Legislative News

07/08/2020

July 15 Tax Filing Deadline – One Week Away
The IRS announced last week that the July 15 tax filing deadline will not be extended for a second time. Individual taxpayers who are unable to file by July 15 may request an automatic extension to file until October 15.

IRS Lock Box Locations
The IRS recently published a 2020 Lockbox Address Directory for tax practitioners and taxpayers. Please take note that the addresses to mail returns varies by form and whether or not a payment is included with the returns.

Paycheck Protection Program Extended to August 8
Last week, both houses of the United States Congress passed legislation extending the application window for the Paycheck Protection Program until August 8 and was signed into law by the President on July 4. With about $130 billion in funding remaining the extension gives struggling small businesses a few more weeks to apply for assistance.

Massachusetts Mail-In Voting Bill Signed Into Law
Governor Baker signed legislation earlier this week that requires the Secretary of State’s Office to send mail-in voting applications to all Massachusetts voters by July 15 for the September 1 primary elections. This legislation gives voters additional options to exercise their right to vote outside of casting one’s vote in a voting booth on Election Day.

Disagreements between the Secretary of State and the Massachusetts Legislature on funding mechanisms to implement the bill have spilled out in public. Whether we receive the applications for mail-in ballots by July 15 remains to be seen.

Reminder: CPA License Renewal and CPE Deadline Extended to September 30
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 four hours in ethics, from July 1, 2018 through September 30, 2020, or the license will expire."Licensees who renew before June 30: CPE obtained July through September will count toward the next renewal cycle.To read the official notice from the Board of Public Accountancy, click here.

Guidance for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) DOR & IRS Updates

New England Advocacy Coalition
Earlier this year, MSCPA President and CEO Amy Pitter formed the New England Advocacy Coalition, which is comprised of the presidents and CEOs of their respective state CPA societies. Each month, the Coalition produces a newsletter that captures what's been happening around New England as it relates to the accounting profession.

To read the July newsletter, click here.

U.S. Department of Labor Announce Online Portal for Paid Leave Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released an online portal through which workers can determine their eligibility for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

To view the Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs, click here.

Massachusetts Resources

Massachusetts Health Connector: 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.

Reopening Massachusetts:
We are in Phase 2 of out reopening plan. For more information, click here.
DUA Unemployment Scam: If you believe you may have had a false unemployment claim filed using your identity, contact the DUA here or at 877.626.6800. Please stay vigilant.

Additional information on this will be posted here as it becomes available.Department of Public Health (DPH): Click here to read updates from the DPH regarding COVID-19.

Division of Local Services (DLS): For those who work with cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the DLS 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.

Older Coverage

Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) Model Rule Change to Support CPA Evolution
The AICPA and National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) leadership recently proposed changes to the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) to ensure the CPA credential reflects the rapidly changing landscape of the accounting profession and the necessary skills CPAs need today and will need in the future. The exposure draft issued by NASBA updates the educational requirements that create more flexibility and consistency and would:  The AICPA governing council voted to pass CPA Evolution last week, and the NASBA board of directors is expected to address this issue this summer.The public comment period is open until August 31, 2020 and can be emailed to uaacomments@nasba.org.

Massachusetts Economists: Q2 Will be Worst in Recorded History
The MassBenchmarks Editorial Board, comprised of leading economists and financial experts in Massachusetts, recently suggested that the Q2 of 2020 is likely to be the worst financial quarter in recorded Massachusetts history. Between March 15 and May 30, the Department of Unemployment Assistance received over 1.4 million new claims, representing one-third of the Massachusetts workforce and led to a 15% unemployment rate in April.

Economic recovery will be largely based on public health data, employee comfortability to return to work, financial assistance from the federal government and whether a second wave of the virus hits in the future. MassBenchmarks advises against making cuts to services that would have long-term ramifications, put more people out of work and on unemployment. Solutions provided to bridge the gap include tapping into existing reserves and raising taxes temporarily.

Separately, but on a related note, the Boston Globe Editorial Board this week called for the state to borrow through bonding to avoid budget cuts and increased taxes.

U.S. Congress Passes Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020
In an unanimous vote last night, the U.S Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. The legislation, which moved through the U.S. House of Representatives last week, creates more flexibility for borrowers and extends the time period for businesses to use the funds from eight weeks to 24 weeks, and changes the ratio from 75/25 to 60/40 for payroll to other fixed costs. Other updates include: The bill now goes to the President's desk for his signature. 

To learn more about the details in the legislation, click here.

Professional Resources

COVID-19 MSCPA Legislative Brief

This newsletter offers information and resources available through the federal and state governments regarding business loan programs, updates from the Departments of Labor and Health, and news as it relates to the impacts of COVID-19 on the accounting profession, the economy and the Society. Check out past issues here.

Coronavirus Resource Center for CPAs
For a full list of Massachusetts relief programs and professional resources, please visit the MSCPA’s Coronavirus Resource Center for CPAs.

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