SCACPA would like to thank all state agencies and partners for their hard work during this difficult time. Thanks to Copper Dome Strategies for their assistance in bringing SCACPA Members these developments in South Carolina relating to the COVID-19.
Updated Resources for Small Businesses (April 1)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this four-page guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocates $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed. The Paycheck Protection Program provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
Middle market businesses can find out their emergency loan options in this 11-page resource of questions and answers produced by the audit, tax, and consulting firm RSM US LLP.
Telehealth Options Expanded for BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan Members (April 1)
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan members have an additional telehealth option available.
Members can now have a live video visit at no cost to them with a Doctors Care provider using Doctors Care Anywhere, available via https://doctorscare.com/anywhere/ or by downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play. Promotional materials can be found here for BlueCross members and here for BlueChoice members.
For BlueCross members to access telehealth, information can be found here.
For BlueChoice members to access telehealth, information can be found here.
McMaster Orders 15-Day Shutdown of Nonessential Services; Homeland Security Lists Accounting as Among Critical Workers (March 31)
Gov. Henry McMaster has announced an executive order of a 15-day closing of nonessential businesses on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 31, in an effort to stem Coronavirus. The order is effective April 1.
McMaster’s order shuts “close-contact” venues, including gyms, spas, barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, fitness centers, tattoo parlors, nightclubs, arcades, bowling alleys, racetracks, indoor children’s play areas (not including day care centers), bingo halls, theaters, museums, performing arts centers, adult entertainment venues, concert venues and tourist attractions.
Click here for the Governor’s announcement of the full list.
If a business has a question as to whether it qualifies as essential, complete the Clarification of Business Designation Form on the South Carolina Department of Commerce website. Questions can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or business representatives can call 803.734.2873. A team from the Department of Commerce will review the request, and the business will receive a response with their determination, essential or non-essential, within 24 hours. If a business is not explicitly addressed in the governor’s executive order, the business should continue normal operations until a determination is made.
At the federal level, the Department of Homeland Security updated its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency guidance on critical workers, and it includes accounting services.
In the fourth bullet point under Financial Services, the revised guidance covers “Workers who support financial operations and those staffing call centers, such as those staffing data and security operations centers, managing physical security or providing accounting services.”
If a state executive order points to CISA guidance, accounting is encompassed as an essential business based on the March 28, 2020, guidance.
IRS Closes Three Information Service Lines (March 26)
The IRS closed the Practitioner Priority Service hotline, the e-Services Help Desk and the Centralized Authorization File (CAF) office on Thursday, March 26, because they have limited staff available to work.
SCACPA understands the importance behind these actions because of the necessity of keeping staff safe.
However, the closure of these hotlines means it is now more difficult for CPAs to file tax returns. AICPA’s Tax Policy & Advocacy Team is pushing the Treasury and IRS to extend the relief to all types of filers and the different filings, including information returns and exempt organization returns, in addition to the already announced April 15 deadline extension to July 15. There is also a push for relief to apply to all types of taxes, including Q2 estimated tax payments and excise taxes.
You can find the state tax filing relief chart at this link. The AICPA is updating it daily.
IRS posts FAQ page for ‘Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers’ (March 24)
The IRS has posted a webpage for “Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers” in connection to recent tax payment and filing relief announcements.
In the introduction to these FAQs, the IRS states:
“Below are answers to frequently asked questions related to the relief provided in the Notice [Notice 2020-18 (PDF)]. These questions and answers will be updated periodically and are designed to be a flexible tool to communicate information to taxpayers and tax professionals in this changing environment. The answers to these questions provide responses to general inquiries and are not citable as legal authority. Accordingly, the Treasury Department and the IRS are continuing to consider additional IRB guidance on these issues addressed in these FAQs.”
SC Board of Accountancy Will Follow NASBA Recommendations for CPA Exam Candidates (March 20)
CPA Exam candidates are urged to consult this update from NASBA: https://nasba.org/blog/2020/03/17/covid-19-update/
Of note: “NASBA has recommended that the Boards of Accountancy extend all Notices to Schedule (NTS) with expirations between April 1-June 30, 2020, until September 30, 2020. At this time, no action is required by candidates.”
The South Carolina Board of Accountancy staff has told SCACPA that the BOA is following the NASBA recommendations for NTS extensions for candidates sitting for the exam and will consider extending exam credit as described in the NASBA update.
Gov. McMaster Directs DOR to Conform SC’s Income Tax Deadline to July 15 (March 21)
Gov. Henry McMaster directed the Department of Revenue to conform South Carolina’s income tax deadline to July 15, which is the new federal income tax deadline. Other state taxes will remain delayed until June 1, as previously ordered. (“Gov. Henry McMaster Urges Donations, Extends Income Tax Deadline, Allows Curbside Sale of Beer and Wine by Restaurants”)
SCACPA wishes to thank Gov. Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Revenue for their outstanding leadership as we navigate a crisis that none of us have experienced before.
Treasury, IRS Extended April 15 Filing Deadline by 90 Days to July 15 (March 20)
SCACPA and the AICPA thank Senator John Thune (R-SD) for his leadership on a bipartisan congressional effort to extend the tax filing deadline to July 15. We also thank the 42 other Senators who either cosponsored S. 3535, Senator Thune’s Tax Relief Filing Act for America, or signed a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, led by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). Between the two efforts, 43 U.S. Senators voiced their strong support for a tax filing deadline extension.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the deadline extension via tweet on Friday.
Learn more about the Coronavirus measures for tax deadlines, debt relief, paid sick leave, student loans and other issues in this March 20 Post and Courier story.
McMaster Signs $45M Aid Bill on COVID-19 DHEC Funding (March 19)
Gov. Henry McMaster signed into legislation on Thursday, March 19, a bill that offers the Department of Health and Environmental Control $45 million after the S.C. House returned to Columbia on its furlough week to adopt the bill. The Executive Budget Office now receives surplus dollars from which DHEC can spend on aid.
After the vote, House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, told The State newspaper it is not his intent to call members back to the State House for at least two weeks. “But I anticipate it’ll be longer than two weeks,” Lucas said. Senate President Harvey Peeler told the Post and Courier he was unsure when the Senate would return.
View From The Dome: “A Look Inside the $45M COVID-19 Relief Package for DHEC; Return of Legislators is on Hold” (March 20)
Gov. Henry McMaster on Sunday, March 15, issued an Executive Order closing all state public schools starting March 16. Schools will remain closed through the end of the March. This includes all public K-12 schools, universities, colleges and technical colleges. The order provides that districts must provide virtual instruction and remote learning during the closures.
McMaster Orders S.C. Tax Deadlines Moved
Gov. Henry McMaster announced via Executive Order on Tuesday, March 17, that SC tax filing deadlines are moved to June 1 .
The South Carolina Department of Revenue then released an Information Letter providing filing and payment relief to those impacted by COVID-19 in South Carolina.
The tax relief postpones tax filing and payment deadlines starting on April 1, 2020. Affected individuals and businesses will have until June 1, 2020 to file and pay taxes for returns that are due between April 1 and June 1, 2020.
SCDOR News Release: More Time to File Returns and Pay Taxes Due (March 17)
Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Deferring Tax Payments Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
The Treasury Department and IRS are extending the due date for Federal income tax payments due April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, for payments due of up to $10 million for corporations and up to $1 million for individuals – regardless of filing status – and other unincorporated entities. Associated interest, additions to tax, and penalties for late payment will also be suspended until July 15, 2020. (March 18) Notice 2020-17
IRS Messages for Businesses with Fewer Than 500 Employees
- Small and midsize employers can claim two new refundable payroll tax credits to reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing employee leave related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Businesses with fewer than 500 employees can get funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members.
- To take immediate advantage of new paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes.
Learn more about these items and other IRS information related to COVID-19 outbreak at www.irs.gov/coronavirus
- The IRS page for Coronavirus Tax Relief updates is here.
- The South Carolina Department of Revenue page for Emergencies and COVID-19 responses is here.
- The AICPA page for its Coronavirus Resource Center is here.
BILLS AND LEGISLATION WE HAVE BEEN WATCHING
- Conformity Bills Have Been Introduced in House and Senate
- Senate to Consider SC Business License Tax Standardization Act
- View From the Dome: Halfway Point in the Legislative Session
HEALTH AND WELLNESS REMINDERS
- Wash your hands. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough. Stay home if you’re sick.
- The Medical University of South Carolina MUSC is offering free Telehealth consultations and screenings to anyone in South Carolina experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms with the promo code COVID19, for both new and existing patients. The DHEC Care Line is available to provide general information about COVID-19 by calling 1.855.472.3432 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days per week.
- DHEC’s COVID-19 resources page can be found here. For further resources, consult the CDC’s webpage for advisories on COVID-19.