April 17, 2020

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distributing $30 billion on Friday, April 10, 2020 to U.S. medical providers who received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements in 2019. The funds, which are not loans and do not need to be paid back, are being directly deposited into providers’ accounts.

Providers are receiving about 1/16th of his/her Medicare FFS reimbursements in 2019 in the form of a stimulus payment. If a provider did not bill Medicare in 2019 for FFS, the provider will not receive money from this distribution.

The funds are meant to be used to cover health care-related expenses or lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. Examples of expenses identified in the CARES Act include building or construction of temporary structures, leasing of properties, buying medical supplies, personal protective equipment and testing supplies, increasing one’s workforce and holding trainings, and retrofitting facilities. However, providers can essentially use the funds as they see fit, as long as they do not use them to reimburse expenses or losses that have been reimbursed from other sources, or that other sources are obligated to reimburse.

Providers are required to document how the stimulus payment is used. They will also be required to submit reports to ensure compliance with the payment. But details of what those reports will entail have not been made available yet.

Additionally, those who receive stimulus payments from HHS are not exempted from receiving other forms of relief.

The $30 billion distribution is part of $100 billion relief fund appropriated in the CARES Act to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF), also called the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. HHS intends to distribute more relief funds in the future, particularly to providers hit hard by the pandemic as well as those who serve rural areas, the Medicaid population and the uninsured, and those with lower shares of Medicare FFS reimbursement.

If you have further questions, please reach out to us here. We are happy to help.

Lacie O’Daire is chair of the Tax and Wealth Management Group at Walter | Haverfield. She can be reached at lodaire@walterhav.com and at 216-928-2901.

 

 

Updated March 30, 2020

In response to Covid-19 (coronavirus), the Secretary of Treasury released guidance on March 20, 2020 providing for an extension to file tax returns for 90 days aligning the due date with the previously extended due date for tax payments. In addition, the IRS and Treasury expanded the earlier guidance permitting unlimited tax deferral, interest and penalty free, for individuals and business for the 90-day extended period.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, Tax Commissioner, Jeff McClain, announced that Ohio will be following the federal government guidance in extending from April 15 to July 15 the deadline to file and pay Ohio state tax. No interest and penalties will be charged against any tax-due payments during the extended period. This delay will apply to the Ohio individual income tax, the school district income tax, the pass-through entity tax and some municipal net profits tax.

The announcement did not include information regarding any other taxes such as sales and use taxes, commercial activity taxes, withholding taxes.

We will continue to monitor the development and will keep you posted.

Sebastian Pascu is an associate at Walter | Haverfield who focuses his practice on Tax & Wealth Management. He can be reached at spascu@walterhav.com or at 216-619-7870. 

Updated May 312, 2020 

If you are a Walter | Haverfield client who needs documents notarized, we are here to help. We are certified through the Ohio Secretary of State to notarize documents online for individuals in and outside the State of Ohio. No in-person meeting is necessary. Details on what is needed in order to participate in an online notary service as well as a description of the process are below.

Participant Requirements:

  • Access to the following: a computer, internet and webcam
  • Driver’s license or passport
  • Digital version of documents that need to be notarized
  • Must be a Walter | Haverfield client

E-Notary Process (takes about five minutes):

  • A link to join the e-notary process is sent to the participant
  • Once a participant clicks on the link, the e-notary software is launched online and a credential analysis begins
  • During the credential analysis process, the participant uploads his/her driver’s license or passport
  • The software analyzes the license/passport and asks a series of questions to verify one’s identity
  • An e-signature is adopted, and the Walter | Haverfield notary digitally applies the seal and signature to the document(s)
  • An email is then sent to the participant with a copy of the notarized documents

Ohio is one of 36 states that allows documents to be e-notarized. In Cuyahoga County, there are about two dozen e-notaries.

Please note that online notary services are not available for depositions.

We look forward to maintaining our strong working relationship with you during this time and keeping in close contact via phone, email or video conference. If you are a Walter | Haverfield client in need of our online notary service or have questions, please email us here. Individuals who are not Walter | Haverfield clients may visit sites like notarize.com.

 

 

June 12, 2020

The Ohio House of Representatives has unanimously approved a new tax amnesty proposal (HB 609), would raise revenues for the state and provide relief for taxpayers while Ohio’s economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. This program, which is now under review by the Ohio Senate’s Ways and Means Committee, presents opportunities for our clients to minimize the costs of unreported and underreported tax liabilities.

Tax amnesty programs relieve taxpayers who owe past-due taxes and fees while raising revenue for the taxing authority. This creates a win-win situation. Without such programs, taxpayers who owe must pay penalties and accrued interest.

In economic downturns, tax planning is critical to ensure the long-term health of a business. Therefore, it’s important that our clients avail themselves of voluntary disclosure programs and tax amnesty programs offered by federal, state, and local taxing authorities to minimize the impact of delinquent or unpaid tax liabilities.

Details of the bill are as follows:

The Amnesty

The tax amnesty bill would establish an amnesty period during which taxpayers with unreported or underreported taxes could discharge their tax debts by paying the delinquent tax without paying the penalties and interest (the “amnesty”). The three-month, temporary amnesty period would run from January 1, 2021, to March 31, 2021.

Under this proposal, the Tax Commissioner must waive penalties and accrued interest if an eligible taxpayer pays the full amount of included taxes or fees during the amnesty period. The tax amnesty bill also authorizes the Commissioner to require a taxpayer to file returns or reports, including amended returns or reports.

In addition to the waiver of penalties and interest, the taxpayer would be immune from criminal prosecution or any civil action concerning the taxes paid. Further, no assessment may be issued against the taxpayer for that tax or fee.

Covered Taxes under the Proposed Tax Amnesty Bill

The amnesty only applies to covered taxes and fees and does not apply to local taxes.  Covered taxes include:

  • Ohio income tax
  • Commercial activity tax
  • State sales and use taxes
  • Financial institutions tax
  • Public utility excise taxes
  • Kilowatt hour tax
  • MCF (natural gas) excise tax
  • Insurance premium taxes
  • Cigarette/tobacco/vaping excise taxes
  • Alcoholic beverage taxes
  • Motor fuel excise tax
  • Fuel use tax
  • Petroleum activity tax
  • Casino wagering tax
  • Severance taxes
  • Wireless 9-1-1 charges
  • Tire fees
  • Horse racing taxes

The amnesty does not apply to school district income taxes or county and transit authority sales and use taxes. Further, the amnesty only applies to unreported or underreported taxes that were due and payable as of the bill’s effective date. It does not apply to any taxes if the Ohio Department of Taxation has issued a notice of assessment or audit, issued a bill, or if an audit has been conducted or is pending.

Past Tax Amnesty Programs

Ohio has conducted several general tax amnesty programs in the past. Ohio’s most recent tax amnesty program, conducted from January 1, 2018, through February 15, 2018, raised $14.3 million for Ohio’s coffers while it decreased the cost of compliance for taxpayers with delinquent or unreported taxes. Ohio also conducted tax amnesties in 2002, 2006, and 2012.

Utilizing tax amnesty and voluntary disclosure programs is one of several strategies to minimize the impact of falling behind on tax obligations, and Walter | Haverfield’s attorneys are monitoring all such opportunities. Let our attorneys apply their experience, passion, and attention to detail to help develop the best strategies to minimize the impact of tax liabilities.

To read more about this topic, click here for a Law 360 article titled “Ohio Oks Tax Amnesty To Boost Pandemic Recovery”

Vince Nardone is Partner-in-Charge of Walter | Haverfield’s Columbus office. He serves as a business advisor to owners and executives of closely-held businesses, counseling them on business planning, tax planning and controversy, cash-flow analysis, succession planning, and legal issues that may arise in business operations.

Mike Sorice is a law clerk in the Columbus, Ohio office of Walter | Haverfield. He recently graduated from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.