable income). This can be done by filing an amended return or by filing a request for tentative refund. Taxpayers who have already filed for 2019 may do the same to make use of any NOLs for that year. No NOL may be carried back from 2020 until the tax year closes.

Remembering that you cannot pick and choose the year(s) to which an NOL is carried back, taxpayers should consider the opportunity to use an NOL to reduce or clear an underpayment of tax for a year within the five-year carryback range.

Special rules apply to real estate investment trusts (REITS) and life insurance companies. A REIT is not allowed to carry back any NOL, nor may an NOL be carried back to any year in which a taxpayer was formerly a REIT.

Suspended Excess Business Loss Rules

For years before January 1, 2021, the CARES Act repeals the excess business loss limitation that applies to noncorporate taxpayers (individual’s, partnerships, or S corporations) after the passive loss rules, and which disallows the use of a business loss in excess of $250,000, or $500,000 for joint filers against nonbusiness income, and treats such loss as an NOL carryover to the next tax year. This means noncorporate taxpayers with business losses arising in 2018, 2019, and 2020 can enjoy the five-year carryback without regard to the excess business loss rules. If you had a business loss that was limited in 2018 or 2019 under the excess business loss rules, then you may be able to obtain a refund by filing an amended tax return.         

Increased Business Interest Expense Limitation

Current law generally limits taxpayers’ deduction for a business interest expense to the sum of business interest income and 30% of adjusted taxable income. For most taxpayers, the CARES Act increases this 30% limit up to 50% of a taxpayer’s adjusted taxable income for tax years 2019 and 2020. A taxpayer may elect to not apply this increased limitation, but once the election is made, it can only be revoked by the Secretary of the Department of Treasury.

Special rules apply for partnerships. For partners in a partnership, the increase to 50% applies only to taxable years beginning in 2020 (therefore, excluding 2019), but a partner can carry over to 2020 any business interest that was disallowed in 2019 and deduct 50% of that amount, with the remaining 50% subject to the otherwise applicable rules. The CARES Act also allows any taxpayer to elect to use its 2019 adjusted taxable income instead of its 2020 adjusted taxable income when computing the business interest limitation for 2020. This will increase the amount of business interest expense most taxpayers are able to deduct, assuming their income was higher in 2019.

Technical Correction for Qualified Improvement Property

The TCJA mistakenly defined the term “qualified improvement property” in a way that prevented such property from being eligible for the intended 100% bonus depreciation. Qualified improvement property is generally defined as any improvement to an interior of a nonresidential building that is placed in service post-improvement, following the original date on which the building was placed in service. The CARES Act makes a technical amendment to Code section 168(e)(3)(E) correcting a drafting error by including qualified improvement property as “15-year property” instead of the mistaken recovery period of 39 years. This amendment applies retroactively to property placed in service after December 31, 2017. This provision is meant to not only increase a business’s cash flow by allowing them to amend a prior year’s return, but it is also meant to incentivize them to continue to invest in improvements during this public health emergency.

The IRS is expected to release guidance as to how taxpayers may claim the greater depreciation deduction through automatic accounting method change procedures. In the meantime, taxpayers may have the option of amending previously filed returns to retroactively claim any missed deductions.

Credit for Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax

Prior to the TCJA, the amount of alternative minimum tax (“AMT”) paid by a corporation was allowed as a credit in a subsequent taxable year. The TCJA repealed the AMT for corporations for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, but allowed corporations to treat 50% of any unused AMT credit as refundable in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 100% as refundable in 2021. The CARES Act accelerates this timeline, making the AMT credit 100% refundable for taxable years beginning in 2018 and 2019. Accordingly, the new law provides relief to corporate taxpayers with non-refunded AMT credits in 2018, who should be able to amend their 2018 returns (assuming they have been previously filed) and be refunded for those amounts.

Delay of Employer-Side Social Security Payroll Tax Payments

The employer’s portion of Social Security taxes for the period from enactment (March 27, 2020) up to January 1, 2021 will not be due until December 31, 2021, when half of the deferred amount is due, and December 31, 2022, when the other half is due. Similar rules allow deferral of 50% of the corresponding Federal self-employment taxes.

Federal withholding taxes, Medicare taxes and withholding, and employee social security withholding are not eligible for the deferral.

All employers are eligible for the deferral other than those who have loans forgiven under the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program. However, there is some tension in the timing of potential loan forgiveness and at least the first payroll tax payment deadline. This means an employer could apply for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program and not receive a loan until after the first payroll tax payment is due. In this situation, an employer is allowed to defer payroll tax payments until the employer subsequently receives loan forgiveness, because deferral is not disallowed until an employer has actually had loan amounts forgiven. We expect the IRS to release guidance as to how it plans to handle this situation. It may be that the IRS will not expect payment of any payroll taxes deferred prior to loan forgiveness until the first due date (December 31, 2021), or it may provide for a sooner claw back of any deferred payments.

Payroll tax deferral can be used in conjunction with the Employee Retention Credit, so long as the credit does not result in a refund to the employer.

Certain Loan Forgiveness Excluded from Income

The CARES Act allows certain small business loan forgiveness necessary to maintain payroll or pay mortgages, rent, or utilities incurred or paid by the borrower during the 8-week period beginning on the loan origination date. If a business applied for and received a $10,000 advance under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan provisions before transferring into the Paycheck Protection Program, such advance will be deducted from the total loan forgiveness amount. Any portion of the loan that is forgiven pursuant to the Act is excluded from taxable income.

There are numerous tax provisions in the CARES Act that could be beneficial to a business, including multiple opportunities to amend a prior year’s return to increase liquidity. Please do not hesitate to call us if we can assist you in taking advantage of any part of this legislation.

Christina J. Strasser
(941) 536-2048
cstrasser@williamsparker.com

Why Individuals Should Care About the CARES Act: Retirement Plans and Charitable Contributions

An update to this post was published May 11, 2020.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) provides various relief provisions for individuals, including provisions that benefit individuals in relation to their retirement plans and that provide an increase in allowable charitable deductions.

Income Taxation of Retirement Plans

10 Percent Additional Tax Waived for Coronavirus-Related Distributions
Generally, the IRS imposes ordinary income tax on retirement plan distributions. The IRS also imposes a 10 percent additional tax on retirement plan distributions that are included in the distributee’s gross income unless the distributee is over the age of 59½ or another exception is met.

The CARES Act waives this 10 percent additional tax for any “coronavirus-related distribution” up to $100,000. It is not necessary that the relevant plan allowed hardship distributions prior to the CARES Act. A coronavirus-related distribution is defined as any distribution from an eligible retirement plan, which includes IRAs, IRA annuities, qualified trusts, certain other retirement annuities, and specific deferred compensation plans, made during 2020 to an individual that meets one of the following criteria (“Qualified Individual”):

  • He or she is diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 by a test approved by the CDC;
  • His or her spouse or dependent is diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 by a test approved by the CDC; or
  • He or she experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, being furloughed, laid off, or having work hours reduced due to such virus or disease, being unable to work due to lack of child care due to such virus or disease, closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to such virus or disease, or other factors as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.
    The administrator of the retirement plan may rely on the employee’s certification that the employee meets one of the above conditions to determine whether the distribution qualifies as a coronavirus-related distribution.

Three-Year Rules Related to the Income Taxation of Coronavirus-Related Distributions
Although the 10 percent additional tax is waived when the foregoing requirements are met, the IRS will generally still impose income tax on distributions from an eligible retirement plan.
To provide further relief, unless the Qualified Individual elects out of this treatment, the amount of the coronavirus-related distribution required to be included in gross income will be includable ratably over a three-year period beginning with the year of the distribution. In other words, the tax liability payments may be spread out over this three-year time period.

Further, a Qualified Individual may repay an amount up to the amount of the coronavirus-related distribution to the eligible retirement plan within the three-year period beginning with day after the date of the distribution. If the Qualified Individual repays the corona-related distribution, then the Qualified Individual will be treated as transferring the repayment tax-free to the eligible retirement plan and the repayment will not affect the cap on retirement account contributions.

Loans from Qualified Employer Plans for Coronavirus-Related Relief
The CARES Act provides more flexibility for Qualified Individuals to take out loans from qualified employer plans, which includes a 401(a) plan, certain annuity plans, and certain 403(b) plans. Prior to the CARES Act, an individual could take out a loan without it being treated as a distribution from a qualified employer plan in the amount that was the lesser of $50,000 or one-half of the value of the account balance. For the 180-day period beginning on March 27, 2020, a Qualified Individual may now take out a loan up to the lesser of $100,000 or the full value of the account balance.

Additionally, if a Qualified Individual has an outstanding loan from a qualified employer plan that is due between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020, the due date will be delayed for one year; however, interest will accrue during such delay. The one-year delay will not count toward the five-year requirement that a loan from a qualified employer plan be repayable within five years.

Required Minimum Distribution Rules for Retirement Plans

Temporary Waiver of Required Minimum Distribution Rules
For 2020, the required minimum distribution (“RMD”) requirements for certain defined contribution plans and individual retirement plans do not apply. This includes any RMD, including RMDs from 2019, that are required to be made in 2020 as long as it was not made before 2020. This includes RMDs that were required to begin in 2020 due to an owner turning 70½ in 2019.

Similar to the relief provided in 2009 as a result of the economic recession, amounts distributed in 2020 that would otherwise have been an RMD are eligible for rollover, subject to limitations.
There are also various provisions related to plan amendments.

Charitable Deductions
For individuals who do not itemize deductions, the CARES Act provides a new above-the-line deduction for qualified charitable contributions up to $300 annually. To qualify, the contribution must be made in cash to a 170(b)(1)(A) organization, which does not include a 509(a)(3) supporting organization or a donor advised fund.

The CARES Act also provides benefits for individuals and corporations who itemize deductions when such taxpayers contribute cash to a 170(b)(1)(A) charitable organization (not including a 509(a)(3) supporting organization or a donor advised fund) and elect for such benefits to apply (“Qualified Contribution”). In the case of a partnership or S-corporation, the election for such benefits to apply must be made separately by each partner or shareholder.

For individuals who itemize deductions, the CARES Act removes the cap (which was 60 percent of adjusted gross income) for 2020 on the deduction for a Qualified Contribution. Thus, an individual who itemizes deductions may deduct a Qualified Contribution to the extent such contribution does not exceed the individual’s adjusted gross income. An individual may carry over and deduct the excess Qualified Contribution over the following five-year period.
For corporations, the CARES Act changes the limitation from 10 percent to 25 percent of the corporation’s taxable income on the deduction for a Qualified Contribution for 2020. The corporation will also be able to carry over and deduct the excess Qualified Contribution in the following five years, subject to limitations.

Finally, the CARES Act changes the limitation from 15 percent to 25 percent of net income on the deduction for a charitable contribution of food inventory from a trade or business during 2020.

Diana L. Berlin
dberlin@williamsparker.com
(941) 329-6616

For additional updates related to COVID-19, please visit our resources page

The Expansion in Telehealth through the CARES Act

The recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act strongly supports the use of telehealth, removes barriers to its use, and undeniably acknowledges that access to telehealth is fundamental in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth is a powerful technology that enables patients geographically separated from healthcare providers to more easily access health care and speed up diagnosis and treatment. Telehealth is especially valuable in light of the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 because telehealth limits the risk of person-to-person exposure, thus thwarting the spread of the viral disease. The CARES Act will help America’s healthcare providers to migrate their patients to virtual care platforms which reduce exposure to COVID-19. The Act contains provisions which will expand the use of telehealth services both during the current COVID-19 pandemic (“emergency period”) and beyond with respect to Medicare beneficiaries, veterans, rural care, hospice care and home health services, and individuals with Health Savings Accounts (“HSA”).

CARES Act telehealth provisions build on the initial Medicare Telehealth Waiver authorized by Congress earlier in March 2020 by removing the requirement that a provider must have seen the patient within the last three years. This allows Medicare beneficiaries to more easily access care when and where they need it during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will enable beneficiaries to access telehealth, including in their home, from a broader range of providers, and will thereby reduce potential exposure to and spread of COVID-19. The CARES Act requires the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to issue clarifying guidance encouraging the use of telecommunications systems, including remote patient monitoring, to furnish home health services consistent with the beneficiary care plan during the emergency period. During the emergency period, qualified hospice providers can use telehealth technologies to fulfill Medicare’s face-to-face recertification requirement.

Veterans Administration (“VA”) facilities will receive $14.4 billion in funding for the provision of healthcare services through telehealth as well as for the purchase of medical equipment and supplies, testing kits, and personal protective equipment. Included in that funding is $2.15 billion, which is dedicated to the VA’s information technology to support increased telework, telehealth, and call center capabilities to deliver healthcare services directly related to coronavirus and mitigate the risk of virus transmission including the purchasing of devices, as well as enhanced system bandwidth and support. Also authorized under the CARES Act is the VA’s expansion of mental health services delivered via telehealth and authorization for VA to enter into short-term agreements with telecommunication companies to provide veterans with temporary broadband services.

The CARES Act permits individuals with HSAs that are insured through high-deductible health plans to use telehealth services without the need to first reach a deductible. This provision should allow patients who may have the COVID-19 virus to obtain medical consultation from home and thus protect other patients and caregivers from potential exposure. However, this is a temporary provision that will expire on December 21, 2021.

The Health Resources and Services Administration will receive $180 million to assist Federally Qualified Health Centers (“FQHC”) and Rural Health Clinics (“RHC”) in providing telehealth services. During the emergency period, FQHCs and RHCs may serve as “distant sites” (i.e., the location of the healthcare provider) for telehealth consultations. Thus, FQHCs and RHCs can furnish telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries in their home, and Medicare will provide reimbursement for these such services.

Steven D. Brownlee
sbrownlee@williamsparker.com
(941) 552-2567

For additional updates related to COVID-19, please visit our resources page