Preparing in times of uncertainty requires agility. E. Cohen is proactively addressing the operations, processes, and guidance changes as they arise. This memo is to provide a comprehensive update on the efforts being made to maintain operations and provide exceptional service during the COVID-19 health emergency. As noted in our previous memo, the health and safety of our employees and clients are of paramount importance. We have activated components of our business continuity plan and our operations team continues to guide our response to this evolving situation. Below, we’ve outlined how we are working to maintain operations during these trying times:
To comply with state and federal directives we have limited the number of staff working in the building to essential staff critical to maintaining firm operations. All other staff have been instructed to work remotely and remain highly available. We will continue to work this way until state and federal authorities allow us to resume normal operation.
To minimize the risk of exposure we are urging clients to interact with us electronically. If you need to send documents securely, you may do so through our document management portal. Secure email is also an option, but we urge clients to use encryption and password protection when transmitting sensitive information. Clients may also send us documents by way of Federal Express or UPS. For our local clients, couriers may also be used to pick-up and delivery documents. Where possible, all meetings should be conducted using Skype or telephone.
The IRS announced earlier this week that taxpayers and businesses will have until July 15, 2020 to pay their taxes this year, but the filing deadline is still April 15, for now. We expect most states to issue their own guidance soon. Maryland announced the extension of business-related tax filing deadlines. The June 1st extension applies to certain business returns with due dates during the months of March, April and May 2020 for businesses filing sales and use tax, withholding tax, and admissions & amusement tax, as well as alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel excise taxes, tire recycling fee and bay restoration fee returns. Business taxpayers who file and pay by the extended due date will receive a waiver of interest and penalties. Maryland will conform to the decision of the IRS to extend the April 15th filing deadline for corporate and individual income tax returns. The Commonwealth of Virginia and District of Columbia have not yet issued official guidance. Although nothing is certain, we expect these jurisdictions to conform to the decision of the IRS. Even with the prospect of shifting deadlines, we must operate as though the deadlines remain the same. Please contact your E. Cohen practitioner with any questions regarding these changes and how they may impact your personal tax situation.
We continue to monitor this developing situation closely and if any major changes occur, we will update you immediately with relevant details. In the meantime, if you have any questions or further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your continued patience and trust in E. Cohen during these unusual times. We hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.
Eric Cohen, CPA