Legislative Update – July 29,2020
New Stimulus Bill in the Works
Senate Republicans just unveiled the initial draft of a trillion dollar stimulus bill. While the bill will require negotiation with Senate Democrats and is expected to undergo significant modification, there are several components that are positive, particularly for employers. Therefore, we want to share what we know about the bill so far and give you an idea of where things seem to be headed.
New WOTC Target Group
The bill includes a newly created WOTC target group: 2020 Covid-19 Unemployment Recipients. This is defined as someone who was receiving unemployment insurance in the week they were hired or in the previous week. The time period for eligibility is from the enactment date of the bill until January 1, 2021. The credit amount is up to $5,000 per qualified individual (50% of the first $10,000 in wages paid). If approved in the final bill, this additional tax credit would be significant. As of June 18th, there were 20 million people, or about 15% of all wages paid in the US, in this group.
An All New Safe and Healthy Workplace Credit
The proposal bill also calls for the creation of a new tax credit called “The Safe and Healthy Workplace Credit.” The bill creates a temporary tax incentive through the end of 2020 to help businesses defray costs for testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and reconfiguring workplaces. This would apply to every type of business; from storefront to manufacturing plants; offices to health-care facilities.
This program is designed to promote and enable our employers to take the federal and state recommended steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in their workplaces. This helps businesses afford these costs so they can bring back their employees quickly while alleviating the fears of spreading the virus. The refundable tax credit against payroll taxes is for costs incurred by the business for Covid-19 safety costs, such as testing, PPE, reconfiguring, and technology. The credit is limited to $1,000 per employee for the first 500 employees, $750 per employee for the next 500 employees, and $500 for each employee thereafter.
For example, a retail store with 40 workers seeks to resume providing jobs and services to its community — the challenge is how to do so safely…
In order to reconfigure their store to help maintain social distancing, provide adequate sanitation stations, and implement other protocols to ensure their workers are safe at work, they spend $60,000. These dollars go toward PPE, screening/testing, disinfecting, and plexiglass shields. That company would receive a $30,000 tax credit against its federal payroll taxes. If that credit exceeds their payroll tax obligations, the company receives a refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
New Workplace Safety Screening Solution – coming soon!
We are delighted to inform you that the Walton team is collaborating with some of our partners to develop and launch new products geared to help businesses reopen safely and reduce the risks associated with exposure to the Coronavirus. Our solution will monitor temperatures and screen all employees daily prior to entry and deliver detailed contact-tracing intelligence to help companies track and minimize potential exposure risks. Stay tuned for more info…
Negotiations will begin and continue through the first week of August, so we can expect to see a vote in the Senate by middle of August. As your trusted advisor, we will continue to keep you abreast of critical developments and changes as things progress.