On April 30, 2020, the Federal Reserve Board (Federal Reserve) issued revised terms and conditions of its Main Street Lending Program (MSLP), which is expected to make approximately $600 billion in loans available for small and midsized businesses. The Federal Reserve’s announcement, including revised term sheets for the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF); a new term sheet for a third loan facility, the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF); and an extensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be found here. Brief summaries of each of the facilities are set forth below; a more comprehensive discussion of the final program, including the FAQs, will be provided in a subsequent alert.

Note that the MSLP is not yet operational; the Federal Reserve is expected to announce the start date in the near future. Pending the program’s official launch, prospective borrowers are encouraged to contact their existing banks to confirm that they are Eligible Borrowers and that the banks will participate as lenders.

Continue Reading Federal Reserve Announces Revised Terms of Main Street Lending Program

On May 1, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new safety alert for restaurant and food and beverage businesses operating during the pandemic. In the alert, OSHA suggests that restaurants providing curbside and takeout service should reserve parking spaces near the front door for pickup, avoid handing food off directly when possible, and allow workers to wear masks.

Continue Reading OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Alert to Restaurants & Beverage Vendors

Reprinted from Tax Notes State, April 27, 2020, p. 537

“Through multiple proclamations, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) ordered that nonessential businesses close their doors or limit their operations, including restaurants, hotels, casinos, retail shops, barbershops, and beauty salons, as well as places of amusement such as concert halls and movie theaters. For many businesses, it is uncertain when they will be able to reopen and return to normal operations. One consequence of the ongoing disruption of business and ominous market conditions is the related decrease in the value of property used to operate these businesses.

Under Louisiana law, “[a]ssessments shall be made on the basis of the condition of things existing on the first day of January of each year.” In Orleans Parish, the status of property as of August 1 of each tax year is determinative of the fair market value of property for tax purposes. As such, the assessed value of property for tax year 2020 will likely be overstated since the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic occurred after January 1, 2020. Fortunately, Louisiana law may already provide some relief to affected taxpayers for the 2020 tax year.

Click here to continue reading.

COVID-19 Update: By agreement of Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, the Mississippi Legislature will reconvene the 2020 legislative session on Monday, May 18.

The Legislature recessed its 125-day session temporarily on March 18, following the governor’s issuance of a state of emergency related to COVID-19.

Hosemann, Gunn, and members of the Legislature continue to analyze the impact of the pandemic and federal funds from the CARES Act relief package on the state’s emergency response efforts, healthcare facilities, and wider state budget. Budget analysts and agencies have said all agencies currently have the funds required to meet their immediate financial needs. Hosemann and Gunn have specifically reserved the right to reconvene earlier than May 18 if necessary.

Legislative leadership is also working on establishing protocol for working within and visiting the Mississippi Capitol as shelter-in-place restrictions begin to be lifted. Their goal is to allow as much access as possible while prioritizing the health and safety of those in the building.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) postponed filing and tax payment deadlines for individuals, businesses, trusts, and estates in a series of notices published over the past few weeks.

The notices directly affect the deadlines for filing and paying income tax, estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax.

IRS Notice 2020-18 provided relief for individual federal income tax return filing and payments due on April 15, 2020. Individual taxpayers must file and pay federal income taxes by July 15, 2020, to avoid accruing interest or penalties on unpaid federal income taxes for the 2019 tax year. Continue Reading Treasury and IRS Extend Tax Deadlines for Individuals, Businesses, Trusts, and Estates

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry (BCI) held a special meeting via teleconference to consider a Motion to Suspend All Deadlines (the “Motion”). The Motion extends all deadlines related to advance notifications, applications, compliance documentation, other contractual documents, and Industrial Tax Exemption Program local notices of action that are required to be filed through the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED) for programs administered by the BCI during the pendency of the Executive Orders issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Motion, all deadlines for BCI programs are suspended between March 17, 2020 until April 30, 2020, or later if additional proclamations are issued, and thereafter subject to an additional thirty (30) day extension. However, the Motion does not affect any standing rules of the LED regarding requesting extensions and other deadlines for BCI programs. Further, in the Motion, the BCI encourages applicants to continue to file relevant program-related documents to avoid delay once the restrictions imposed by the Executive Orders are lifted.

Click here for the BCI’s agenda and the Motion.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently approved the temporary relief proposed by both the Nasdaq Stock Market (NASDAQ) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) relating to compliance with the minimum price and minimum market capitalization continued listing standards of each exchange. In short, the cure period for regaining compliance with these standards is tolled through June 30, 2020. Listed companies that either (1) were in a cure period at the time the temporary relief took effect or (2) receive a notice of noncompliance after the temporary relief took effect and, in either case, have not regained compliance by June 30, 2020, will have their cure period either restart or begin on July 1, 2020. However, note that listed companies that receive a notice of noncompliance during the relevant toll period will still have to issue a press release, file a Form 8-K with the SEC, and, for NYSE-listed companies, submit a compliance plan to the NYSE.

Continue Reading Update: NYSE and NASDAQ Receive Approval for Additional Temporary Relief from Continued Listing Standards During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), the massive stimulus legislation passed on March 27, appropriated $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (the Relief Fund) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to be used “for necessary expenses to reimburse, through grants or other mechanisms, eligible health care providers for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus,” other than expenses or losses that have been reimbursed from other sources (or that other sources were obligated to reimburse). As described in our earlier Client Alert CMS Gives Emergency Dollars to Medicare Providers . . . but With Strings Attached, HHS began the initial distribution of Relief Fund payments on April 10, with $30 billion divided among all providers that received Medicare payments during 2019 in proportion to their relative Medicare reimbursements during that year. Continue Reading HHS Announces Next Distribution and Priorities for CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Payments

Today, the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act (the Enhancement Act) was signed into law. The Enhancement Act increases amounts authorized and appropriated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Public Law 116–136) (the CARES Act).

The Enhancement Act provides an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act, $50 billion for the Disaster Loan Program, and $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Grants. $60 billion of the PPP funding will be set aside for loans made by smaller insured depository institutions and credit unions.

The Enhancement Act also appropriates an additional $75 billion in funding for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund of the Department of Health and Human Services (the Relief Fund) for reimbursement to eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to the coronavirus, and appropriates $25 billion to the Relief Fund for necessary expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue issued Revenue Information Bulletin (“RIB”) No. 20-011, which provides filing and payment extension relief for monthly Louisiana severance tax returns, payments, and reports due on April 25, 2020.

The RIB provides that the filing and payment deadline for the February 2020 monthly oil and gas severance tax return, which is normally due on April 25, 2020, is now extended to June 25, 2020.

This is an automatic extension, and no extension request is necessary.

No penalties or interest will be assessed provided that the applicable monthly return, payment, and report for this severance tax period are submitted to the department by the June 25, 2020, extension date.

Importantly, however, this extension does not apply to severance tax returns, payments, or reports due on any other dates.