Coronavirus/COVID-19

Coronavirus and Cash Shortfalls – What Can You Do to Mitigate the Effects of Coronavirus on Your Organization’s Financial Health?

The coronavirus is having a direct effect – financial and otherwise – on nearly every business.  While the long-term effects of the global pandemic will be significant and far-reaching, the short-term financial consequences to businesses, due to expected cash shortfalls, could make the difference in a company’s survival.  Here are four areas that businesses should review that could impact – and potentially improve – their financial situation:

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Massachusetts Suspends State Permitting Deadlines

On March 26, 2020, Governor Baker issued Executive Order No. 17 as part of his continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This order suspends or tolls deadlines related to permits being sought or pending before state permit agencies that report to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, such as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, which could include developments being planned under G.L. c. 40B.
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Tax Credits Offered to Employees Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) was signed into law on March 18, The Act authorizes certain relief to businesses pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, including tax credits to employers to help offset the cost of wages to employees taking time off under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
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Update: New Effective Date for Paid Sick Leave and Paid Emergency FMLA Provision in Families First Coronavirus Response Act

We previously provided guidance regarding paid sick time and leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employers take note: recently released guidance from the Department of Labor has clarified that the Act will go into effect on April 1, not April 2 as the legislation implied.
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Reserve Bank of India Press Conference – Financial relief measures amid Covid-19 pandemic

The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) Governor Shri. Shaktikanta Das, during the press conference today, announced various measures to increase liquidity and ease banking regulations during the challenging times and to safeguard country’s economy from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic related lockdowns.

The key highlights of the announcements made are as follows:

  • The Monetary Policy Committee reduced the repo rate by 75 basis points and reverse repo rate by 90 basis points.
  • The RBI will conduct auctions of Targeted longer-term refinancing operations of up to three-year tenor of appropriate sizes for a total amount up to Rs. 1 lakh crore at a floating rate, linked to policy repo rate.
  • The cash reserve ratio of all banks to be reduced by 100 basis points to 3 percent beginning March 28th, 2020 for a year. This cut down will release liquidity of Rs. 1,37,000 crores across the banking system.
  • The Marginal Standing Facility (MSR) raised from 2 percent of Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) to 3 percent with immediate effect and shall be applicable up to June 30th, 2020.
  • The RBI Governor declared that the above liquidity measures will inject liquidity of Rs 3.74 lakh crores to the Indian economic system.
  • All lending institutions and banks are being permitted to allow a moratorium of three months on repayment of installments for term loans outstanding as on March 1st, 2020.
  • The lending institutions also permitted to allow deferment of three months on payment of interest w.r.t all such working capital facilities outstanding as of March 1st, 2020.
  • The RBI Governor stated that moratorium on term loans and deferment of interest payment will not result in asset classification downgrade.
  • Further deferring implementation of last tranche of 0.625 percent of capital conservation buffer to September 30th, 2020.
  • The banks in India that operate IFSC banking units allowed to participate in offshore INR NDF market w.e.f. June 1st, 2020.
The RBI Governor further stated that the projections of growth and inflation as the outlook are heavily dependent on the spread and containment of the virus. He further said that RBI will continue to remain vigilant and take whatever steps needed to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 and maintain financial stability in the country.
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Relief for EPFO subscribers amid COVID-19 lockdown

On 26th March 2020, Union Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman while unveiling a comprehensive relief package amounting to INR 1.7 lakh crores in a bid to cushion the low-income group and marginalized people from the impact of the pandemic Covid-19 lockdown and its consequential economic disruption, also announced some relief to workers and employers in the organized sector.
Under the package, the Union Government will pay both employer and employee’s contribution (12 percent each), put together 24 percent, towards the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) for the next 3 (three) months. However, the move will benefit and cover only those establishments having upto 100 employees, of which not less than 90 percent earns less than INR 15,000/- monthly.
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IRS Defers Tax Payment and Filing Obligations Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has deferred both income tax payments and income tax filings to July 15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing the deadline three months later than the standard April 15, 2020 deadline.

The full Notice 2020-18 (Notice) can be viewed here. Additionally, the IRS has supplemented the Notice with a series of Frequently Asked Questions (IRS FAQs) that are located on the IRS website.

Click here to read the full Alert   >>

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New Jersey Extends Benefits and Protections to Workers Impacted by COVID-19

On March 25, 2020, by signing legislative bill S2304 into law, Governor Philip Murphy expanded the availability of benefits under the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance (“TDI”) and Family Leave Insurance (“FLI”) programs to employees impacted by epidemic-related illnesses such as COVID-19.  The new law (“Law”) provides numerous key changes to the existing statutory scheme for state-issued disability insurance benefits, family leave insurance benefits, and use of accrued paid sick time.

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Covid-19 in Latvia: The latest regulation provides for idle time benefits and tax holidays up to 3 years for all companies with 30% or in certain cases 20% drop in turnover, regardless of industry

On 26 March 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted criteria and procedures for receiving idle time benefits and maturity breakdown of tax payments or a deferral of up to three years for any company affected by Covid-19 crisis.

Rights to receive crisis benefits and tax holidays

The criteria for employers and tax payers affected by Covid-19, to receive idle time benefit and tax holidays up to three years are as follows:

1. turnover has decreased by at least 30% (compared to March or April 2019); or
2. turnover in March or April 2020 (compared to March or April 2019) has decreased by at least 20% and the company meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • the company’s exports amount to 10% of its total turnover in 2019 or at least EUR 500,000;
  •  the average monthly gross salary paid by the company in 2019 was at least EUR 800;
  • long-term investments in fixed assets as at 31 December 2019 were at least EUR 500,000.
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LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR DIGITAL HEALTH – TELEMEDICINE PRACTICE GUIDELINES

In a significant move, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (“MoHFW”) on March 25, 2020 has issued the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines (“Guidelines”) for enabling Registered Medical Practitioners (“RMPs”) to provide healthcare using telemedicine. As per the Guidelines, ‘telemedicine’ is the delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all the healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.

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