The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted workplace practices and dramatically changed the way in-house tax professionals and government officials perform their jobs. Over the past several months, TEI has been monitoring these developments and advocating for responsive tax policy and administration solutions to better enable taxpayers and governments to navigate this uncertain time.
TEI has created a COVID-19 resource portal on its website. This portal is a central location with current links to international, federal, and state/provincial government websites addressing COVID-19 tax issues. It also includes links to TEI member discussion groups, responsive TEI advocacy projects, and our sponsors’ COVID-19 pages, which contain a wealth of information.
TEI’s standing committees have also been working on these issues and actively communicating with federal and state/provincial government agencies. TEI members have a unique opportunity to share information with governments regarding the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business taxpayers, address tax-related concerns arising in this new environment, and seek clarification on COVID-19 legislation. Recent highlights include:
- TEI’s State and Local Tax Committee submitted an open letter to all U.S. state revenue departments, the Multistate Tax Commission, the Federation of Tax Administrators, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the National Governors Association. This letter identified state and local tax implications created by teleworking and sought administrative, filing, and payment relief for state and local taxes in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- TEI’s Canadian Commodity Tax Committee has had several conference calls with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Department of Finance (Finance) about the Canadian government’s announcements on deferring GST/HST remittance. These calls have enabled TEI members to seek answers about eligibility for relief and the manner in which CRA’s systems will process and account for such deferrals.
- The Canadian Commodity Tax Committee has also partnered with the Canadian Income Tax Committee to hold several conference calls with CRA and Finance regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy legislation. These calls have provided TEI members with answers about the administration of these critical programs and have raised questions for CRA’s and Finance’s further consideration.
- Members of TEI’s Tax Reform Task Force have put forward a range of constructive proposals to perfect or improve upon the business tax provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in Congress’ next major package of coronavirus-response legislation. Most of those proposals would allow companies to better use losses to provide additional cash flow and liquidity during the COVID-19 emergency, enabling them to continue operations and keep employees on payroll. TEI formally communicated these proposals in a letter to the chairpersons and ranking members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees in May, with plans to follow up with staff-level engagement.
TEI values the opportunity to support its members during this unprecedented time. We encourage all members to reach out to TEI’s legal staff to discuss issues and ask questions that are top of mind for in-house tax professionals as this crisis continues to unfold.