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Disaster Relief for Recent Hurricane Areas

On September 29th, President Trump signed into law H.R. 3823 — Disaster Tax Relief and Airport Airway Extension Act of 2017 to aid individuals and businesses impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Section 503 of the Act provides relief to businesses in the form of a retention tax credit to employers if the employee’s place of employment was inoperable and located in disaster zones ending on December 31, 2017 and starting on the following dates:

  • August 23, 2017 (Hurricane Harvey)
  • September 4, 2017 (Hurricane Irma)
  • September 16, 2017 (Hurricane Maria)

Continue reading “Disaster Relief for Recent Hurricane Areas”

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The Cares Act Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security text on sign man is holding

CARES Act – Signed into Law

CARES Act – Signed into Law

On Friday, March 27, President Donald Trump signed the “Coronavirus and Economic Security Act” (also known as the CARES Act) into law, after a voice-vote approval earlier that day by the U.S. House of Representatives and an unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday of last week. The CARES Act, estimated at $2.2T is the largest economic stimulus ever approved in the history of our country. The stimulus bill delivers extraordinary spending to confront the country’s disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including cash payments to individual citizens, enhancements and expansions to unemployment benefits, a broad lending program for small businesses and targeted relief for hard-hit industries.

Here are some of the highlights:

Federal Loans and Grants for Businesses with Less Than 500 Employees

  • available for employers that maintained their staff between February 15 and June 30, 2020.
  • loan amount is 250% of average monthly payroll during that time frame, up to $10MM

Cash Assistance

  • Individuals earning less than $75,000 per year will receive $1,200 plus $500 per child.
  • Amount is prorated for individuals whose adjusted income in their most recent tax filing is over $75,000 and up to $99,000.
  • Individuals whose adjusted gross income is over $99,000 are excluded.

Unemployment Benefits

  • Individuals entitled to receive unemployment benefits would get an extra $600 per week for up to four months in addition to their state unemployment benefits, in an effort to make up for 100% of lost wages.
  • It also expands the maximum time limit from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.

Loans to Select Industries ($500 billion)

  • $58 billion in loans and grants for airlines
  • reprieve on their three major excise taxes (ticket price, fuel, and cargo tax)
  • $17 billion in loans and loan guarantees for businesses critical to maintaining national security
  • $454 billion for loan and loan guarantees for eligible businesses, states, and municipalities

Financial Aid to Hospitals

  • health care providers would receive grants for revenue lost by delaying elective surgeries and other procedures to focus on combatting the outbreak
  • 20% increase in Medicare payments for treating patients with COVID-19

In addition, the CARES Act includes a host of other benefits and relief programs designed to help our schools, the agriculture industry, distilleries, food stamps, and child-nutrition programs, the postal service, and the cruise industry; to name a few.

As your trusted advisor, Walton is committed to staying on top of important developments and communicating important information that may impact the companies we serve as well as our business partners.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act — Signed into Law

H.R. 6201 — Enacted this Week

The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R. 6201) was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 18, 2020. The bill is intended to provide immediate relief to Americans financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Overview of Relief Bill

FMLA Expansion for COVID-19

The Act amends the FMLA to allow an employee who is unable to work (or telework) to take leave due to a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter (under 18 years of age) if the child’s elementary or secondary school or place of care has been closed, or the child-care provider is unavailable, due to a “public-health emergency.” A public-health emergency means an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a federal, state, or local authority.

Unlike the original bill, the closure of the child’s school or child care facility is the only reason allowed under the added FMLA provisions, and the only reason allowed for paid leave under the FMLA.

Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19

The Act also adds a paid sick-leave obligation. Employers with fewer than 500 employees must immediately make available 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees (or the equivalent of the average number of hours over two weeks for part-time employees) for the following reasons (which are slightly different than the original bill):

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-10 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).
  5. The employee is caring for their son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child-care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Amount of Pay

Under the FMLA provisions, when leave is needed due to a school or day-care closure, the employer can provide the first 10 days of leave unpaid, then subsequent absences for this reason must be paid at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay. The Act includes a cap of $200 per day and $10,000 in aggregate. If the first 10 days are unpaid, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical/sick leave for the unpaid leave.

Paid sick leave is paid at the employee’s regular rate for a use described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3); and 2/3 of an employee’s regular rate for a use described in paragraph (4), (5), or (6). Paid sick leave is also capped: $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for a use described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3); and $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for a use described in paragraph (4), (5), or (6).

Effective Date

Both the proposed FMLA changes and the proposed sick leave take effect no later than 15 days after enactment and would remain in place until the end of 2020.

For More Information:

Click on this link to view the entire bill.

Congress is working diligently on a third-phase relief. As we navigate through these challenging times, Walton continues to closely monitor legislative developments associated with COVID-19 relief and maintaining our clients and partners abreast of important updates.

As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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Benestream Announces Partnership with Walton to Bring New Cost-Savings Program to Businesses

Partnership combines Walton’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit platform with BeneStream’s Medicaid Migration™ product.

New York, NY, June 1, 2016 – BeneStream today announced a partnership with Walton, a leading provider of tax credit and incentive consulting services. This relationship will enable the seamless incorporation of BeneStream’s signature product, Medicaid Migration™ into Walton’s award-winning Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) screening technology platform.

BeneStream is a health technology company that reduces costs for businesses by connecting qualified employees to government benefits including Medicaid for the Workplace and CHIP. Walton identifies, secures, and administers Federal and State tax credit and incentive (TCI) opportunities for business ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to promising new ventures.

“Our goal is to help our clients maximize the myriad of tax credit, and discretionary and statutory incentive opportunities afforded by the federal, state, and local governments to encourage their growth and success,” said Phil Ownbey, Walton. “We are committed to working with best-in-class industry leaders and BeneStream’s Medicaid Migration™ is the type of innovative product that Walton is proud to bring to our clients and integrate with our products.”

Businesses should think of WOTC and Medicaid as complementary benefits since they impact similar groups of employees. Walton is a driving force within the WOTC industry, and we are excited to combine our efforts to benefit businesses everywhere. Our product reduces costs for our clients while lowering turnover and providing quality benefits to employees,” said Ben Geyerhahn, CEO of BeneStream.

Medicaid Migration™ saves employees the cost of insuring qualified employees by helping them access affordable, quality health coverage. An employee in a household of four earning up to $33,500 may qualify for Medicaid. WOTC targets individuals in a similar population. Eligible individuals may include welfare and food stamp recipients as well as veterans who are re-entering the work force. By integrating Medicaid screening questions into its WOTC platform, Walton can easily screen and identify candidates who qualify for WOTC as well as for potential health insurance through Medicaid.

Walton’s WOTC screening solutions save employers up to $9,600 per eligible employee, and average Medicaid Migration™ savings can range from $4,000 to $10,000 per employee annually.

About BeneStream — The Medical Migration™ Company

BeneStream provides businesses with innovative, cost-saving products and services by connecting their qualified employees to government benefits. The company’s exclusive product, “Medicaid Migration™, delivers proven savings to employers by moving qualified employees onto free government-sponsored health insurance.

About Walton

Walton delivers the most advanced tax credits screening solution to employers across all industries. Unlike other providers, Walton has successfully maintained a sole focus on tax credits and incentives for over 35 years, delivering unparalleled tax savings using state-0f-the-art integrated technology. Walton’s WOTC technology platform was recently named as one of the Top 10 emerging technologies by the American Staffing Association.



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Mississippi Businesses Benefit from Major Economic Impact Act

Certified businesses that construct a plant engaged in the manufacture of tiers or other related rubber or automotive products and enterprises owning or operating maritime fabrication and assembly facilities are eligible for up to 25 years in exemptions against corporate income tax arising from the project. Continue reading “Mississippi Businesses Benefit from Major Economic Impact Act”

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tax reform stamp

2016 Tax Reform to be Considered by House Ways and Means Committee

According to a press release on January 19, 2016, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced that the Committee will hold its first hearing of the year Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

The hearing will focus on pro-growth policies that will help create jobs, increase paychecks, and expand opportunities. The Ways and Means Committee’s priorities for 2016 largely follow those already laid out by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI), who wants the committee to focus on reforming the tax code, repealing the Affordable Care Act, opening trade possibilities, and reforming welfare programs.

According to George L. Yaksick, Jr., Walters Kluwer News Staff, earlier in January, speaking at an event in Washington D.C., Brady called for a “fairer, flatter, simpler tax code.” He added that he wants to close unspecified loopholes and ease the tax burden on small businesses. Brady has also indicated that he will oppose higher taxes on U.S. energy production.

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Georgia Qualified Education Expense Credit Cap Announced

As of January 4, 2016, the Georgia qualified education expense credit cap of $58 million for calendar year 2016 already has been reached. All applications received on January 4, 2016 were prorated down to $58 million. The proration percentage is anticipated to be 53.36%. The Department is in the process of mailing pre-approval letters for applications received and denial letters for applications received after the cap had been reached. Taxpayers may begin submitting applications for the 2017 tax year on January 3, 2017.

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success sprout coming out of cracked earth

Tax Credit Extenders Renewal Continues to Move Forward

H.R. 2029 has been amended with the The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act to both renew and expand various credit programs. In particular, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program (WOTC) will be renewed for a period of 5 years, with a retroactive start date of January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2019. Also included in the renewal of WOTC is an expansion in which a new target group has been added to the existing 9 groups. The new target group is the long-term unemployment recipient, which includes individuals who have been receiving federal or state unemployment compensation for a period of at least 27 consecutive weeks prior to their hiring.

Other incentives included in the amendment are the New Market Tax Credit program, also renewed for a period of 5 years, as well as the Indian Employment Tax Credit program and Empowerment Zone program, which are both renewed until December 31, 2016, and Research and Development Tax Credit program, which is made permanent by this amendment.

It is expected that the House will be voting on the amendment most likely on Thursday.

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