Stay informed with the most recent updates regarding COVID19 from the CDC.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
1Internal Revenue Service, IR-2020-64, April 2, 2020
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
The legislation provides for:
unemployment benefits, through July 31, 2020
benefits, through the end of 2020, for individuals who
exhaust their state unemployment benefits
compensation designed to eliminate state one-week delays
in providing benefits
not otherwise qualify, including independent contractors
and part-time workers
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
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
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
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
are expanded, with repayment delays provided
suspension for any student loan held by the federal
government; this six-month period ends on September 30,
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
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
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.
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
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:
no cost to the patient
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
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.