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Is My Stimulus Payment Taxable?

As millions of people have received stimulus checks over the past year and start to spend their money, some wonder: Is my stimulus payment taxable?

The short answer: No.

In the somewhat longer words of the IRS: “No, the payment is not income and taxpayers will not owe tax on it. The payment will not reduce a taxpayer’s refund or increase the amount they owe when they file their 2020 or 2021 tax return next year. A payment also will not affect income for purposes of determining eligibility for federal government assistance or benefit programs.”

Not Your Average Tax Credit

The stimulus payment — or as the IRS calls it, the economic impact payment — is technically a tax credit for 2020. But this isn’t widely understood. Some people assume that the IRS will add the amount to your income, generating a bigger tax bill, or reduce your future tax refund when you file your tax return next year. Neither is the case, but this requires some explaining.

In the taxes, a tax deduction is a good thing. It reduces your income, which reduces the amount of tax you owe. If you had $50,000 in income and had a $5,000 tax deduction, your deduction would reduce your taxable income by $5,000. If you were in the 12% tax bracket, you’d reduce your taxes owed by $600 (12% of $5,000).

While a tax deduction is good, a tax credit is very good. A tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar. If you owe $1,500 in federal income taxes and you get a $1,000 tax credit, your tax bill sinks to $500.

refundable tax credit is a thing of wonder. An ordinary tax credit can reduce your tax bill to zero, but it can’t turn a tax bill into a tax refund. Refundable tax credits can. For example, if you owed $1,000 in taxes but had a refundable tax credit of $1,200, you’d get a $200 tax refund check from the IRS.

Because you’re getting what amounts to a refundable tax credit now in the form of a stimulus payment, rather than waiting to get the money from the credit in 2021 when you actually file your 2020 tax return, you’re in effect getting an advanced refundable tax credit.

Recover Missed Stimulus Payments on 2020 Tax Returns

If, for some reason, you didn’t get any stimulus payment last year, but you’re owed one, you can get it this year when you file your 2020 tax return by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit. If you don’t get the full amount that you were entitled to in 2020 or 2021 — you could also get that from your 2020 tax return.

What if it turns out that your stimulus payment was more than you were actually allowed? For example, suppose the IRS based your stimulus payment on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, when your income was lower, but your income is much higher for 2020? “If someone has income in 2020 that is higher than the tax return to calculate the advance rebate, they will not have to pay the credit back,” says Garrett Watson, senior tax policy analyst for the Tax Foundation, an independent, nonprofit tax policy organization. “In other words, any adjustments to a taxpayer’s rebate on 2020 tax returns will be in the taxpayer’s favor.”

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Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program

The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant will award grants up to $20,000 to eligible businesses that been closed, or up to $15,000 to eligible businesses that have been partially closed or are otherwise open.
Grant funds can be used for eligible expenses including working capital to support payroll expenses, rent or mortgage payments, utility expenses and costs related to reopening a business.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for funding under the Program, small businesses must be a for-profit or non-profit company and meet all criteria below. Furthermore, each local EDO may have additional eligibility criteria. Please use the table below to find your local EDO and review any additional eligibility criteria prior to applying.

  • Had 1 to 100 employees (including full-time, part-time and owner/employees) on a world-wide basis on November 17, 2020.
  • Is in an industry that demonstrates it is affected by the Order.
  • Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses.
  • Demonstrates an income loss as a result of the Order as determined by the EDO in which an eligible business is located.
  • Is not a live music and entertainment venue that is eligible for funds under Section 401 of Public Act 257 of 2020: Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program.

Industries Affected by the Order

Eligible businesses disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the ‘Gatherings and Mask Order’ will largely fall into one of the categories below. However, businesses in other industries may be considered if they can demonstrate they meet the eligibility, at the discretion of the EDO, particularly if they were impacted by the Gatherings and Mask Order.

  • Food service establishments (such as restaurants and bars, coffee, bakeries, catering, breweries, distilleries, wineries, tea shops, banquet facilities and other food and beverage service providers)
  • Retail (such as boutiques, bookstores, hardware, anything being sold that is not food)
  • Exercise facilities (such as gyms, studios, pool facilities, ice skating rinks, organized sports)
  • Entertainment venues or live event venues that are not eligible for the Michigan Stages Survival Grant as defined under Section 401 of Public Act 257 of 2020
  • Recreational Facilities and places of public amusement (such as bowling alleys, arcades, bingo halls)
  • Nonprofits (such as library, museum, churches, religious centers, advocacy organizations)
  • Personal care services (such as hair, nail, tanning, massage, spa)
  • Schools
  • Childcare and Camps
  • Transportation (such as limo services)
  • Other (applicant must specify in the application)

Program Overview

Grant funding is distributed to the 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations listed in the table below. Each local EDO will review submitted applications from businesses located in their area and provide grants to eligible small businesses that need working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses.

EDOs will be responsible for accepting, reviewing and approving applications, and ultimately, awarding and disbursing grant funds to the selected businesses. You can view a list of EDO contacts here.

Timeline

  • January 19, 2021: application window opens at 9:00 a.m. EST
  • January 22, 2021: application window closes at 12:00 p.m. EST
  • Week of January 25, 2021: EDOs carry out grant selection process
  • January 29 – February 28, 2021: Funds disbursed
  • If any funds are not disbursed by the EDOs by February 28, 2021, funds will be returned to the MSF for reallocation to one or more EDOs for disbursement to eligible businesses by April 30, 2021

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Highlights of the New Covid Stimulus Law

Stimulus checks are just part of it.

Also: more unemployment, PPP, EIDL loans, Employee Retention Credit, EIC, CTC, Eviction moratorium, and more.

Tax Practice Advisor

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 is a $900B relief package provides relief through multiple measures and expands many of the provisions already put into place under the CARES Act. Below are some of the higher-impact items and more important elements of each provision.

Additional Round of Stimulus Payments

  • Direct Payments
    • $600 per eligible family member
    • $1,200 for married filing joint returns
    • $600 per dependent child under 17 years’ old
  • Credit phase-out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income for single individuals, $112,500 for head of household and $150,000 for married filing joint.
  • Advance payments are based on information on 2019 tax returns.
  • Taxpayers without a social security number are not eligible.
  • If the credit determined on the taxpayer’s 2020 tax return exceeds the amount of the advance payment, the taxpayer will receive the difference as a refundable tax credit. Taxpayers who receive an advance payment that exceeds the credit do not need to repay the amount.

Unemployment Insurance

  • Additional $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits, from December 26, 2020 to March 14, 2021.
  • Extends and phases out PUA, a temporary federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, to March 14 (after which no new applicants) through April 5, 2021.
  • Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by extending PUA from 39 to 50 weeks — with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.
  • The bill also provides an extra benefit of $100 per week for certain workers who have both wage and self-employment income but whose base UI benefit calculation doesn’t take their self-employment into account.

Paycheck Protection Program Loans

  • Businesses are now allowed to deduct expenses associated with their forgiven PPP loans.
  • The new law provides $284.45 billion to reopen and strengthen PPP for first and second time borrowers and reauthorizes the program through March 31, 2021.
  • Develops a process for a small business to receive a second PPP if the small business has less than 300 employees and can demonstrate a revenue reduction of 25 percent.
  • Creates a simplified PPP loan forgiveness application for loans under $150,000 whereby the borrower signs and submits a one-page certification that requires the borrower to list the loan amount, the number of employees retained, and the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs.
  • Expands the list of eligible expenses to include covered operations (software, cloud computing and other human resources and accounting needs), PPE, covered supplier costs and damage costs due to public disturbances.
  • Repeals the CARES Act provision that requires borrowers to deduct their EIDL Advance from their PPP loan forgiveness amount.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance Program

  • The new law provides $25 billion to restart and extend the EIDL Advance Grant for small businesses in low income communities.
  • Creates a process for existing EIDL Advance grantees that received less than $10,000 to reapply for the difference between what they received and the maximum EIDL Advance Grant of $10,000.

Extension of the Employee Retention Credit (ETRC)

  • Beginning on January 1, 2021 and through June 30, 2021, the provision:
    • Increases the payroll tax credit rate from 50 percent to 70 percent of qualified wages.
    • Expands eligibility for the credit by reducing the required year-over-year gross receipts decline from 50% to 20% and provides a safe harbor allowing employers to use prior quarter gross receipts to determine eligibility.
    • Increases the limit on per-employee creditable wages from $10,000 for the year to $10,000 for each quarter.
    • Increases the 100-employee delineation for determining the relevant qualified wage base to employers with 500 or fewer employees.
  • Employers who receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans may still qualify for the ERTC with respect to wages that are not paid for with forgiven PPP proceeds.

Special lookback for Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit

  • Special temporary rule allowing lower-income individuals to use their earned income from tax year 2019 to determine the Earned Income Tax Credit and the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (i.e., the Additional Child Tax Credit) in the 2020 tax year.

Eviction Moratorium and Rental Assistance

  • The bill extends the moratorium on evictions under the CARES Act, designed to protect renters from eviction, until January 31, 2021.
  • Families struggling to pay rent or with past due rent will be able to get assistance with paying past due rent, future rent payments, as well as utility bills.

Miscellaneous Provisions

  • A 100% deduction for business meal food and beverage expenses provided by a restaurant that are paid or incurred in 2021 and 2022. Currently, the deduction is available for only 50% of such expenses.
  • Extends the non-itemizer charitable deduction for 2021 and increases the maximum amount that may be deducted to $600 for married couples filing a joint return (while non-married filers or married filers who file separately are limited to $300).
  • For 2020 and 2021, the percentage limit rules for individuals making cash charitable contributions do not apply. (i.e. you don’t need to apply the 60% AGI limitation)
  • Further flexibility for taxpayers to rollover unused amounts in their health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022. Permits employers to allow employees to make a 2021 mid-year prospective change in contribution amounts.
  • College students and parents with federal student loans will receive an additional extension on student loan payments, and will not be required to make payments on Federal Student loans until April 1, 2021. This includes both principal and interest payments.
  • Contractors who were temporarily unable to work due to facility closures and other restrictions will be able to receive reimbursement for paid leave from federal agencies.

Extender Provisions

  • The 7.5% adjusted gross income limit (instead of 10%) pertaining to the medical expense deduction has been made permanent.
  • The higher learning tuition deduction is made permanent by increasing the phase-out limits in the permanent lifetime learning credit.
  • The exclusion from gross income of discharge of qualified principal residence debt has been extended through 2025 (was due to expire at the end of 2020). The maximum acquisition debt limits are reduced from $2 million to $750,000 (from $1 million to $375,000 for married filing separate returns).
  • The treatment of mortgage insurance premiums as qualified residence interest has been extended for one year through 2021 (was due to expire at the end of 2020).
  • The nonbusiness energy property credit for qualified energy improvements to a principal residence has been extended for one year through 2021 (was due to expire at the end of 2020).

In conclusion, this $900B relief package delivers a second round of economic stimulus, expands on CARES Act provisions, and provides additional relief through multiple different measures.

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IRS Reminds Taxpayers of Special $300 Charity Deduction without Itemizing

The CARES Act includes several temporary tax changes helping charities, including the special $300 deduction designed especially for people who choose to take the standard deduction, rather than itemizing their deductions.

The Internal Revenue Service says there is a new tax provision for taxpayers that will allow more people to easily deduct up to $300 in donations to qualifying charities this year. Following special tax law changes made earlier this year, cash donations of up to $300 made before Dec. 31, 2020, are now deductible when people file their taxes in 2021.

“Our nation’s charities are struggling to help those suffering from COVID-19, and many deserving organizations can use all the help they can get,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The IRS reminds people there’s a new provision that allows for up to $300 in cash donations to qualifying organizations to be deducted from income. We encourage people to explore this option to help deserving tax-exempt organizations – and the people and causes they serve.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted last spring, includes several temporary tax changes helping charities, including the special $300 deduction designed especially for people who choose to take the standard deduction, rather than itemizing their deductions.

Nearly nine in 10 taxpayers now take the standard deduction and could potentially qualify for this new tax deduction. In tax-year 2018, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, more than 134 million taxpayers claimed the standard deduction, just over 87% of all filers.

Under this new change, individual taxpayers can claim an “above-the-line” deduction of up to $300 for cash donations made to charity during 2020. This means the deduction lowers both adjusted gross income and taxable income – translating into tax savings for those making donations to qualifying tax-exempt organizations.

Before making a donation, the IRS reminds people they can check the special Tax Exempt Organization Search tool on IRS.gov to make sure the organization is eligible for tax-deductible donations.

Cash donations include those made by check, credit card or debit card. They don’t include securities, household items or other property. Though cash contributions to most charitable organizations qualify, some do not. Check Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, and the TEOS for more information.

Though cash contributions to most charitable organizations qualify, those made to supporting organizations and donor-advised funds do not.
The IRS reminds everyone giving to charity to be sure to keep good records. By law, special recordkeeping rules apply to any taxpayer claiming a charitable contribution deduction. Usually, this includes obtaining a receipt or acknowledgement letter from the charity, before filing a return, and retaining a cancelled check or credit card receipt. For details on these recordkeeping rules, see Publication 526, available on IRS.gov.

In addition, the CARES Act includes other temporary provisions designed to help charities. These include higher charitable contribution limits for corporations, individuals who itemize their deductions and businesses that give food inventory to food banks and other eligible charities. For more information about these and other Coronavirus-related tax relief provisions, visit IRS.gov/Coronavirus.

SBA Update for PPP Loans
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SBA Update for PPP Loans

Loan Forgiveness

Recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less will be able to apply for forgiveness using a simplified application that was released by Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

A new interim final rule (IFR) provides new guidance concerning forgiveness and loan review processes for PPP loans of $50,000 or less.

Under the IFR, PPP borrowers of $50,000 or less are exempted from any reductions in forgiveness based on:

  • Reductions in full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees; and
  • Reduction in employee salary or wages.

The new application form, SBA Form 3508S, can be used by PPP borrowers applying for forgiveness on PPP loans with a total loan amount of $50,000 or less, unless those borrowers together with their affiliates received loans totaling $2 million or more. 

Of the 5.2 million PPP loans approved by the SBA, about 3.57 million were for $50,000 or less, according the IFR. Those loans accounted for about $62 billion of the $525 billion in PPP loans. About 1.71 million PPP loans of $50,000 or less were made to businesses that reported having zero employees or one employee.

The IFR streamlines the forgiveness process for PPP borrowers of $50,000 or less because they will not be required to perform potentially complicated FTE or salary reduction calculations. Borrowers of $50,000 or less still will have to make some certifications and provide documentation to the lender for payroll and non-payroll costs.

Lender Responsibilities

For PPP loans of all sizes, the IFR also contains guidance on lender responsibilities with respect to the review of borrower documentation of eligible costs for forgiveness in excess of a borrower’s PPP loan amount.

According to the IFR, when a borrower submits Form 3508S or the lender’s equivalent form, the lender will be required to:

  • Confirm receipt of the borrower certifications contained in the form; and
  • Confirm receipt of the documentation the borrower is required to submit to aid in verifying payroll and nonpayroll costs, as specified in the instructions to the form.

The borrower is responsible for providing an accurate calculation of the loan forgiveness amount. The borrower will attest to the accuracy of the reported information and calculations on the loan forgiveness application. Lenders are permitted to rely on borrower representations, according to the IFR.

In addition, the IFR addresses what a lender should do if a borrower submits documentation of eligible costs that exceed the borrower’s PPP loan amount. According to the IFR, the amount of loan forgiveness that a borrower may receive cannot exceed the principal amount of the PPP loan.

Whether a borrower submits SBA Form 3508, 3508EZ, or 3508S, or a lender’s equivalent form, the lender is required to confirm receipt of the documentation the borrower is required to submit to aid in verifying payroll and nonpayroll costs. If applicable, the lender also is required to confirm the borrower’s calculations on the loan forgiveness application, up to the amount required to reach the requested forgiveness amount.

Deferral Period Clarified

The US Small Business Administration released guidance last week clarifying that lenders must recognize the previously established extended deferral period for payments on the principal, interest, and fees on all Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, even if the executed promissory note indicates only a six-month deferral.

The guidance means that lenders must immediately comply with the extended deferral period and notify borrowers of the change.

The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act of 2020, P.L. 116-142, extended the deferral period for loan payments to either (1) the date that SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender or (2) if the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, 10 months after the end of the borrower’s loan forgiveness covered period.

Before the Flexibility Act became law June 5, the deferral period could end after six months. And while the Flexibility Act extended the deferral period, it did not specify whether lenders and borrowers had to modify promissory notes used for PPP loans to reflect the extended deferral period.

Because the first PPP loans were awarded in April, some PPP borrowers had recently received notices from lenders that payments on their PPP loans were due. The new guidance, found in question No. 52 in the SBA’s frequently asked questions document for the PPP, clarifies that the deferral period extension automatically applies to all loans, with no requirement from the SBA of a formal modification of the promissory note.

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please contact your lender.

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Hunter CPA Group’s COVID-19 Preparedness & Response Plan

In accordance with Executive Order 2020-59, Hunter CPA Group institutes this COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (“Plan”).

Hunter CPA Group aims to protect its workforce by enacting all appropriate prevention efforts.  We are continually monitoring guidance from local, state, and federal health officials and implementing workplace and Plan modifications where appropriate.

Employees or clients with questions are encouraged to contact Toni Nicholson via phone at (248) 236-8110 and/or email at toni@huntercpagroup.com.    

Prevention Efforts and Workplace Controls

Cleanliness and Social Distancing

Employees who are able to perform their essential duties remotely may be permitted to work from home in accordance with approved telework arrangements and safety measures.

Only critical infrastructure workers performing necessary work are directed to report on-site. For such workers, Hunter CPA Group abides by the recommended social distancing and other safety measures and establishes the following:

  • Employees are encouraged to maintain physical distance even when on break, as well as before and after working hours;
  • Employees are required to maintain physical distance when reporting to work and leaving work;
  • Employees’ work stations are no fewer than six feet apart;
  • Hunter CPA Group may utilize flexible work hours, wherever possible, to limit the number of employees simultaneously working on-site;
  • Employees’ interactions with the general public are modified to allow for additional physical space between parties; and
  • Non-essential travel is postponed or cancelled.

Hunter CPA Group provides employees with, at a minimum, non-medical grade face coverings.

In addition, we are instituting the following cleanliness measures:

  • Performing routine environmental cleaning and disinfection, especially of common areas; and
  • Where available, providing hand sanitizer in high-traffic areas.

Employees are expected to minimize COVID-19 exposure by:

  • Cleaning work stations at the beginning and end of each shift;
  • Avoiding, when possible, the use of other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
  • Frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Utilizing hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable;
  • Avoiding touching their faces with unwashed hands;
  • Avoiding handshakes or other physical contact;
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people;
  • Practicing respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Immediately reporting unsafe or unsanitary conditions on Hunter CPA Group premises;
  • Complying with Hunter CPA Group’s daily screening processes;
  • Seeking medical attention and/or following medical advice if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; and
  • Complying with self-isolation or quarantine orders.

Supplemental Measures Upon Notification of Employee’s COVID-19 Diagnosis and/or Symptoms

An employee with a COVID-19 diagnosis or who displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must be immediately removed from the worksite.

In response to a confirmed diagnosis or display of COVID-19 symptoms, Hunter CPA Group:

  • Informs all employees with and near whom the diagnosed/symptomatic employee worked of a potential exposure;
  • Keeps confidential the identity of the diagnosed/symptomatic employee; and
  • Conducts deep cleaning of the diagnosed/symptomatic employee’s workstation, as well as those common areas potentially infected by the employee.

Hunter CPA Group completes an OSHA Form 300, as well as a Form 301, “if it is more likely than not that a factor or exposure in the workplace caused or contributed to the illness.”  If an employee infects a coworker, the coworker has suffered a work-related illness if one of the recording criteria (e.g., medical treatment or days away from work) is met.

Worker Exposure Classification

Employees’ “worker exposure” is classified as medium risk by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidance because they frequently and/or closely interact with the clients and/or the general public.

Given this classification, Hunter CPA Group provides the following controls in addition to the above-summarized prevention efforts: installing physical barriers where feasible, limiting exposure to the general public, and minimizing face-to-face contact.

Identification and Isolation of Sick and/or Exposed Employees

Risk and exposure determinations are made without regard to employees’ protected characteristics, as defined by local, state, and federal law.

Any health-related information and documentation gathered from employees is maintained confidentially and in compliance with state and federal law.  Specifically, medical documentation is stored separate from employees’ personnel documentation.

Employees’ Self-Monitoring

The following employees should not report to work and, upon notification to Hunter CPA Group, will be removed from the regular work schedule:

  • Employees who display COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, and/or gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, whether or not accompanied by a formal COVID-19 diagnosis;
  • Employees who, in the last 14 days, have had close contact with and/or live with any person having a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis; and
  • Employees who, in the last 14 days, have had close contact with and/or live with any person displaying COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, and/or gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting

Such employees may only resume in-person work upon meeting all return-to-work requirements, defined below.

Daily Screenings

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure, Hunter CPA Group screens employees on a daily basis.

Employees are asked the following questions before entering the worksite:

  • Are you currently suffering from any of the following symptoms – fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste, and/or gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting?
    • If a touch-less thermometer is available, temperature checks are performed.
    • If yes, access is denied, and employee is advised to self-isolate/self-quarantine at home, until employee is permitted to return to work as defined below.
  • Have you lived with, or had close contact with, someone in the last 14 days diagnosed with or displaying the symptoms of COVID-19?
    • If yes, access is denied, and employee is advised to self-isolate/self-quarantine at home, until at least 14 days after the close contact.
  • Have you traveled via airplane internationally or domestically in the last 14 days?
    • If yes, access is denied, and employee is advised to self-isolate/self-quarantine at home, until at least 14 days after the international or domestic travel.

Employees who develop symptoms during their shift must immediately report to Toni Nicholson and/or Brenda Hunter.

Return-to-Work Requirements

Employees who were themselves diagnosed with COVID-19 may only return to work upon confirmation of the cessation of symptoms and contagiousness, proof of which may be acquired via the test-based strategy or the non-test-based strategy.

The test-based strategy is preferred but relies upon the availability of testing supplies and laboratory capacity. Under this strategy, employees may discontinue isolation and return to work upon achieving the following conditions:

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications;
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and
  • Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized molecular assay for COVID-19 from two consecutive nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

Under the non-test-based strategy, employees may discontinue isolation and return to work upon achieving the following conditions:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications;
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Employees who came into close contact with, or live with, an individual with a confirmed diagnosis or symptoms may return to work after either 14 days have passed since the last close contact with the diagnosed/symptomatic individual, or the diagnosed/symptomatic individual receives a negative COVID-19 test.

Employees are typically required to submit a release to return to work from a healthcare provider; given the current stressors on the healthcare system, Hunter CPA Group may accept written statements from employees confirming all the factors supporting their release.

Workplace Flexibilities and Potential Benefits for Employees Affected by COVID-19

Employees may be permitted to utilize available paid-time off provided under Hunter CPA Group policy concurrently with or to supplement any approved leave.

Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Under Executive Order 2020-57, and the federal CARES Act, unemployment compensation benefits are expanded in terms of eligibility, amount, and duration.

Employees who are unable to report to work for reasons related to COVID-19 are referred to Office Management for information on unemployment compensation benefits.  Such reasons include the following

  • Being under self-isolation or self-quarantine in response to elevated risk from COVID-19 due to being immunocompromised;
  • Displaying at least one of the principal symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, atypical cough, atypical shortness of breath);
  • Having close contact in the last 14 days with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis; 
  • Needing to care for someone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis; and
  • Fulfilling a family care responsibility as a result of a government directive (e.g., caring for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed or otherwise unavailable due to COVID-19).

Plan Updates and Expiration

This Plan responds to the COVID-19 outbreak.  As the pandemic progresses Hunter CPA Group will update this Plan and its corresponding processes.

This Plan will expire upon conclusion of its need, as determined by Hunter CPA Group and in accordance with guidance from local, state, and federal health officials