Accounting CS Coronavirus response - updates and resources

Alerts and notices

This article explains the application changes that we’ve made, and changes we’re currently working on, to address the requirements of the Coronavirus-related acts that impact payroll processing. 

We will update this article frequently to add more accurate release date projections and additional included features.

Coronavirus related acts

Families First Coronavirus Response (FFCR) Act

The U.S. Treasury, IRS, and U.S. Dept of Labor has communicated guidance on the Family First Coronavirus Response (FFCR) Act, which provides Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to recover Coronavirus-related leave costs.  

This bill responds to the Coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free Coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.  

For more specific information about this Act, refer to the March 20, 2020 IRS IR-2020-57 News Release.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The U.S. Treasury, IRS, and U.S. Dept of Labor has communicated guidance on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is intended to help businesses keep employees on their payroll by allowing for deferred payments on some employer taxes, providing an employee retention credit, and enabling small businesses to apply for loans, and more.

For more specific information about this Act, see The CARES Act Works For All Americans page on the U.S. Treasury website. 

President Trump's Memorandum

On August 8, 2020 President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum intended to provide assistance in payroll tax deferment, evictions, foreclosures, and more. For more specific information about the payroll tax deferment, refer to the Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster on the White House website.

Application updates

v.2020.3.1 - Released on October 22, 2020

  • We updated Form 941X to the latest version released by the IRS for tax processing periods 6/30/2020 and prior.

v. 2020.3.0 - Released on September 30, 2020

  • We updated Form 941 and the electronic file to the latest version released by the IRS for tax processing periods 9/30/2020 and 12/31/2020. See the Form 941 2020: Covid-19 changes article for details about the changes and additions that were made to the form.

v.2020.2.6 - Released on September 10, 2020

  • COVID-19 Employee FICA-SS deferral. With this release, you can specify that you want to defer the FICA-SS amount for certain employees. Accounting CS will create an offsetting Deferred FICA-SS tax item and create liabilities with a due date of April 30, 2021. For more information see COVID-19: Deferral of employee Social Security tax withholding.
  • We updated the COVID-19 custom reports in the Accounting CS Library to include Employee FICA-SS deferral information.
  • We added several variables to the variable tree in the Report Designer. Details
    • In the Employee > COVID-19 Settings section, we added the Defer Withholding of FICA-SS to the End of 2020 variable.
    • In the Payroll > Check > Taxes > Federal > FICA > Social Security Deferred section, we added several variables for both Report Designer and Layout Designer.

v.2020.2.0 - Released on June 26, 2020

  • We updated Form 941 and the electronic file to the latest version released by the IRS for tax processing periods 6/30/2020, 9/30/2020, and 12/31/2020. See the Form 941 2020: Covid-19 changes article for details about the changes and additions that were made to the form.
  • We added two sections to the COVID-19 Acts tab of the Setup > Clients screen to help you enter 2020 Form 941 information for quarters 2, 3, and 4.
    • Form 7200 Advance Payment Information. Use this section to record any advance payments requested that should be reported on Form 941.
    • Federal 94x Information. Use this section to record any qualified health plan expenses that should be allocated to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) related wages and reported on Form 941.
  • We added the 7200 Worksheet – COVID-19 to the Accounting CS Library. For more details see COVID-19 - Custom reports (when v.2020.2.0 is released).
  • We added variables to the Client > COVID-19 Acts Information section of the variable tree. Details
    • 7200 Advance Quarter
    • 7200 Advance Requested
    • 7200 Advance Notes
  • We disabled the Payroll Tax Form option (accessible via the Actions > Analyze Client Activity menu) when 2020 is selected as the Form 941 processing year in the Actions > Edit Payroll Tax Forms screen. Details
    The Payroll Tax Form analysis tool is not available for the 2020 processing year due to the complexities of Form 941 and the related COVID-19 credits and tax deferrals.

Released on June 8, 2020 (no related application update)

We have added the PPP Loan Forgiveness Payroll Worksheet to the Accounting CS Library. You can provide this report to your clients to help them fill out the Small Business Association (SBA) loan forgiveness application. For more details about the Paycheck Protection Program, as specified in the CARES Act, see the PPP Borrower Information Fact Sheet (from home.treasury.gov).

v.2020.1.4 - Released on May 26, 2020

  • Employee Retention Credit. (CARES Act) In this release, we addressed the Employee Retention Credit, which is designed to encourage employers to keep employees on the payroll, despite the economic hardship brought about by COVID-19. This credit can be used only for wages not already credited by the FFCR COVID-19 paid sick leave credit. 
    • We added methods to automatically and manually create a “FIT Employee Retention Tax Adj " liability in the amount of the Employee Retention Credit.  Employers that had 101 or more employees in 2019 will need to use the manual method.  For more information, see COVID-19 - Employee Retention Credit.
    • We added Employee Retention Credit-related variables to the Client > COVID-19 Acts Information section of the variable tree in the Report Designer. Details
      • Claim First Quarter 2020 Employee Retention Credit
      • Claim Second Quarter 2020 Employee Retention Credit
      • Claim Third Quarter 2020 Employee Retention Credit
      • Claim Fourth Quarter 2020 Employee Retention Credit
    • We added the Employee Retention Credit Summary to the Accounting CS Library.
    • We updated the COVID-19 custom reports in the Accounting CS Library to include Employee Retention Credit information.

v.2020.1.3 - Released on May 4, 2020

  • Automatic tax liability adjustment for the Employer portion of FICA-MED. (FFCR Act) This liability adjustment is automated for payroll checks processed after this update. For payroll checks processed prior to installing this update, you will need to use the manual process, documented in the COVID-19 liability credit information article.
  • Ability to manually create COVID-19 deferred FICA-SS liabilities. We have added the ability to manually create employer FICA-SS tax liabilities in the Actions > Manage Payroll Liabilities screen, so clients can split and defer payment of the liabilities, as specified by the CARES Act.

v.2020.1.2 - Released on April 27, 2020

  • COVID-19 paid sick leave tracking. (FFCR Act) With this release, Accounting CS will alert you during payroll check entry if an employee uses more than the allowable number of hours for a COVID-19 sick leave type. For more information, see Setting up and using COVID-19 sick leave.
  • COVID-19 Employer FICA-SS deferral. (CARES Act) With this release, you can specify that you want to defer the ERFICA-SS amount. Accounting CS will split the amount into two, and specify new due dates for the end of years 2021 (for 50% of the amount) and 2022 (for the remaining 50%). For more information see COVID-19 - Deferral of employer Social Security tax payments.
  • New reports that include COVID-19 information. We will add the following reports to the Accounting CS Library
    • Cash Requirements and Deposits - COVID-19
    • Depository Totals - COVID-19
    • EFTPS Payment Worksheet - COVID-19
    • EFTPS Phone Payment Worksheet - COVID-19
    • Preprocessing Summary - COVID-19

    For more information about these reports, see COVID-19 - Custom reports.

v.2020.1.1 - Released on April 6, 2020

Additional resources and news

  • Thomson Reuters Labs have designed some interactive tools that you can share with your clients to help them navigate the economic challenges brought about by COVID-19 and highlight your firm as a trusted source of information during this crisis. Consider adding these tools to your website to enable your clients to easily answer the questions, print the resulting recommendations, and then schedule an appointment with your firm.
  • If your firm’s operations have been heavily impacted or you need assistance during these challenging times to meet your client’s payroll needs, the Thomson Reuters myPay Solutions team is prepared and ready to help your firm overcome any business continuity challenges.  Our entire myPay Solutions team is up and running. We are here right now to support you, and will continue to do so even as the surrounding business conditions change. Contact us by calling 800.800.0047.
  • Because a growing number of cities and states have restricted consumers from leaving their homes for non-essential purposes, many financial institutions are closing their branches or reducing their branch hours.  So, for those of you who want to learn more about offering Direct Deposit services to clients, we have posted a webinar on how to get started with Kotapay. Kotapay is a trusted partner of Thomson Reuters and is fully integrated into Accounting CS Payroll. In addition, Kotapay offers a new prefunding solution for payroll that allows for cleared funds to be sent within a 4 day time period. For more information, read their article, Managing Risk during this Uncertain Time.
  • Thomson Reuters is committed to assisting all payroll providers with compliance requirements resulting from the rapidly evolving legislation. To prepare your staff, we are offering a FREE Checkpoint Learning course that discusses family and medical leave, sick leave, tax credits to employers and self-employed taxpayers providing the leave, and the effect on employer-sponsored health plans. This free course, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 - Overview, provides a general review of new developments in taxation.
  • Thomson Reuters has also aligned with the AICPA, and a coalition of payroll providers, to advocate the use of payroll processors to quickly distribute governmental funds to small businesses. You can read the Open Letter to President Donald J. Trump from the AICPA-led coalition.

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