Treasury, IRS and Labor announce paid leave for workers and tax credits for businesses
On Friday the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits.
They’re designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar for dollar, for the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act) signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.
The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employees’ own health needs or to care for family members.
The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.
Paid sick leave for workers
For COVID-19-related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
•Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
•Employers face no payroll tax liability.
•Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
•Employers receive 100 percent reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.
•An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided.
•Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
•Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
Small business protection
•Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.
•Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.
To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes.
If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.