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COVID19 Information and Updates

Most Recent COVID19 Information

Stay informed with the most recent updates regarding COVID19 from the CDC.

CDC Website

COVID19 Re Opening Phases

Amid the COVID19 pandemic, Pennsylvania Governor Wolfe has mandated the re-opening of counties within the state in three phases, in accordance with meeting designated criteria, as well as adherence to social distancing and safety practices.

Click link below to see Re-Opening Phases Chart.

PA COVID19 Re Opening Phases

Watch Out for Coronavirus Scams

Fraudsters and scam artists are always looking for new ways to prey on consumers. Now they are using the same tactics to take advantage of consumers' heightened financial and health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Federal, state, and local law enforcement have begun issuing warnings on the surge of coronavirus scams and how consumers can protect themselves. Here are some of the more prevalent coronavirus scams that consumers need to watch out for.

Schemes related to economic impact payments

The IRS recently issued a warning about various schemes related to economic impact payments that are being sent to taxpayers under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.1 The IRS warns taxpayers to be aware of scammers who:

  • Use words such as "stimulus check" or "stimulus payment" instead of the official term, "economic impact payment"
  • Ask you to "sign up" for your economic impact payment check
  • Contact you by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information to receive or speed up your economic impact payment

In most cases, the IRS will deposit the economic impact payment directly into an account that taxpayers previously provided on their tax returns. If taxpayers have previously filed their taxes but not provided direct-deposit information to the IRS, they will be able to provide their banking information online at irs.gov/coronavirus. If the IRS does not have a taxpayer's direct-deposit information, a check will be mailed to the taxpayer's address on file with the IRS. In addition, the IRS is reminding Social Security recipients who normally don't file taxes that no additional action or information is needed on their part to receive the $1,200 economic payment — it will be sent to them automatically.

Fraudulent treatments, vaccinations, and home test kits

The Federal Trade Commission is tracking scam artists who are attempting to sell fraudulent products that claim to treat, prevent, or diagnose COVID-19. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any products designed specifically to treat or prevent COVID-19.

The FDA had warned consumers in March to be wary of companies selling unauthorized coronavirus home testing kits. On April 21, 2020, the FDA authorized the first coronavirus test kit for home use. According to the FDA, the test kits will be available to consumers in most states, with a doctor's order, in the coming weeks. You can visit fda.gov for more information.

Phishing scams

Scammers have begun using phishing scams related to the coronavirus pandemic in order to obtain personal and financial information. Phishing scams usually involve unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages, or fake websites that pose as legitimate organizations and try to convince you to provide personal or financial information. Once scam artists obtain this information, they use it to commit identity or financial theft. Be wary of anyone claiming to be from an official organization, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization, or nongovernment websites with domain names that include the words "coronavirus" or "COVID-19," as they are likely to be malicious.

Charity fraud

Many charitable organizations are dedicated to helping those affected by COVID-19. Scammers often pose as legitimate charitable organizations in order to solicit donations from unsuspecting donors. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to more familiar or nationally known organizations. Before donating to a charity, make sure that it is legitimate and never donate cash, gift cards, or funds by wire transfer. The IRS website has a tool to assist you in checking out the status of a charitable organization at irs.gov/charities-and-nonprofits.

Protecting yourself from scams

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from scams, including those related to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Don't click on suspicious or unfamiliar links in emails, text messages, and instant messaging services.
  •  Don't answer a phone call if you don't recognize the phone number — instead, let it go to voicemail and check later to verify the caller.
  • Never download email attachments unless you can verify that the sender is legitimate.
  • Keep device and security software up-to-date, maintain strong passwords, and use multi-factor authentication.
  • Never share personal or financial information via email, text message, or over the phone.
  • If you see a scam related to the coronavirus, be sure to report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

1Internal Revenue Service, IR-2020-64, April 2, 2020

CARES Act Relief Package

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and

Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. This $2

trillion emergency relief package is intended to assist individuals

and businesses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and

accompanying economic crisis. Major relief provisions are

summarized here.

Unemployment provisions

The legislation provides for:

  • An additional $600 weekly benefit to those collecting

          unemployment benefits, through July 31, 2020

  • An additional 13 weeks of federally funded unemployment

          benefits, through the end of 2020, for individuals who

          exhaust their state unemployment benefits

  • Targeted federal reimbursement of state unemployment

           compensation designed to eliminate state one-week delays

           in providing benefits

  • Unemployment benefits through 2020 for many who would

          not otherwise qualify, including independent contractors

           and part-time workers

Recovery rebates

Most individuals will receive a direct payment from the federal

government. Technically a 2020 refundable income tax credit, the

rebate amount will be calculated based on 2019 tax returns filed

(2018 returns in cases where a 2019 return hasn't been filed) and

sent automatically via check or direct deposit to qualifying

individuals. To qualify for a payment, individuals generally must

have a Social Security number and must not qualify as the

dependent of another individual.

The amount of the recovery rebate is $1,200 ($2,400 if married

filing a joint return) plus $500 for each qualifying child under age

17. Recovery rebates are phased out for those with adjusted

gross income (AGI) exceeding $75,000 ($150,000 if married filing

a joint return, $112,500 for those filing as head of household). For

those with AGI exceeding the threshold amount, the allowable

rebate is reduced by $5 for every $100 in income over the

threshold.

While details are still being worked out, the IRS will be

coordinating with other federal agencies to facilitate payment

determination and distribution. For example, eligible individuals

collecting Social Security benefits may not need to file a tax return

in order to receive a payment.

Retirement plan provisions

  • Required minimum distributions (RMDs) from employersponsored

           retirement plans and IRAs will not apply for the

          2020 calendar year; this includes any 2019 RMDs that

          would otherwise have to be taken in 2020

  • The 10% early-distribution penalty tax that would normally

           apply to distributions made prior to age 59½ (unless an

           exception applies) is waived for retirement plan

          distributions of up to $100,000 relating to the coronavirus;

          special re-contribution rules and income inclusion rules for

          tax purposes apply as well

  • Limits on loans from employer-sponsored retirement plans

          are expanded, with repayment delays provided

Student loans

  • The legislation provides a six-month automatic payment

           suspension for any student loan held by the federal

           government; this six-month period ends on September 30,

           2020

  • Under already existing rules, up to $5,250 in payments

          made by an employer under an education assistance

          program could be excluded from an employee's taxable

          income; this exclusion is expanded to include eligible

          student loan repayments an employer makes on an

          employee's behalf before January 1, 2021

Business relief

  • An employee retention tax credit is now available to

          employers significantly impacted by the crisis and is

          applied to offset Social Security payroll taxes; the credit is

          equal to 50% of qualified wages up to a certain maximum

  • Employers may defer paying the employer portion of Social

          Security payroll taxes through the end of 2020 and may

          pay the deferred taxes over a two-year period of time; self employed

          individuals are able to do the same.

  • Net operating loss rules expanded
  • Deductibility of business interest expanded
  • Provisions relating to specified Small Business

          Administration (SBA) loans increase the federal

          government guarantee to 100% and allow small

          businesses to borrow up to $10 million and defer payments

         for six months to one year; self-employed individuals,

         independent contractors, and sole proprietors may qualify

         for loans

Prior legislative relief provisions

Signed into law roughly two weeks prior to the CARES Act, the

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) also included

relief provisions worth noting:

  • Requirement that health plans cover COVID-19 testing at

          no cost to the patient

  • Requirement that employers with fewer than 500

          employees generally must provide paid sick leave to

          employees affected by COVID-19 who meet certain

         criteria, and paid emergency family and medical leave in

         other circumstances

  • Payroll tax credits allowed for required sick leave as well as

          family and medical leave paid

There is likely to be a steady stream of guidance forthcoming with

details relating to many of these provisions, so stay tuned for

more information. We're here to help and to answer any questions

you may have.