I'm sitting at home with three kids trying to do my part by social distancing. Many professionals, including myself, have either dramatically reduced or eliminated interactions with clients. My thoughts and prayers are with the agricultural community. With a prolonged recession in agriculture and now social isolation/distancing, the economic and mental health concerns are growing.
There has been some news on the tax front. This is rapidly changing, so I won't go into much detail. There are a series of webinars and videos online that are updated regularly to reflect changes. I'd urge everyone to keep up to date, as there will be a series of government programs for individuals and small businesses that will be useful to the farm community.
Here is what we know at the time of this writing:
-- Individual calendar-year C corps and Trust returns are now due July 15. No April 15 extension was necessary.
-- You can file an extension by July 15 and extend until Oct. 15.
-- Some states have passed legislation to follow federal guidelines, but it is a state-by-state decision.
-- Payments are due July 15. This includes returns that have already been filed. Take advantage of it.
-- Your first quarter estimated payment is due July 15. However, the second quarter is still due June 15 (subject to change). Keep this timing difference in mind when making estimated payments.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expands the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and provides greater unemployment benefits for individuals affected by COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide Emergency FMLA and paid sick leave. There are some eligibility requirements for Emergency FMLA but not for paid sick leave. To ease the burden, tax credits are provided to employers to help pay for emergency family and sick leave.
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, there is also a self-employed credit for family leave. If you are self-employed, there are federal benefits available to you.
As COVID-19 plays out, many of my clients have come to me with questions.
-- Will this impact H-2A? Yes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices are closed at the time of this writing. And, keep in mind the ever-changing travel bans.
-- What happens if a loved one passes away? I think this has been the most asked question. Many in our farm communities have not done much, if any, estate planning. Take it one step at a time. You may need to probate the estate if a trust was not set up (or funded properly). If there was a trust, the trustee should coordinate with legal and tax professionals to facilitate the process.
Stay safe. Stay positive. People need to eat. We are in a resilient industry.
DTN Tax Columnist Rod Mauszycki, J.D., MBT, is a tax principal with CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Read Rod's "Ask the Taxman" column at about.dtnpf.com/tax. You may email Rod at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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