April 7, 2020

COVID-19 Government Relations Daily Summary

The following are informational updates on areas that may impact your respective practice areas. Some of the information may be duplicitous to information you have already received; however, we recognize that many of you may not have received portions of the information below. We will continue to keep you informed of informational developments.

Illinois Department of Revenue

Additional Estimated Payment Option
The IDOR announced an additional option for estimated payments that are due on April 15th.  ICPAS has been in extensive conversations with the department for estimated payment simplification.  The department was upfront that estimated payment filings for first and second quarter would not be extended due to the state’s acute financial situation and expenditures in responding to COVID-19.  While we recognize some may not find this relief as a perfect resolution, today’s announcement provides simplification for payment calculation and compliance. See IDOR Informational Bulletin 2020-26.
Cancel or Reschedule-2019 Income Tax Return Electronic Payment 
In light of the July 15, 2020 filing extension for Illinois income tax returns, the Illinois Department of Revenue would like to inform taxpayers and tax professionals that submitted electronic payments not yet processed by the department may be canceled or rescheduled, but will not automatically be canceled or rescheduled. In light of the financial hardships that many taxpayers throughout Illinois are enduring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IDOR would greatly appreciate your help in disseminating this information located on their website through your official channels. 
Partnership Payment Deadline
IDOR has also responded to ICPAS inquiries on the extension of partnership filings.  Due to the March federal filing deadline, IDOR has determined that the state partnership filing deadline remains April 15th. 

State Sales Tax Exemption Renewals Extended
The Illinois Department of Revenue issued Informational Bulletin 2020-25 announcing the extension of the E-number expiration date by 90 days for impacted organizations and individuals.  Due to staffing issues related to COVID-19, IDOR is unable to process most renewal applications for Illinois Sales Tax exemption (“E”) numbers at this time.
Illinois Department of Employment Security
COVID-19 and Unemployment Insurance Eligibility
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has adopted emergency amendments to the administrative code entitled Claimant’s Availability for Work, Ability to Work and Active Search for Work (56 IAC 2865) effective March 13, 2020 for a maximum of 150 days.  These rules allow persons who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for unemployment benefits.  Criteria for being deemed able to work and available for work have been expanded to include circumstances in which the claimant is limited to working from home due to COVID-19 related closures and restrictions. See IDES.

Notaries and Remote Witnessing of Document Signings
Executive Order 2020-14 
Executive Order 2020-14 was issued on March 26 and provides guidelines addressing the services of notary publics and the remote witnessing of document signings.  The guidelines are in response to social distancing recommendations linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

Governor Pritzker Extends COVID-19 Stay-At-Home
Executive Orders Summary
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-18 which continues and extends his COVID-19 Executive Orders (including the Stay-at-Home Executive Order) through April 30, 2020.  The designation of essential services and business operations as provided in Executive Order 2020-10 remains in place.  Accounting was designated as an essential professional service and not subject to closure/shelter-in-place restrictions.  
City of Chicago
Small Business Resiliency Fund
The City of Chicago has established a $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund which will help to provide small businesses with emergency cash flow during this immediate health crisis.  You and or your clients can register for Business Education Workshop Webinars.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
CARES ACT: Unraveling the PPP and ERC
Complimentary Webinar

ICPAS will be hosting a complimentary webinar on April 9th from 8:30-9:45 am CST entitled Unraveling the PPP and ERC for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses.  There is no need to preregister and no CPE credits will be awarded.  Click here for more information.

AICPA Resource Page
The Paycheck Protection Program was one of the small business loan programs included in the CARES Act. The AICPA has created a resource page for CPAS and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. 

CPAs as Agents for PPP Applications
The AICPA and ICPAS has received a number of questions and inquiries regarding CPAs working as agents under the definition of the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  At issue is the payment of fees of designated agents by the lender from the lender fees.  The AICPA has issued the following statement on this issue here.  AICPA and ICPAS continue to work with Federal Regulatory authorities for clarity on the payment of agent fees.

Social Security Administration
Automatic Economic Impact Payments

The Department of the Treasury issued a press release on April 1, 2020 clarifying that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment.  Instead, payment will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. 
US DOL Issues Guidance on “Health Provider” and “Emergency Responder”
Exclusion of Employees from Emergency Sick Leave & Expanded FMLA Provisions
The U.S. Department of Labor recently updated  its “Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Q & A’s) to address the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provisions that allow employers of “health care providers" and “emergency responders” to exclude these employees from FFCRA’s emergency sick leave and FMLA provisions.
See ICPAS Government Relations Digital Library of COVID-19 Regulatory Updates.