Treasury Department Releases Additional Guidance on Paycheck Protection Program

On April 8, 2020, the U. S. Treasury Department updated its “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)” guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that is being administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). While this document was previously issued by the Treasury Department, it has been updated to address some of the questions that borrowers and lenders have raised as lenders have been inundated with applications for the forgivable loans under the PPP. Congress is currently considering allocating another $200 to $250 billion to the PPP.

Here of some of the highlights under the FAQs:

  • Computing the $100,000 Cap. For purposes of computing a borrower’s “payroll costs” (which is then multiplied by 2.5 to determine a borrower’s loan amount up to $10 million), the $100,000 cap on an individual’s compensation is limited to “cash compensation,” and does not include employer contributions to defined-benefit or defined-contribution retirement plans (e.g. employer 401(k) contributions), group health care coverage including insurance premiums, and state and local taxes assessed on employee compensation.
  • Vacation, Family Leave, Etc. PPP loans cover payroll costs, including costs for employee vacation, parental, family, medical, and sick leave. However, this does not include qualified sick and family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under the recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Time frame of Payroll Costs Calculation. In calculating “payroll costs” for purposes of determining a borrower’s loan amount, borrowers can calculate their aggregate payroll costs using data either from the previous 12 months or from calendar year 2019.
  • Independent Contractors. Any amounts that an eligible borrower has paid to an independent contractor or sole proprietor are excluded from the “payroll costs” calculation. However, independent contractors and sole proprietors are themselves eligible to apply for their own PPP loans.
  • Use Gross Wages for Calculation. “Payroll costs” are based upon an employee’s gross compensation (i.e. not after-tax withholdings). However, the employer-side federal payroll taxes imposed on employee’s compensation is excluded from the payroll costs calculation.
  • Spending the PPP Money. For purposes of computing the loan amount that is eligible to be forgiven under PPP, the borrower must spend the loan proceeds within eight weeks beginning on the date “the lender makes the first disbursement of the PPP loan to the borrower.” The SBA has previously indicated that, for purposes of the loan forgiveness requirement, no more that 25{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} of the loan proceeds can be used for non-payroll costs permitted under PPP (i.e. rent, interest on mortgage obligations and utility payments).

The FAQs still do not address whether the income allocation to partners in a business taxed as a partnership are included in the payroll costs calculations. Our experience is that lenders have varying interpretations of this issue. Hopefully, more guidance with continue to be provided by the SBA and Treasury Department on this and other issues that have arisen under the PPP.

Michael D. Walker is a business, tax and estate planning attorney who has worked with individuals and small to medium-sized businesses for nearly 30 years. A careful listener, Michael skillfully guides his clients to meet the wide variety of legal challenges they face in our current complex world.

U.S. Treasury Releases Paycheck Protection Program Loan Application, Additional Information

On March 31, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department released the initial loan application for borrowers under the “Paycheck Protection Program,” a Small Business Administration (SBA) forgivable loan program that is part of the CARES Act passed by Congress last week.  In addition, the Treasury Department provided borrowers with an “Information Sheet” for borrowers under the program.

Here are some notable highlights from these releases:

  • On the loan application, the borrower and each 20{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} or greater owner of the borrower must make certain certifications, including that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations” of the borrower, and the loan will be used “to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments, and utility payments.”
  • With respect to the future applications to potentially forgive the loan, the application states that “[d]ue to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than twenty-five percent (25{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6}) of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs.”
  • The Information Sheet states that borrowers can begin applying for the Paycheck Protection Loans on April 3, 2020 and includes a link to help borrowers locate a local SBA lender.

A link to the loan application can be found HERE.

A link to the Information Sheet can be found HERE.

Michael D. Walker is a business, tax and estate planning attorney who has worked with individuals and small to medium-sized businesses for nearly 30 years. A careful listener, Michael skillfully guides his clients to meet the wide variety of legal challenges they face in our current complex world.

The COVID-19 Oregon Special Session

For those of you who are following the Oregon Legislature’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect the Governor to announce a special session in the next day or two. Topics that we expect the legislature to address include: provisions for rent and mortgage assistance, bans on evictions, loans to small businesses, food benefits, and expanded healthcare access. The Salem Statesman Journal has been doing a great job tracking the proposals for this emergency session:

https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2020/03/30/coronavirus-oregon-legislative-response-covid-19-special-sessions/2928604001/

We also expect that the Oregon Laws Commission’s remote notary proposal to be included in the proposal.

As expected, it doesn’t sound like Oregon corporate activity estimates made the cut to address, so Q1 estimates will need to made as usual.

Valerie Sasaki specializes in jurisdictional tax consulting, working closely with Fortune 50 companies involved in audits before the Oregon or Washington Departments of Revenue. She also works with business owners on tax, business, and estate planning issues in Oregon or Southwest Washington.

Changes to Charitable Giving Limits in the CARES Act

The newly passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) contains two provisions that will be of interest to folks who want to help their communities this year.  Section 2104 creates an above the line deduction of up to $300 for contributions made in 2020. This is important because after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) a couple years ago, many folks no longer itemize, which means that they are not eligible to receive a tax benefit for the charitable deductions that they make over the course of the year. So, if you now claim the standard deduction, individual taxpayers can claim a deduction for the amounts up to $300 that they donate to charity. They don’t let you double-dip though, so if you itemize, you would claim your deductions on Schedule A as usual.

Additionally, Section 2105 of the CARES  Act eliminates the cap on individual charitable contributions. Previously, taxpayers couldn’t deduct contributions over 60 percent of their adjusted gross income.  The corporate cap was raised from 10 percent to 25 percent (including the food donation cap, which had been 15{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6}). Section 2105 only applies to contributions made in 2020.

A link to the two sections is here.

Valerie Sasaki specializes in jurisdictional tax consulting, working closely with Fortune 50 companies involved in audits before the Oregon or Washington Departments of Revenue. She also works with business owners on tax, business, and estate planning issues in Oregon or Southwest Washington.

Family Law Experts Issue Recommendations for Co-Parenting During Pandemic

Lots of families are struggling with how to best protect and parent children as the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, divorced parents may have additional concerns, such as “Is it safe to allow my children to travel to their other parent’s house for parenting time?,” “How can supervised parenting time continue if it was usually held at a restaurant?,” and “When is spring break, anyway?”

While each family may decide to approach these issues differently, the Oregon Statewide Family Law Advisory Committee (“SFLAC”) has issued recommendations for families who cannot reach their own agreements. Some common issues are addressed, such as:

  1. Definition of Spring Break, Summer Break/Vacation or Holidays: While the schools are closed, parenting time shall continue as if the children are still attending school in accordance with the school calendar of the relevant district. ‘Spring break,’ ‘summer break/vacation’ or other designated holidays, means the regularly calendared breaks/vacations or holidays in the school district where the children are attending school (or would attend school if they were school aged). The closure of the school for public health purposes will not be considered an extension of any break/vacation/holiday period or weekend.
  2. Parenting Time in Public Places: Governor Brown has forbidden all nonessential gatherings, regardless of size. If the parenting plan states that parenting time will occur in a public place, parenting time should continue at locations that are permitted under the health and safety guidelines for the state, such as a large park or nature hike. Public places where people routinely touch common contact surfaces (such as parks and play equipment) should be avoided. However, activities where parents and children can maintain social distancing and avoid such surfaces are encouraged. If that is not possible, then the parenting time should be conducted virtually via videoconferencing or by telephone.
  3. Governor’s Executive Orders regarding Travel: The Governor has issued executive orders that restrict travel except for essential activities, which generally include caring for minors, dependents and/or family members. Therefore, unless otherwise directed by the Governor or other executive order, the parties should continue to follow the parenting plan as written while such orders are in effect.
  4. Transparency: Unless the parties are restrained from communicating, parents are encouraged to communicate about precautions they are taking to slow the spread of COVID-19. A parent is not permitted to deny parenting time based upon the other parent’s unwillingness to discuss their precautionary measures taken, or belief that the other parent’s precautions are insufficient.

The full list can be found here: http://courts.oregon.gov/programs/family/sflac/SFLAC{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6}20Documents/SFLACGuidelineForParentsDuringCOVID19Pandemic.pdf. SFLAC is a panel of judges, trial court administrators, mediators and evaluators, attorneys, family court service providers, and representatives from various state agencies who advise the State Court Administrator on family law issues in the courts.

National groups The Association of Family Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) provided a joint statement last week with additional guidelines for co-parents. These can be found here: https://www.thecenterforfamilylaw.com/afcc-aaml. The consensus among professionals is that while parents should be mindful of protecting their children from infection and transmission of the disease, it is also important to continue following the parenting plan or other court orders unless doing so becomes impossible.

If you have additional questions about how to appropriately co-parent in this stressful and uncertain time we recommend that you reach out to a family law attorney.

Emily Clark Cuellar is a litigator at Samuels Yoelin Kantor. Her practice is centered around families, and her passion is helping families navigate all the various obstacles they may face. Her practice focuses on domestic relations and fiduciary and probate litigation.

Creative (and free!) Options When You Can’t Hit the Gym

We have a few free and fun ways to get moving and out of your head when you can’t get out of the house.

The recent Stay-at-Home order issued in Portland, Oregon has many of us adjusting to the new day to day life of remote work. It can be a hard balance when your work and home life all take place in the same building. Remember to take a few minutes for yourself and your mental wellness – stretch, or engage in a form of exercise you enjoy.

Though we are still able to go outside for walks and recreation (allowing for 6 feet of distance), Portland weather isn’t always so accommodating. If you’re in need of a creative way to move, but don’t have the space for an at home gym, we have a few suggestions.

Portland based BurnCycle, a high energy spin studio, is offering free access to home workouts and lead meditation. Find them here.

If you enjoy HIIT, strength training, boxing, yoga, there’s an app for that. Chris Hemsworth’s app, Centr, is currently offering six weeks of free memberships for new users. It also includes meal plans and guided meditations.

Don’t have any equipment? Keep It Cleaner is offering a free virtual gym with workouts on Wednesdays and Fridays. You can join via their Facebook page.

Annie Belcher, a Melbourne yoga teacher, has free audio yoga classes available for download on her website.

Orange Theory is even getting in on the virtual wave. They are sharing a new workout online every day. You might need equipment for some of the classes, but just a random 3-5kg item, or my personal favorite, a gallon of water, will do.

Daily Burn is a subscription platform with routines for yoga, running, and at-home HIIT workouts. They’re currently offering 60 free days of membership.

The App Store’s highest-rated yoga app, Down Dog, is completely free until April 1st. The offer is also extended to their other apps: Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout. For school teachers and health care workers, the app is free until July.

If you need more inspiration, MSN has a few more fun suggestions.

COVID-19: Resources

We’re getting a lot of questions right now about what resources are out there for individuals and businesses. I recommend taking a look at this comprehensive list that Representative Blumenauer’s office is developing and maintaining, for a start: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_vxTr5ze9Po3noASrmc3075x9EMsKZQczUe-QHsWADQ/edit#gid=0

Also, OCF is soliciting applications for nonprofits in need: https://oregoncf.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/oregon-community-recovery-fund/

For our business clients, business Oregon has some information up at: https://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/

Here is their Oregon capital access program (mostly loans): https://www.oregon4biz.com/How-We-Can-Help/Finance-Programs/CAP/

Here is the SBA Covid 19 page: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

My guess is that a lot of the federal assistance will come through the SBA in the form of forgivable loans and grants.

Valerie Sasaki specializes in jurisdictional tax consulting, working closely with Fortune 50 companies involved in audits before the Oregon or Washington Departments of Revenue. She also works with business owners on tax, business, and estate planning issues in Oregon or Southwest Washington.

Adequate Funding Needed to Support Court: Op Ed Article

The Oregon State Legislature is currently in full session and debating a proposed budget for Governor Brown’s approval. At stake is funding for our Oregon Courts. The Judicial Branch currently receives less than 3{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} of the total budget even though it is one of our three branches of government. SYK partner, Chris Costantino, in her role as President of the Oregon State Bar this year co-authored an article which was recently published in The Oregonian outlining the need to adequately fund our state courts in the 2019 budget. Right now, only one court house in the entire state is providing public services full time; other courts have limited time to answer phone calls or in-person requests. This is because court staffing has been cut by more than 12{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} since 2009. Understaffing impacts individuals and businesses who cannot access the court to get their disputes heard and resolved in a timely manner. The legislative session is scheduled to conclude on June 30th. Reach out to your local legislator and let them know how important it is to adequately fund our courts! For more information go to the Oregon State Bar’s website at www.osbar.org.

2019 President of the Oregon State Bar, Chris Costantino is committed to helping clients navigate the complex and emotionally challenging territory of family law in their personal lives and family businesses.

Her trademark philosophy — love your children, protect your assets, and preserve your legacy — guides her law practice as she helps clients with a number of legal issues including divorce and dissolution of domestic partnerships; prenuptial and domestic partner agreements; contested custody, child and spousal support; grandparents’ rights; contested guardianships and conservatorships; and trust litigation.

Free 24/7 Senior Loneliness Line: A Caring Call

Senior Loneliness Line

Clackamas County has launched a free and confidential 24/7 call-in at 503.200.1633 (or 800.282.7035) for adults older than 55 who live in Clackamas County.

Staff members are primarily trained under Lines for Life, to be well-equipped for crisis management training and suicide prevention. Staff members are also mandatory reporters and have been trained on how to fill out reports to Adult Protective Services.

The service is not for crisis only, and can be used for casual social calls – even daily.

Additionally, fiduciaries, caretakers and others can call the Senior Loneliness Line and request help.

“By investing in our older adults, we ensure that they will thrive in our community.”

Victoria Blachly: SYK Attorney

Victoria Blachly is a partner at SYK, and an experienced fiduciary litigator that works with many elderly clients, cases or causes. She is also a proud Board Member for the Oregon Alzheimer’s Association Chapter.

Attorneys Blachly & Pasieczny Present on Combating Financial Elder Abuse

Recent Tools to Combat Financial Elder Abuse”: a closer look at mandatory and permissive conduct for Oregon securities professionals.

Today, over 46 million Americans are 65 years of age or older. This accounts for nearly 15{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} of the population. According to the Population Reference Bureau, that number is projected to more than double by the year 2060. It will reach an estimated 98 million and 24{45ef85514356201a9665f05d22c09675e96dde607afc20c57d108fe109b047b6} of the U.S. population. Approximately 1 out of every 10 Americans, age 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse. Estimates of financial elder abuse and fraud costs range from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually

On Thursday, February 21st, SYK attorneys Victoria Blachly and Darlene Pasieczny will speak to the Oregon State Bar Securities Regulation Section about financial elder abuse in the securities industry. Their program “Recent Tools to Combat Financial Elder Abuse: Mandatory and Permissive Conduct Under FINRA Rules and Oregon Law for Securities Professionals,” will take a closer look at Oregon statues and FINRA rules regarding mandatory and permissive conduct for brokers and investment advisers when there is reasonable suspicion of financial abuse.

Meet the experts – Victoria Blachly and Darlene Pasieczny

Victoria Blachly is a fiduciary litigator, licensed in Oregon and Washington. She represents individual trustees, corporate trustees, beneficiaries, and personal representatives in often difficult and challenging cases including:

  • Trust and estate litigation
  • Will contests
  • Trust disputes
  • Undue influence
  • Capacity cases
  • Claims of fiduciary breach
  • Financial elder abuse cases
  • Petitioning for court instructions
  • Contested guardianship and conservatorship cases.

Darlene Pasieczny is a fiduciary and securities litigator. She represents clients both in Oregon and Washington, with matters regarding trust and estate disputes, financial elder abuse cases, securities litigation, and represents investors nationwide in FINRA arbitration. Her article, New Tools Help Financial Professionals Prevent Elder Abuse, was featured in the January 2019, Oregon State Bar Elder Law Newsletter.

Report abuse

If you suspect someone is being abused, neglected, or financially exploited, please reach out to the Oregon Department of Human Services. Also, you may consider hiring a private attorney to help employ legal tools to prevent harm, or recover financial losses.