The increased spread of COVID-19 across the US has growing implications for the nation’s employers and employees. Payality understands that in these anxious times that is critical that employees continue to receive their pay without interruption

We wanted you to know that even with the California’s most recent “Stay at Home” order, Payality is here for you. Over the last 2 years, we have migrated all our systems to the cloud, including our production servers, client facing payroll and time management solutions, email and phone systems. Nearly all Payality employees are now working securely from home. Because our systems are all cloud-based, employees can be contacted in the same way as before by phone, text or email. Since Payality is considered an essential service, we still have a limited number of employees at our corporate office to package and prepare checks and reports for delivery.

We will do our best to communicate pertinent information in a timely manner as it seems business rules are changing daily based on Local, State and Federal announcements.

All of Payality’s Services Remain Operational

  • Payality is open and our team members are ready to help.
  • Our delivery partners (Deliver It, UPS, FedEx) are open for business. They have asked for some patience if packages arrive later in the day than usual to due to increased delivery demands and we ask for your understanding if this occurs. If you need us to mail checks to your employee’s homes directly, please let us know so we can do so.
  • If you are currently receiving printed payroll reports, we are encouraging you to take advantage of our no cost paperless option. We can send all reports, via secure connection, to our online portal. If you would like to switch to this method, please Click Here to request a login if you do not already have one.
  • If we are printing direct deposit vouchers for your employees, please note your employees do have access to this in their personal and secure online employee portal. We encourage you to consider having employees access their direct deposit pay stubs online and allow us to no longer print them for delivery. Please visit www.payality.com/7ee for instructions on how your employees may register for the online employee portal or App.

12/22/2020 – Congress approves $900 Billion Covid Relief Package

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans

Existing PPP Loans

  • Business expenses paid for with the proceeds of PPP loans are tax deductible.  This is a significant tax savings for employers.
  • Increases simplified forgiveness for loans of up to $150,000. 

In addition to the application, borrowers will need to provide their lenders with the following documents:

  1. Payroll service provider reports documenting the amount of compensation paid to employees over the 24 weeks period following deposit of loan.

2. Quarterly Tax Returns for the periods that overlap with the 24-week Period, including:

  • IRS  form 941 or (943 for Ag employers); and
    • State Quarterly Tax Return (for California, both DE9 and DE9C)

Click Here for a user guide with instructions for downloading the required reports/tax returns from Payality’s Online Payroll Solution. Clients may also request the report/tax returns directly from their assigned Client Support Specialist (CSS). Be sure to notify your CSS of the date that the loan was deposited into your bank account.          

Please keep in mind that PPP loan recipients have 10 months from the end of their 24-week covered period to apply for forgiveness (For example, if you received your loan in May 2020, the 24-week period would end in October 2020 so you would have until July 2021 to apply) without penalty, so there is no need to rush to apply for forgiveness. Also, The Treasury will need to issue the updated forgiveness application for loans of $150,000 or less.

New/Second PPP Loan

The $900 Billion COVID Relief Plan allocates $284 billion for a new round of PPP new loans.

Who is eligible for the new PPP 2.0 Loans?

Businesses may qualify for a second loan if they received funds in the first round of PPP and plan to use or have fully used their first PPP Loan. First time applicants are welcome as well.

What businesses qualify?

The business may not have more than 300 employees

The business must have at least a 25% reduction in revenues in at least one quarter in 2020 when compared to the same quarter in 2019 (see new business exceptions below).

How is the 25% reduction in revenues calculated?

Business owners will compare gross receipts of the business before expenses are subtracted. They will compare those for any quarter in 2020 to the same quarter in 2019 to determine if revenues decreased by at least 25%.

If the business began operations in the third and fourth quarter of 2019, then they may compare any quarter in 2020 with the third or fourth quarter of 2019 to determine whether gross receipts were reduced by at least 25%.

If the business began operations in the fourth quarter of 2019, then they may compare any quarter in 2020 with the fourth quarter of 2019 to determine whether gross receipts were reduced by at least 25%.

A business must have been in business by Feb. 15, 2020 to apply. A business that wasn’t in business in 2019 but was in business before February 15, 2020 will compare gross receipts from the second, third or fourth quarter of 2020 to that first quarter of 2020.

How is the loan amount determined?

The maximum loan amount is $2 million

A business may qualify for up to 2.5 times average monthly payroll costs (includes gross wages, state unemployment cost, employer retirement plan matching contributions, and employers contribution toward the cost of employee group benefits).  Businesses with a NAICS code beginning in 72 (generally hospitality businesses) may receive up to 3.5

How is average monthly payroll cost calculated?

There are two methods:

  1. Divide the annual payroll for the 1-year period before the date of the new the loan application by 12
  2. Divide the annual payroll cost for 2019 by 12

For Example, Payroll Cost for the year were $1.2 Million, divided by 12 = $100,000 (Average monthly payroll cost) multiplied by 2.5 = $250,000 (PPP Loan Amount)

New businesses (that were not in business for the 1-year period preceding February 15, 2020) will use a slightly different formula to arrive at the average monthly payroll costs. They will divide the payroll costs paid or incurred by the date they apply by the number of months in which those costs were incurred and multiply the result by 2.5.

Seasonal businesses may apply based on the average monthly payroll costs for any 12-week period between February 15, 2019 and February 15, 2020.

For what expenses can I use the New PPP Loan?

Similar to the first round of PPP, this program is primarily intended to keep employees (including the business owner or independent contractor) on payroll and to pay other specific expenses.

To obtain full forgiveness, borrowers will need to spend at least 60% of loan proceeds funding on payroll cost as defined above.

Borrowers may spend up to 40% on other qualified expenses, during the covered period. This list of eligible non-payroll expenses has been expanded to include:

  • Rent
  • Mortgage interest
  • Utilities
  • Covered operations expenditure
  • Covered property damage cost
  • Covered supplier cost
  • Covered worker protection expenditure
  • Covered operations expenditures means “payment for any business software or cloud computing service that facilitates business operations, product or service delivery, the processing, payment, or tracking of payroll expenses, human resources, sales and billing functions, or accounting or tracking of supplies, inventory, records and expenses”
  • Covered property damage cost means “a cost related to property damage and vandalism or looting due to public disturbances that occurred during 2020 that was not covered by insurance or other compensation;”
  • Covered supplier cost means “an expenditure made by an entity to a supplier of goods for the supply of goods that are essential to the operations of the entity at the time at which the expenditure is made; and is made pursuant to a contract, order, or purchase order— ‘‘(i) in effect at any time before the covered period with respect to the applicable covered loan; or ‘(ii) with respect to perishable goods, in effect before or at any time during the covered period”
  • Covered worker protection expenditure means “an operating or a capital expenditure to facilitate the adaptation of the business activities of an entity to comply with requirements established or guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or any equivalent requirements established or guidance issued by a State or local government, during the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending the date on which the national emergency declared by the President under the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et 8 seq.) with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) expires related to the maintenance of standards for sanitation, social distancing, or any other worker or customer safety requirement related to COVID–19; may include the purchase, maintenance, or renovation of assets that create or expand:
  • a drive-through window facility; 
  • an indoor, outdoor, or combined air or air pressure ventilation or filtration system;
  • a physical barrier such as a sneeze guard;
  • an expansion of additional indoor, outdoor, or combined business space;
  • an onsite or offsite health screening capability; or
  • other assets relating to the compliance with the requirements or guidance described in subparagraph (A) as determined by the (SBA) Administrator in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor; the purchase of—
  • covered materials described in section 328.103(a) of title 44, Code 16 of Federal Regulations, or any successor regulation;
  • particulate filtering face piece respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, including those approved only for emergency use authorization; or
  • other kinds of personal protective equipment, as determined by the Administrator in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of 4 Labor; and does not include residential real property or intangible property;’’

Note these approved expenditures apply to any PPP loan except those already forgiven.

How long do I have to spend the loan on qualifying expenses?

You can choose a covered period of 8 or 24 weeks to spend the funds. It starts when the PPP funds are deposited to your bank account.

Will an EIDL Grant be subtracted from my PPP for loan forgiveness?

No. The legislation repeals the requirement that an EIDL grant (advance) be deducted for purposes of PPP forgiveness. In addition, the SBA Administrator is required within 15 days of when this legislation is enacted to “ensure equal treatment” for borrowers whose loans have already been forgiven and who had their grants subtracted from the forgiven amount.

The Treasury/SBA has 10 days from enactment of the law to issue guidance on the application process. It will likely take the lending institutions several days to begin accepting applications thereafter. As soon as final guidance is issued, Payality will provide a detailed guide for obtaining the reporting/tax returns required to apply.

Extension and expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit through July 1, 2021    

IMPORTANT: The Employee Retention Credit is NOW AVAILABLE to those receiving PPP Loans. 

The employee retention tax credit has been extended for qualifying businesses.

Original Law: Business operations that are either fully or partially suspended by a COVID-19 lockdown order; or, for any quarter in 2020, if gross receipts are less than 50% of gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019.    

New Law: Effective Jan. 1, 2021, business operations that are either fully or partially suspended by a COVID-19 lockdown order, or for a quarter in 2021, if gross receipts are less than 80% of gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019.    Previously, employers who received a PPP Loan were not eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit. The new law changed this, retroactively, to wages paid after March 12, 2020 through June 30, 2021. 

ELIGIBLE Wages From March 12, 2020 and BEFORE January 1 , 2021

50% of the qualified wages paid per employee (with a maximum credit of $5000 for all of 2020) , plus the cost to continue providing health benefits to the employee.

Less than 100 Employees

Cannot include any wages paid with the proceeds of a PPP loan

ELIGIBLE WAGES AFTER JANUARY 1, 2021 and before July 1, 2021

70% of qualified wages(up to a maximum credit of $14,000 per employee) which is includes the cost to continue providing health benefits.  500 or less employees  Cannot include any wages paid with the proceeds of a PPP loan

Clients who are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit have two options for claiming the credit:

  1. Apply for an advance of the tax credits by filing form 7200 with the IRS. 
  2. Notify your Payality Client Support Specialist and we will instantly apply the tax credits by reducing the amount of federal taxes collected and paid to the IRS.

Extended Sick Pay Tax Credit Through March 2021

The agreement provides a tax credit to support employers offering paid sick leave, based on the framework of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted in March 2020.

Payality clients may use this guide to simply report the sick pay/extended leave hours using the following earnings codes.

CVDREG – If employee is out for their own COVID-19 related illness. Up to 10 days at regular rate of pay (capped at $511 Per day)

CVDCARE – If employee is out sick to care for dependents affected by COVID-19 related illness. Up to 10 days at 2/3rd’s regular rate of pay (capped at $200 per day)

CVDFMLA – Following 10 days of sick pay, up to 10 additional weeks to care for dependents at 2/3rd’s regular rate of pay (capped at $200 per day)

The amount of sick pay paid to employees immediately reduces client’s overall federal tax liability. Payality will reduce the amount of federal taxes collected and paid to the IRS automatically.

PPP Loan Forgiveness

Resources for Maximizing PPP Loan Forgiveness

FREE Forgiveness Application Tool https://www.ppp.bank

There are currently 3 loan forgiveness application versions: 35083508EZ and 3508S . Which application to use is determined by either the amount of the loan or reduction in number of full-time equivalent employees, wages and/or hours. 

3508 is used when there has been a reduction in full-time equivalent employees or a reduction of 25% or more in wages/hours for an affected employee, with certain exceptions. 

3508 EZ can be used for loans of more than $50,000 when there have been no reductions as detailed above. 

3508S is a single page application that simplifies forgiveness for loans of $150,000 or less.  Importantly, a borrower that uses SBA Form 3508S (or lender’s equivalent form) is exempt from any reductions in the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount based on reductions in full-time equivalent (FTE) employees or reductions in employee salary or wages that would otherwise apply.

Tax Credits/Deferrals

State of California


Main Street Small Business Tax Credit
Beginning December 1, 2020 and continuing through January 15, 2021, CDTFA is accepting applications, through its online reservation system, for qualified small business owners to reserve up to a $100,000 hiring tax credit. The small business hiring tax credit provides a credit that a small business employer can use to offset their income taxes or their sales and use taxes when filing their tax returns.

Interest-free deferral of sales/use tax up to $50,000 for businesses with less than $5 million in taxable sales
Qualified small businesses can apply for a 12-month, interest-free payment plan to defer payment of up to $50,000 for 4th quarter 2020 and the 1st quarter of 2021 in sales and use tax liability. The deferred tax would be paid in twelve equal monthly installments, with the first payment not due until April 2021.

CA EDD
If you are experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file your state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return.

California excludes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans from state gross income
California has now passed Assembly Bill No. 1577, conforming to the PPP loan forgiveness rules. A.B. 1577  provide that gross income does not include any covered loan amount forgiven pursuant to Section 1106 of the CARES Act, pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, or pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. 

However, like current IRS rules,  A.B. 1577 also denies business expense deductions for those expenses that were paid for using forgiven loan funds. Current stimulus negotiations in Congress include reversing this ruling by allowing these expenses to be deducted and if it passes, we are hopeful that California will also follow the federal guidelines. 


Federal

Employee Retention Tax Credit

If you experienced a 50% or greater reduction is sales (see criteria below ) you may want to consider the Employee Retention Tax Credit 

Employers are eligible for a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit on wages paid up to $10,000 per employee (A maximum credit of $5000 per employee) during the crisis. The credit would be available to employers whose businesses were disrupted due to virus shutdowns and had a decrease in gross receipts of 50 percent or more when compared to the same quarter last year. For employers with over 100 full-time employees, qualified wages are wages paid to employees when they aren’t providing services due to COVID-19 related circumstances.

For employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees, all employee wages would qualify for the credit, whether the employer is open for business or subject to a shut-down order.

How do I apply for the Credit?

Businesses can apply for an advance on the Employee Retention Credit by completing Form 7200 (see below) and submitting to the IRS.

The other option for receiving the tax credit is to notify your Payality Client Support Specialist that your business is eligible and that you would like us to apply the credit each check date by reducing the federal tax deposits made to the IRS. Payality will then reduce the amount we collect from you up to the total Federal tax liability and remit the difference, if any, to the IRS. If the Tax Credit exceeds the total tax liability, Payality will provide form 7200 to you to apply for an accelerated reimbursement of the credit.

Deferred Payment of Employer Social Security (6.2%)

The CARES Act further allows for employers to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax they otherwise are responsible for paying to the federal government (employers are responsible for paying a 6.2% Social Security tax on employee wages). The deferred employment tax would be required to be paid over the following two years, with half to be paid by December 31, 2021, and the other half by December 31, 2022.

How will Payality help?

Notify your Payality Client Support Specialist at least 3 days prior to the check date that you would like to begin deferring the Employer Portion of Social Security payments. Payality will begin the deferral and stop collecting and remitting the deferral amount to the IRS. Payality will show the deferral amount on the quarterly tax returns using IRS guidelines (that have yet to be released).   

California Golden State Stimulus

SB 87 California Small Business COVID-19 Relief

Provides an additional $2.075 Billion to the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program on top of the $500 million that was already rewarded in two application rounds that ended February 8, 2021. The opening date for the third round of applications is expected to be announced shortly.

How much of a grant would I be eligible for?

$5,000 for applicants with an annual gross revenue of $1,000 to $100,000 in the 2019 taxable year.

$15,000 for applicants with an annual gross revenue greater than $100,000, and up $1,000,000, in the 2019 taxable year.

$25,000 for applicants with an annual gross revenue greater than $1,000,000, and up to $2,500,000), in the 2019 taxable year.

Who can apply?

A sole proprietor, independent contractor, 1099 employee, C-corporation, S-corporation, cooperative, limited liability company, partnership, or limited partnership, a registered 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), or 501(c)(19) nonprofit entity with an annual gross revenue of less than $2,500,000, but greater than one $1,000, in the 2019 taxable year.

(B) Began operating prior to June 1, 2019.

(C) Is currently active and operating, or has a clear plan to reopen when the state permits reopening of the business.

(D) Has been impacted by COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions, such as business interruptions or business closures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What criteria will be used to determine which qualified small businesses receive the grant?

(1) Geographic distribution based on COVID-19 health and safety restrictions following California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and county status and the Regional Stay Home Order.

(2) Industry sectors most impacted by the pandemic, including, but not limited to, those identified as in the North American Industry Classification System codes beginning with:

(A) 61 – Educational Services.

(B) 71 – Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation.

(C) 72 – Accommodation and Food Services.

(D) 315 – Apparel Manufacturing.

(E) 448 – Clothing and Clothing Accessory Stores.

(F) 451 – Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instrument, and Book Stores.

(G) 485 – Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation.

(H) 487 – Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation.

(I) 512 – Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries.

(J) 812 – Personal and Laundry Services.

(K) 5111 – Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers.

(3) Nonprofit mission services most impacted by the pandemic, including, but not limited to, emergency food provisions, emergency housing stability, childcare, and workforce development.

(4) Underserved small business groups that have faced historic barriers to access to capital and networks, and are defined as businesses majority owned and operated on a daily basis by women, minorities or persons of color, and veterans, or businesses in rural and low-wealth communities.

(5) Disadvantaged communities tracked by socioeconomic indicators that may include, but are not limited to, low to moderate income, poverty rates, unemployment, educational attainment, and other disadvantaging factors that limit access to capital and other resources.

COVID- 19 related Paid Employee Sick Leave or Extended Family Medical Leave
We strongly suggest that employers read through the entire Questions and Answers page. We want to highlight the rules that will most likely affect you and your employees and describe how Payality will help. 

When does an employee become eligible?

Leaves are only available to employees still employed and only for hours missed due to a qualifying event on or after April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. If the employee is laid off, furloughed, quit, etc. before April 1, 2020 or after that date (but before they request leave), they are not eligible. (They may qualify for unemployment)

How does an employee become eligible?

The employee may be eligible for leave pay under the following qualifying events:

Reason 1: Is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order. This does not include a “stay at home” order unless it has specific orders that would include the employee. For example, if the state ordered that no one over 65 can leave their home for work..

Reason 2: Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.

Reason 3: Is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. See question 62 for more details.

Reason 4: Is caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order.

Reason 5: Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to coronavirus-related reasons.

Reason 6: Is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS has not specified any other substantially similar condition at this time.

What documentation can I require from the employee who request leave under one of the qualifying events?

VERY IMPORTANT: Employers may not request a doctor’s note or an official notice from a closed school or daycare.

Employers can substantiate eligibility for the sick leave or family leave credits by receiving a written request from the employee using something like the document available for download below:

For leave based on a quarantine order or self-quarantine advice, the request should include the name of the governmental entity ordering quarantine or the name of the health care professional advising self-quarantine. If the person subject to quarantine or advised to self-quarantine is not the employee, that person’s name and relation to the employee should be included.

For a leave request based on a school closing or child care provider unavailability, the statement should include the name and age of the child (or children) to be cared for, the name of the school or place of care that has closed, and a representation that no other person will be providing care for the child during the leave. If a child who needs care is 15 or older, the employee must affirm that there are special circumstances (but need not explain them) — the IRS otherwise assumes children 15 and older can take care of themselves for the length of a workday.

OK, the employee qualifies, how much should I pay them? 

It depends on what the qualifying event is.

For the first 2 weeks of leave, the employee would receive Emergency Sick Leave as follows:

If it is for reason 1, 2 or 3 (Self), then the employee should be paid for up 10 days at their regular rate of pay (up to $511 per day)

If it is for reason 4 or 5 (Care of others) then the employee should be paid for up to 10 days at two-thirds their regular rate (up to $200 per day)

See questions 6 & 8 for direction on how regular rate of pay is calculated or click here for more detailed guidance

See question 5 to determine hours per day for part-time employees

If the employee is out on leave for reason 5 (Child care) and it last longer than 2 weeks, then they are entitled to the extended family medical leave at two-thirds their regular of pay (up to $200 per day) for an additional 10 weeks. 

Are there any tax credits available to help me cover the cost of providing leave?

Yes.  You may reduce the amount of federal taxes paid to the IRS by the amount of leave paid. For example, if the federal deposit liability for the payroll is $10,000 for all employees paid and you paid out $4000 in Emergency childcare leave pay to employees during the pay period, you would only pay $6000 to the IRS.

What if the amount I pay out in sick pay is higher than the federal tax liability?

You may request an advance of the anticipated leave payments or request a credit when the sick pay amount exceeds the total tax liability from the IRS by completing IRS Form 7200

I have less than 50 employees, am I exempt from providing leave? 

Small employers are potentially exempt from only childcare leave(Reason 5) and must provide documentation that providing leave under reason 5 would cause the employer to cease functioning at a minimal capacity.

How will I report emergency sick pay or extended family medical leave to Payality?

We have added additional earnings codes in our system to report the leave based on the qualifying reason.

CVDREG for sick pay leave at the employees’ regular rate of pay for reasons described in 1,2, or 3.

CVDCARE for sick pay leave at two-thirds the employees’ regular rate of pay) for reasons described in 4 or 5 (or 6 when defined by HHS)

CVDFMLA for extended family medical leave at two-thirds the employee’ regular rate of pay

CVDHLTH to report the employer’s cost of maintaining health insurance during the employees 2 weeks (10 days) of Emergency Sick Leave.

CVDFMLAIns to report the employer’s cost of maintaining health insurance during the employees paid 10 weeks of Extended Family Leave

How will Payality help us receive the tax credit?

We will deduct leave paid from the total federal tax liability we collect from you and pay to the IRS each check date.  If the amount of leave exceeds the total federal tax liability, we will prepare form 7200 for you to submit to the IRS to receive an accelerated tax credit refund.   

Required FFCRA Poster
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released a mandatory employee rights poster for the FFCRA. It should be posted or distributed to employees electronically (via email or online portal) by April 1. More information on the requirements can be found here

Additional COVID-19 Resources

Click Here for Tips on Managing Your Finances During the Coronavirus Outbreak

US Small Business Administration Loans

Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters

https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

COVID-19 HR Resources

In recent weeks we’ve received inquiries from employers about how to manage various situations related to COVID-19. Resources and information regarding COVID-19 can be found at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. In addition, our HR content creators have added several important resources that are available for download and viewing below:

Click on the link below to view a recorded webinar from our HR Support Center Labor Law Attorney with COVID-19 HR Related Matters

https://zoom.us/rec/play/75EpdLuqrG03HNyXtASDAPArW464f6is2iAZqPcPnkm9U3hVZAKmYeRBYrTfDAduoWXUC_gxB5X6moh7?continueMode=true

Payality will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide any updates as the situation evolves.

Disclaimer

Please note that this web page is being provided for informational purposes. The SBA and Treasury has not yet issued final guidance and it is subject to change. This web page should not be considered legal, accounting, investment or fiduciary advice. Clients should consult their attorney or other professional advisor.

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