CPA Firms Need Legal Advice, Too

Certified Public Accountants serve as trusted advisors and often guide their clients to other professionals, including attorneys, for assistance. However, CPA firms, like most professionals, often overlook their own need for good legal advice.   Engagement Letters For example, CPA firms should have a clear and concise engagement letter for all clients. These carefully drafted… Continue reading

CPA firms can benefit from hiring a trusted attorney to handle their legal documentation

Certified Public Accountants serve as trusted advisors and often guide their clients to other professionals, including attorneys, for assistance. However, CPA firms, like most professionals, often overlook their own need for good legal advice.

 

Engagement Letters

For example, CPA firms should have a clear and concise engagement letter for all clients. These carefully drafted documents set forth the specific understanding of a particular engagement when it comes to the scope of the CPA firm’s work. Services, such as tax return preparation and financial statement review, must be outlined accordingly.

In addition, the engagement letter should contain provisions that limit the CPA firm’s exposure to liability. This can include an exculpatory provision that limits the CPA firm’s liability to the amount of fees it has collected from its client. This is an advantage CPA firms have over attorneys, who cannot similarly limit their liability to a client.

 

Shareholder Agreements

Many CPA firms are corporations, partnerships or limited liability companies. This means they may have multiple shareholders, partners or members. As a result, they should have a sound shareholder agreement that addresses the respective rights and obligations of each shareholder, partner or member.

These agreements should contain provisions regarding:

  • Governance
  • Restrictions on transfer of ownership interests
  • Terms for transfer of the ownership interest of a deceased or disabled owner

The agreements should also cover any disputes that may arise in the operation of the firm and provide an expeditious and cost effective way for resolution of such disputes.

 

Additional Protections Legal Advice and Documentation for CPA Firms

Finally, like any business, a CPA firm, should seek legal counsel for matters such as:

  • Employment agreements, including non-solicitation covenants which can protect the CPA firm and its clients
  • Intellectual property rights (trademarks, trade names, etc.)
  • Insurance needs

Maintenance of a good relationship with a trusted attorney; one who can provide the legal “nuts and bolts” of operating a CPA firm, along with guidance on general legal questions or issues that arise during the course of operations, can be a valuable asset for any CPA firm. At Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C. our attorneys have experience in business and commercial law, and several have worked as licensed CPAs. Contact us to learn more. 800-782-8492.

Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli Repurposes Holiday Funds, Donates to Local Organizations

The Southern Illinois Laborers Union, Good Samaritan House, The RITE Plan Initiative and STL Village among those to receive firm’s holiday gift. In lieu of its annual holiday party, Edwardsville-based law firm Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli has donated more than $10,000 to four local organizations across the region. The Southern Illinois Laborers Union, the Good… Continue reading

The Southern Illinois Laborers Union, Good Samaritan House, The RITE Plan Initiative and STL Village among those to receive firm’s holiday gift.

In lieu of its annual holiday party, Edwardsville-based law firm Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli has donated more than $10,000 to four local organizations across the region. The Southern Illinois Laborers Union, the Good Samaritan House in Granite City, Ill., The RITE Plan Initiative in East St. Louis, Ill., and STL Village in St. Louis will all receive a portion of the firm’s gift.

The donations will be used to support each organization’s ongoing mission, which includes improving the lives of community members throughout the holiday season.

The Southern Illinois Laborers Union – Funds will be used to support families dealing with hardships, such as unemployment and health issues, relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has identified three families who will receive aid in the form of groceries and other supplies as well as additional support where needed.

Good Samaritan House – Donated funds will help residents in Granite City, Ill. to pay outstanding utility bills. They will also provide assistance with vehicle repairs and transportation costs so that individuals may travel to and from work.

The RITE Plan Initiative – The initiative will use the funds to assist residents in East St. Louis, Ill., purchasing food for those families who have been identified and are in need of additional financial support around the holidays.

STL Village – The St. Louis organization will use the donation for their “Grandparents as Parents” program. They have identified seven families residing in the Lewis Place Fountain Park neighborhood who will receive gift cards to be used for the purchase of groceries and children’s toys for Christmas.

“We will miss hosting friends, clients and other members of the community, but it’s more rewarding to help these fine organizations assist those in need,” said Mark Goldenberg, the firm’s founder and managing partner.

For more information on Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, and updates regarding this year’s giving initiative visit the firm’s website at www.goldenbergheller.com or follow them on Facebook.

USPTO Alert on Ongoing Email Scams Targeting Trademark Owners

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued an alert about an ongoing email scam involving messages that appear to originate from the USPTO domain (@uspto.gov), but are, in fact, sent by third parties for fraudulent purposes. The USPTO advises trademark owners to be aware that scam messages may: Spoof the USPTO email… Continue reading

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued an alert about an ongoing email scam involving messages that appear to originate from the USPTO domain (@uspto.gov), but are, in fact, sent by third parties for fraudulent purposes. The USPTO advises trademark owners to be aware that scam messages may:

  • Spoof the USPTO email address (e.g., noreply@uspto.gov)
  • Falsely claim that the USPTO has a new policy requiring separate registration of “clients” and that there is a “penalty” for not complying.
  • Provide incorrect USPTO trademark filing information (e.g., incorrect fee information)

The USPTO has a solicitations webpage that provides a list of examples of solicitations from entities unaffiliated with the USPTO, including known scams, potentially misleading offers and notices, and other non-USPTO solicitations about which the USPTO has received inquiries or complaints.

In light of the increase in fraudulent emails, the USPTO urges all trademark owners and proceedings participants to carefully review any email correspondence that appears to be sent from the USPTO “@uspto.gov” domain and to double-check the information contained in that message by contacting their attorney or independently verifying the information as contained on the USPTO Trademark Status & Document Retrieval database.

We strongly encourage any client receiving email correspondence that appears to be from the USPTO or any third party to not respond directly to such emails. Instead, contact our office to investigate the correspondence and advise on the appropriate course of action. If we filed your application or are representing you in any trademark proceeding, all official correspondence from the USPTO will come to us directly and not to you.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Update

On June 5, 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (the “Act”) was signed into law.  The Act provides greater flexibility to businesses that obtained loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) by: Extending the covered period during which a loan recipient may use PPP funds for certain expenses while remaining eligible for loan forgiveness… Continue reading

On June 5, 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (the “Act”) was signed into law.  The Act provides greater flexibility to businesses that obtained loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) by:

  • Extending the covered period during which a loan recipient may use PPP funds for certain expenses while remaining eligible for loan forgiveness from eight weeks to twenty-four weeks;
  • Extending the deadline to rehire laid off or furloughed workers from June 30th to December 31st, 2020; and
  • Extending the initial two-year loan term to five years.

The Act also increases the percentage of PPP loan proceeds that may be used on qualifying non-payroll costs from 25% to 40%.  At the same time, however, the Act provides that PPP recipients must use at least 60% of the loan amount for payroll costs in order to receive forgiveness of a PPP loan.  This represents a significant departure from the Small Business Administration’s PPP regulations, under which a failure to meet the prior 25% payroll-cost threshold did not completely disqualify a business from receiving forgiveness of a PPP loan.

Shutterfly Users in Illinois: You may be entitled to relief.

In Illinois, it is illegal for a company to collect or store a person’s face scan without that person’s written permission.  Shutterfly’s use of facial recognition software may violate Illinois law, and Shutterfly users who uploaded photographs of themselves to their Shutterfly account may be entitled to $5,000 for each violation of the law. We’re… Continue reading

In Illinois, it is illegal for a company to collect or store a person’s face scan without that person’s written permission.  Shutterfly’s use of facial recognition software may violate Illinois law, and Shutterfly users who uploaded photographs of themselves to their Shutterfly account may be entitled to $5,000 for each violation of the law.

We’re Here to Help

We are currently filing claims on behalf of Illinois residents who use Shutterfly.

To learn more, please contact us at 618-656-5150 (just ask to speak to someone about Shutterfly) or simply complete this form:

Illinois Law Protects Your Privacy

Companies collecting biometric identifiers, such as face scans, must comply with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The law provides damages of $1,000 per negligent violation and $5,000 per willful violation.

You Must Take Action

Shutterfly’s Terms of Service restrict customers’ ability to obtain relief in court or through class actions. This means that you cannot rely on someone else to make a claim on your behalf.

Illinois law provides significant relief, but you cannot recover anything unless you take action.

But you don’t have to do it alone. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us to learn more.

About Our Firm

Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C. practices in the area of consumer protection and privacy law. Recently, we litigated and obtained a $24 million settlement for purchasers of personal seat licenses from the former St. Louis Rams football team. Read more about the settlement here.  Find out more information about our firm here.

This webpage contains advertising material. The information provided on this website is for general, informative purposes and should not be interpreted to indicate that a certain result will occur in any reader’s specific legal situation. The information on this website is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. A preliminary communication made via the internet, mail, fax, or telephone does not create an attorney-client relationship or provide any of the protections afforded by that relationship. Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C. is responsible for the content of this page.

SBA Announces Paycheck Protection Program Certification Safe Harbor

On May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued guidance regarding a borrower’s good-faith certification concerning the necessity of a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan.  All borrowers who, together with their affiliates, receive PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification… Continue reading

On May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) issued guidance regarding a borrower’s good-faith certification concerning the necessity of a Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan.  All borrowers who, together with their affiliates, receive PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification in good faith.  Moreover, if the SBA determines that a borrower who obtained more than $2 million dollars through a PPP loan lacked an adequate basis for the required certification, the SBA will not pursue administrative enforcement or referrals to other agencies based on the SBA’s determination with respect to the certification if the borrower repays the amount of the loan in full.

The full text of the SBA’s guidance is available here:   https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions_05%2013%2020.pdf

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Signed into law on March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) requires covered employees to provide paid leave to workers who are absent from work due to certain COVID-19 related reasons.  The FFCRA applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees.  The FFCRA takes effect on April 1, 2020, and applies to… Continue reading

Signed into law on March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) requires covered employees to provide paid leave to workers who are absent from work due to certain COVID-19 related reasons.  The FFCRA applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees.  The FFCRA takes effect on April 1, 2020, and applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.  This post summarizes the main provisions of the FFCRA.

Many issues that employers will face when complying with the FFCRA will require specific legal attention. The material provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C. has a team of skilled business and commercial legal experts who can help navigate the complexities of the law in this rapidly changing environment. Feel free to contact us with your legal needs today.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

  • The FFCRA includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) which mandates that employees be paid for up to two weeks if they are unable to report to work for coronavirus-related reasons.
  • The United States Department of Labor has explained that an employee qualifies for paid leave under the EPSLA if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:
      1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
      2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
      3. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
      4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
      5. Is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
      6. Is experiencing any substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
  • Full-time employees are entitled to up to eighty hours (two weeks) of leave under the EPSLA. Part-time employees can take the average number of hours they worked during a two-week period in the previous six months.
  • If employees are unable to report to work for reasons 1-3, employees are entitled to pay at their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate.
  • If employees are unable to report to work for reasons 4-6, employees are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate.
  • Employers cannot force employees to use accrued paid time off, sick leave, or vacation pay in lieu of the benefits provided by the EPSLA. Employees may elect, however, to use any accrued paid time off, vacation pay, or sick leave in lieu of the leave afforded by the EPSLA.
  • The EPSLA contains an anti-retaliation provision, which prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the EPSLA.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

  • The FFCRA also includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”), which temporarily expands the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • The EFMLEA only applies to employees who have been employed for thirty days or more
  • Employees are entitled to leave under the EFMLEA if they are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Leave under the EFMLEA is available for a period of 12 weeks. The first two weeks of leave may be paid leave pursuant to the EPSLA and the remaining 10 weeks will be paid leave pursuant to the EFMLEA.
  • Under the EFMLEA, employees are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over the 12-week period).
  • Employers cannot force employees to use accrued paid time off, sick leave, or vacation pay in lieu of the benefits provided by the EFMLEA. Employees may elect, however, to substitute accrued vacation or sick time for the leave provided under the EFMLEA.
  • Leave under the EFMLEA is subject to the provisions of the FMLA requiring employers to restore employees to their prior positions at the conclusion of the leave period. Some exceptions to these requirements are available for employers whose business has been adversely affected by COVID-19.
  • Leave under the EFMLEA is subject to the anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation provisions of the FMLA.

Tax Credits

  • Employers subject to the EPSLA and/or the EFMLEA’s requirements will be reimbursed for the costs of complying with the enactments’ provisions in the form of refundable payroll tax credits.

Exemptions

  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the requirement would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. Regulations regarding the availability of such exemptions are expected to be issued by the Department of Labor in April.

Notice Requirement

  • The FFCRA requires employers to post a notice from the Department of Labor informing employees of their expanded rights under the new enactment.
  • The poster must be posted in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises.
  • For employers whose employees are teleworking, an employer can satisfy its notice obligation by direct mailing or emailing the notice to its employees or by posting the notice on an employee information internal or external website.

COVID-19 Fact Sheet

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak raises an array of legal issues for businesses. This Fact Sheet provides an overview of some of the key legal issues that Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., is monitoring. Updates will be made as they become available. If you have questions about the applicability of any of these issues to your… Continue reading

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak raises an array of legal issues for businesses. This Fact Sheet provides an overview of some of the key legal issues that Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., is monitoring. Updates will be made as they become available. If you have questions about the applicability of any of these issues to your business, we stand ready to assist.

Workplace Safety

Employee Leave – The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was signed into law on March 18, 2020, and will take effect on April 1, 2020.
  • The FFCRA contains two new federal laws requiring employers with less than 500 employees to provide paid leave for certain COVID-19 related absences.
  • Employers will be provided with refundable tax credits to offset the costs associated with complying with these new laws.
  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from required leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
  • The Department of Labor will be releasing a model poster regarding the FFCRA that covered employers will be required to post in a conspicuous location.

Employee Compensation

  • The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state law impose various requirements on employers with respect to employee pay.
  • These statutes may bear on the payment of final compensation to separated workers and the payment of compensation to workers whose hours have changed as a result of COVID-19.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

  • Employees who are temporarily laid off because of COVID-19 may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Information on unemployment insurance benefits for Illinois workers is available via the following link: https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/COVID-19-and-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx.
  • Information of unemployment benefits for Missouri workers is available via the following link: https://labor.mo.gov/COVID-19.

Americans with Disabilities Act

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
  • Under some circumstances, the ADA may require that employers provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees in connection with COVID-19.
  • The ADA may also bear on communications with employees about COVID-19.

Workers’ Compensation

  • COVID-19-related illness may give rise to workers’ compensation claims if COVID-19 is contracted during the course and scope an employee’s employment.
  • Assessing such claims will require an inquiry into the particular facts and circumstances of the employee’s employment and his or her contraction of COVID-19.

Insurance Coverage

  • Various forms of insurance, including event cancellation insurance, business interruption insurance in commercial property policies, and general liability insurance may be available to mitigate losses arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Contracts

  • COVID-19 may raise a number of issues relating to parties’ rights and obligations under their contracts, including whether the COVID-19 outbreak will trigger “force majeure” clauses.

Relief Programs for Businesses

  • The Small Business Administration is offering loan resources to certain small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. Information on such loan resources is available via the following link: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources.
  • The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office has announced that it will make available $250 million to Illinois banks and credit unions for the purpose of offering low-interest bridge loans to certain Illinois small-businesses and non-profits. Details regarding this program are available via the following link:  https://www.illinoistreasurer.gov/Invest_in_Illinois/Small_Business_COVID-19_Relief_Program.
  • Relief loans and grants may also available through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Information on such programs is available via the following link: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/EmergencySBAIntiatives.asp.

Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining Agreements

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to concerns regarding labor relations, particularly with respect to changing unionized employees’ work schedules or duties, and employees striking or otherwise refusing to perform work as scheduled.

Mandatory Business Closures and Event Restriction

As of March 30, 2020, the following mandatory closures and event attendance limits have been put into place in Illinois, Missouri and the St. Louis Metropolitan Area:

  • Illinois
    • Shelter-in-Place Order
      • Illinois has ordered residents to shelter in place beginning March 21, 2020 at 5:00pm. This order will continue through April 30, 2020.
      • Persons may leave their homes or place of residence only for Essential Activities (such as seeking medical services, obtaining medical supplies, going to the grocery store), Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations.
    • All businesses and operations in the State, except Essential Businesses and Operations, are required to cease all activities within the State except Minimum Basic Operations (meaning the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions).
    • Businesses may continue remote operations.
    • All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited.
    • Any gathering of more than ten people is prohibited unless otherwise exempted.
    • All travel, including, but not limited to, travel by automobile, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, train, plane, or public transit, except Essential Travel and Essential Activities is prohibited.
    • Examples of “Essential Businesses and Operations” include:
      • Healthcare and Public Health Operations
      • Human Services Operations
      • Essential infrastructure (i.e. food productions, distribution, and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; utility operations)
      • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
      • Food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture
      • Organizations that provide charitable and social services (such as food banks, shelters)
      • Media
      • Gas stations and businesses need for transportation
      • Financial institutions
      • Hardware and supply stores
      • Critical trades (i.e. plumbers, electricians, security staff, cleaning and janitorial staff)
      • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
      • Educational institutions
      • Laundry services
      • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
      • Stores that sell supplies to work from and supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
      • Transportation
      • Home-based care and services
      • Residential facilities and shelters
      • Professional services (i.e. legal services, accounting services)
      • Day care centers for employees exempted from the shelter-in-place order
      • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
      • Critical labor union functions (i.e. administration of health and welfare funds)
      • Hotels and motels
      • Funeral services
  • Missouri:
    • Missouri is restricting any gatherings statewide to no more than 10 people.
    • Casinos have been instructed to close through March 30, 2020.
  • St. Louis Metropolitan Area:
    • In St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, all bars have been ordered to close. Restaurant services have been limited to delivery, carry out, and curbside services only. Customers will not be allowed in dining rooms and bars. This ban and limitations will take effect beginning the evening of March 19 and will continue for an undetermined period of time.
    • St. Louis and St. Louis County will require people to shelter-in-place beginning Monday, March 30, 2020. Residents will still be able to go to the grocery store and pharmacy, and will be able to walk in public parks

 


Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C. has a team of skilled business and commercial legal experts who can help navigate the complexities of the law in this rapidly changing environment. Feel free to contact us with your legal needs today.

COVID-19 Updates on Governmental Offices

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak has caused governmental offices and courthouses to cease or alter their services. This Fact Sheet provides an overview of those governmental offices and courthouses that are closed or have altered services. Updates will be made as they become available. If you have questions about how these closures or limitations may affect… Continue reading

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak has caused governmental offices and courthouses to cease or alter their services. This Fact Sheet provides an overview of those governmental offices and courthouses that are closed or have altered services. Updates will be made as they become available. If you have questions about how these closures or limitations may affect you or your business, we stand ready to assist.

Governmental Offices – Federal

United States Patent and Trademark Office

  • Operations will continue as normal without interruption until otherwise notified.
  • The USPTO is waiving petition fees in certain situations for customers impacted by the coronavirus.
  • The Director of the USPTO has extended the filing deadlines of certain items due between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020, including:
    • Responses to Office Actions,
    • Statements of Use or extension requests to file a Statement of Use,
    • Notices of Opposition or extension requests to file a Notice of Opposition,
    • Renewal applications, and
    • Affidavits of Use.
  • The deadlines have been extended 30 days from the initial date it was due, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Internal Revenue Service

  • All Taxpayer Assistance Centers are temporarily closed.
  • The April 15 filing deadline for tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020.
  • All individual and other non-corporate tax filers are allowed to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.
  • Corporate taxpayers are allowed to defer up to $10 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.

Governmental Offices – Illinois 

Secretary of State

  • Closed to the public through April 7, 2020.
  • Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, identification (ID) cards, vehicle registrations and other transactions and document filings will be extended by 30 days through an emergency rule.
  • Reminder: many transactions may be conducted online – customers are encouraged to take advantage of the online services (i.e. filing Business Services documents)

Department of Revenue

  • The April 15 filing deadline for all taxpayers who file and pay Illinois income taxes is automatically extended to July 15, 2020.
  • Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020.
  • This does not impact the first and second installments of estimated payments for 2020 taxes that are due April 15 and July 15.
  • Taxpayers who operate eating and drinking establishments that incurred a total Sales Tax liability of less than $75,000 in calendar year 2019 will not be charged penalties or interest on late payments for Sales Tax liabilities reported on Form ST-1, Sales and Use Tax and E911 Surcharge Return, that are due for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods.

Governmental Offices – Missouri

  • The Missouri Capitol and state government office buildings will close to the public starting Tuesday, March 24. They will remain closed until at least April 6. The move does not apply to prisons, veterans homes and other state-run facilities.

Department of Revenue:

  • The April 15 filing deadline for tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020. The deadlines for income tax payments for individual and corporate income returns with a due date of April 15, 2020 has also been extended to July 15, 2020. These extensions are automatic – filers do not need to take any additional steps to qualify.
  • Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020.

Courthouses – Federal

 Southern District of Illinois

  • The federal courthouses in East St. Louis and Benton remain open to the public, subject to limitations.
  • All civil matters scheduled for an in-court appearance are continued pending further order; judges have discretion to utilize videoconferencing or teleconferencing.

Central District of Illinois

  • The courthouses remain open.
  • All civil and criminal jury trials scheduled to begin before April 3, 2020, are continued and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge to a date after April 3, 2020.
  • All civil hearings, including settlement conferences, will be conducted by telephone or video teleconference.

Eastern District of Missouri

  • The United States Courthouses located within the District will remain open, but office hours for the Clerk of Court will be reduced to 10am to 3pm.
  • All civil and criminal jury trials scheduled to begin before May 31, 2020, are continued and will be rescheduled by the presiding judge to a date after May 31, 2020.
  • All proceedings will be conducted by means other than in-person meetings wherever possible by law and as directed by the presiding judge in the proceeding.
  • Any proceeding not deemed essential by the presiding judge in the proceeding that does require in-person meeting will be continued until further notice by the presiding judge.

7th Circuit Court of Appeals 

  • The court is closely monitoring the progression of COVID-19 to determine possible impact to court operations.

8th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • The 8th Circuit remains open for business. The public is not being admitted to the Eighth Circuit Clerk’s Office at the present time.

Courthouses – Illinois 

Madison County

  • Effective March 23, 2020, the following matters are continued for 30 days:
    •  All jury and non-jury trials in civil, criminal, and traffic divisions.
    • All arbitration, mediation, foreclosure matters, and any hearings or trials associated with such dockets.
  • Effective March 23, 2020, all Plenary Orders of Protection , Emergency Orders of Protection, and Plenary and Emergency Civil Stalking No Contact Orders are extended for 30 days.
    • Parties may seek relief from such Orders only upon filing a motion with the assigned judge.
  • Effective March 20, 2020 and until further order of the court, only essential court matters and proceedings will continue to be heard. All non-essential court matters and proceedings will be continued or, where possible, conducted remotely.
  • All case management and status dockets scheduled for March 2020 will be continued by the assigned judges.
  • All Probate and Landlord-Tenant cases scheduled through April 15 will be continued by the assigned judges.
  • All civil motion dockets or settings scheduled through April 15 will be continued by the assigned judges in the event of an agreement to do so by the parties. If an agreement cannot be obtained, or cannot be conducted by email, video, or telephonic means, such motions will proceed at the discretion of the assigned judge.
  • The court will continue to conduct hearings on essential or timely matters if the presentment of a motion or petition cannot be conducted remotely by email, video, or telephonic means.
  • All arbitration hearings set in March are continued without the necessity of either party filing a motion to continue.
  • All foreclosure settings through April 20 are continued without the necessity of either party filing a motion to continue.

St. Clair County

  • Effective March 24, 2020, all civil matters are continued for sixty days, and all arbitration, mediation, and foreclosure matters are continued.

Macoupin County

5th District Appellate Court

  • Until further notice, the court will remain open and all filing deadlines will remain in effect.
  • The clerk’s office will remain open for business during its regular business hours, but the building will be closed to the general public.

Courthouses – Missouri

  • On March 22, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other directives, the order suspends – with certain listed exceptions – all in-person proceedings, as well as grand jury proceedings in all state courts through April 17.

COVID-19 Update on Relief for Small Businesses

Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., is monitoring the fluid developments with respect to COVID-19, including the relief programs available to small businesses.  Below is a summary of such programs available through the federal government and the state of Illinois. Federal The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) The CARES Act provides… Continue reading

Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C., is monitoring the fluid developments with respect to COVID-19, including the relief programs available to small businesses.  Below is a summary of such programs available through the federal government and the state of Illinois.

Federal

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”)

  • The CARES Act provides relief to businesses affected by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (the “Disaster Loan Program”)
    • The Disaster Loan Program provides qualifying small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of COVID-19.
    • Eligibility depends on a number of factors, including the industry in which the business operates, the business’s annual revenue, and/or the number of people employed by the business.
    • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the impact of COVID-19.
    • Eligible small businesses that apply for an economic injury disaster loan may obtain a $10,000 advance that will not need to be repaid, even if the loan application is ultimately denied.
    • Loans are offered with long-term repayments, up to a maximum of 30 years, and with interest rates of 4% or less. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
    • Applications may be submitted via the following link: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/apply-for-disaster-loan/index.html.
    • Loans under the Disaster Loan Program may be converted to Payroll Protection Program loans (see below).
  • Payroll Protection Program – Forgivable Loans
    • The CARES Act makes $377 billion in funds available to small businesses through the Small Business Administration’s § 7(a) loan program.
    • These loans will be available from participating private lenders and may be used for certain purposes, including the payment of payroll, rent, and utilities.
    • These loans may be forgiven to the extent they are used to cover payroll or to pay other specified expenses, including rent, interest on certain mortgage obligations (but not principal), and utilities. Layoffs or salary reductions may affect the amount of loan forgiveness that a business is eligible to receive under the Payroll Protection Program.
    • These loans will be available at interest rates of 4% or less, and the amount of the loan cannot exceed an amount equal to 250% of a business’s average monthly payments for payroll costs during the 1-year period before the date on which the loan is made.
    • The SBA will issue regulations implementing the Payroll Protection Program.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

  • The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses that currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork.
  • These loans can provide economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.
  • To find an Express Bridge Loan Lender, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/lender-match.

Illinois

Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

  • Eligibility:
    • Bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and with revenue between 500K and $1 million in 2019 are eligible for up to $25K.
    • Bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and with revenue of less than 500K in 2019 are eligible for up to $10K.
    • Hotels that generated revenue of less than $8 million in 2019 are eligible for up to $50K.
  • Permitted Uses of Grant Funds
    • For bars and restaurants, based on the businesses needs identified in the grant application, funds can be used to support working capital (rent, payroll, and other accounts payable), job training (such as new practices related to take out, delivery and sanitation) and technology enabling new operations as well as other costs to implement that technology.
    • For hotels, funds can be used as working capital to support the retention of employees.
  • Application Process and Deadline
    • Applications are submitted online through the following website: https://us.accion.org/news/covid-19-hospitality-business-grant-program/.
    • Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm on April 1, 2020.
    • A total of $14 million is available under this program, and grant recipients will be chosen via lottery.
    • Grant recipients will be notified on April 4, 2020, and funds may be available as soon two days after banking information is received from a grantee.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

  • Eligibility:
    • Small businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 can apply.
  • Loan Terms and Permitted Uses:
    • Businesses can receive a low interest loan of up to $50,000 with a 5 year repayment period with no payments due for the first six months.
    • Loan funds must be used to support working capital.
  • Application Process:

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

  • Eligibility:
    • Eligible local governmental units can apply on behalf of businesses with 50 employees or less.
    • Madison County, St. Clair County, and the municipalities contained therein are not eligible governmental units.
  • Grant Amounts and Permissible Uses
    • Grants of up to $25K are available for use in supporting working capital.
  • Application Process:
    • Businesses in eligible areas must work with their local governmental units to submit applications.

Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program

Tax Deadline Relief

Federal

  • The April 15 filing deadline for federal income tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020. All individual and other non-corporate tax filers are allowed to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.
  • Corporate taxpayers are allowed to defer up to $10 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.

Illinois

  • The deadline to file individual and corporate income tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
  • This does NOT impact the first and second installments of estimated payments for 2020 taxes that are due April 15 and June 15. Taxpayers are required to estimate their tax liability for the year and make four equal installments.

 Missouri

  • The deadline to file individual and corporate income tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
  • Income tax payment deadlines for individual and corporate income returns with a due date of April 15, 2020, are extended until July 15, 2020. This payment relief applies to all individual income tax returns, income tax returns filed by C Corporations, and income tax returns filed by trusts or estates. The Missouri Department of Revenue will automatically provide this relief, so filers do not need to take any additional steps to qualify.
  • This relief for individuals and corporations will also include estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.