Legislation provides other business relief provisions
Here’s what you need to know about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and other business relief provisions of the recently-passed American Rescue Plan Act.
PPP loan application deadline extended. The deadline to apply for PPP loans is now May 31, 2021.
Sick leave extended. If your business provides sick leave for COVID-related reasons, you might get reimbursed for the sick pay through a tax credit.
Businesses which voluntarily provide sick leave through September 30, 2021 qualify for the credit. There are limits for each employee. However, for employees who took 10 days of sick leave in 2020 using this same provision, they can take another 10 days beginning April 1, 2021.
Refundable tax credits are available through September 30, 2021.
Covered reasons to get the tax credit now include sick leave taken to get COVID testing and vaccination, and to recover from the vaccination.
These benefits are also extended to self-employed workers.
Family Medical Leave Act Provisions extended.
Additional coverage is now available through September 30, 2021.
Qualified wages for this provision move to $12,000 (up from $10,000) however the credit was not increased.
The Family Medical Leave Act also applies to the self-employed.
Big increase in Employee Retention Credit.
Businesses can get up to a $28,000 tax credit per employee in 2021, up from a $5,000 maximum credit in 2020. This credit can be claimed through Dec. 31, 2021.
There are many more provisions in the close to $2 trillion dollar spending package, including money given to states. As everyone digests this new 500-plus page piece of legislation, more clarifications will be forthcoming from the IRS and other sources.
Sleuthing your way through a tax audit by yourself is not the same as fixing a leaky faucet or changing your oil. Here are reasons you should seek professional help as soon as you receive a letter from the IRS:
IRS auditors do this for a living — you don’t. Seasoned IRS agents have seen your situation many times and know the rules better than you. Even worse, they are under no obligation to teach you the rules. Just like a defendant needs the help of a lawyer in court, you need someone in your corner that knows your rights and understands the correct tax code to apply in correspondence with the IRS.
Insufficient records will cost you. When selected for an audit, the IRS will typically make a written request for specific documents they want to see. The list may include receipts, bills, legal documents, loan agreements and other records. If you are missing something from the list, things get dicey. It may be possible to reconstruct some of your records, but you might have to rely on a good explanation to avoid additional taxes plus a possible 20 percent negligence penalty.
Too much information can add audit risk. While most audits are limited in scope, the IRS agent has the authority to increase that scope based on what they find in their original analysis. That means that if they find a document or hear something you say that sounds suspicious, they can extend the audit to additional areas. Being prepared with the proper support and concise, smart answers to their questions is the best approach to limiting further audit risk.
Missing an audit deadline can lead to trouble. When you receive the original audit request, it will include a response deadline (typically 30 days). If you miss the deadline, the IRS will change your tax return using their interpretation of findings, not yours. This typically means assessing new taxes, interest and penalties. If you wish your point of view to be heard — get help right away to prepare a plan and manage the IRS deadlines.
Relying on an expert gives you peace of mind. Tax audits are never fun, but they don’t have to be pull-your-hair-out stressful. Together, you and your expert can map out a plan and take it step-by-step to ensure the best possible outcome. You’ll rest easy knowing your audit situation is being handled by someone with the proper expertise that also has your best interests in mind.
In an effort to reduce the amount of money paid to identity thieves who file fraudulent returns, the IRS will be implementing changes in the timing and way they handle the processing of tax returns.
These steps will continue to evolve, but recent changes will impact millions who depend on receiving an early refund.
Earlier filing of form W-2s and 1099-MISC – The timing required to send these forms to employees and vendors remains the end of January. However, the extended deadline for filing the electronic version of these forms to the IRS and Social Security Administration is now a full month earlier. This is done to allow the IRS to match records with early filed tax returns. The prior timing gap was ideal for thieves to file fraudulent tax returns.
Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit – If you file a tax return that contains either of these credits, do not expect to receive an early refund. The IRS has been mandated to hold these refund payments until February 15th or later. Given the payment backlog this will create, it is still important to file early to get your refund in the queue.
Begin planning now to be prepared for these upcoming changes. Rest assured, we can all look forward to further changes as the IRS continues to address the multi-billion dollar identity theft problem plaguing the Agency.
Have you paid anyone at least $600 in the course of your trade or business? If so, then you may be required to issue them a 1099-MISC and file a form 1096 with the IRS. You don’t need to issue 1099’s for payments made for personal purposes or to corporations. You’ll send this to any individual, partnership, LLC, Limited Partnership or Estate.
When sending out (or having your accountant send them out for you) 1099’s, you will want to make sure that you have:
Form W-9 for each payee (can be downloaded from the IRS website)
The amount you paid them over the entire year
IRS printed copy of Form 1099 and Form 1096 (can be ordered from the IRS website or, while supplies last, from your local post office)
1099’s also have a deadline of January 31 for when they need to be issued and mailed to each payee. Form 1096 needs to be sent to the IRS before February 28th.
So, as January comes to a close make sure that you have your information together and get your forms out – or be ready to pay the penalties for not sending them out.