COVID 19 RESOURCES

Legal Updates


On June 3rd, the U.S. Senate passed the “Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act” (the “Flexibility Act”) which had been previously passed by the House of Representatives on May 28, 2020. It is expected that President Trump will sign the legislation today, June 4th.  The Flexibility Act provides a number of modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) provisions of the CARES Act, which will significantly increase the forgivable loan amounts of PPP borrowers.  Arguably, the Flexibility Act turns the PPP into more of a small business subsidy/assistance program, rather than a true paycheck protection program.

The Flexibility Act includes the following changes to the PPP:

 

    On April 1, 2020, the Department of Labor issued temporary regulations regarding the terms of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Families First Act”).  The regulation provides extensive guidance regarding the regulation to help employers comply with its terms.

 

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared a general, statewide judicial emergency and ordered the closure of Pennsylvania courts to the public, except for specific emergency matters. As a result, the Registers of Wills across the Commonwealth, who also serve as the Clerks of the Orphans’ Courts, have only been accepting emergency petitions for guardianships of incapacitated adults and emergency petitions for medical or end-of-life decision making authority.

Without a doubt, the financial issues arising from the Coronavirus Pandemic and the resulting shutdown of businesses and “stay-at-home” order issued in Pennsylvania by Governor Wolf have had a major impact for many, including those with Support obligations,  as well as those who rely on those payments.

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, 2020, provides $349 Billion in SBA 7(a) forgivable loans to businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees [see endnote 1), including sole proprietors, the self-employed and independent contractors.  Known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the maximum available loan amount is 2.5 times your average total monthly payroll costs, capped at $100,000 per employee on an annualized basis [see endnote 2].  The loan proceeds can be used for any authorized business purpose, but to the extent used to pay payroll costs, healthcare benefits, eligible rent or mortgage interest payments and utility costs over an eight (8) week period from the date the loan is made, the loan can be forgiven (the lender is paid by the SBA). There is no collateral and no personal guarantees required.  There is no requirement regarding exhausting other available credit.  The SBA pays the lender all loan origination fees and has waived many of its otherwise onerous requirements.  To the extent any loan balance is not forgiven, the interest rate will be fixed at the time of the loan somewhere between 0.50% and 4.0% [see endnote 3], amortized over up to 10 years, payable over two (2) years, with all payments deferred for six (6) months.  There is no prepayment penalty.  The program is only available through June 30, 2020, but funds are limited, so don’t wait.  For more detailed information, see below and PPP Information Sheet.

By Michael Mills and Elaine Yandrisevits


Taxing jurisdictions continue to assess how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, with state and local jurisdictions being challenged by budget limitations.  In the forefront of most people’s minds is the tax deadline for personal income tax returns normally due on April 15th.  The following is an updated overview of the tax payment and filing deadlines applicable to our region:


On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (referred to as the “CARES Act”). This sweeping legislation provides economic relief for small businesses and taxpayers who are impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Nonprofit charitable organizations and their employees share in some of these benefits.

 

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Governor Wolf approved a temporary suspension of the physical presence of notaries for certain real estate transactions on March 25, 2020. The existing law, codified at 57 Pa. C.S. § 306, requires a notary to be physically present when witnessing the executing of documents.

As most of you know, last night the U.S. Senate passed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act”, being referred to as the CARES Act, which is now being sent to the House of Representatives for a final vote.  It is expected that the House will pass the measure without further changes, and that it will be signed into law by the President.  More details will be provided as we move along, but broadly speaking the CARES Act provides the following benefits and stimulus to U.S. small businesses and individuals:

On March 24, 2020, the United States Department of Labor ("DOL") issued limited guidance regarding the Families First Coronvirus Response Act (the “Act”).

Most importantly, the DOL identified April 1, 2020 as the Effective Date of the Act, contrary to the conclusion of most observers that the Act would go into effect on April 2, 2020.  Accordingly, employers of all sizes should plan to come into compliance on April 1, 2020.   The DOL also clarified that the Act is not retroactive.  The DOL also advises not to send requests for the small business exemption to the department, and that it will issue regulations regarding the small business exemption at a later date.