Accounting services deemed ‘essential’ in state ‘stay at home’ order

Written on Mar 22, 2020

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton has signed a "stay at home" order for all Ohioans starting Monday evening, however several key businesses and services, including accounting services, may continue as an essential business function. 

The order will go into effect on Monday, March 23 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until at least Monday, April 6. Gov. Mike DeWine announced the measure Sunday afternoon in what has become a daily news conference and update on the state’s efforts to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sunday’s announcement came after several days of concerted effort by OSCPA members and leadership to ensure accounting services could continue to function amid any shutdowns. Nevertheless, OSCPA is encouraging members – to the extent possible – to stay home and not require employees to go to the office or workplace.

On Friday, OSCPA President & CEO Scott Wiley, CAE, wrote to the DeWine Administration to explain the importance of the profession to the COVID-19 response effort. 

“Businesses are facing difficult decisions due to the major disruption caused by COVID-19,” Wiley wrote. “More than ever, business owners will rely on their CPAs to provide analysis and advice that allows them to make vital decisions, meet their contractual obligations, pay their employees and – ultimately – stay in business.” 

The Society also leveraged the power of membership, as nearly 800 people sent nearly 2,500 messages via OSCPA’s online tool to ask legislators to both recognize accounting as essential, and to move the state’s tax filing day. (More on that below.) 

Wiley on Sunday said the administration’s decision for accounting is “a big deal.” 

“On behalf of the Ohio Society of CPAs’ Executive Board and leadership, I want to thank Gov. DeWine, Lt. Gov. Husted and their staffs for recognizing the importance – indeed, the necessity – of CPAs to the continuity of critical functions in our state. 

“Accounting has a vital role to play – not only in this pandemic, but as we begin to think about how we can help businesses and society get moving again once this ends.” 

It’s important to note that, under the order, businesses permitted to continue operations must meet several requirements, including: 

  • Meeting physical distancing requirements contained in the order 
  • Allowing as many employees as possible to work from home 
  • Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home 
  • Ensuring that sick leave policies are up to date
  • Separating employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms
  • Reinforcing key messages – stay home when sick, use cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice hand hygiene – to all employees
  • Providing protection supplies (soap and hand sanitizer are two examples)
  • Being prepared to change business practices if needed 

Wiley said more remains to be done – and quickly, noting that the Ohio General Assembly will return to Columbus this week. 

“We expect a massive relief package to be on their plate,” he said. “We have urged legislators to include language to mirror the federal filing and payment deadline extensions for 90 days to July 15.” The Society is also requesting the state to extend the due date for the first quarter 2020 estimated payments. 

He said CPAs should continue to let their legislators know about this important effort by using the Society’s online tool. And as news of the coronavirus continues to develop, refer to OSCPA’s resource page to stay informed. 

11 comments

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  1. Thomas W Wolf | Mar 26, 2020

    WHAT ABOUT PAYROLL TAXES?

     

  2. George E Hammond | Mar 23, 2020
    Seems logical to me that the state would follow the federal guidelines since the state taxable income starts with the federal adjusted gross income.  To not do so voids the federal extension.  Taxpayers would have to figure the federal adjusted gross income to file their state returns.  
  3. David | Mar 23, 2020

    "On or before?" Text of ORC §718.05(G)(1)(a) - 

    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, each individual income tax return required to be filed under this section shall be completed and filed as required by the tax administrator on or before the date prescribed for the filing of state individual income tax returns under division (G) of section 5747.08 of the Revised Code. The taxpayer shall complete and file the return or notice on forms prescribed by the tax administrator or on generic forms, together with remittance made payable to the municipal corporation or tax administrator. No remittance is required if the amount shown to be due is ten dollars or less. A municipal corporation shall not require a qualifying employee whose income consists exclusively of exempt income described in division (C) (20) (b) or (c) of section 718.01 of the Revised Code to file a return under this section.

  4. DOCGREY | Mar 23, 2020
    WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER AND HAVING THE ACCOUNTING PROFESSION BE ESSENTIAL MAKES ME BELIEVE OUR POWERS TO BE ARE WORKING TO SQUASH THIS PANDEMIC.
  5. scott gill | Mar 23, 2020
    The 2019 municipal tax deadline is expected to be extended this week.  Because Ohio muni's are tied to the State deadline pursuant to ORC §718.05(G)(1)(a), we are anticipating the extension to happen later this week when the General Assembly reconvenes.  This should include both filing and payment, as well as at least the first quarterly estimate for 2020.
  6. Les Atkinson CPA | Mar 22, 2020

    Appreciate the effort to date.  I haven't seen any comments regarding municipal taxes - RITA, CCA, Columbus, etc.  Could we get some guidance on what options may be available there?

     

    Thanks!

  7. Douglas A Shearer | Mar 22, 2020
    I am a CPA who provides CFO and controller services to about 18 companies and the owners of these companies depend on me to provide them with timely and accurate financial information to make intelligent business decisions, and to provide financial statements to outside CPAs who prepare the tax returns for these companies. So I appreciate being considered an essential service provider for companies who are looking to me to give them critical information and sound business advice. 
  8. Bill Day | Mar 22, 2020
    Good job!
  9. William Wallace | Mar 22, 2020
    While the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation has delayed installments, the massive surplus the BWC has would allow refunds of 100% of last years premiums.  Governor Dewine would do right by businesses and return this money into their hands as soon as possible.
  10. Terrence Fergus CPA | Mar 22, 2020
    Answers a lot of important questions. Thank you.  Clients count on is more than most people realize. 
  11. Phil | Mar 22, 2020
    The Ohio Society needs to recommend moving the 6/15/20 2nd quarterly estimate date to 7/15/20.

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