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COVID-19: FAQ & Answers

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, the guidelines for businesses continues to change. Our highest priority is the health and safety of our clients and employees. Although accounting firms have been given permission to reopen, our physical offices will remain closed. Our employees will continue to work remotely.

With the recent changes this week, we wanted to provide you with some answers to your frequently asked questions. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your preparer.


1. How can I get my tax information to my preparer if your offices are closed?

Lancaster & Mechanicsburg Clients

Please do not place ANY of your tax documents in our outside drop boxes or mail slots. If you need to get tax documents to us, please contact your preparer to make arrangements to get your information to us electronically.

Carlisle Clients

You can place your tax information in the mail slot at the Carlisle office. Please place the information in a sealed envelope and put your name, phone number, email address, and your preparer’s name on the envelope.

2. If I made an appointment for a tax meeting, will that still take place?

Yes. We will be using conference calls and video conferencing to minimize the need for in-person meetings. If you have scheduled an appointment, please contact your preparer and let them know which form of conferencing you prefer.

3. Is it still possible to pick up my completed tax return?

You will need to contact your prepare to make arrangements for electronic delivery of your return.

4. How can I return my signed 8879s to Trout CPA?

We have three options available for returning your 8879s:

    1. Email to Trout CPA using the following email address: efile@troutcpa.com.
    2. Take a photograph of your 8879, and email it to Trout CPA as a PDF. Please click on https://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/mobile/scanner-app.html for instructions.
    3. Return by US Postal Service. We are receiving mail. (Please note that there may be delays in using this option.)

5. How will my electronic return be taken care of? I mailed it to your office before you closed.

Please contact your tax preparer. They will work with you to make sure your return is filed on time.

6. What if I can't get a hold of my preparer?

If you are unable to reach your preparer by email, please go to http://www.troutcpa.com/contact and leave a message.  

7. Are the estimated payments due as usual?

  • 1st Quarter Federal Estimates are due 7/15/2020.
  • 2nd Quarter Federal Estimates have not changed - still due 6/15/2020.
  • 1st and Second Quarter PA estimates are due 7/15/2020.

8. What other changes has Pennsylvania made?

PA Extends Personal Income Tax Return Filing Deadline to July 15, 2020

The Department of Revenue today announced the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns is extended to July 15, 2020. Similar to Federal, Pennsylvania is waving interest and penalties on payments through the July 15, 2020 extended deadline.

Read their press release here: https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Revenue-Details.aspx?newsid=307 

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Due Date Extended

PA-1000 is now due December 31, 2020.  https://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Revenue-Details.aspx?newsid=306

Penalties Related to Accelerated Sales Tax Prepayments Waived for March; Prepayment Requirement for April Waived

If you owe a prepayment for sales taxes on March 20 and didn’t make it, any penalty will be waived.  In addition, for April Sales Tax Payments, PA is waving the prepayment requirement and is asking taxpayers to “simply remit the sales tax that they have collected in March.”

Inheritance Tax Return and Payment Penalties Waived

Department of Revenue is asking the County Register of Wills office to mark any return or payment that a taxpayer asserts would have been filed or made except for the COVID-19 closings as received as of March 12, 2020.  In addition, the Department is waving penalties for “payments received late, that otherwise would have been timely during office closures.”

Tax Appeals Due Dates Extended

If an appeal date falls within the shutdown time period, a petition of appeal will be accepted as timely filed if it is filed by the later of the original appeal deadline or 30 days after the Board of Appeals reopens.

Assessments and Notices Due Dates Suspended

The Department continues to process electronically filed returns and payments while they are shutdown. Since the notice and assessment process is automated now, this payment and return processing can create tax notices and assessments mailed to you.

If a taxpayer receives a PA notice or assessment during the shutdown, any deadline indicated on the notice or assessment is temporarily suspended until the Department reopens. The Department does not currently have guidance on what grace period will be granted after they reopen.

9. May an employer require an employee to provide information about recent travel?

Yes. Learn more: https://www.sgrlaw.com/client-alerts/the-coronavirus-is-giving-employers-a-headache-you-have-questions-we-have-answers/

10. May employers require employees to stay out of the workplace following travel?

Generally, yes. Learn more: https://www.sgrlaw.com/client-alerts/the-coronavirus-is-giving-employers-a-headache-you-have-questions-we-have-answers/

11. May we terminate employees to allow them to file for unemployment?

Yes, with caveats. Learn more: https://www.sgrlaw.com/client-alerts/the-coronavirus-is-giving-employers-a-headache-you-have-questions-we-have-answers/

12. How should we pay our employees who are unable to work?  Should they get paid time off benefits while out?

https://www.sgrlaw.com/client-alerts/the-coronavirus-is-giving-employers-a-headache-you-have-questions-we-have-answers/

"Yes. Contributions can be made to your IRA, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns has been postponed to July 15, the deadline for making contributions to your IRA for 2019 is also extended to July 15, 2020. " - IRS

"Nothing, except file and pay any tax due with your return by July 15.  You don’t need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic Federal tax filing and payment relief. If you expect a refund, you are encouraged to file your return as soon as you can so that you can receive your refund. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. If you need more time beyond July 15 to file your return, request an automatic extension of time to file as described next." - IRS

"Yes, because these employers are Affected Taxpayers under Notice 2020-18 for whom the due date for filing Federal income tax returns and making Federal income tax payments that would be due April 15, 2020, is now July 15, 2020, the end of the grace period for these employers is also July 15, 2020 under this relief.  So, for example, if an employer is a corporation with an April 15, 2020 due date for filing the Form 1120, then the grace period under section 404(a)(6) for the employer to make contributions to its workplace-based retirement plan that are treated as made on account of 2019 ends on July 15, 2020." - IRS

"No, second quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are still due on June 15, 2020. First quarter 2020 estimated income tax payments are postponed from April 15 to July 15, 2020." - IRS

"No, the relief provided for filing Federal income tax returns applies only to Federal income tax returns for the 2019 taxable year. The Notice does not extend relief to any filings or payments for taxable year 2016." - IRS

COVID-19: Resources and Firm Updates

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