Taxes

Tax Deadline & Updates

You may have heard that the IRS extended the individual tax deadline by one month to May 17th, but there are important updates to know as follows:

  1. The deadline to file corporate taxes has not been extended and is still April 15th
  2. States are expected to extend their deadline, but we’ll have to wait and see
  3. Tax payments for the year 2020 are now due on May 17th
  4. The extension does not apply to first quarter 2021 estimated tax payments, which are still due on April 15th

 

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Possible Extensions

There have been major challenges with being able to file tax returns, especially business returns, which are due soon on March 15th for s-corporations and partnerships. This relates to new tax laws, loan forgiveness, and delays with states approving tax forms and software. Additionally, New Jersey has new complexities with its new BAIT (Business Alternative Income Tax) forms.

We may have to file extensions for your business and possibly individual returns due to these delays.

 

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IRS Delays Tax Season Plus Important Deadline Reminders

With all of the last minute tax law changes the IRS needs more time to program their systems. Here are important filing dates:

February 12th: IRS begins 2021 tax season. Individual tax returns begin being accepted and processing begins.

February 22nd: Projected date for the IRS.gov Where’s My Refund tool being updated for those claiming EITC and ACTC, also referred to as PATH Act returns.

First week of March: Tax refunds begin reaching those claiming EITC and ACTC (PATH Act returns) for those who file electronically with direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax returns.

March 15th: Deadline for filing S-corp and partnership returns

April 15th. Deadline for filing individual and corporate tax returns.

May 15th. Deadline for filing exempt organization returns.

September 15th. Deadline for filing extended S-corp and partnership returns

October 15th. Deadline for filing extended individual and corporate returns

 

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Are You Ready to Complete Your PPP Loan Forgiveness Application?

Did 24 weeks pass after you received your PPP funds? If so, then now is the time to complete your PPP loan forgiveness application. Here are a few tips from the SBA:

  1. There are several different forms to use, including SBA Form 3508, SBA Form 3508EZ, SBA Form 3508S, or a lender equivalent. To quickly determine which form you should use, take a look if you meet the main criteria for each.
    1. SBA Form 3508EZ is generally for sole proprietors without any employees
    2. SBA Form 3508S is generally used if your loan was $50,000 or less
    3. SBA Form 3508 is used if you do not meet the criteria to use the other forms
  2. Information you may/will need:
    1. Bank statements
    2. Payroll service provider reports
    3. Payroll tax filings filed during the covered period
    4. Payment receipts or cancelled checks to document health insurance, retirement plan expenses, mortgage payments, rent payments, and utility payments
    5. Copies of lender account statements, lease agreements, and invoices
  3. Submit the forgiveness application, along with supporting documentation
  4. Follow-up with your lender. I’m not really sure how long it will take, but I assume that it depends upon your lender, application volume, form used, how you prepared the application, and the amount of the loan.

If you need help completing your application, then let me know.

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Don’t Do This

There is one financial transaction that I strongly discourage clients from doing and here’s why . . .

Do not withdraw from your retirement accounts early! Here are the reasons why I hear most people want to withdraw from their retirement accounts:

  1. Purchase a house
  2. Pay for expenses while unemployed
  3. As a temporary loan, with the intentions of replacing the money
  4. To pay for unforeseen expenses
  5. You need the money for (fill in the blanks)

The main reason to not do this is because it is one of the major reasons for tax problems. Aside from early withdrawal penalties, additional income taxes are accessed  on the balance, withholdings are not usually taken or not enough, and you may end up increasing your income, which sometimes pushes you into an even higher tax bracket. Once you add up all of the penalties and taxes, then the amount withdrawn can disappear by half for some.

What are some other options as you are most likely withdrawing your retirement funds because you desperately need the money and do not have a cash cushion? If you are employed, you may be able to obtain a retirement plan loan from your employer, which is not a taxable event. Alternatively, you might be able to borrow the money from your home’s equity. In some cases, you may be able to delay what you need the money for if not needed for emergency purposes.

Over the long-term, this is why I stress slowly building up a cash emergency fund. Yes, it’s boring and unexciting, but you will be glad you did when the time comes.

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5 Risks to be Aware of that Will Hurt Your Finances

There are ups and downs in life, good times and bad, and everything in between. Unfortunately, some events can hurt your finances in a significant way and may even be beyond your control. What are some of these risks to be aware of and what can you control?

Health Issues

As we become older, there are more chances of having a serious health issue. What is not commonly thought of is that family members, such as spouses, elderly parents, and children can develop health issues, both physical and mental. We have a responsibility to take care of our family, and the time spent will take time away from our job or business, which will eventually lower our earnings. While you cannot control the health of others, you can take charge of your own health and that of your children by living a healthy lifestyle.

Addictions

Do not think that you are immune to addictions. Aside from alcohol, illegal drugs, and gambling addictions, there are other destructive addictions that will ruin your finances such as prescription drugs, video games, and pornography/sex. The statistics on who has these addictions, how they start, age groups, and the impact on your brain are alarming. Be aware of these addictions and do your best to stop them before they start.

Divorce

Aside from paying legal fees, there are statistics that show that divorced women experience a prolonged loss of earnings and lower standard of living after divorce, even though various studies show that approximately 70% of women initiate divorce. Surprisingly, statistics show that a man’s earnings increase significantly after divorce. Focus on a healthy marriage and your finances will be stronger, plus some studies show that divorce does not lead to a better life.

High Income then Low Income

Inconsistent income patterns can hurt your finances in multiple ways. The first is that if your income is very high in one year, then your spending will probably increase, and once your income drops, your spending will probably not drop as quickly, if at all. Second, if you have a very good year in your business and don’t set aside a reserve for taxes, then you won’t have the money to pay your tax bill, especially if your income is lower in the following year. I have seen this situation happen repeatedly.

Expense Creep

Expenses have a way of increasing faster than your income and are hard to lower once they do. A good rule is to increase your savings in the same proportion as your income, and do not incur additional debt. This way, it does not really matter what you spend, and yes, I really did say that, because mathematically it does not matter. It’s putting first things first.

 

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More PPP Updates!

More PPP Updates:

New Forgiveness Application:

A new application to apply for loan forgiveness became available on June 16th. There is also an EZ Loan Forgiveness Application.

Payroll Costs % Decrease

Only 60% of loan proceeds must be used for payroll costs versus 75% with previously issued rules.

Maturity Date

Loans issues prior to June 5th have a maturity of 2 years, and loans issued after June 5th have a maturity of 5 years. I guess it doesn’t pay to be early sometimes!

Payroll Period

For loans received before June 5th, you can calculate eligible payroll costs using a 24 week period or elect an 8 week period. If you received loan proceeds after June 5th then use the 24 week period.

 

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A Few PPP Loan Forgiveness Tactics

You want to make sure that as much of your PPP loan is forgiven as possible. Here are a few ways you may not have thought of:

Non-Payroll Costs:

You can include interest payments on loans, the cost of telephone services, including your cell phone, faxes, VOIP services, and Internet services, fuel for your vehicles, and lease payments for any personal property, such as for vehicles and equipment as long as they were in force before 2/15/2020.

Payroll Costs

Payroll costs include wages, but also include group health care benefits, retirement plan contributions, and state and local payroll taxes.

Deadline

The application expires on October 31, 2020. Once the 8 week period is over do not hesitate to work on the application.

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PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

There is a forgiveness application that was made available from the Paycheck Protection Program and here are the highlights and definitions:

Average Full-Time Equivalent “FTE” Calculation:

To calculate FTE, you can use a simplified version to determine this by assigning a 1.0 for employees who work 40 hours or more per week and 0.5 for employees who work fewer hours.

Covered Period for Payroll Costs

The covered period is the eight-week (56 day) covered period of your PPP loan. The first day is the same date that you received the loan proceeds. For example, if loan proceeds were received on Monday, April 20, then the covered period is April 20th thru Sunday, June 14th.

Alternatively, eligible payroll costs can be calculated by using the eight-week (56 day) period that begins on the first day of the first pay period following the PPP loan disbursement date. For example, if you received your loan proceeds on Monday, April 20th and the first day of the first pay period following the PPP loan disbursement is Sunday, April 26th, then the first day is April 26th and the last day is Saturday, June 20th. This represents a 6 day difference from the first example.

Potential Forgiveness Amount

The potential forgiveness amount is the smaller of the PPP loan amount, 75% of your payroll costs, or the modified total calculation (which is the total of payroll costs, business mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments and then factors in wage reductions and FTE reductions).

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PPP Loan Forgiveness

It sounds like it would be straightforward to have your PPP loan forgiven, but that’s like saying the tax code is straightforward. Here are details and confusion on loan forgiveness:

8 Week Period

Qualified expenses have to be paid or incurred during the 8 week period after receiving the loan. Is it incurred or paid? The statute is not clear.

75%/25%

At least 75% of loan proceeds need to be spent on payroll costs. The other 25% can be used for interest costs, rent, and utilities. It looks like rent of vehicles, etc. is considered rent also. What about bonuses, and do they count? Unclear also.

Full-Time Equivalent  (FTE) Calculation

The definition of FTE is not in the statute. It is still not clear if the hours of part-timers should be combined to determined full-time equivalents.

Documentation Needed for Forgiveness

You will need to provide documentation verifying FTE’s, payroll tax filings, financial statements verifying payment of debt obligations, and any other documentation the Administrator determines necessary. What exactly does the last requirement mean? I would think that it means that you better have good bookkeeping.

Are you more confused? I am sure that more guidance will be issued, but hopefully very soon.

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