Notice About Coronavirus:

UPDATED 4/28/2020 2:00PM

We are closely monitoring developments with tax filing deadlines and other mandates.
Please check back here for future updates.

Our Current Office Hours:
***Although we are still working diligently on tax returns and other work, both the Mill Creek and Lynnwood offices will be closed to outside visitors for the foreseeable future. This decision is due to reduced staffing in the office, in response to Governor Inslee's announcement on 3/23, and to reduce the risk of infection to employees and clients. Thank you for understanding!***

Mill Creek Office
Mon-Fri        Closed to the Public
Saturday      Closed
Sunday         Closed


TAX-RELATED COVID-19 INFORMATION

Stimulus Payments:
• Among other provisions, the CARES Act, passed on March 27th, introduces stimulus payments for many Americans. This will be a refundable credit on our 2020 income tax return, but those who qualify will be receiving this payment in advance in the coming weeks. An IRS FAQ is available HERE.
• The IRS has posted a portal on their website for non-filers (other than Social Security and RRB recipients) to file simple returns for the purposes of getting their Stimulus Payment. They have also launched a "Get Your Payment" tool where you can check the status of your payment. Both services are available HERE.
• Note that Social Security recipients who normally do not have an income tax return filing requirement DO NOT need to file a return to receive their stimulus payment unless they have dependent children under 17, per the Treasury. Press release available HERE.

Income Taxes:
• The CARES Act introduced numerous new tax provisions, including the ability to take an early withdrawal up to $100,000 from retirement accounts penalty-free, a waiver of the RMD requirement for 2020, up to a $300 charitable contribution deduction for everyone on 2020 tax returns (regardless of being able to itemize deductions or not). A comprehensive summary of the provisions is available HERE.
• The 4/15 Federal filing & payment deadlines have been extended to 7/15/20. More information is HERE and a FAQ regarding these rules is HERE.
• The payment deadline extension also applies to 1st AND 2nd Quarter 2020 estimated tax payments normally due by 4/15 and 6/15/20, which now both also have until 7/15/20 to be paid.
• We now have until 7/15/20 to make 2019 IRA and HSA contributions, as officially confirmed by the IRS.
• The IRS has announced relief provisions for those currently on installment agreement, applying for an Offer In Compromise (OIC), and will generally not be starting new audits. More information HERE.
• As of March 20th, the IRS has closed all "Taxpayer Assistance Centers" (local offices), so face-to-face assistance is no longer available. Phone and online assistance are still currently offered.

Payroll and Other Taxes:
The CARES Act added two new payroll tax provisions: The Employee Retention Credit, which provides severely-impacted employers with a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50% of wages paid to employees during the crisis (IRS FAQ HERE), and a deferral of the employer's share of Social Security tax on wages paid or calculated on a self-employed individual's earnings (details HERE)
• The IRS has announced a Sick Pay Credit for COVID-19-related leave. Employers can pay employees and even themselves (up to certain maximums) and get reimbursed dollar-for-dollar via an immediate reduction in payroll taxes they otherwise would owe or other methods. This is available for wages paid for the period beginning on 4/1/20 through 12/31/20. More info can be found HERE.
• Employers can also offer Disaster Assistance Payments to employees having a tough time making ends meet. These are deductible by the employer and tax-free to the employee. More info can be found HERE.
• The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) and Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) are also offering relief on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, ESD has provided an excellent chart for workers and employers showing what coverage is available for specific Coronavirus-related absences. The employment chart and more information from ESD can be found HERE. L&I resources can be found HERE.
• Washington State Department of Revenue has extended the filing deadline for Annual 2019 reports to 6/15/20, 1st Quarter 2020 reports to 6/30/20 and is offering Monthly filers payment extensions upon request. More info can be found HERE.
City of Seattle has extended the filing deadline for 1st and 2nd Quarter 2020 B&O filings tentatively to on or before 10/31/20, depending on crisis situations. The Mayor's announcement is HERE. We'll continue to monitor this area.
Snohomish County and King County have extended their deadlines for paying April property tax installments until 6/1/20 (press releases HERE and HERE). Whatcom County has also extended to 6/1/20, but Skagit County is holding firm at 4/30/20 with relief upon request.

Unemployment Benefits:
The CARES Act expanded unemployment benefits to self-employed workers and independent contractors. It also made benefits more generous by increasing benefits by $600/week across the board through the end of July and providing an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond state norms. FAQ on these provisions available HERE.
• The President declared Washington State to be a national disaster area on March 22nd. This should expand State Unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals who would not otherwise qualify to file a claim. More information on Disaster Unemployment Assistance can be found HERE. From our research, it looks like the President has not yet released DUA funds to the states, so these payments are not yet available - potentially held off due to the more recent CARES Act provisions discussed above.

Financing:
Seattle restaurant employees who are residents of King County can be eligible for $500 grants. More information HERE.
Governor Inslee is offering a new Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Up to $5 million in funds are provided through the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund and administered by the State Department of Commerce. King and Snohomish Counties are no longer accepting applications, but others still are. More information can be found HERE.
• The CARES Act on March 27th introduced the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers federally guaranteed, forgivable loans of up to $10 million per company to help small businesses keep workers employed. These loans will be available through 6/30/20 and you can apply for them directly through your bank. UPDATE - Funds ran out around 4/15, but the Treasury has added more funds and the SBA has begun accepting applications again as of 4/27. These funds are expected to last 1-2 weeks. More information on this program HERE and HERE.
• The declaration of national emergency also caused the SBA to launch the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program with loans up to $2 million per company. Borrowers can request a $10,000 advance within 3 days of applying which does not need to be repaid, even if the EIDL is later denied! More information and an excellent comparison chart between the PPP and EIDL is HERE. You can apply for this loan yourself directly through the SBA HERE.
Recent updates on this tell us that the grants should be coming out in mid-April (rather than 3 days after applying, as previously promised) and amounts may actually be $1,000 per employee up to a $10,000 max per business, due to the volume of requests. Even still, many applications have yet to see their grant. The program is receiving a fair amount of criticism because of this.
• The Small Business Administration is also offering several other options for SBA funding for those businesses affected by COVID-19, including micro-loans and low interest loans. More information can be found HERE.
• Most banks and credit card companies are now offering to waive monthly payments on loans (including mortgages) and other credit lines by request. If you're experiencing a financial hardship, ask your issuer if they can be flexible with monthly payments and/or APRs, but make sure that you won't have to make up any waived payments or fees.

Please let us know if you have questions on how these new rules apply to your specific circumstances.


NOTES REGARDING OUR OFFICES
As of 3/25/20, we are closed to outside visitors, for the safety of all clients and staff. We therefore cannot facilitate people picking up or dropping off paperwork inside our offices.
• Preferable ways to send us information are via mail or electronically using the secure "Share File" button above. If you're not able to do either of these, please call or email us.
• We are no longer offering the option to pick up tax returns and other documents in our offices. When your return is finished, we will contact you with options for receiving these items.
• We are not currently taking any further in-person appointments during tax season.
• We will resume regular open office hours once a state announcement has been made that it is safe to do so.

We are all still working diligently to get as many tax returns done as quickly as possible. However, with the new extended tax deadline now in place, we have reduced staff hours from the usual higher tax season levels for the health of our employees and other factors. Additionally, the majority of our employees are working remotely. We will continue to monitor future developments from the State and Federal governments and update our policies as necessary.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. Be well!

Carter Schwartze, CPAs

Carter Schwartze has been serving small businesses and individuals since 1985 with tax preparation and financial reporting. We are a team of Certified Public Accountants that give our clients the personalized, quality, and timely service they deserve. Our CPAs take time to listen so our clients get the individual advice that best meets their needs.

Services that we provide include:

  • Income tax preparation
  • Tax planning & projections
  • Payroll services
  • Bookkeeping
  • QuickBooks training
  • Financial statement preparation
  • Business consulting
  • Federal and State tax audit assistance

Understanding the tax code can be confusing and time consuming. Whatever your needs may be, you can trust our firm to provide you with expert tax advice that helps meet your financial goals and maximize your after-tax wealth.

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