May 18, 2020

COVID-19 Government Relations Daily Summary

The following update includes informational updates on the upcoming Illinois General Assembly Special Session, Emergency Rules filed by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health along with FAQs on the Restore Illinois regionalization opening plan.  Lastly, this update includes federal updates on the US House Passing the HEROES Act, the AICPA PPP loan forgiveness calculator and IRS updates.


Illinois General Assembly
Lawmakers return to Capital City for Special Session

The Illinois General Assembly will return to Springfield for a Special Session beginning on Wednesday.  We have posted the Special Session Proclamation issued by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate.  The significance of a Special Session as opposed to regular session is that the topics and issues for consideration and action are limited to those specified in the Special Session Proclamation. 

Ergo political positions and arguments on governance by Executive Order, there is a need for the General Assembly to reconvene for passage of an FY 2021 State Operating Budget, extension of the Hospital Assessment Program which is an essential piece of the State’s Medicaid Program that must be approved by the Federal Government and, approval of formalized arguments for an against the Fair Tax Amendment that will be presented to Illinois voters during the November General Election. 

ICPAS Government Relations has created a Special Session Legislative Tracking Report for your reference of legislation that has been recently introduced addressing the State’s COVID-19 response and related issues.  This special tracking report provides you with live updates to legislation as they occur.

Department of Public Health

Emergency Rules
Sect. 690.40 Pandemic

The Illinois Department of Public Health filed Emergency Amendments to Section 690 entitled Pandemic or Epidemic Respiratory Disease-Emergency Provisions. The Emergency Amendments to Section 690 adds specific provisions addressing the Department of Public Health's authority to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and implements restriction requirements.  The enumerated restrictions include authorization of the Department of Public Health and local health department's authority to prevent indoor on-site consumption of food or beverages and the opening of indoor fitness facilities.  Also included are businesses offering on-site cosmetology, esthetics, nail technology, barber, tanning, body art and non medical personal care services.  The Emergency Amendment also incorporates the enforcement provision of Sect. 690.

Emergency Rules are effective immediately upon the agency filing them with the Secretary of State.  Emergency Rules last for a maximum of 150 days unless an earlier date is specified or the emergency rule is replaced by permanent rules. ICPAS Government Relations is closely monitoring statements from the Dept and the Governor on the intent of the filing of the Emergency Rules. 

FAQs-Restore Illinois
The Illinois Department of Public Health has posted FAQ’s on RESTORE ILLINOIS--Illinois’ Public Health framework for reopening Illinois’ economy.   The FAQs provide additional details to the regionalized blueprint.  The Illinois Department of Public Health has posted guidance for businesses to reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers and the public. 

Department of Employment Security
Unemployment Benefits

The Illinois Department of Employment Security adopted amendments to Payment of Unemployment Contributions, Interest and Penalties (56 IAC 2765; 44 Ill Reg 38) effective 4/28/20 implementing provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act.  The rulemaking provides that if an employer fails to timely respond to a request from DES regarding a disputed unemployment benefits claim and that employer has a history of untimely or inadequate responses to such requests, the employer will be charged for those benefits even if the recipient is determined to have been ineligible for them.  See adopted amendments 44 Ill Reg 38.

Scrivener’s Note:  ICPAS Government Relations has previously expressed protestations to IDES over defective notice and/or timely notice to employers or designated agents for purposes of appeal. 

Attorney General
Charitable Trust Filings

The Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Bureau has posted COVID-19 Guidance regarding the administration of the Charitable Trust Act.  The guidance addresses a variety of issues pertaining to charitable organizations.  ICPAS Government Relations COVID (10) provided informal guidance regarding extensions of required filings.  The Attorney General has posted a COVID-19 Resource Page addressing a variety of topics. 


House Passes COVID-19-Related Legislation (HEROES Act)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800 the ‘‘Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act’’ (HEROES Act) The House version passed Friday evening that includes the manager’s amendment.  This legislation as outlined in ICPAS Government Relations COVID-19 Daily Summary (15) is intended to provide additional tax relief in response to the to to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  See ICPAS COVID (15) for additional details.  The viability of passage of H.R. 6800 in the Senate is uncertain. 

PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculator
The AICPA PCPS/Firm Services Team has created a new resource for CPAs to use to help small business clients-a PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculator.  This tool is intended to help CPAs answer many of the unanswered questions around loan forgiveness which is a fluid process that continues to evolve.  The basis of the calculator is existing PPP guidance from the Department of the Treasury and SBA and recommendations from AICPA.  It should be noted that this calculator has been shared with Treasury and SBA for comments/concerns.

Internal Revenue Service

Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Treasury Department updated FAQs concerning the PPP Program as administered by the SBA.  FAQ#46 further addresses borrowers, safe harbor from SBA audit for “good faith” certification. 
FAQ#46 provides safe harbor from SBA audit for good faith certification of borrowers that received less than $2 million under the PPP.  FAQ#46 applies affiliate rules, so that it appears any borrowers with controlled entities that received loans totaling in aggregate more than $2 million will still be subject to SBA good father certification audit. See full text of FAQ #46.

Sect. 385 Regulations
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service released final regulations (T.D. 9897) relating to section 385 concerning the application of the funding rule in Reg sect. 1.385-3.  This finalized rule adopts the 2016 proposes regulations without any substantive changes.  These final regulations include provisions explaining their applicability date rules.