August 27, 2020

PPP Loan FAQ: What Not-for-Profits Need to Know About Forgiveness Timing and Tax Planning

With the end of the year looming closer, many organizations are focused on ensuring they receive forgiveness for their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Businesses and not-for-profits are wondering if and when they should apply for loan forgiveness, and what changes are coming from Congress, the SBA and banks. Below we answer common questions around PPP loan forgiveness timing, year-end tax planning and talks of another stimulus package.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Timing

Q: Should I submit my application now? Why or why not?

A: Anders is advising clients to wait until further guidance is released by the SBA and IRS. We do not see any benefits to applying early, and we see more changes as Congress gets closer to passing another stimulus package.

Q: Can I submit my application now?

A: The short answer is yes you can submit. But not all banks are accepting applications.

Q: Can I get PPP loan forgiveness in 2020?

A: Forgiveness timing is still up in the air, but it will most likely be in 2021 based on the bank’s and SBA’s timelines. Certain banks are taking forgiveness applications now, but unless your company has already applied it’s unlikely that forgiveness will happen in 2020. When we have more information Anders will advise clients on best timing to apply, but for now, patience is key as businesses have 10 months to apply after their covered period.

Q: Is there automatic forgiveness for PPP loans under $150,000?

A: No, but there has been language in each bill surrounding automatic forgiveness for smaller loans. Unfortunately, nothing has been passed at this time.

Year-end Planning Related to PPP Funds

Q: Are expenses paid with PPP funds deductible?

A: The IRS’s current position is that expenses paid with PPP funds are not deductible if your loan is forgiven. What is unclear is if the expenses paid with PPP funds are nondeductible for 2020 tax returns or not until 2021 when the loan is forgiven.

Q: Is there anything I should be doing for year-end tax planning regarding my PPP loan?

A: At this time, with so much uncertainty, year-end tax planning related to PPP funds will remain fluid.

Rumors of Another Stimulus Package

Q: Will there be a CARES Act 2.0?

A: It appears likely. The timing and dollar amount are the two largest unknowns. What seems to be important aspects of any bill could include:

  • Second round of stimulus checks for individuals
  • Reallocation of funds between different CARES Act 1.0 programs
  • Adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Program, including a potential second round of funding and clarification of ambiguous guidance
  • IRS corrections and guidance regarding deductibility of expenses paid for with forgiven PPP funds
  • State and local government funding
  • Liability protections
  • Unemployment assistance

Q: When could the next stimulus package be coming?

A: Timing is unclear and ever-changing. Stay tuned for more updates.

Legislation is continuing to evolve and it’s important to keep up with the latest rules and regulations to make sure you’re making decisions based on accurate data. Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed about potential impacts and benefits. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources. To discuss your situation and recovery options, contact an Anders advisor below.

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August 27, 2020

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Rental Income for Landlords and Strategies to Recover

The U.S. unemployment rate spiked to 14.7% in April; the highest it has been since the Great Depression. High unemployment has caused landlords to be creative on how to solve issues arising from tenants that are unable to meet their rental agreement obligations. Landlords are using different techniques to keep vacancy rates down and rental income coming in. Some solutions landlords are considering include rental forgiveness, postponement or seeking outside short-term financing. 

Protection from Evictions Under the CARES Act

Previous to COVID-19, if tenants failed to meet rental obligations landlords had the option to terminate the tenancy by filing an eviction lawsuit to have the tenant physically removed. Health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 have halted evictions in some areas which has led landlords to think of other ways to cope with the lack of rental income. One of the ways landlords are managing their tenants’ inability to pay rent is by allowing postponement of their payments with an agreement that it will be repaid at a later date, either in a lump sum or spread out. Some have done this by agreeing to allow tenants to repay their missed payments when they receive government stimulus funds or by extending lease agreements and allowing payments to be made at the end of the lease. 

Every landlord strives to generate profits after covering any debt servicing with their rental property. However, with the affects of COVID-19, cutting losses has been the best option for some landlords. Temporarily lowering rent rates for tenants has allowed landlords with mortgages to retain tenants along with having the ability to meet their short-term financial obligations and not default on their loan.

How Landlords Can Recover

Having a financial safety cushion is important for landlords in times like these. Seeking a line of credit or having the assurance of being able to obtain a loan from a private lender is important as part of a disaster recovery plan. Many landlords have taken these measures to protect themselves and be better prepared in case of emergency.

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed about potential impacts and benefits. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources. To discuss your situation and recovery options, contact an Anders advisor below. Learn how Anders works with the real estate and construction industries.

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August 25, 2020

How the CARES Act Encourages Charitable Giving in 2020

To encourage more charitable giving in 2020 and to help charitable organizations recover from the pandemic, the CARES Act provides additional tax relief for donors on their 2020 tax return. Below we explain the new above the line deduction and eliminated contribution limit for charitable giving.

Above the Line Tax Deduction for Charitable Contributions

As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), fewer taxpayers were able to itemize and receive a tax benefit from their charitable contributions because of the increased standard deduction. In turn, some donors lowered the amount of their contributions. The CARES Act re-incentivizes charitable giving by creating a $300 above the line deduction for qualified charitable contributions. This deduction is available to all taxpayers that take the standard deduction on their 2020 return. 

This deduction is currently only available for 2020 contributions but could be changed by future legislation. To qualify, the donations must be in cash, not stock or donations of clothing or other property, and must be made directly to a qualifying charity, not certain private foundations or donor-advised funds.

Elimination of the 60% Charitable Contribution Limit

Under the TCJA, individuals that itemize are allowed a deduction for cash contributions to certain charitable organizations of up to 60% of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). If the amount of the individual’s contributions is greater than the 60% limit, the excess is carried forward and treated as a deductible contribution for the next five years.

Section 2205 of the CARES Act temporarily modifies the contribution limits for individuals and allows individuals that itemize to deduct qualified charitable contributions up to 100% of their AGI. The excess contributions will be carried forward for the next five years. These changes only apply to cash contributions made to a 50% charity, excluding supporting organizations and donor-advised funds. Stock donations and gifts to private foundations are still subject to the 30% of AGI rule.

Opportunity for IRA Distributions

Eliminating the contribution limit creates a huge opportunity for donors who want to make a significant impact to charities this year. Under these rules, a donor could take a significant distribution from their IRA, rather than the annual $100,000 limit, donate it to charity, and take a deduction for the full amount. If you’re considering leaving a large portion of your IRA to charity in your estate, this may be a year to consider a large gift especially if you are expecting to have a taxable estate. You could benefit from tax savings and also see the benefits your charitable donation produces during your lifetime.

Taxable Income Planning

More charitable contributions may allow some taxpayers to reduce taxable income to $0, which may sound very appealing. But that situation isn’t always ideal, especially if you have long-term capital gains and qualified dividend income. If you’re in the lowest two tax brackets, the federal tax on these income sources is 0%. If this is your situation, additional year end planning may be needed to make sure you’re maximizing your tax savings and coordinating with any existing charitable carryforwards.

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed about potential tax impacts and benefits. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more insights or contact Anders below to discuss how the CARES Act affects your tax and estate planning.

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August 20, 2020

Using Flexible Work Arrangements as Your Recruiting Secret Weapon

During this pandemic, almost every company was thrown into a virtual work environment with little notice, training or preparation. Despite the challenges, in true entrepreneurial fashion, businesses and employees adapted. While many people started with a clipboard or a card table, most have slowly upgraded to a nicer space with a better background for themselves on Teams or Zoom calls. All of this just in time to get those re-entry emails from work talking about migrating back to the office!

What are companies to do? How can they send everyone home, get them to adjust to a new way of life and then ask employees to adjust back to the old way of working? 

Build a Hybrid Work Environment

While most employees would self-assess that they are “totally capable of working at home with no supervision”, the fact is that some people are, and some aren’t. We are beginning the stage where companies have to figure out how to balance the old work arrangement with the new.  Unfortunately, we may be living in this hybrid world of both office and remote work for a while.

With competition for the best candidates returning, the remote work benefit could become the new PTO and 401(k) match in the final negotiations for hiring the best people. Not having to commute, deal with traffic and being able to eat at home are becoming bigger benefits that save people time and money. 

Recruit and Retain Using Your New Work Environment

To hire the best and retain the proven performers, businesses must start planning how things will look when a vaccine emerges and it’s no longer a health concern to go back to the office. New candidates will ask about flexible work arrangements and current employees will wonder if the freedom they have been given to work from home will continue. Making the decisions now will not only keep you competitive for new hires but creates goodwill and increases retention with current employees.

The decision to begin a work-from-home policy was forced onto most, but how things look going forward will be a strategic decision for companies to make – and will certainly impact decisions employees make about how and where they want to work.

Employee Considerations

Giving thought to these changes from an employee’s perspective can help businesses be more prepared for the future. Consider the following:

  • How do you fit into the office culture with less consistency in the office?
  • How can you stand out in a department when some work remotely and some don’t?
  • Are you top of mind for leading the next important project?
  • How do you stay connected with customers?

Employer Considerations

As the employer, these are the same issues to address when continuing the culture you want and making sure the best talent on the team feel engaged and growing, and that customers are still feeling connected to the organization. Hiring and retaining the best people who are capable of high performance in a flexible work arrangement will be even more important in the new structure as it was in the old.

Anders Talent can help you attract and find the best people to match your business’s unique needs. We are in touch with the demand for finance and accounting talent and can help you navigate today’s hiring and recruiting processes. Learn more about Anders Talent or contact an Anders advisor below to learn more.

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August 18, 2020

Why Real Estate and Construction Companies Need to Update Technology to Continue Adjusting to the New Normal

As businesses are still facing unusual times with unknown futures, some companies are still completely intact, some are struggling, and others are still awaiting the whiplash of a fluctuating economy. All of this unknown will undoubtedly shrink a pipeline of projects to bid, impact leases, reduce or modify office space buildouts, and ultimately change the way businesses view their real estate and construction needs for their companies.

The Growing Need for Agility

Agility had a whole new meaning in spring of 2020, and technology played a huge part in that. Many companies were scrambling to evaluate whether their networks would be able to sustain an entire company working from home and taxing network firewalls and internet bandwidth. The real estate and construction industries specifically had to navigate having employees at a construction site or a dispersed field of agents in both a technical sense and workaday sense.

The construction industry typically spends significantly less on technology than most other industries. Those who made the investment in technology and were able to pivot easily were able to avoid some of the issues making the transition to a remote workforce. Those who had put off increasing that internet bandwidth, buying that bigger firewall or moving that workload to the cloud were behind on multiple fronts within a few days. Not to mention the remote support capabilities necessary to provide help for employees in all things technical. While the late adopters may have struggled, it’s not too late to get your technology up to speed as we continue to adjust to the new normal.

New Security Threats

As if maintaining productivity didn’t require enough attention, hackers immediately went to work to find ways to find vulnerabilities in the newly relocated workforce. Cybersecurity training, VPN connectivity, password policy and home network security were important topics pre COVID-19 but have now been taken to a new level. Those who had made their best efforts in these areas were thankful they did prior to COVID-19, but those who didn’t are forced to orchestrate a plan to deploy remotely without causing a significant disruption. A quick network assessment to evaluate your current technology framework will help identify areas to ramp up your security

If certain technology concerns that needed attention pre-pandemic have become mission-critical items during the pandemic, re-evaluating budgets are a very important decision. Bigger objectives that have more agility, like moving workloads to the cloud, or properly configuring a firewall with cybersecurity best practices require an experienced technology partner. Contact an Anders advisor below to make sure you are getting the value and service you need to move your business forward or learn more about Anders Technology.

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August 14, 2020

Robert Willeford Warns Dentists of Consumer Use Tax in the Dental Arch

Many dentists are aware that dental services are generally exempt from sales tax. But when dentists sell tangible personal property to customers, this can be taxable on the sale to the patient or insurance company. Anders Director + State and Local Tax Robert V. Willeford, Jr., CPA, Esq. discusses the consumer use tax and how it impacts dental practices in the Dental Arch.

In the article, Robert and Anders tax senior Claire E. Rogers, CPA go into detail about what items are taxable and how Missouri and Illinois handle sales and use tax for qualifying items.

Read Consumer Use Tax – The “Tax” That Can Bite Dentists Unaware or learn more about how we help with State and Local Tax.

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August 13, 2020

My Employee Tested Positive for Coronavirus, What Should I Do?

As the pandemic continues, employers are asking a lot of questions around what they need to do when an employee tests positive or is unable to work due to COVID-19. Is the employer required to pay the employee? Is there assistance available to businesses paying for sick leave when an employee tests positive? While some of the nuances should be advised by a lawyer or HR representative, below we dive into what types of relief are available for employers from an accounting perspective.

Are employers required to pay sick leave for COVID-19?

The answer is yes. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Learn more about employee paid leave rights.

Is there assistance available for employers?

Yes. To help employers pay employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19, the FFCRA tax credit and disaster relief payments are available.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

When an employee is unable to work (including telework) due to COVID-19, the FFCRA provides a 100% credit against the company’s payroll tax liability. Companies and not-for-profits with less than 500 employees are eligible for FFCRA.

The credit is limited to the maximum amount that needs to be paid based on the sick leave cap of $511 per day for up to 10 days, or $5,110 per employee.

How does FFCRA work?

Employers pay the employee up front and take a dollar-for-dollar tax credit by reporting their total qualified leave wages and the related credits for each quarter on their federal employment tax returns.

The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, the employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes with respect to all employees.

FFCRA Example

An eligible employer paid $5,000 in sick leave for a quarantined employee and is otherwise required to deposit $8,000 in payroll taxes. The employer would only be required to deposit $3,000 on its next regular deposit date.

For more information about the FFCRA, refer to the U.S. Department of Labor or IRS.

Disaster Relief Payments

With COVID-19 being declared a national emergency by President Trump, employers can now take advantage of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The Act, also known as Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code, allows employers to provide tax-free payments or reimbursements to affected employees as “qualified disaster payments”.

How do the disaster relief payments work?

Disaster relief payments must be to pay or reimburse an employee for reasonable and necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses. This does NOT include payments that would be covered by insurance or other reimbursements and income replacement payments. Since this assistance Act has never been used during a global pandemic, it’s still open to interpretation on what expenses are qualified, but Section 139 “reasonably suggests” these expenses would qualify:

  • Over-the-counter medications, co-pays, deductibles and other medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Funeral costs of an employee or family member of employee
  • Costs associated with enabling employees to work-from-home
  • Cost of employee’s childcare or tutoring for family members
  • Commuting expenses
  • Caregiver and domestic services
  • Legal and accounting expenses

Payments are tax-free to employees, but fully deductible to the employer. Employers may provide assistance directly to the employee or through a non-exempt fund established to receive contributions from the employer as well as employees.

What should employers document?

Documentation for payment is not required as long as it’s considered “reasonable and necessary”, but Section 139 recommends employers document:

  • Their intention for making the payments
  • The amounts paid and to whom
  • Start and end date of any Section 139 assistance
  • Listing of expenses paid or reimbursed
  • Any maximum amount per-employee or total combined amount employer will pay

Learn more about Section 139.

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed about potential impacts and benefits. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources. To discuss your situation and recovery options, contact an Anders advisor below.

Agnes M. Rybak, Associate + Outsourced Accounting and Ryan T. Knudsen, Senior Accountant + Outsourced Accounting were contributors to this post.

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August 13, 2020

Proposed Regulations Define “Real Property” for Like-Kind Exchanges

The IRS released proposed regulations defining property that can qualify for like-kind exchanges under changes imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Prior to the TCJA, some exchanges of personal property, such as licenses, aircraft and equipment would qualify for a 1031 like-kind exchange. After the passing of the TCJA, only real property qualifies for exchanges. These proposed regulations offer some clarity on the definitions of property in 1031 exchanges.

Real Property for Like-Kind Exchanges

Under the proposed regulations, real property includes:

  • Land and improvements to land
  • Unsevered crops and other natural products of land
  • Water and air space superjacent to land

Land and Improvements

“Improvements to land” is a broad statement and is broken down as an inherently permanent structure and its structural components. Inherently permanent structures include buildings or other structures that are permanently affixed to real property for an indefinite period of time.

A structural component is any asset that is a constituent part of an inherently permanent structure. Structural components only qualify as real property if the taxpayer holds interest in both the component and physical space of the inherently permanent structure.

The proposed regulations list additional structural components and provide factors for determining whether components are structural components. These tests include:

  1. The manner in which the asset is affixed to the real property
  2. Whether the asset is designed to be removed or remain in place
  3. The damage that removal of the asset would cause to the item or real property
  4. Any circumstances that suggest the asset was not affixed for an indefinite period
  5. The time and expense required to move the asset
  6. Whether the component is listed during the construction of the building structure

Unsevered Crops and Natural Products

The proposed regulations state that unsevered natural products are generally real property. These products include crops, plants, timber, mines, wells and other natural products. These items are no longer considered real property when they are removed from the land.

Intangible Assets

An intangible asset is considered real property as long as the asset:

  • Gets its value from the real property
  • Is inseparable from the property
  • Does not create income other than consideration for the use or occupancy of space

An intangible asset as real property would be a license or permit that is used solely for the use or occupation of land or permanent structure and is in the nature of the lease or ownership.

If you are considering selling your property and would like to further discuss what property is qualifying under the proposed regulations, contact an Anders advisor below. Learn how Anders works with the real estate and construction industries.

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August 11, 2020

How Does the CARES Act Affect My Retirement Distributions in 2020?

While the CARES Act relief efforts were largely targeted towards businesses, there were also significant changes around rules for individual retirement plans. Individuals can now benefit from suspended required minimum distributions (RMDs) and are offered relief options if they have been impacted by COVID-19.

RMDs Waived for 2020

The biggest retirement plan change brought by the CARES Act is the suspension of RMDs for 2020. This applies to most RMDs, including those for traditional IRAs, 401(k) and 403(b) plans of those reaching age 72, or age 70 ½ for years before 2020, and inherited IRAs.

Which RMD distributions are waived?

The waiver applies to distributions for 2020 and to first-time distributions for 2019 that could have been delayed to April 1, 2020 and not paid in 2019. The waiver will not change a participant’s required beginning date for minimum distribution rules in future years.

What are the tax benefits?

The waiver of the RMD creates several tax planning opportunities. If you are going to be in a lower tax bracket than normal from other income, it may be beneficial to take enough of a distribution to take advantage of the lower brackets.

Using a Qualified Charitable Distribution can also be a beneficial use of the distribution and a reason to continue to take the distribution in 2020. Up to $100,000 can be donated directly from an IRA to a qualifying charity each year. However, special charity rules for 2020 could allow a much greater distribution from an IRA to be deducted.

On the other hand, a smaller distribution could help bring your taxable income to the lowest possible tax bracket. Income from long-term capital gains and qualified dividends can be taxed at 0% if taxable income is in the lowest two tax brackets. Depending on your situation, you may prefer to skip or reduce your RMD.

What if I already took my RMD?

If you already took your RMD and are now reconsidering, you may be able to roll the distribution back to your retirement account. Notice 2020-51 provides for an extension of the normal 60-day rollover window to August 31, 2020.

Be sure to take note of your withholdings for the year if you choose to skip or reduce your RMD. Since taxes are often withheld from RMDs, you may need to adjust other withholdings or estimate payments to help avoid any penalties.

Rules for Coronavirus-Related Distributions

In addition to the elimination of the RMD requirements, there are special rules for qualified individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have experienced adverse financial circumstances due to COVID-19, such as a reduction in hours, layoff, furlough, or losing child care.

How are coronavirus-related distributions treated?

Distributions taken in 2020 by qualifying individuals are considered coronavirus-related distributions, up to $100,000. Qualifying distributions are not subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty nor subject to a 20% withholding. 

If a qualifying individual made a coronavirus-related distribution in 2020, the income can be treated as being received equally over a three-year period for tax purposes starting with the year in which you receive your distribution. For example, if you receive a $30,000 COVID-19-related distribution in 2020, you could report $10,000 in income on your federal income tax return for each of 2020, 2021, and 2022. However, you have the option of including the entire distribution in your income for the year of the distribution.

How can coronavirus-related distributions be paid back?

A COVID-19 related distribution can be repaid in full or partially with contributions for up to three years from the date of distribution. If the repayment is made after the initial year, amended tax returns can be filed to adjust for the taxable income reported before the repayment. While a COVID-19 related distribution has the three-year payback, those who have taken RMDs in 2020 have until August 31, 2020 to put the money back in to avoid the tax consequences.

What about my employer’s maximum plan loan amount?

In addition to options for distributions, the CARES Act allows employers to increase the maximum loan amount available to qualified individuals. For plan loans made to a qualified individual from March 27, 2020 to September 22, 2020, the limit may be increased up to the lesser of $100,000, or the individual’s vested account value. Qualified individuals may also defer for one year any loan payments coming due through December 31, 2020.

If you have questions, Anders is here to help. Contact an Anders advisor below to learn more about the IRA changes surrounding the CARES Act. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more news, tools and insights you need to know in these uncertain times.

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August 10, 2020

How President Trump’s Executive Order Affects Payroll Taxes for Employees

On August 8, 2020, President Trump signed an executive order to defer certain payroll tax obligations to provide additional COVID-19 relief. The order directs the Secretary of the Treasury to “use his authority to defer certain payroll tax obligations with respect to the American workers most in need”.

Details of the Payroll Tax Deferral

This payroll tax deferral applies to employee wages paid between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, to those generally making less than $4,000 biweekly. The deferral applies to the withholding, deposit and payment the 6.2% employee Social Security tax, not the Medicare tax. The CARES Act did have a payroll tax deferral, but it was for the employer, NOT the employee.

What You Should Do

It’s important to note that the President is calling for a payroll tax deferral, not forgiveness, at least at this time. The Treasury is exploring avenues to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred.

We advise taxpayers to wait for more guidance and/or CARES Act 2.0 to come out before making any plans related to the effective date.

Our advisors are closely following COVID-19 relief efforts and will continue to publish insights to keep you informed about potential impacts and benefits. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more resources. To discuss your situation and recovery options, contact an Anders advisor below.

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