Gov. Charlie Baker Signs Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Bill That Includes Tax Benefit For Forgiven PPP Loans

Gov. Charlie Baker Signs Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Bill That Includes Tax Benefit For Forgiven PPP Loans

Small business owners with certain forgiven federal loans during the COVID-19 pandemic can now exclude those funds from their gross taxable income in Massachusetts.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law Thursday afternoon legislation that makes enables “pass-through entities” with forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans to get the same tax benefits that corporations do.

The congressional stimulus package in December allowed businesses with forgiven PPP loans to exclude the funds from gross taxable income while still claiming the deductions for expenses they paid using the PPP money, which tax experts and critics have described as a “double benefit.”

In Massachusetts, corporations got the same benefits because the state’s corporate tax code conforms to the federal corporate tax code automatically. But the state has a fixed individual tax code, meaning lawmakers had to pass legislation to ensure small businesses could get the same relief.

Residents who received unemployment benefits won’t be taxed on the first $10,200 if they live below 200% of the federal poverty level.

The new law also freezes the unemployment insurance rate for the calendar years 2021 and 2022, slowing the annual employer UI contribution rate. The rate was expected to increase hundreds of dollars per employee.

“This legislation takes a thoughtful and comprehensive approach in delivering critical relief to facilitate economic recovery for the people of Massachusetts,” Baker said in a letter to lawmakers.

While employers get a reprieve from UI rate hikes, the new law authorizes the state to issue special obligation bonds to repay federal advances and get the trust fund out of the red.

The bill also creates a $75 million COVID-19 emergency paid sick time program similar to the federal COVID leave benefits, requiring employers to give workers a week’s paid leave if they are infected with, isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19.

The paid leave also extends to those getting vaccinated or caring for family members who fit those same criteria.

“The mandate aptly addresses needs — immunization, isolation, and quarantine — that were not contemplated when the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program was designed,” Baker said.

Baker sent back two amendments that would tweak the state’s paid sick time program.

The first would require that employees on sick leave related to COVID-19 get no less than their regular rate of pay. The amendment would cap the sick pay at $850 or two-thirds of the regular rate of pay for family leave.

The program would offer benefits to part-time employees with “a regular schedule with consistent hours per week” as long as the paid sick leave is equal to the number of hours an employee works per week, on average over a two-week schedule.

The second amendment would extend a $40-per-employee tax credit to employers who lack access to the tax credit under the federal leave program. Extending the tax credit for all employees who aren’t covered, Baker said, would make it easier for employers to request the credit to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance without the risk of potentially having to rely on paperwork that could violate health private laws.

An employer would have to file the credit application and any amendment related to the application by Dec. 31.

This amendment would also set an end date of Sept. 30 for the COVID-19 emergency paid sick time program. Baker said setting an official deadline would address any uncertainty between employers and workers because the sick leave program’s end date would otherwise be whenever the $75 million fund dries up.

 

IRS to Recalculate Taxes on Unemployment Benefits; Refunds to Start in May

IRS to Recalculate Taxes on Unemployment Benefits; Refunds to Start in May

WASHINGTON – To help taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service announced today that it will take steps to automatically refund money this spring and summer to people who filed their tax return reporting unemployment compensation before the recent changes made by the American Rescue Plan.

The legislation, signed on March 11, allows taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income to exclude unemployment compensation up to $20,400 if married filing jointly and $10,200 for all other eligible taxpayers. The legislation excludes only 2020 unemployment benefits from taxes.

Because the change occurred after some people filed their taxes, the IRS will take steps in the spring and summer to make the appropriate change to their return, which may result in a refund. The first refunds are expected to be made in May and will continue into the summer.

For those taxpayers who already have filed and figured their tax based on the full amount of unemployment compensation, the IRS will determine the correct taxable amount of unemployment compensation and tax. Any resulting overpayment of tax will be either refunded or applied to other outstanding taxes owed.

For those who have already filed, the IRS will do these recalculations in two phases, starting with those taxpayers eligible for the up to $10,200 exclusion. The IRS will then adjust returns for those married filing jointly taxpayers who are eligible for the up to $20,400 exclusion and others with more complex returns.

There is no need for taxpayers to file an amended return unless the calculations make the taxpayer newly eligible for additional federal credits and deductions not already included on the original tax return.

For example, the IRS can adjust returns for those taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and, because the exclusion changed the income level, may now be eligible for an increase in the EITC amount which may result in a larger refund. However, taxpayers would have to file an amended return if they did not originally claim the EITC or other credits but now are eligible because the exclusion changed their income.

These taxpayers may want to review their state tax returns as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 23 million U.S. workers nationwide filed for unemployment last year. For the first time, some self-employed workers qualified for unemployed benefits as well. The IRS is working to determine how many workers affected by the tax change already have filed their tax returns.

The new IRS guidance also includes details for those eligible taxpayers who have not yet filed.

The IRS has worked with the tax return preparation software industry to reflect these updates so people who choose to file electronically simply need to respond to the related questions when electronically preparing their tax returns. See New Exclusion of up to $10,200 of Unemployment Compensation for information and examples. For others, instructions and an updated worksheet about the exclusion were available in March and posted to IRS.gov/Form 1040. These instructions can assist taxpayers who have not yet filed to prepare returns correctly.

Biden Signs PPP Extension Act Into Law, Moving Application Deadline to May 31

Biden Signs PPP Extension Act Into Law, Moving Application Deadline to May 31

President Biden on March 30 signed into the law the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Extension Act of 2021 (HR 1799), which moves the application deadline to May 31, 2021. The PPP application window was originally set to expire the next day on March 31.

The bill was overwhelmingly approved in the House by a 415-to-3 vote; the Senate cleared it 92-to-7.

Additionally, the measure provides the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with an extra 30 days to process loans submitted prior to June 1. However, no additional funding was provided for the program, which is expected to lapse in mid-April, according to the SBA.

Information on First and Second Draw PPP Loans can be located here.

The SBA’s March 25 PPP Data Report can be located here.

Launching a Non-Profit Organization: Essential Resources and Steps

Launching a Non-Profit Organization: Essential Resources and Steps

Starting a non-profit organization is a very fulfilling way to earn a living while giving back to your community. Whether you decide to help people, animals, or the environment, your non-profit is sure to have a positive impact on the world around you. But launching and growing a non-profit can be complicated. Soliciting help from financial service organizations like Northeast Financial Strategies is a great place to start! Here are some other tips and resources for organizing a successful launch.

 

Lay the Groundwork

 

Before getting too deep into launching your non-profit, take the time to do market research, structure your business properly, and ensure that running a charity is the right path for you.

 

  • Do some market research to find out if there is a need for your services in your community.
  • Make sure running a non-profit is the right move for you.
  • Structure your business as an LLC to give credibility to your services and limit your personal liability.

 

Keep Everything Legal

 

Non-profit organizations have to navigate a sea of complicated legal regulations. Get everything set up right from the beginning so you can avoid legal issues in the future.

 

 

Secure Adequate Funding

 

Earning funding for your non-profit will be one of your main jobs. As you prepare for the launch of your organization, start soliciting donations to cover your startup costs.

 

 

If you’ve always wanted a career focused on benefiting society rather than earning profits, launching a non-profit could be a great move. The startup process can be tricky, so take it day by day and try not to get overwhelmed. Keep these resources close at hand so you can reach for answers whenever you run into a roadblock.

 

Professional services can make it easier to launch and grow your startup. For help with tax preparation, money management, accounting, or payroll, reach out to Northeast Financial Strategies today.

More Economic Impact Payments set for disbursement in coming days; taxpayers should watch mail for paper checks, debit cards

More Economic Impact Payments set for disbursement in coming days; taxpayers should watch mail for paper checks, debit cards

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the next batch of Economic Impact Payments will be issued to taxpayers this week, with many of these coming by paper check or prepaid debit card.

For taxpayers receiving direct deposit, this batch of payments began processing on Friday and will have an official pay date of Wednesday, March 24, with some people seeing these in their accounts earlier, potentially as provisional or pending deposits. A large number of this latest batch of payments will also be mailed, so taxpayers who do not receive a direct deposit by March 24 should watch the mail carefully in the coming weeks for a paper check or a prepaid debit card, known as an Economic Impact Payment Card, or EIP Card.

No action is needed by most people to obtain this round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). People can check the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov on to see if the their payment has been scheduled.

“The IRS continues to send the third round of stimulus payments in record time,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Since this new set of payments will include more mailed payments, we urge people to carefully watch their mail for a check or debit card in the coming weeks.”

Following enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act on March 11, the IRS moved quickly to start delivering the third round of Economic Impact Payments. The IRS initiated the first batch of the $1,400 stimulus payments, mostly by direct deposit, on March 12.

Today marks the second batch of payments, with additional payments anticipated on a weekly basis going forward. The vast majority of taxpayers receiving EIPs will receive it by direct deposit. In addition, the IRS and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service leveraged data in their systems to convert many payments to direct deposits that otherwise would have been sent as paper checks or debit cards. This accelerated the disbursement of these payments by weeks.

Watch the mail for paper checks, EIP Cards

Taxpayers should note that the form of payment for the third EIP may be different than earlier stimulus payments. More people are receiving direct deposits, while those receiving them in the mail may get either a paper check or an EIP Card – which may be different than how they received their previous stimulus payments. IRS and the Treasury Department urge eligible people who have not received a direct deposit to watch their mail carefully during this period.

Paper checks will arrive by mail in an envelope from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. For those taxpayers who received their tax refund by mail, this paper check will look similar, but will be labeled as an “Economic Impact Payment.”

The EIP Card will come in a white envelope prominently displaying the seal of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The card has the Visa name on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A. on the back. Information included with the card will explain that this is an Economic Impact Payment. Each mailing will include instructions on how to securely activate and use the card. It is important to note that none of the EIP cards issued for any of the three rounds is reloadable; recipients will receive a separate card and will not be able to reload funds onto an existing card. EIP Cards are safe, convenient, and secure. EIP Card recipients can make purchases online or in stores anywhere Visa Debit Cards are accepted. They can get cash from domestic in-network ATMs, transfer funds to a personal bank account, and obtain a replacement EIP Card if needed without incurring any fees. They can also check their card balance online, through a mobile app, or by phone without incurring fees. The EIP Card provides consumer protections against fraud, loss, and other errors. The EIP Card is sponsored by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and is issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank, N.A. The IRS does not determine who receives a prepaid debit card.

More information about these cards is available at EIPcard.com.