As the pandemic continues, many businesses are dealing with the best ways they can support their employees. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help with your company and your employees.
We are now in the third quarter of the year and everyone is getting ready to head back to school. As you and your company continue to manage through the continued pandemic, we know that your employees are at the top of your priority list. We know you're exhausted and tired of hearing "we're all in this together!" and "this is the new normal". We know you are very aware of the situation because you've been dealing with it up close and personal for the last few months. You might have to figure out something new every week for your employees, you might have already found a great new work plan, or you're still searching for what the best options are. No matter where you and your company might be, we want to help as much as possible. This blog is full of different ways you can help your employees during this difficult time.
Consider your employees who have school-aged children. They are stuck in the middle of potentially working from home and homeschooling their children. This can add to their stress, affect their work, and interfere with their concentration. Consider offering flexible work hours and being more understanding if a parent needs to care for a child or handle certain situations during the workday. Help them find or offer support for childcare and help them find resources to help with homeschooling.
Video meetings and conference calls have become a necessity for our everyday work lives. You can also use these to your advantage. Host social gatherings or and support your employees to have them. As employers, you can use some of your business time to play ice breakers, do brain teasers, or play a game or two of trivia over these digital platforms. You can still celebrate milestone moments, promotions, and celebrations with your employees, too. Suggest that your employees meet for virtual lunch hours, coffee meetings, or even happy hours. These moments of connection can keep everyone in the loop, connected, and help their mental health in a safe and non-invasive way.
Being a business owner in 2020 has been an incredible challenge. There have been and will continue to be so many hurdles to overcome. Through all of this, make sure you remember your employees. Care for them like they have cared for and supported your business. If you can support them and be honest, they are more likely to hang on and support you through whatever else might be coming in 2020.
Many of us are still working from home, and some have decided to work from home for good while the pandemic remains with us. For those new to this world, what kind of tax write-offs, if any, could we be looking at for 2020?
We've made it through this unique and very different tax season. So, what does that mean? We start looking ahead to next year! Many of our clients are friends are still working from home, while others have decided to work from home for good. If this year has taught you anything new about your professional life, its if you are a fan of working from home or not. We know and recognize that it's not for everyone, and we also understand the reason why so many companies are still having their employees work from home. If anything, we appreciate the safety of it and we are trying to find the silver lining. This year has meant saving money on gas, saving money on takeout, getting rid of that morning commute, more time in comfortable clothes, spending time with our families, and for some, it has meant a whole makeover of their homes, especially their backyards! For those who don't own their own small business and don't work from home regularly, when you did move home, one thing that might have made the transition less painful was the possibility of writing off your new expenses in your 2020 taxes. Will this be a possibility? Could there be an even bigger silver lining waiting at the end of all of this?
There have been many silver linings to this experience than many of us have tried to focus on, but like it or not, it does cost extra to work from home. You're buying supplies, buying new office furniture, getting better wifi, and possibly paying a ton more in child care. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to write all of that off or at least a part of these expenses on 2020 taxes? Unfortunately, due to a tax reform in 2017, this opportunity was eliminated, according to Kiplinger and AccountingToday. Granted, this decision was made years before we knew what the coronavirus was and it was thought to be a good idea to eliminate this possibility. According to AccountingToday, the reasoning behind this change was that a "doubling of the standard deduction would help offset the pain of ending or cutting itemized deductions". That idea was nice at the time, but for all of us working from home and through the pandemic, it's not much help at all. Before this tax reform, you were able to write off your business expenses that were not paid back by your employer. These expenses included part of your home as an office, and much more. Sadly, if your company has sent you home during the pandemic, this will not be an option. With so many of us struggling with this reality, and with potentially limited funds as it is, what is the best way to recover from it? AccountingToday suggests the best route to go is to approach your company and try to negotiate with them. When it comes to federal taxes for your employers, tax code does allow them to reimburse their employees for certain costs during periods of disaster. The IRS has stated that is current pandemic does qualify. It will be up to our employer to choose what costs the will and will not cover, but if you approach them with a reasonable list of items, that can be a great place to start (i.e. wifi, child care, cost of buying new supplies).
If you're working from home for your company, but also have a second job or a small side hustle, there might be a small tax break in there for you. According to Kipling, as long as you meet all the proper requirements, you will be allowed to claim deductions for your business expenses and your at-home business expenses for your own company.
WORK FROM HOME
If you are self-employed, this might be one of the greatest advantages for you right now. Those who are self-employed are still allowed to deduct business expenses with the Schedule C Form 1040 when filing. Your small business must be your only form of income, and the space you work in must only be used for work purposes, according to H&R Block. This means that your kitchen table won't count. If you do use a small corner of your home or a specific table just for work, then that will count. One of the biggest things you must do is keep meticulous notes and records of your expenses if you plan on writing these expenses off. Many self-employed individuals get flagged when they file and get stuck with an audit. Make sure you're reading to back up your deductions at a moment's notice. If you have a building outside of your home that you use only for work (like a barn, shed, garage), it can also be written off. Also, if you work outside of your home for your own business, but have been forced back to your home for safety reasons, you are allowed to write that off on your expenses too. According to H&R Block if you own your own business under a 1099, and you meet all the standards created by the IRS, you'll be allowed to write off all of your direct expenses for your small business. You will also be able to write off a portion of your indirect expenses too! But please take caution, you will still need to keep good records of everything.
This year has brought its fair amount of challenges. Many of these challenges could reappear when filing your 2020 taxes. Make sure you speak with your company about your expenses before just assuming they won't help you. If you're self-employed or work under a 1099, make sure you keep excellent records and understand everything about your writeoffs to avoid an audit. Hang in there everyone! We know this is a personal and financially difficult time for all of you. We are always here to help. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Myths About The Stimulus Checks
Now that the stimulus checks have all been sent out, many Americans are hesitant on using the funds. They aren't sure if the rumors they're hearing about the strings attached to them are accurate or not.
Now that we have all received our stimulus checks, we are now facing a slew of rumors and myths about the money we have received. This money was welcomed with open arms, helping pay bills, and keeping food on the table for many. Thanks to Social Media and other media outlets, and just the sheer amount of information (correct or not) that's available, rumors and misinformation have been spread about the realities of our stimulus checks. We are here to set the truth straight, calm your worries, and get rid of these myths once and for all.
According to AARP, once the CARES act went into action, the IRS sent out over 140 million stimulus checks. As this relief arrived and people started spending it, some hesitation did arise. The question if we will need to pay back the IRS and if these funds will be counted as part of our income in our 2020 taxes are at the forefront of this hesitation. With income and employment being so unstable, these are very understandable questions. Yes, this money is a blessing now. But, will it turn into a curse later?
First and foremost it is very important to know that you will not be paying back your stimulus checks. The IRS has even come out and said on multiple occasions that this will not be something that you will have to pay back. The stimulus check, according to CNBC, did get the nickname "recovery rebate" which is one of the main reasons why this concern began. Why won't you have to repay the IRS? That is due to the nature of tax credit the IRS is considering our stimulus checks. There is a certain type of tax credit, says Wealth Hacker Report Jeff Rose, called an Earned Income Tax Credit. These credits are completely refundable. Even if you don't owe any taxes at the end of the year, if you have any earned income tax credits, you will still be receiving a tax refund. This is how the IRS is treating your stimulus checks. It is something you're owed, not something you will have to repay. This is how those who don't file for taxes, like those who receive social security, disability, and railroad retirement benefits were eligible for a stimulus check. As long as you have a social security number and you meet the income requirements to receive a single or joint filing stimulus check, you will receive a stimulus check, with no strings attached.
Since the IRS is treating your stimulus check like earned income tax credit, it also will not be counted as part of your income when you file your 2020 tax return. You've received this money and it is taken care of, nothing else is required for you to do about it. Ironically, there is an opportunity for you to receive more money if your stimulus check wasn't calculated correctly by the IRS. These mistakes will most likely be caught when filing your 2020 tax return, or if you didn't claim a dependent child on your tax forms, or alert the IRS to a dependent child. You won't, on the other hand, be receiving any extra stimulus money when you file your 2020 tax return if you received the proper amount. The only way that will happen is if there is another stimulus check released, which for now is just a myth and rumor.
Also, know that the stimulus check will not reduce your refund that you're owed on your 2020 taxes. You will receive every penny that you're owed, and your stimulus check will not be deducted from it or even affect it. The stimulus check will also not lower the amount you owe in taxes, either. That can be confusing since other tax credits can reduce how much you owe. But, the stimulus check will not be one of them. At the end of the day, your stimulus check will not be affecting your 2020 taxes at all.
There have been some situations, according to CNBC, that some individuals have been overpaid and given more stimulus money than they should have received. If this happens, you will not have to pay that back either. This is incredibly rare though, and more often than not, is actually a scam. As we have mentioned in recent blogs, scams regarding the stimulus checks have become rampant since they were first released. If you receive a very official-looking check in the mail for more than your stimulus amount, and it is requested of you to pay back the difference in cash, certified check, money order, or in gift cards, that is without a doubt a scam. The IRS will not contact you via phone, social media, email, or texting. If you receive any messages about your stimulus checks through these platforms make sure to report them and then delete them right away.
We hope this insight helps you better understand your stimulus check, and what you are expected to do with them now that you've received them. If you have any further questions about them, or about the 2019 tax date that just passed us on July 15th, please don't hesitate to reach out. We will be very busy over the next couple of weeks, as we have been leading up to the 15th, but we will try and get back to you as quickly as possible. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
In the beginning, working from home with your spouse can be exciting. Is that excitement going to last forever? Here are some tips on how to successfully work at home with your partner, to maintain your relationship and your career.
We have all shared workspace in new ways in the last three months than many of us expected us to. Some with our whole families, some alone, and some with their spouses. Each situation comes with its pros and cons, adjustments, and excitement. We've spent time talking about how to set up your own home office and how to make the most of your space. But, what happens if that space is not entirely yours? Sharing a workspace with a spouse can be challenging, but thankfully if you put in the time and effort, it doesn't have to be.
From the moment you entered the serious stages of your relationship, we're sure you started hearing the age-old saying that relationships, to be successful, take work. It's no surprise to any working professional that this saying applies to any relationship, personal or private. You need to cultivate and work hard for any connection to be a successful one. As many of us continue to work from home and to deal with this transition, we have to cultivate a healthy working relationship with our spouses. This might be something you never thought you'd have to do, but even with this new necessity, these tips and suggestions can make your professional and private lives equally as happy under the same roof. To make this a successful working relationship on top of your personal one, you need to make sure you're taking positive steps in this transition together. Acknowledge that this is going to be difficult, and could even get a lot harder. If you're both dedicated to making it work and supporting one another to make sure that each of you succeeds in your workday, it will work out.
We urge you both to recognize together that this is going to be a change, and it's going to be hard. But, you WILL get through it. Take the time to nurture your relationship together and apart. Work hard to cheer on one another and to support one another's careers. Let this be another important milestone in your career and your relationship, and push to come out strong. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Your job may not be one you can do from home. What happens when your bank account is dwindling and unemployment is running out? Are there other options available to you?
The state is opening back up, but that doesn't mean everything is following suit. It doesn't mean that everyone is going back to work, and unemployment isn't going to last forever. What happens if it's impossible to work from home? Many people are still without jobs for the foreseeable future and need some help right now. If your bank account is needing you to look for a job now, what can you do to gain temporary or new employment during the age of a pandemic?
Starting a job search for temporary employment or starting your career path all over again during the pandemic may be the last thing you want to do, or think you can do, right now. But, think again. Due to the growth in technology and the ease it gives to the world of business, working from home is easier than ever before. It's become much more accessible to find these jobs and to do them from the safety of your couch. Every day more and more jobs can be transferred online. As long as you have a computer, a phone, and a good internet connection, you're already set up and ready to go. Thankfully, the remote job market and its popularity were on the rise before the pandemic hit. Please note, if this is a path you're taking, you need to be diligent in going after and getting these jobs. You need to create and stick to a schedule, and you need to show up every morning and get the job done. This can be very difficult when you're working from the comfort of your home and in your PJs.
Working remotely and on your devices can seem daunting if it's not something you've done before. No need to fear a lack of skills, training, or education, there are jobs of all kinds for all levels of skills and abilities. If you still feel unsure, there are thousands of YouTube videos available, free of charge, and other free resources that can help you along the way. With the world changing so rapidly and the need for a job becoming apparent, we wanted to share some great jobs, opportunities, and tips for working at home. We want to help keep you safe and keep your finances under control.
Even if you don't have a specific degree in teaching, there are opportunities out there for you. Many online programs will accept a bachelor's degree in any subject. Teaching English online to students overseas or who have English as a second language is a great example. There are online and virtual tutoring opportunities as well. You might not be teaching these students directly, but you're helping them develop their skills. There are opportunities for you to create videos on a huge amount of topics for educational purposes. This can help you flex your knowledge and your creative skills in subjects you're already passionate about. If you do have a background in education and administration, you could also find remote jobs to help develop curriculum and help plan and manage the current and upcoming school year. You can teach at all levels from kindergarten to college. It's a fun, unique, and creative opportunity that can be full or part-time.
This field is huge. If you are a creative individual or you are very precise, have strong research skills, and can write an excellent business report, then these jobs are for you. Again, your skill sets and background can vary to get into this filed depending on your specialties. Blog and content writing for social media and websites have boomed during the pandemic and in recent years. You can be a copywriter or editor. You can edit and proofread papers and projects by students and professionals. Sometimes an extra eye is all someone needs. You can work with authors who need help with the stories they're writing. You can even begin blogging, writing articles, or writing books yourself. There are jobs to transcribe radio, video, and voice interviews too. Writing jobs and positions range from being full-time positions to working project to project. In most situations, you can create your schedule. Doing these jobs can be a little tricky, be warned. Make sure they are legitimate positions. If they sound too good to be true, they usually are. Make sure you do your research and you and a real interview and contact person when doing these jobs.
We chose this category because of the massive amounts of opportunities that have arisen in the tech world and jobs driven by the tech world. Data entry is a great entry-level job in this world. If you're very organized and have a wide knowledge of basic software and email, a virtual assistant can also be an excellent opportunity. You can help someone order their groceries, answering emails and phone calls, run their website, and social media pages all from the comfort of your home. For those who are more tech-savvy, companies like ZOOM, Microsoft, and more have positions available to you. Companies are looking for customer and tech/IT support that can also be done from the comfort of your home. The range of opportunities is huge, you just have to go looking!
Stepping into the remote world can be hard if it's your first time. Hunting for a particular job like this can take time. But, be diligent. Trust in your skills and what you can offer. There is something out there for you. Look for free resources online that can help you learn more. Trust in the technology, and it will do the rest. Don't forget, friends! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Retirement funds and how to care for them have been a hot topic during this pandemic. For some, it's been easy to leave them untouched. For others, retirement may no longer be an option. But with the creation of the CARES act, some incredible tools have been introduced that can help you maintain and save your retirement funds.
Hello Summerville! As you read this, we hope you continue to be safe and healthy. It's been nice to come to work every day and see a sense of normalcy in our incredible town. Let's keep it up! It is very clear to everyone that this pandemic has affected our finances in more ways than one. One of the many unsung woes during this time has been retirement plans. The CARES act of 2020, the act that has supplied us with our stimulus checks and other resources, has also been geared towards helping retirement plans stay alive. With the unemployment rate being so low, the difficulties of getting unemployment, and the need of making it through financially has put pressure on retirement plans. Many are making the decision of taking out their funds because it is necessary.
There are now options that can help you get economic relief that won't require you to decimate your retirement plans. Thanks to the CARES act, new changes have been put into place to help support those with retirement and IRA plans who are dealing with the effects of a very flimsy stock market that continues to fluctuate. With these new adjustments under the cares act, retirees are allowed to pull out as much as they would like from their retirement plans, but you don't have to if you don't want to. If you do leave your account alone for the next year or so, it will give you the benefit to recover from this flimsy market. There is a benefit to leaving your benefits alone.
These changes and opportunities are groundbreaking and will help you save your retirement and IRA while still supporting you financially now. Before the CARES act, withdrawing from your IRA and your retirement plan came with some serious repercussions. But now, that has all changed.
Allowing people to tap into their retirement accounts and giving them a few years to pay it all back is huge! These changes are providing financial assistance now from the money that is already yours, while still helping you protect and pay back into your retirement. It will still guarantee that you have retirement funds when the time comes to actually retire. Make sure to chat with us about your next steps when it comes to making these choices, even as great as they are. Make sure to include your financial advisor when making these decisions, too. They will be able to walk you through the best benefits available to you and what is going to be the most cost-effective way if you'll need to pay back these loans. They can also walk you through how to keep your retirement plan intact.
Don't forget, friends! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
With the world as we know it changing every day, we have been trying to stay on top of what's happening to help our clients and ourselves. We want to use this changing knowledge to protect our finances, our employees, to know if are eligible for assistance, and how to help our clients navigate through these strange times. Today we are going to be talking about Employee Retention Credit.
Hello, Summerville! We are so excited to see our beautiful town get back to some sense of normal. Everything about our daily and professional lives continues to change, but we are relieved to see that individuals and businesses continue to move forward. One of our main focuses these past two months has been how the current pandemic is affecting our finances. There has been a lot of help thanks to tax day being pushed back, the stimulus relief fund, and the CARES act. Each has seen its ups and downs for individuals and small businesses, bringing a mixture of relief and frustration.
Most of the financial help that we hear about day to day is that for personal finances, but businesses of all sizes have needed just as much help through these difficult times. Many have been required to operate at 50% capacity due to safety protocol during the pandemic while others have been completely shut down after they were deemed nonessential. With the signing of the stimulus relief package and the CARES act, businesses of all sizes were put into consideration. Small business loans and other forms of relief were immediately put into action, although their first big wave was not received well nor handled well.
Just like you as an individual, businesses have been on top of filing and working towards a way to help their companies survive so their employees have a place to come back to when this is all over. Most employers who were able to apply for any kind of assistance did so in March, but there are still opportunities and things to apply for if your company hasn't already. In this blog, we are going to be talking about one of these forms of assistance that is still available to businesses, and that is employee retention credit.
WHAT IS IT?
You may or may not be familiar with this term or what kind of help it provides. This is a business relief provision that encourages employers to keep employees on the payroll, even if they're not working. It helps provide relief to unemployment offices to limit the number of people applying for unemployment. It was also created to help guarantee that employers will have returning employees once they can open up again. Thanks to the creation of the employee retention credit, the government will reward your company for keeping your employees on your payroll and for deciding to choose this assistance. It is refundable tax credit taken against certain employment taxes that can equal up to fifty percent of an employee's wages that you, as an employer, are still providing. The tax credit is fifty percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee that has continued to be paid by the employer. This means that your company can be awarded a $5000 tax credit per qualifying employee. This was created as a business relief provision. The money your company will be receiving is a refundable payroll tax credit for qualified wages that will be paid or have been paid to your employees between March 13th of this year until December 31st of 2020.
You and your company are eligible if you have been directly affected by COVID-19. If you have been forced to work at half capacity due to safety precautions, or you have been forced to shut down entirely because you are a nonessential business, you are eligible. No matter the size of your company, you are still eligible. Your company is eligible for this tax credit if your gross receipts for this current quarter are less than what they were in the same quarter this time last year. You are NOT eligible for this tax credit if you are a governmental employer, or if you are self-employed or a small business that has taken small business loans or other small business loans created to help with issues caused by the pandemic.
WHAT TO KNOW
Once you have decided to pick this type of relief, you can begin claiming it right away by reducing your payroll taxes sent to the IRS. If it ends up that your tax credits exceed your payroll taxes, you can ask for a refund directly from the IRS. If your company has over 100 employees, the only wages that can be obtained are of those who were full time and are not working right now. If you have under 100 employees, you can claim all of your employee's wages regardless if they are working or not. Wages up to $10,000 can be claimed, and this does include how much your company pays towards health insurance for each employee. Since you can claim 50% of this $10,000, the max credit you can receive is $5,000 per employee. The tax credit will be repaid to you after subtracting your share of your employee's social security taxes, and it will be treated like you overpaid your taxes, and it will be returned to you.
In comparison, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was also created to offer similar benefits to businesses. You can't apply for both or receive benefits from both, you have to pick one or the other. When deciding which is best for you and your employees, always pick the aid that will help you and your employees the most, not one or the other. Since the applications for the PPP were suspended on April 17th of this year, this will now dictate your choice of what is available to you and your company. As the country slowly begins to reopen, pay close attention to how this will affect your business. You may be able to go back to work at full capacity, and you may not. There could potentially be more aid coming, we will just have to wait and see what the coming weeks will bring. If you and your company have been unable to receive any kind of benefits, keep your eyes open for this opportunity.
These have been difficult and confusing times. You aren't wrong in feeling overwhelmed and confused. We where are here to support you, Summerville. You are not alone in your fight. Also don't forget, if you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Even though the curve hasn't flattened as much as we'd like, and we've spent a lot of time focusing on staying safe at the moment, it's time to start thinking about the future. Your company is going to overcome all of this, and we are going to talk about how!
April was gone in a flash wasn't it, Summerville? Time has a very strange and unique way of passing. It's been hard keeping the days in order. Thankfully, working from home or with a small staff in our offices has helped us keep track. Can you believe that tax day came and went with so little attention this year? That's right! Tax day has officially been moved to July 15th! If you haven't paid and filed your taxes yet, that's ok! You still have time to do so. But, we do recommend filing your taxes sooner rather than later. This will help with refunds, getting your stimulus checks, and possibly speeding your small business loan applications up. Do what you can for your small business now to help your company in the coming months.
Although things are still unknown in the current market and our personal lives, it's time to start thinking ahead. We've spent our last few blogs sharing tips and suggestions on how to keep your employees safe, how the pandemic might affect your small business, the realities of your stimulus checks, but now it's time to start preparing for the beyond. It's a heavy truth that life as we've known it could be very different after all of this settles. But, we still want your company and the future of your company to be strong and prosperous. So, let's be hopeful and work towards that, together. As the best tax accountant in Summerville, we hope these tips and suggestions help you as we move forward in this very strange and uncharted time.
All of the financial help and small business loans that have been created and promises may or may not come through for your company. Some companies have received these benefits, while some might never see a cent of help. It's constantly changing, and we aren't sure what these new changes could or couldn't mean. We are following the news just as closely for these updates. Hang in there. This pandemic has affected every industry, and the best way to get through this is to stand strong and to support one another. We are here for you, Summerville. Take these tips to heart, they could help you in the long run.
We understand your concerns and worries. We hope this list inspires you to keep working and to keep your hopes up. We will get through this and will continue to work hard together. Also don't forget, if you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
During one of the worst times in recent history, scams should be the last thing we should be worrying about. But, the truth of the matter is that new scams surrounding the stimulus checks and government bailout programs for small businesses are starting to come to life daily, and are more powerful than ever before.
Almost all of us have been anxiously awaiting the financial relief checks since the approval of the COVID-19 Relief Bill was passed. When will they get here? Who will receive them? How much will you get? On top of all these questions its a sad fact to share that during this terrifying time when we should all be standing together, stronger parties are trying to take advantage of those who have been the most affected by this devastating pandemic. Following in the footsteps of our recent blog about social security scams, we wanted to do a followup blog on the very real reality and the possibility of scams and frauds appearing right now. They could look like the relief checks, the key to getting your check quicker, small business loans, loans to help out larger companies, and even promising the cure for the pandemic all in exchange for your personal information.
Waking up every day to the news right now is difficult. The unknowns are overwhelming and the lines to get toilet paper are still ridiculous. In this time that has brought so many of us together, it is almost impossible to think that yet another attack could be upon us. While many are still working or now working from home, the hauntingly large numbers of those who are now facing unemployment due to the coronavirus are staggering. This is leaving thousands upon thousands of people without a paycheck, unable to provide for their families or even pay their simple bills. Businesses, even if they are still operating on a very small level or have been forced to close or made the conscious decision to close, are also losing money by the day. When the news came that the stimulus package had been approved and relief checks would soon be on their way, a collective sigh of relief was felt among all of us. New small business loans and other relief options for companies are now in place as well. We all will slowly be getting back on our feet, in very small steps one way or another. But, while we wait for these checks, scammers could be and are now rearing their very ugly heads saying that they have your funds and to receive them you must supply them with very personal and private information. Let us stop you right now, and say that is NOT how the stimulus checks will be handled.
You, the American citizen, don't have to do anything or file any kind of paperwork or to receive your stimulus check. The economic impact payment will automatically be deposited into your bank account that was connected to your 2018 and 2019 tax returns. Even if you have received your tax returns in the past as a paper check, the IRS will still deposit the funds into the account they have on file for you automatically. They will also calculate the amount you need based on your income over your 2018 and 2019 tax returns and your personal need. You won't have to do any calculations or send in any kind of paperwork. The IRS will not be contacting you in any way. The IRS did just announce that they will be releasing a brand new website that will allow you to see the status of your stimulus check when it will arrive, and it will also allow you to check the bank account or it is headed to. If there is a problem with the bank account number, you will need to change that right away on the IRS website. The IRS is making updates to their website almost daily, so if you have any questions make sure you visit their website.
We hate that these scams and schemes are very real right now. Since they are, we wanted to make sure that you are on high alert. All of these warnings also apply to small businesses and companies receiving financial support during this time. Please take comfort in the fact that the Department of Justice is forming a legal and integrative response to deal with these frauds. The US Attorney General's office has also developed a special task force along with appointed COVID-19 fraud coordinators to help deal with this situation. Here in the Lowcountry and throughout the state of South Carolina, our District US Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr has also stated that his office and the department of justice are making this type of fraud a priority.
Scary times can become scarier. But, we are here to help all of you through it. Stay alert, stay safe, and stay home. We will get through this Summerville, we know it!
Working In New Spaces
The coronavirus has changed the way we live our lives. It has changed our daily schedules, where and how we work, and has changed the face of education for our children. For parents working from home for the very first time while their children in school are also working from home, the landscape of living and working together has been altered. What does this mean for parents and their children and how can they be the most successful in these times of change?
So much has changed within the last few weeks since our last blog post about how small businesses and corporations need to operate during this time of crisis. It continues to change the work world so much, that we wanted to follow that blog up by discussing just how much COVID-19 is changing and affecting the lives of everyone in the working world down to the youngest of your family. One of the biggest reliefs and changes during this time is the 90-day deferment on taxes for everyone, allowing both individuals and corporations to pay and file their taxes on July 15th instead of April 15th. But, with that relief, comes a bit of a struggle. Many of us are working from home for the very first time and with children our children that are school-aged or younger. Going from the office to our home offices, kitchen tables, or couches has been a huge shift, especially if you're working alongside your son or daughter as they are virtually taking classes and sending in assignments in brand new ways themselves. Thankfully, you don't have to worry about your small business or corporation meeting tax deadlines for a few more months while you're getting adjusted. The biggest adjustment is working from home, being productive, and trying not to drive one another crazy!
As COVID-19 changes the guidelines on how to work, we wanted to break it down to the individuals affected by these huge changes and to share some tips and suggestions on how to successfully make this transition productive both to your company and to your well being. Without the latter, your work and productivity could suffer. So, let's get to work!
Every family, personal work space, and your job at hand is unique and different. Through this unknown time, you'll have to find what works best for you. These suggestions might be the perfect solution to your learning curve, or they might be the complete opposite. Take these as stepping stones, and continue to see what works for you and your family. In the end, whatever works for your family is the right way. There is no right or wrong way, there will just need to be a lot of trial and error until you reach a comfortable level of living. Hopefully, by then, life will be back to normal, or as close to it as possible!
One of the most consistent things we have seen to be successful for working parents and their children is to stay on schedule. The key is to create a schedule for this new way of living and to stick to it. This applies to both parent and child. All of this will depend on how old your child is and what their needs are, but living as consistently to your life before moving home is very important. Begin by waking up at the same time, get ready and dressed for the day, and eat breakfast at the same time. The temptation to sleep in, stay in the same PJs for days and eat whatever whenever is going to be a huge temptation. Don't fall into that trap! We aren't saying you need to get dressed to the nines or dress your children for picture day. The key is to change out of your PJs every morning and into another outfit that makes both you and your kids feel productive and normal as possible. Then, we recommend creating a schedule for your students for the whole day, not just during school hours. This will help them stay adjusted to their normal school day, stay on top of their expectations of getting homework done and studying completed, and allocate their free time. This way their grades don't drop while they are spending all of their time watching TV, playing video games, or on their phones. Keep them on a schedule that will create your workday too, one that allows you to stay close to your schedule too. For our parents with young children, keep them on a schedule as much as possible and one that is as close to what they have been living with. Take advantage of nap time, quiet playtime, and lunchtime as your work hours. You might need to get a little creative, and that's ok!
It will be very important to sit your family down and talk about what's happening in the world and what these changes mean for everyone. The situation will change expectations, free time, and it will also mean spending all of your time together during work and play hours. You will also need to communicate with your boss, employees, and colleagues that they might need to be more flexible because of your new work situation with your children. Express that your children could walk into a work call or video meeting at any time, and you might need to get up and leave to answer an emergency or a baby crying at any time. If anything, mention this often so it is never a surprise and not something that is forgotten by anyone. This is also the time to set boundaries with your kids. This might mean allowing them more TV, video game, and screen time to give you more space and time to get work done. If that is the case, explain to them that this extra free time is a treat and that everything will return to normal once work and school go back to their normal schedule. Set boundaries, especially for your school-aged children, and let them know when they can come into your work space, and when they can only come in when it is an absolute emergency.
During this crazy time, create a system that allows you to work and allows you to still be a family. Take breaks together from work and school to exercise together, take a car ride, or walk the dog together while still practicing social distancing. When work and school are over for the day, make sure they are over for the day. Separate work from play with the whole family, unless you have to finish a job or a project. Keeping regular dinner hours, family game or movie nights, and beyond are very important. Spending time together as a family is very needed. But, allotting yourself adult time is very important as well. It is also important to parent as a team and juggle these new schedule changes and learning curves together. Share the normal household tasks like you never have before. Switch places creating the daily schedule, serving as a teacher for the day, and even switch giving your partner the night off. Allow your partner to not have to worry about household chores or the necessary grocery trip if they're slammed with work, and let them repay the favor to you when you're swamped with work. You can even switch shifts throughout the day, whatever works for you!
This is an unknown time full of uncharted territory. Maintaining a sense of balance, normality, and regularity is the key to staying productive as a business owner and the head of a successful family. It may seem impossible at first, but keep working. You will figure out what works best for you. Remember to stay smart, keep following the WHO guidelines, and to wash your hands!
The Pathways Team