JEDE COVID-19 Update - April 10 2020

MAJOR COVID-19 ACTIONS

  • California Legislature Convenes COVID-19 Hearings:

    • Joint House Announcement:  The California State Assembly and the Senate announced that they will be convening hearings over the next two weeks to oversee the Administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These hearings will be undertaken under the auspicious of the respective budget committees.

    • California State Senate Establishes COVID-19 Subcommittee:  Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) announced that she has created the Senate Special Budget Subcommittee on COVID-19 Response, a bipartisan committee led by Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.  The Subcommittee’s first meeting is next week.  https://sd39.senate.ca.gov/news/20200409-senate-leader-atkins-creates-subcommittee-state’s-covid-19-response-first-hearing  

  • April 10 Property Tax Deadline:

  • Supplemental Unemployment Payments on the Way:  Governor Newsom announced that beginning this Sunday (April 12), California workers who are receiving unemployment benefits will receive an extra $600 on top of their weekly amount, as part of the new Pandemic Additional Compensation (PAC) initiated by the CARES Act.  Announcement: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/09/governor-newsom-announces-additional-unemployment-benefits-for-workers-impacted-by-covid-19-as-unemployment-claims-reach-record-levels/  Information on PAC unemployment insurance benefits:  https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/09/governor-newsom-announces-additional-unemployment-benefits-for-workers-impacted-by-covid-19-as-unemployment-claims-reach-record-levels/

  • Economic Impact Payments for Non-Tax Filers:  The IRS launched a new tool to help non-federal tax filers register for Economic Impact Payments. This new web tool is designed to allow “quick registration” for Economic Impact Payments for those who do not normally file a federal tax return, including those with too little income to file. The feature is available only on www.irs.gov.   Key information:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here   Link to the online tool for individuals who do not normally file federal income taxes:  https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd/EconomicImpactPayment

  • Preparations Continue in Dispersing Health Workers Across the State:  Governor Newsom announced the state is entering into partnerships with airlines to provide free round-trip flights for volunteer medical professionals from across California and the country who join the state’s health care workforce.  https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/09/governor-newsom-announces-new-program-to-provide-front-line-health-care-workers-with-hotel-rooms/

  • Upgrades to Payment Protection Program: The federal bank regulatory agencies announced an interim final rule to encourage lending to small businesses through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.  The PPP, established by the CARES Act, provides loans through private financial institutions to small businesses. The interim final rule modifies the agencies’ capital rules to neutralize the regulatory capital effects of participating in the Federal Reserve’s PPP facility because there is no credit or market risk in association with PPP loans pledged to the facility.  Consistent with the agencies’ current capital rules and the CARES Act requirements, the interim final rule also clarifies that a zero percent risk weight applies to loans covered by the PPP for capital purposes.  The rule is effective immediately.  Interim Final Rule: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2020/pr20050a.pdf?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery  

  • Health and Safety of Critical Workers:

  • Free and Low-Cost Hotels for Health Workers:  Governor Newsom announced a new program to provide doctors, nurses and other critical front-line health care workers access to no-cost or low-cost hotel rooms, as well as no cost air fare for health care professional travel across California and the country to join California’s state healthcare workforce. The program will prioritize health care workers who come in direct contact with or are suspected of having direct contact with COVID-19 patients, or who test positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospitalization.  By providing hotel rooms in close proximity to medical facilities, health care workers can avoid potentially spreading the virus once leaving their shift by selecting to stay in one of the pre-identified hotels across the state. The state has already identified 150 hotels that have opted in to provide discounted rates, and more hotels are encouraged to sign up. If hotels want to participate, they can email covid19lodging@dgs.ca.gov.  Announcement:  https://www.covid19.ca.gov/

  • IRS Tax Extensions and New Guidance:

    • IRS Guidance on Net Operating Losses:  The April 9, 2020, IRS Newswire, IR-2020-67, announced issuance of  Revenue Procedure 2020-24, which provides guidance to taxpayers with net operating losses that are carried back under the CARES Act provisions.  Procedure:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-20-24.pdf

    • IRS Guidance on Partnerships:  On April 8, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Procedure 2020-23, allowing eligible partnerships to file amended partnership returns.  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-20-23.pdf

    • IRS Extends Additional Federal Tax Deadlines:  The US Department of Treasury and the IRS released Notice 2020-23 (PDF) on April 9, 2020, which extends additional key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses.  https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-extends-more-tax-deadlines-to-cover-ind... Last month, the IRS announced that taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay federal income taxes originally due on April 15 with no late-filing penalty, late-payment penalty or interest charged.  Notice 2020-23 expands this relief to additional returns, tax payments and other actions. As a result, the extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers qualify for the extra time. The IRS states, “this means that anyone, including Americans who live and work abroad, can now wait until July 15 to file their 2019 federal income tax return and pay any tax due.”

  • Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program:  The Department of Housing has extended 2020 Community Development Block Grant applications as follows:

ASSESSMENTS OF COVID-19 PROGRAMS

OTHER ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
 

  • Update on the Port of Los Angeles:  Maintaining national and global supply chains are an essential economic activity.  The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) sends the following update.

    • The port is open and operations are normal with 13 ships in port today: 8 container, 2 liquid bulk, 1 refrigerated bulk, 1 cruise, and USNS Mercy.

    • Seven Seas cruise ship is in port on April 9 for fuel and stores.

    • Cargo volumes were down 30.9% in March 2020 compared to March 2019.  For the first quarter of 2020, volumes have decreased 18.5% compared to 2019. This is the lowest amount of monthly cargo moving through the Port since February 2009.

    • In April, POLA anticipates an uptick in freight moving through the port. There had been a lot of inventory in the country prior to the COVID-19 crisis and those inventories kept the supply chain flowing.  Those supplies need to be replenished and China’s manufacturing sector is coming back online.  To accommodate this, POLA says it needs to evacuate the empty containers which are beginning to stack up.

    • Gene Seroka has been leading the Logistics Victory (LoVLA) effort as the city’s Chief Logistics Officer, in addition to his role as POLA Executive Director.  This effort assists local hospitals in obtaining the vital supplies. The website for LoVLA (www.LOVLA.org) is now live.  Numerous POLA employees are engaged in supporting this effort.  

    • A new video message was released by the POLA Executive Director on April 9, which focuses on the essential work of the supply chain workforce, Port activity in the second quarter of 2020, and the USNS Mercy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzKt3FIdSs  News releases: https://www.portoflosangeles.org/about/news-and-media/news-releases 

  • EU Reach COVID-19 Funding Package:  The European Union (EU) approved a COVID-19 response package of €15.6 billion ($17.6 billion), which responds to the short-term needs of partner countries, as well as the longer term structural impacts on their economies.  The package blends financial resources from the EU, its member states, and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.  The approved finance package also supports other regions around the world confront the COVID-19 pandemic, including Asia and the Pacific (€1.22 billion), Africa (€3.25 billion), the Caribbean and Pacific region, Latin America and the Caribbean (€918 million). 

  • Historic Number of People File for Unemployment:  Over 16.8 million Americans filed for unemployment in the past three weeks as the coronavirus relentlessly savages the economy. In the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 6,606,000, a decrease of 261,000 from the previous week's revised level. DOL Release: https://www.dol.gov/  News Coverage:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-unemployment/u-s-jobless-claims-exceed-six-million-for-second-week-in-a-row-idUSKCN21R0GT

  • Hard Working EDD:  In the last four weeks, California has processed about 2.3 million unemployment insurance claims, which is more than the total number of claims filed in 2019. Just for the week ending on Saturday, April 4, 2020, EDD processed 925,450 claims, which is a 2,418% increase over the same week last year.  Additionally, EDD paid a total of nearly $684.3 million in unemployment benefits to Californians in need in the last four weeks, supporting families and their local economies. https://edd.ca.gov/newsroom.htm 

  • Digital Government Services:  The shift to remote work is accelerating the need for the digital transformation of governments.  Governing is distributing a fact sheet illustrating digital best practices. 

  • Federal Economic Impact Payments:  The IRS is hosting this page to provide general information about Economic Impact Payments:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center

  • Update on FEDERAL Income Tax Filings:  While federal income taxes may be filed and paid as late as July 15, the IRS reports that as of April 3, the IRS received over 97.4 million tax returns and issued over $213 billion in refunds.  Current IRS Filing Options: https://www.irs.gov/filing 

    • Paper Tax Returns: All taxpayers should file electronically through their tax preparer, tax software provider or IRS Free File if possible.  IRS Free File Link:  https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free

    • Paper Returns Previously Filed:  The IRS is not currently able to process individual paper tax returns. According to the IRS, “If you already have filed via paper but it has not yet been processed, do not file a second tax return or write to the IRS to inquire about the status of your return or your economic impact payment. Paper returns will be processed   once processing centers are able to reopen.”  (IRS Newswire IR-2020-68)

    • Ordering Forms: The IRS’s National Distribution Center is closed until further notice. Most forms and publications are available for download electronically at www.IRS.gov/forms.

    • Questions about Federal Income Taxes: The IRS says that the best source for tax law questions, checks on refund status, and tax payments is www.irs.gov.  Taxpayers may also use the IRS automated phone lines: 800-829-1954.  While some tax compliance lines remain available, customer service representatives for both taxpayers and tax professionals are not staffed at this time. 

    • Payments:  Taxpayers also can make tax payments through Direct Pay. Taxes due must be paid by July 15. https://www.irs.gov/filing

    • Refunds:  Taxpayers can check their refund status at Where’s My Refund? (https://www.irs.gov/refunds). This webpage has an option for taxpayers to check the status of their refund using a cell phone.

 

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