COVID-19 PANDEMIC | EMPLOYER GUIDANCE
Updates & Valuable Resources
NOTE: Additional information will be also provided through our Facebook & Twitter social media profiles.
May 6, 2020
ACCA Urges Contractors to Take Action for Tax Relief Under the PPP
On Thursday, April 30, the IRS issued guidance that would take away deductions for employers if the ‘expense results in forgiveness’ of a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan. This ruling effectively makes PPP funds taxable income by removing deductions and therefore incurring costs that employers would normally not have to pay. The increased tax liability of PPP participants, including many HVACR contractors, comes at a time when so many employers are already experiencing extreme financial hardships.
One of the specific goals of the CARES Act was to make sure that PPP funds would not be considered taxable income. Republican and Democrat lawmakers, including authors of the bipartisan bill, have spoken out against the IRS ruling, stating that it was not their intent to increase tax liability, but rather to provide economic relief. If Congress or the IRS does not act quickly and reverse this misguided ruling, it will mean unnecessary financial strain for HVACR contractors who have received forgivable PPP loans.
Send a letter to your representatives in Congress by clicking this link!
We will continue to share information and resources about TACCA-GSA and COVID-19 with you through our various channels including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you don’t already, consider following us on either of these platforms.
April 17, 2020
Abbott announces ‘strike force’ to reopen Texas
Gov. Greg Abbott on April 17 announced three executive orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas. Executive Order (GA-16), establishes a temporary “retail-to-go” model allowing retail outlets in the state to reopen beginning Friday, April 24. Under this model, businesses will deliver items to customers’ cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact. Learn more here.
Find additional funding
Check with your local and regional economic development organizations as well as local financial institutions for local resources that may be available. Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI) may also be able to provide assistance. Click here to find CDFIs in Texas
OSHA’s Top Ten Steps Workplaces can take to reduce the risk of exposure to Coronavirus
This list from OSHA lets us know how workplaces can take the following infection prevention measures to protect workers. See List
COVID-19 Approved Cleaning Products from the EPA
All products on this list meet EPA's criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Send a letter to your representatives in Congress by clicking this link!
April 16, 2020
Texas Disaster Declaration Extended
Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a number of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The U.S. Small Business Administration said Thursday morning the Paycheck Protection Program wouldn't be accepting any more applications for the $349 billion program. New applications will not be accepted for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding. SBA has also put a halt on accepting new applications for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loans.
April 13, 2020
Governor Abbott, Goldman Sachs, LiftFund Announce $50 Million in Loans for Texas Small Businesses
Earlier this week Governor Greg Abbott announced that Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund, along with other community development financial institutions (CDFIs), are partnering to provide $50 million in loans to small businesses in Texas that have been affected by COVID-19 as part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. The Bexar County Small Business Loan Program provides 0% interest loans of up to $25,000 to help small businesses in Bexar County that have suffered financial losses as a result of COVID-19. Funding is limited, apply as soon as possible.
April 2, 2020
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain public employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements, notice may be emailed to employees working from home. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
April 1, 2020
Apply for Paycheck SBA Protection Program (PPP) Loans Beginning April 3, 2020
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
Who Can Apply
This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons) affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.
How to Apply
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution and federally insured credit union that is participating. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.
Loan Details and Forgiveness
The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of .5%. If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a sample form to see the information that will be requested from you.
Paying Emergency Sick Pay Leave and Emergency FMLA
The new Emergency Sick Pay Leave (EPSL) and Emergency FMLA (EFMLA) rules go into effect today. The leave can be taken as of 4/1/2020 for the time taken between 4/1/2020 and 12/31/2020.
Below, we provide a 15-minute video from ExecuPay explaining the EPSL and EFMLA rules and how you will pay employees this new leave pay if required.
Watch Training Video Here
March 31, 2020
Department of Homeland Security Updates ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce’ List – Includes HVAC as Essential
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott so far has left decisions on shelter in place orders up to individual cities and counties. Shannon Noble, TACCA’s Government Affairs Counsel, contacted the Governor's office to request that if a statewide shelter in place order is issued, HVAC/R be specifically named as an essential business. It is the Department of Homeland Security language which all Texas local shelter in place orders have quoted and are following.
Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) spearheaded efforts to ensure HVAC is considered an essential business nationwide, and we thank ACCA and our members who contacted their policymakers in support of this.
Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce sections that include HVAC
Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services
Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC Technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response.
Other Community or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions
Workers to ensure continuity of building functions, including but not limited to security and environmental controls (e.g., HVAC), the manufacturing and distribution of the products required for these functions, and the permits and inspections for construction supporting essential infrastructure.
Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.
Workers distributing, servicing, repairing, installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces, and other heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation equipment.
Transportation and Logistics
Warehouse operators, including vendors and support personnel critical for business continuity (including HVAC & electrical engineers; security personnel; and janitorial staff) and customer service for essential functions.
Employees of firms providing services, supplies, and equipment that enable warehouse and operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use. Includes cold- and frozen-chain logistics for food and critical biologic products.
March 27, 2020
President Trump Signs CARES Act Into Law
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides relief to taxpayers affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The CARES Act is the third round of federal government aid related to COVID-19. The CARES Act allocates $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Funds are “First Come, First Served” ACT NOW. Learn More & Get Sample Application.
March 25, 2020
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Offers Assistance
We understand that virtually all of our taxpayers are doing their best to remain in compliance and be responsible for 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 businesses that are struggling to pay the full amount of sales taxes, they collected in February.
The 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.
Department of Labor Publishes Guidance on Paid Family Leave
Yesterday, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its first guidance to help employers comply with the recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA takes effect on April 1 to help combat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation ensures that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus while at the same time reimbursing businesses.
The DOL guidance is provided in three manageable documents:
Fact Sheet for Employers
Fact Sheet for Employees
Questions and Answers
IRS People First Initiative
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service extended the federal income tax filing due date April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Today the Internal Revenue Service announced an initiative to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions, modifying processes as early as April 1 and through July 15. Some highlights that may help you:
For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020, are suspended.
A reminder that people unable to fully pay their federal taxes can enter into a monthly payment agreement with the IRS
Liens and levies (including any seizures of a personal residence) initiated by field revenue officers will be suspended during this period as will new automatic, systemic liens and levies
Assisting taxpayers in various stages of Offers in Compromise (OIC), including extending deadlines to provide requested information and suspending payments.
The IRS reminds people facing a liability exceeding their net worth that the OIC process is designed to resolve outstanding tax liabilities by providing a "Fresh Start."
Please visit the IRS website for complete and detailed information.
March 24, 2020
TDLR Waives CE Requirements for Some Licensees
Great news! To help keep its licensees ready and available to assist with combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is waiving continuing education requirements for all licenses expiring in March, April, and May 2020. Licensees will still submit their renewal applications, pay the required fees, and have their criminal histories checked but they will not need to complete any required continuing education requirements this licensing cycle for those months.
TDLR licensees can sign up for official TDLR email alerts HERE. These email updates are the best way to ensure you receive the most accurate and up-to-date information about TDLR.
Essential Service Providers Clarification
Many cities and counties are issuing orders to stay at home. Most of the orders will include language similar to this: Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences and Other Essential Businesses.
Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences and essential businesses. (This includes HVAC/R contractors).
Businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies needed to operate. (This includes suppliers)
What does being classified as an essential business mean for you and your employees?
Designation as an essential business means you can choose to continue to provide services to customers. Essential businesses must follow social distancing guidelines. The CDC has
compiled a document, Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), to help businesses prevent workplace exposure to coronavirus in non-healthcare settings. Topics include:
Preparing Workplaces for a COVID-19 Outbreak
Reduce Transmission Among Employees
Maintain Healthy Business Operations
Maintain a healthy work environment
Resources for more information
Other Federal Agencies and Partners
March 23, 2020
The city of San Antonio and Bexar County Issue Stay Home, Work Safe Orders
Today, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Judge Nelson Wolff issued separate but joint Stay Home, Work Safe Orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The order is effective beginning at 11:59 p.m. on March 24, 2020, and if approved by City Council at this Thursday’s meeting, will last until 11:59 p.m. on April 9, or until it is either rescinded, superseded or amended.
The Mayor’s Stay Home/Work Safe Declaration generally lists business categories, with some examples, that are currently permissible as long as proper social distancing measures are maintained. The Declaration also incorporates the Department of Homeland Security guidelines for Critical Infrastructure (CISA). This sets out 16 critical industries that should continue to operate and function. Between the Declaration and the CISA guidance, a vast range of businesses CAN operate, as long as proper social distancing measures are maintained.
Click here for accessing the CISA guidance PDF
March 20, 2020
HVAC/R is Essential Business
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. 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.
March 19, 2020
Coronavirus Handouts for Contractors
News around the COVID-19 Coronavirus is changing daily, even hour to hour. Like all of you, TACCA is monitoring the news, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local governments closely.
We know many of our members are wondering how all of this will impact their business, their staff and their ability to continue to work. We have put together these two handouts to help you and your employees in the next few days and weeks. Much of this information is from the CDC website and we encourage you to visit for more detailed information.
The first handout has guidance for you and your business as it pertains to handling employees and preparing for absenteeism and business concerns.
The second handout is designed for your technicians that are servicing homeowners.
DOWNLOAD TECHNICIAN HANDOUT
TACCA will continue to share news and information that will help you and your business during this uncertain time. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
TACCA Executive Director