Things are evolving rapidly around the Coronavirus and response to directives to keep our communities healthy and safe. TACCA will continue to provide new information as it becomes available to keep you informed to help your business, employees and clients.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Essential Service Providers
The Federal Department of Homeland Security has published an Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Service Provider (ESP) designation, and so far there is no Texas-specific ESP designation. Governor Greg Abbott has left decisions on shelter in place orders up to individual counties, and Dallas County referenced the federal ESP designation in its shelter in place order.
TACCA contacted the Department of Homeland Security Dallas office which verified that HVAC/R is considered “essential” as part of the construction workforce. Based on this and a conversation with the Governor’s office, we are confident HVAC/R is considered essential in the State of Texas. We have prepared the attached letter (see below) for our members to use as needed.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (passed)
TACCA sent an email last Friday with information about this Act which is effective April 2, 2020 and applies to employers with 1 to 499 employees – large employers with 500 or more employees do not have to comply with this law. The full Act can be read HERE.
Small Business Administration Disaster Loans Available
Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has included the entire state of Texas in its Economic Injury Disaster Declaration and granted access to its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which will provide long-term, low-interest loans to qualifying businesses across the state. You can apply for these loans HERE. The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about loan eligibility.
Legislation is pending in Congress which may provide for Business Interruption Loans that your business may be eligible for. Wait to see the outcome of that legislation before taking out a Small Business Administration loan, which could make you ineligible for a Business Interruption Loan. TACCA will keep you up to date on all Coronavirus-response legislation affecting your business.
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has waived the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. We encourage you to read information from TWC HERE as you consider any decisions staffing.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns we can help with.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW – MARCH 26
Massive COVID Relief Bill Heads for House Vote
Late Wednesday the Senate voted unanimously to advance the economic package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act). This stimulus package includes immediate cash relief for individuals, a lending program for small business, and relief for hard-hit industries.
The House is planning to convene Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. This is a broad, encompassing bill with many pieces. If this bill passes, TACCA will be directing you to resources to help you better understand what is included. In general, what this package could mean for you:
Families: Payments for individuals and families to help with immediate expenses to recover from layoffs or reduced work hours.
Workers: Expanded unemployment insurance coverage designed as a temporary bridge until companies start re-hiring workers.
Small Businesses: Loans for businesses that had to close because states deemed them “non-essential”, and for others, such as HVAC businesses and suppliers that could stay open but suffered large losses.
Large employers: Financial relief for department stores, factories and other businesses with large workforces that saw sales plummet.
Dept of Labor Dialogue
TACCA is participating in online dialogue through March 29 with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to help you understand and meet your obligations to provide expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. Some of the suggestions to DOL to provide assistance for employers to comply with the leave requirements include:
Prepare easy to read and understand points
Develop forms, model notices, communications for employers to use
Guidance on verifying employees qualify for leave – proof needed/allowed
Guidance on how to apply for small business exemption based on jeopardizing the viability of the business – how will this be determined, what is the criteria?
What questions do you have that DOL can provide answers to? Send an email to us before March 29 with your questions and we’ll make sure they get posted so we can all get the answers we need.
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts issued the following statement yesterday:
These are challenging times for businesses all over the nation. The Texas Comptroller’s office knows that during periods of economic hardship, paying or remitting taxes and fees on time can feel like an extra burden when there’s so much uncertainty. We’re thankful to those businesses that were able to remit state and local sales taxes they collected from customers in February on the March 20, 2020, due date.
We understand that virtually all of our taxpayers are doing their best to remain in compliance and be responsible in submitting the taxes they collected from their customers. With that in mind, our agency is here to offer assistance to those businesses that are struggling to pay the full amount of sales taxes they collected in February.
For businesses that find themselves in this situation, our agency is offering assistance in the form of short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest.
We ask that you contact our Enforcement Hotline at 800-252-8880 to learn about your options for remaining in compliance and avoiding interest and late fees on taxes due. In addition, we have a variety of online tools for businesses seeking assistance. See our COVID-19 emergency response webpage for access to online tools, tutorials and other resources for tax services, and to establish 24/7 online account access with Webfile.
Residential Construction May Not be Considered Essential in All Areas
Be aware of your local municipality’s interpretation of “shelter in place” orders. Some counties’ orders explicitly allow for residential construction to continue (such as Dallas and Williamson counties) and some interpret their orders as prohibiting residential construction, except for certain essential services (such as Travis county).
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns we can help with.