The concern around the coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – is growing. CPAs must think about how they will respond to concerns from employees, clients and customers. The MSCPA is monitoring developments and has launched this webpage, which provides coronavirus information and resource links, to help keep our members and their firms, companies and clients, safe. Please check back often as we will be updating this page when new information is available.
Federal Tax Deadlines
On March 20, the IRS issued guidance extending the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
Thank you to all members who answered our call to action and contacted the U.S. Treasury Department with your rightful concerns. We are also grateful that Congressman Richie Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means, heard our calls and contacted Secretary Mnuchin to formally request an extension. Click here to view guidance allowing all individual and non-corporate filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. This also allows corporate taxpayers to defer up to $10 million of federal income tax payments until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.
Please click here to read an FAQ from the IRS on tax filing and payment deadlines.
State Tax Deadlines
On April 3, the Department of Revenue (DOR) released guidance extending the April 15, 2020 deadline to July 15, 2020 for personal income tax, estate and trust income tax, partnership composite returns and personal income with respect to deemed repatriated income. The guidance also extends the due date Q1 and Q2 estimated payments to July 15, 2020. While the guidance does not extend the April 15 deadline for C-corps, the DOR is waiving late-file and late-payment penalties (although interests will still accrue). For a copy of the guidance, click here.
Thank you to all our members who contacted state officials to urge them to extend the deadline. We are grateful to Governor Baker, Lt Governor Polito, Sec. Heffernan, Senate President Spilka, Speaker DeLeo and the members of the Massachusetts Legislature for their leadership on this important issue. Click here to view the letter we sent requesting Massachusetts follow federal guidance. To follow along with all recent developments from the DOR go here. For additional information about taxpayer relief, please refer to this update from the DOR and the Small Business Administration. For a breakdown of taxpayer relief by state, please click here.
Emergency Policy Extending Deadline to Submit Individual and Firm License Renewals, Proof of Continuing Professional Education and Firm Affidavits
In May, the Board of Public Accountancy voted to extend the June 30 deadline for even-year license renewals and CPE requirements to September 30, and to extend the firm affidavit deadline to November 2.
According to the official release, “before renewing online, individual licensees must have completed the required 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE), including at least 4 hours in ethics, from July 1, 2018 through September 30, 2020, or the license will expire.”
We are grateful to the Board members and the Division of Professional Licensure staff for their efforts and for working with us to provide this needed relief to our members during this time.
To read the official notice from the Board of Public Accountancy, click here.
Prometric Closed Through April 30
The Prometric Testing Center has decided to extend the closure of testing centers in the U.S. and Canada through April 30 with plans to resume testing on May 1. If you have an existing appointment with Prometric, you will receive email instructions on how to reschedule their appointment to a future date once it is safe to resume testing. No rescheduling fees will be applied. For details, visit prometric.com/corona-virus-update.
For the most up-to-date information on deadline extensions, events and other MSCPA programs, please refer to our FAQ at mscpaonline.org/covid19faq.
Massachusetts Extends Tax Filing Deadline and Other Relief Updates
On March 27, Governor Baker, Senate President Spilka and House Speaker DeLeo announced the April 15 tax filing deadline was extended to July 15, 2020.
On April 2, the Massachusetts House and Senate passed legislation that officially extends the April 15 filing deadline to July 15, providing relief to municipalities that allows local authorities to extend local property tax deadlines, eases various local permitting guidelines and allows for restaurants to sell beer and wine with any takeout or delivery orders. The Governor is expected to sign the bill on April 3. We anticipate separate legislation to be passed the soon that provides additional unemployment insurance relief to individuals laid off and employers during the pandemic.
Subsequently, on April 3, the Department of Revenue released the long-anticipated guidance extending the April 15 deadline to July 15 for personal income tax, estate and trust income tax, partnership composite returns and personal income with respect to deemed repatriated income. The guidance also extends the due date Q1 and Q2 estimated payments to July 15. While the guidance does not extend the 4/15 deadline for C-corps, the DOR is waiving late-file and late-payment penalties (although interests will still accrue). Read the official DOR guidance here.
To read our letter requesting the filing deadline extension, click here.
To read our thank you letter to Governor Baker for the April 15 extension, click here.
To read out letter requesting Q1 and Q2 estimated payment extensions, click here.
Small Business Relief
Some municipalities may be providing relief for residents and small businesses experiencing hardships with paying their rent, mortgages, payroll, etc. Call your city/town hall and ask if any programs exist. Click here to view a list of available programs.
Department of Unemployment Updates
On March 18, Governor Baker signed a bill that waived the one week waiting period for individuals applying for unemployment benefits. As over 150,000 people have since applied for UI, legislators are taking up additional pieces of legislation to provide additional unemployment relief to individuals and employers. Senate bill 2618 lifts the to the unemployment insurance dependency allotment, extends the grace period by 120 days for nonprofit contributions to the UI system and protects employers forced to lay off staff during the pandemic from increased UI costs. We will have more on this bill as it moves through the State House.
The department provides virtual town halls for those seeking help to apply for unemployment assistance. These town halls are offered online and over the phone and people must register to attend. For more information, click here.
Accounting Services as “Essential Services”
On March 23, Governor Baker issued a “stay-at-home” advisory and deemed accounting services essential. The language and the full list of essential services can be found here.
We sent a letter to Governor Baker on March 20 requesting that accounting services be included on the list of essential services. You can read our letter here.
Massachusetts Sales and Use Tax Collections and Room Occupancy Excise Tax Updates
Earlier in March, Governor Baker extended the sales and use tax collections for certain small businesses and waived any late-file or late-payment penalties.
1. Read the emergency regulation regarding sales tax filing and payment schedule for certain vendors during COVID-19 state of emergency; and
2. Read the emergency regulation regarding room occupancy excise returns and payments during COVID-19 state of emergency.
Massachusetts Lawmakers Pass $15 Million Coronavirus Fund
On March 12, Massachusetts lawmakers passed legislation that establishes a $15 million fund to reinforce “treatment, prevention and containment efforts” at the state and local level in response to the recent and growing number of Massachusetts COVID-19 cases. The legislation leaves Governor Baker with the authority to distribute the funds.
Governor Baker Declares a State of Emergency - COVID-19 Update
On March 10, Governor Baker declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, otherwise known as coronavirus. While daily state government operations will continue without interruption, the Governor cancelled all state work-related travel along with large-scale conferences, seminars and meetings and has encouraged the business community to follow suit.
The State House remains open to the public though in efforts to protect employees and visitors alike, all public events are cancelled “for the foreseeable future” according to a memo circulated to House membership by the Office of House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is providing daily updates on Massachusetts-specific COVID-19 cases. Click here to read more.
Guidance for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
DOR & IRS Updates
Small Business Administration Payment Protection Program (PPP) Started April 3
Applications for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Payment Protection Programs (PPP) were available starting April 3, but many banks through which the funds will flow aren’t ready for rush of requests from small businesses struggling to stay afloat. According to the Wall Street Journal, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and others, we're waiting for clear guidance from the SBA regarding due diligence of borrowers and what amount of documentation is required to acquire the loans. There is no doubt that this program will provide a much-needed boost to small businesses across Massachusetts and the country, and we hope the program gets going soon. We will provide more information to you as we receive it.
The AICPA has more information on their website and we are gathering local resources and should have more for you soon.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
On March 27, Congress passed the $2 trillion relief package that provides immediate financial relief to Americans across the country. Included in the legislation includes funding for, but not limited to: $1,200 checks to American adults/$500 for children; $500 billion for businesses, cities and states; $367 billion fund for small businesses; four months of expanded unemployment insurance; and $130 billion dedicated to hospitals. The MSCPA's Government Affairs team joined a conference call on April 1 with Congressman Richie Neal, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, as he discussed some of the details of the bill. He expects that “Phase 4” of the COVID-19 federal relief legislation will come in early May. We will provide updates as we receive them.
Congress Passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On March 18, Congress voted to approve a coronavirus relief package that includes $1 billion for Massachusetts’ Medicaid program. As the state braces for a severe economic hit, these increased reimbursements are a welcomed relief and assures the folks who need this assistance are guaranteed to receive it.
COVID-19 and the American Workplace – U.S. Department of Labor Update
The U.S. Department of Labor released additional information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides job-protected leave and expanded paid sick leave. To learn more, click here.
MSCPA Advocates for Tax Relief for Nonprofit Organizations
We joined with the AICPA and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in a letter to Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, to call for the inclusion of tax-exempt associations suffering from event cancellations and reduced meetings attendance in any federal aid package or supplemental appropriations measures and in any temporary aid package for associations experiencing economic fallout due to COVID-19.
Click here to read the ASAE letter and here to read the AICPA letter.
CARES Act: Accountants Called to Covid-19 Front Lines (5/29 & 5/30)
The rapid-fire explosion of new tax incentives, loan incentives and other cash cow infusions into America’s COVID-19 infested economy are hitting like a Texas tornado. Immediate choices on the table have incredibly hard-hitting long (and short) term consequences. Many of these immediate choices are mutually exclusive. A poorly made decision could tank the company. With no time to burn, accountants have been drug smack into the middle of it. Which way to turn? This all new, screaming hot course dives deeply into the middle of it all. We’ll roll up our sleeves and charge into the fray.
Dates: May 29 & May 30
CPE: 3.5 credits*
Cost: $109 for MSCPA members | $139 for non-members
Click on the link below to register for a specific session:
COVID-19: Tax Related Developments - Part II (CARES ACT) (6/5 - 7/14)
In response to the COVID-19 economic emergency, the Senate was quick to respond by passing the $2 trillion bill intended to provide relief to Americans affected by the pandemic and the economy. This Part II presentation of the COVID-19 tax series provides a detailed discussion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Dates: June 5 - July 14
CPE: 2 credits*
Click on the link below to register for a specific session:
RECORDING - Protecting Your Business: The COVID-19 Edition
Whether we like it or not, COVID-19 is affecting businesses in Massachusetts. We are hoping for the best, but hope is not an effective business strategy. Smart businesses are being proactive and planning their response. There are so many questions to answer, so many risks to assess and, yes, so many opportunities! We will identify the critical issues you need to consider, describe the legal issues related to employee safety and compensation and review 38 questions to help you develop a response plan that works for you. .
Meeting Recording: https://bit.ly/2QuWDlH
RECORDING - Managing Your Team through COVID-19
Managing employees and regulations through this rapidly changing pandemic is challenging. During this webinar we covered questions that arose about:
Meeting Recording: https://bit.ly/2vLxvA2
RECORDING - Empowering an Agile Workforce
Enabling a remote workforce is not a new idea, but it has never been more important than now as organizations large and small respond to the challenges of running a business amidst a pandemic.
In this session, Todd Knapp, founder and CEO of Envision Technology Advisors, covered a number of ways that you can leverage technology for your firm and your clients to improve communication and collaboration in a world where an agile workforce has quickly become a necessity. Knapp looked at technologies you likely already have in place and how they can be utilized to help keep your people safe and productive. He also outlined what to do if your firm was not ready for this change, and how you can make quick decisions to support your team.
Meeting Recording: https://bit.ly/2Ja6tVZ
RECORDING - COVID-19 Relief Overview
John Geraci, CPA, managing partner at LGA LLP, provided an update on the latest COVID-19- related relief provisions issued at the state and federal level, including the latest from the DOR on the filing deadline, filing and payment relief related to Massachusetts sales and use, meals and room occupancy taxes, details on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, insights into changes to unemployment benefits and PFML provisions and more.
Meeting Recording: https://bit.ly/2UG21ne
The AICPA’s PCPS team has created and updated tools for CPAs to use, in addition to PCPS members. These tools will help CPAs support small businesses (and CPA firms too) as they work to secure funding through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The PPP resources for CPAs include:
AICPA's PPP Loan Forgiveness Services Matrix
An entity or the entity’s lender may ask the CPA to assist in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process. For example, the CPA might be asked to provide assurance or other services related to an entity’s documentation of expenses related to PPP forgiveness. Linked here is a chart to help the CPA determine what service might be provided given the ongoing or concurrent service relationship the CPA has with the entity.
PPP Application Processing for Non-Customers
Webster Bank is currently accepting and processing PPP applications for non-customers. If you or your clients are looking for assistance, please contact Charlotte Mattei at CMattei@WebsterBank.com or Frank Call at FCall@WebsterBank.com.
AICPA: AICPA Challenging Nondeductibility of PPP-Related Expenses
AICPA: Additional Recommendations for CPAs on PPP Application Process
AICPA: Special Report on Issues Related to CPA Involvement in Small Business Loans under the PPP
Journal of Accountancy: SBA Publishes New PPP Guidance for the Self-Employed and General Partners
Bloomberg Tax: Loan Forgiveness Expenses Not Deductible, IRS Says
FAQs: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans Frequently Asked Questions
ADP Fact Sheet: ADP Reports for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Press Release: AICPA Calls on Accounting Profession to Support Rollout of Small Business Relief Program
Video: AICPA Update on Paycheck Protection Program: Time for Action and Collaboration
The MSCPA Peer Review Team recognizes the potential impact of travel restrictions and health concerns due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on upcoming peer review due dates. Our top priority during this time is the health, safety and welfare of firm personnel and peer reviewers. As such, we are operating with an abundance of caution and will consider all factors in advising firms and peer reviewers of the options available to them with regard to upcoming peer review deadlines. The AICPA sent this notice to firms that had due dates prior to July 1,2020. You can request an extension for your firm’s peer review due date by following these instructions or if you have corrective actions or implementation plan due and need an extension please follow these instructions. Please contact the MSCPA Peer Review Team, Aury Sanchez at email@example.com or Beth Lyons at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about your specific review.
We conducted a survey to learn what firms are doing to manage staff during the pandemic. You can view the results at mscpaonline.org/covid19survey.
PCPS Tool - Essential Habits for Working Remotely
In light of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, many employers are recommending or mandating employees who are able to work remotely. Here is a PCPS resource outlining a few tips to help you and your staff stay engaged and intentional while utilizing flexible work environments.
ADP Employer Preparedness Toolkit: COVID-19
This ADP Coronavirus (COVID-19) Employer Preparedness Toolkit was designed to help you navigate the challenges you and your firm/company are facing. Get the latest FAQs, checklists, webcasts and articles to help guide your efforts.
Swerling Milton Winnick Public Insurance Adjusters, Inc.
Swerling Milton Winnick Public Insurance Adjusters, Inc. would also like to offer you and your clients, under no obligation, a review of your insurance policies for coverage. Please have them contact Mindi Labella, CPA at 781-416-1000 x110 or by email at email@example.com.
Safely support those in need during the COVID-19 outbreak! Organizations across Massachusetts are collecting extra supplies and fundraising to help those affected by the coronavirus. Please consider donating what you can and share with your clients to help the Commonwealth replenish what was lost during the pandemic. Below is a link to a list of Massachusetts organizations that need your help. They include:
To learn more, visit mscpaonline.org/covidsupport.
PwC Digital Fitness App
The Digital Fitness App was developed as part of our firm’s upskilling journey and digital transformation. We are releasing the app to everyone for free. There are no strings attached -- there is no future sales pitch! So please, use the app as you wish and pass it along to your network if you think they’d find it valuable.
Invite code: LRNALL
AICPA Benevolent Fund
If you are a member of the AICPA and find that you are financially impacted by COVID-19, please contact the AICPA Benevolent Fund here or contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Unemployment Assistance’s (DUA) top priority is to protect unemployment claimants and make sure money disbursed through system is going to valid claimants. Criminal enterprises using stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file fraudulent unemployment claims through the DUA system. If you have constituents who believe someone has applied for benefits using their information fraudulently, click here.
The MSCPA and AICPA have created Resource Centers to provide members with the latest information on how COVID-19 is affecting the accounting profession and business community.
To view the AICPA Coronavirus Resource Center webpage, click here.
Please note: MSCPA members can also turn to the HUB, our online community, to ask questions and share resources with your peers in Massachusetts. New posts and information are being added every day. Head to the HUB by clicking here.
Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund
The relief fund is dedicated to supporting healthcare workers, first responders, frontline essential employees and our most vulnerable neighbors. To learn more, click here.
Small Business Relief & Assistance
Some local banks and municipalities may be providing relief for residents and small businesses that are experiencing issues making rent or mortgage payments. Call your city or town hall to inquire. Click here to view a list of available programs.
Safely Support Those in Need during the COVID-19 Outbreak
Many firms and companies are giving back to their communities in a number of creative ways. Please check out this list of Massachusetts organizations you can give back to as an individual or as a firm/company.
DPH Updates: Click here to read updates from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) regarding COVID-19.
COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Municipal Officials: For those who work with cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the Division of Local Services has a dedicated webpage that provides finance guidance to city and town officials related to the state of emergency. For more information, click here.
For urgently needed guidance, please email the DLS.
Massachusetts Health Connector Enrollment Period Extended: The Health Connector extended its enrollment period through June 23 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you've lost your health insurance due to a job loss and want to see if you qualify for health coverage, click here.
DOL Updates: The Department of Labor (DOL) is now processing Unemployment Insurance applications for self-employed individuals. To apply, click here.
To view the U.S. Department of Labor COVID-19 resource page, click here.
Accounting Firms Donating Supplies, Funds and Services for Coronavirus Relief (CPA Practice Advisor)
The Not-So-Forgivable PPP Loans: Wrestling with Ambiguous and Sometimes Nonsensical SBA Guidance (Accounting Today)
WBUR's Morning Edition Broadcast: April 20, 2020 (WBUR)
Fact or Fiction: Stimulus Check Disbursement Myths Debunked (WHDH)
Banks Get Rules for PPP Loans to Realtors, Other Self-Employed (Bankers & Tradesman)
Restaurants Try to Weather Storm (Bankers & Tradesman)
Your Questions on Stimulus Payments, and Charlestown Makers Help Health Care Workers (iHeart Radio)
Federal Tax Filing Extension ‘Guidance’ Frustrates CPAs (Cape Plymouth Business)
IRS Still Wants Your Tax Returns by April 15 (The Boston Globe)
SHNS Coronavirus Tracker (Friday Early PM Update) (State House News)
Trump Moves Tax Day to July 15 because of Coronavirus (Accounting Today)
Trump Administration Moves Tax Day to July Amid Coronavirus Outbreak (The Boston Globe)
Baker Under Pressure to Delay April 15 Tax Filings to Match Federal Deadline (The Boston Globe)
Tax Deadline Shift Could Deepen State's Revenue Crunch (Taunton Gazette)
LETTER: Stoughton CPA Pleads with Governor for Tax Extension (Stoughton Wicked Local)
Massachusetts Tax Deadline Still Stuck on April 15 (Boston Herald)
Massachusetts Needs to Work to Extend Tax Deadline (Guest viewpoint) (MassLive)
Mass. Extends Tax Deadline to Match Federal Date (Boston Business Journal)
Mass. Income Tax Filing Deadline Extended to July 15 (The Boston Globe)
Massachusetts Extends Income Tax Filing Deadline to July 15 (Lowell Sun)
Our View: Move the State's Tax Deadline (Eagle Tribune)
EDITORIAL: State Should Move Tax Deadline (The Daily News)
Tax Deadline Shift Should Deepen State's Revenue Crunch (Southcoast Today)
Our View: State Must Move Tax Deadline (Gloucester Daily Times)
State Postpones April 15 Tax Deadline (State House News Service)
Massachusetts Postpones April 15 Tax Deadline (Mansfield Wicked Local)
Massachusetts Postpones April 15 Tax Deadline (The Herald News)
Massachusetts Tax Filing Date Delayed until July (WickedLocal.com)
Massachusetts Extends Income Tax Filing Deadline to July 15 (Sentinel & Enterprise)
FAQs: Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act (KAF Financial Advisors, LLC)
Four Imperatives for Communicating about a Return to the Office (Denterlein)
5 Steps for Advising Clients during COVID-19 Crisis (Journal of Public Accountancy)
The Explosion of Paycheck Protection Program Loans (Surgent CPE)
Applications for Small Business Paycheck Protection Program Open April 3 (Journal of Public Accountancy)
Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers and Parents (FAFSA)
COVID19 State Executive Action and Accounting as “Essential Business” (AICPA)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers (Department of Labor)
Update Regarding Business Interruption and the Insurance Companies (Swerling Milton Winnick)
State Should Follow the Feds on New Tax Deadline (The Boston Globe)
Current Recommendations to Accounting Firms During Evolving COVID-19 Pandemic (Lawrence Casey)
U.S. Department of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (U.S. Department of Labor)
Small Business Assistance for COVID-19 (Mass.gov)
36 Disaster Response Questions to Prepare for (and Survive) the Coronavirus (Jennifer Elder)
Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19 Closures (Mindi Labella, CPA | Swerling Milton Winnick Public Insurance Adjusters, Inc.)
What Companies are Disclosing about Coronavirus Risks (Journal of Accountancy)
Coronavirus: Is Your Firm Prepared for a Pandemic? (CPA Practice Advisor)
How Coronavirus Could Disrupt the Auditing of Companies (Wall Street Journal)
Economic Impact of Coronavirus (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
Coronavirus: 7 Critical Decisions to be Prepared (Baton | Global)
8 Questions Employers Should Ask About Coronavirus (Harvard Business Review)
Coronavirus Crisis Response (McKinsey & Company)
Planning and Preparing
Communicate with Employees (CDC)
Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic (OSHA)
Coronavirus – Workplace Considerations for Employers (Fox Rothschild LLP)
Responding to COVID-19 with Remote Access? Pay Attention to Security (K2 Enterprises)
Business Continuity Planning
Business Pandemic Influenza Checklist (HHR and CDC)