Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis

By Chuck | March 19, 2020

We’re facing uncertain times right now as the Corona Virus spreads. Events are cancelled, businesses are closing, and travel has definitely slowed. It’s still tax season, however and millions of Americans still need to file. As we think about how to move forward with business as usual, here are some things we are doing here at The Income Tax School and Peoples Tax, our sister company that serves local taxpayers.

Keeping the workplace safe

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure your workplace is as safe and healthy as possible for employees. Here are some policies we have implemented.

  1. Communicate with employees and clients to educate them about Coronavirus facts and preventative measures they should take. Be sure to share from sources like your local health department, WHO or the CDC to reduce the spread of misinformation.
  2. Effective this week, all employees have been asked to work from home to do our part in stopping the spread. This means our physical tax offices are now closed to the public.
  3. Employees have been instructed to notify a supervisor and go to their health care provider to be tested if they start to experience symptoms that might be the virus. 
  4. Our staff will be meeting virtually at least twice a week to stay aligned and positive.
  5. We have established a clear chain of command in the event of a spike in absence rate in the management team. 

If you do choose a work from home option, be sure to take proper cyber security measures to ensure that the transfer of documents is secure. You’ll also need to develop a policy and communicate the importance of security to employees.

Maintaining business as usual

Here in Richmond, Virginia, we have been asked to avoid each other and by law, are not allowed to convene in groups of more than 10 people. That means many taxpayers are staying home. Our offices being closed has not stopped us from providing services to clients. Here’s what we’re offering now.

Virtual Tax ProSM

We are encouraging our clients to seriously consider using our Virtual Tax Pro service, available online. You can file your tax returns securely, without ever leaving your home or office.

Peoples Tax Drop Off Service

Clients can also opt into our Peoples Tax Drop-Off Service. Once we receive their tax documents, our tax pros will take care of the rest. Clients can drop off documents anytime we are open or make a brief appointment if you would like to meet with a tax pro before your tax return is prepared.

Communications

It’s important to communicate your policies to clients so that they are aware that you are taking the proper precautions and know how they can continue to do business with you. This email newsletter is a great example of good client communication.

The IRS

The IRS has also made some announcements recently regarding the effects this virus is having on the population. You can find updates on their website at irs.gov/coronavirus.

  • The Treasury Department and IRS are extending the due date for Federal income tax payments due April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
  • Associated interest, additions to tax, and penalties for late payment will also be suspended until July 15, 2020.

It’s also important to note that the White House has signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.
Be sure to stay vigilant about hand washing and keep an eye on future IRS announcements. Stay healthy tax pros and please share your tips with us! 

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