Employee Benefits Law Report

Tag Archives: covid-19

CARES Act provides temporary fringe benefit for employer repayments of employee student loans

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has provided a wide range of programs that affect employee benefit plans, employers and employees. One benefit that has flown under the radar is a new, temporary tax-qualified student loan repayment plan. Section 2206 of the CARES Act allows employers to claim a tax deduction for repayments of employee student loans, and allows employees to exclude these payments from taxable income, in amounts up to $5,250 a year. In essence, the CARES Act treats student loan payments as an education assistance fringe benefit. Normally, such benefits may be paid only for …

Stop and review COVID-19 distribution and loan forms carefully

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, authorizes employers to make changes to their qualified retirement plans to increase loan limits, delay loan repayments, and make distributions to plan participants experiencing certain COVID-19 related circumstances. Due to a lack of guidance from the IRS, there’s confusion among third-party administrators (TPAs) about how to administer these changes, resulting in potential issues with forms used by TPAs to approve these CARES Act loan and distribution changes.

We have reviewed several third-party administrator forms and client communications, and wanted to provide some clarity with regard to the following CARES Act changes:…

How to claim COVID-19 tax credits via payroll

Employers may claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit and the tax credits available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. They do this first, by reducing the employer portion of Social Security taxes, and then, by reducing the employer’s payroll deposits in an amount equal to the refundable portion of the accrued credits, instead of depositing said amount with the IRS.…

Important update on the Payroll Protection Program

Since the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Treasury Department have released a series of interim final rules and updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (as of April 8, 2020) regarding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These updates provide critical guidance and information to borrowers and lenders alike in the implementation of the highly sought after program. This blog describes some of the key clarifications to the program since its enactment.…

UPDATE: SBA loan eligibility FAQs

Certain government programs, including SBA loan programs, are reserved for “small businesses.” In order to qualify for those programs, a business must satisfy both the SBA’s definition of a “small business concern” as well as the size standards for a small business.…

Workplace exposure to COVID-19: Can employers be liable?

As COVID-19 cases continue to mount nationwide, so have lawsuits relating to fallout from the virus. On April 6, 2020, in one of the first COVID-19-related lawsuits of its kind, the estate of an Illinois Walmart Supercenter employee sued Walmart and the premises owner for wrongful death in Toney Evans v. Walmart, Inc., et al. My colleague Brodie Butland details the lawsuit in this Employer Law Report blog.…

The Employee Retention Tax Credit

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The CARES Act introduced the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), a new tax credit to incentivize employers, who are economically distressed due to COVID-19, to retain employees.…

How to claim COVID-19 tax credits under the FFCRA and the CARES Act

There are three COVID-19 related tax credits that were introduced under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which are subject to various limitations:

UPDATE: Tax credits available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law requiring employers with fewer than 500 employees to make payments for COVID-19 related FLMA leave and paid sick leave required by the Act. To lessen this financial burden to employers, the act provides for refundable tax credits to offset payroll taxes. The FFCRA tax credits will be provided for eligible wages paid from April 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.…

How ESOP sponsors can survive the disruption from COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 and the resulting disruption to the economy has led many employers to think creatively about how to manage cash, provide for the sustainability of their businesses and preserve the culture they have created with their employees and customers. These issues are especially critical for employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) companies, many of whom are in the process of their annual appraisal. These appraisals are important because they directly affect the size of the repurchase obligation – the cash companies must pay to participants for their distributions and diversifications during the year. Fortunately, there are some tools …

Tax credits available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This post was updated on April 7, 2020. Please read the update here.

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law requiring employers with fewer than 500 employees to make payments for COVID-19 related FMLA leave and paid sick leave required by the act. To lessen this financial burden to employers, the act provides for refundable tax credits to offset payroll taxes. The FFCRA tax credits will be provided for eligible wages paid from April 2, 2020 to December 31, 2020.…

Navigating employment issues in the wake of COVID-19 webinar

We have all felt the tremendous impact to our workplaces and daily lives following the COVID-19 outbreak We’ve also watched the daily press conferences announcing new legislation and executive orders–but what happens next?

My colleagues Leigh Ann Benedic and Mike Underwood hosted a discussion on effects of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on employers, state law developments and provide answered to frequently asked questions that will help you manage your workforce effectively through these unique times. Click here to watch the webinar recording.

This program was recorded on Monday, March 23, 2020 and may not reflect updates in

IRC Section 409A v. COVID-19: The nonqualified and executive compensation clash, and how employers can navigate it

Unintended consequences are a fact of life. As one of many examples, after the Titanic sank, the United States enacted a law that required any American ship carrying over 100 tons of weight to have enough lifeboats for every passenger. It was a noble thought – no more rationing of lifeboats in the event of a future ship wreck. Unfortunately, the SS Eastland was a poorly designed ship. The additional lifeboats required by the new law added enough weight to cause the ship to roll over not too far away from shore. Some passengers were able to step on to …

Employer disclosures of COVID-19 diagnoses

As more test kits become available for COVID-19 and an increasing number of people are tested, there will be more positive diagnoses. Because of COVID-19’s rapid community spread, many employers will soon see positive diagnoses of their own employees. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, an employer may want to limit workplace exposure by notifying its other employees of the positive diagnoses.…

Navigating employment issues, help for small businesses and a delay in the tax deadline

There have been a number of helpful blogs recently from our colleagues at Porter Wright aimed at helping businesses navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.

Navigating Employment Issues in the Wake of COVID-19 webinar

We have all felt the tremendous impacts to our workplaces and daily lives following the COVID-19 outbreak We’ve also watched the daily press conferences announcing new legislation and executive orders, but what happens next?

As your workplace adapts to growing restrictions, Porter Wright invites you to a live webinar on Monday, March 23, 3:00 – 4:00 pm with Porter Wright’s Leigh Ann Benedic and Mike Underwood. We …

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