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Monthly Archives: July 2020


Philly Schools to Return Virtually in Fall

Philly Schools to Return Virtually in FallThe Philadelphia School Board has voted to begin the school year online. The Board announced its approval of an all-virtual plan during a 7-1 vote on Thursday afternoon. Superintendent Dr. William Hite says the school year will begin virtually on September 2.

Classes will be held virtually until at least November 17, which marks the end of the first grading period. Then, the district would make a decision whether to remain completely online or transition to a hybrid model going into the winter.

Read On 6ABC.com

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Fed to Hold Rates Steady Based on Economic Data

Fed to Hold Rates Steady Based on Economic DataThe Federal Reserve held interest rates steady in a decision announced Wednesday that came along with a tepid outlook on the coronavirus-plagued economy.

In a move widely expected, the central bank kept its benchmark overnight lending rate anchored near zero, where it has been since March 15 in the early days of the pandemic.

Along with keeping rates low, the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy, expressed its commitment to maintain its bond purchases and the array of lending and liquidity programs also associated with the virus response.
 
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Property Management with Safety in Mind

Let’s look at safety as it relates to property management. As a property manager, you have an important responsibility. Building tenants and owners all rely on you to keep the property safe, orderly and functioning. However, there are also many hazards relating to your property management duties, including dealing with unruly people, performing a wide variety of repairs and tasks and facing countless unknown risks on each property.

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Your safety is just as important as the tenants occupying the premises, so keep the following precautions in mind.

• Always watch out for your personal safety when dealing with the public. Sometimes people can become violent, angry or act unpredictably for no reason or over a seemingly minor issue. You may experience stress with someone else over lease agreements, parking zones or when dealing with complaints and disputes.

• When collecting rent or carrying large amounts of cash, always keep your eyes out for others. To be less vulnerable, make frequent trips to the bank during regular business hours. It is also wise to let someone else (spouse, significant other, close friend, etc.) know your daily routine in case you cannot be reached. This could indicate to them that you are in danger and need assistance.

• Conduct frequent safety inspections to identify potential hazards, such as uneven pavement, puddles of oil or water in walkways, faulty door locks, etc. Fix these problems immediately or hire someone to do so.

• Limit access to the property by installing locks on all entrances. Also install adequate lighting to deter intruders, especially in more desolate areas of the building. It is also wise to manicure the landscaping often so that there are clear views around the property.

• Communicate hazards with your tenants by placing signs on defective equipment or by restricting them from areas that are being repaired.

• Do not try to perform services that you are not properly trained on, such as HVAC work, plumbing repair, etc. If you attempt to repair or replace something without expertise, you may unnecessarily hurt yourself and/or may damage the property.

• Always use caution when working on electrical equipment, as these items can pose shock hazards.

• Be mindful of crush dangers when working near fans, elevators and trash compactors.

For more information about vacant property insurance and other strategies to help protect your assets and mitigate loss, contact us today at (856) 489-9100.

Brian Blaston,Partner
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
fax: 856.673.5955
email: bblaston@hig.net
www.hig.net

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Murphy Announces a New Relief Program for Small Businesses

Murphy Announces a New Relief Program for Small Businesses

Governor Murphy announced a new relief program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Lease – Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBL-EAGP) will allow businesses in 64 eligible municipalities to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for lease costs. The program will assist small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which also assists landlords, many of whom are also small businesses.

“We are committed to helping small businesses across our state survive this unprecedented crisis,” said Governor Murphy. “A stronger and fairer New Jersey starts from the bottom up. The Small Business Lease – Emergency Assistance Grant Program will infuse much needed funding into local economies by assisting both small businesses and the landlords that they rent from.”

“The Small Business Lease Emergency Grant Assistance Program is directly geared toward keeping the mom-and-pop shops on main streets and business centers afloat in this time of need, specifically in our most vulnerable communities in New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and Board Chair of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. “Governor Murphy and I remain as committed as ever to supporting New Jersey’s small businesses and this new lease program will work hand-in-hand with other state assistance programs to help them emerge from this crisis stronger.”

The SBL-EAGP, managed by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA), is the first component of a broader Main Street Commercial Corridors Relief Package to be paid for with federal CARES Act funding. Through the SBL-EAGP, small businesses located in NJRA’s 64 eligible municipalities that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for up to $10,000 to assist with lease payments. It will provide grants to:

-Tenants leasing commercial space in mixed-use buildings;
-Tenants leasing space in commercial buildings; and
-Tenants leasing space to operate a storefront business.

The program will be targeted to businesses with 5,000 square feet of leased space or less, and is requiring standard debarment and legal qualifications from applying businesses.

Applications will open August 10, 2020, online, and funds will be distributed on a first come first served basis. $6 million in federal CARES Act funding will be allocated for this program.

The application Portal opens August 10, 2020 at 9am.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact Brad Today for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on my team’s webpage.

brad-molosky

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Senate and White House Agree on $1 Trillion Aid Bill

Senate and White House Agree on $1 Trillion Aid BillSenate Republicans announced Wednesday evening that they have “reached a fundamental agreement” with White House negotiators on how to move forward with a coronavirus relief bill.

The tentative framework comes amid tension in the Republican Party over how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which is forcing states to re-evaluate their plans to reopen and to address the growing numbers of cases and deaths.

Read on NBC News

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Real Estate Depreciation Change in CARES Act

Real Estate Depreciation Change in CARES ActA welcomed change to real estate depreciation came in the recent CARES Act. We tax practitioners and certain taxpayers have been waiting for Congress to fix a key technical glitch in the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) rushed through in the waning days of 2017.

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The concern was over permitted real estate depreciation for retail, restaurant, hospitality and leasehold remodeling lumped together and called “Qualified Improvement Property” (QIP). Republicans in Congress meant to give QIP a fifteen-year life for depreciation and make it eligible for the very favorable 100% bonus depreciation. Instead, it inadvertently gave it a 39-year life and precluded bonus depreciation. While nothing really to do with the pandemic, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed March 27th, fixed this omission retroactive back to 2018. This change may well provide significant tax-reduction opportunities. The faux pas has been called the retail glitch”. While beneficial to a broad base of taxpayers, the incentive was a meaningful boon to the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries because of the rate at which these businesses open and renovate locations.

QIP is defined as improvements to an interior portion of a nonresidential building. It must be placed in service by the taxpayer after the building was first placed in service and can include no improvements for the enlargement of the building, for elevators or escalators, or for the internal structural framework of the building. While there is no change in the definition of QIP, again, the change is effective for tax years that begin subsequent to December 31, 2017.

Taxpayers who put such Qualified Improvement Property in service during 2019 but have not yet filed their returns, should so explore this opportunity. Those who filed returns where they placed such QIP into service during 2018 and 2019, may wish to look into filing amended returns to take advantage of the changes which could be material. If they treated the assets as bonus-ineligible 39-year property, they should amend those returns to treat such assets as bonus-eligible.

The TCJA eliminated a taxpayer’s ability to carry back an NOL, only to be carried forward (indefinitely) and, even then, limited to 80% of income. For tax years beginning before 1/1/2021, the CARES Act will now allow net operating losses to be carried BACK to offset 100% of income for the prior 5 years (i.e. 2013 thru 2017). Corporations can file an amended return to claim the bonus real estate depreciation. Such may generate a NOL that can be carried back five years under the new NOL provisions of the CARES Act to tax years before 2018. Imagine using such losses carried back to a time when rates were 35%, even though these losses were generated in years with a tax rate of 21%. Tax refunds may be generated which can bring welcome relief to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic.

Current and contemplated projects involving significant costs for improvements should be evaluated by taxpayers who want to take advantage of deducting the cost of these improvements. They will need to segregate interior improvements from exterior improvements and items specifically excluded from QIP. Cost segregation studies are essential tools in identifying eligible costs so it would appear wise to have cost segregation professionals involved. While not my field, I’m sure the experts at WCRE can put you in touch with credible teams they work with.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Martin H. Abo, CPA/ABV/CVA/CFF is a principle of Abo and Company, LLC and its affiliate, Abo Cipolla Financial Forensics, LLC, Certified Public Accountants – Litigation and Forensic Accountants. With offices in Mount Laurel, NJ and Morrisville, PA, tips like the above can also be accessed by going to the firm’s website at www.aboandcompany.com.

Martin Abo

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Existing Home Sales Surge Nearly 21%

Existing Home Sales Surge Nearly 21%Sales of existing homes jumped nearly 21% in June compared with May, according to the National Association of Realtors.

It was the largest monthly gain since the Realtors began tracking the data in 1968 and came after sharp declines over the previous three months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sales were still 11.3% lower annually.

Read on CNBC

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NFL Agrees to Cancel 2020 Preseason

NFL Agrees to Cancel 2020 PreseasonThe NFL Players Association and league’s owners have agreed to scrap the 2020 preseason while also reducing the size of training camp rosters. 

Union executives informed players of the agreement Tuesday evening on a conference call. 

The two sides agreed to eliminate all four weeks of preseason one day after the owners offered to meet the demands of the players to do so.

Read on USA Today

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NJ expands travel advisory self-quarantine to 31 states

NJ expands travel advisory self-quarantine to 31 statesThe COVID-19 rebound has slowly crept toward the Northeast, an area the virus slammed in March and April, as the number of travel-advisory “hotspot” states surges to 31, including neighbors Delaware and nearby Maryland.

In a Tuesday announcement, the Murphy administration added 10 states, removing Minnesota from the list, and bringing on Maryland for the first time, and Delaware for a second time.

Read on NJBIZ

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NJ To Offer Remote-Learning Option For Schools

NJ To Offer Remote-Learning Option For SchoolsThe Department of Education will provide guidance later this week for parents that will allow them to opt for all-remote learning for their children this fall.

The Murphy administration needs to meet and deal with “a lot of moving parts with this,” the governor said.

“This is about as complex a step as we will take or as any American state will take and we want to get it right, Murphy said.

Murphy said he still favors having in-person learning during the fall, but he has not ruled out shifting entirely to remote learning if there’s an uptick in cases.

Parents and teachers, however, have called for having some sort of online system available, and a number of educators and parents have said they won’t participate in in-person education.

“We want to do it responsibly. We want to respect public health but we also want to do everything we can to try to recapture that magic of some semblance of in-person education that no state does like New Jersey,” he said.

Murphy said having a number of students opt for remote learning will address “capacity and density” concerns that teachers and parents have, and how many desire to have smaller, socially distant classrooms.

Murphy has issued a list of rules and guidelines for reopening schools this fall amid the coronavirus outbreak. Read more: Gov. Murphy Issues NJ School Reopening Rules Amid Coronavirus

New Jersey teachers, meanwhile, have developed what may be considered a strict set of possible ground rules for getting kids back to school in the fall. Read more: NJ Teachers Develop Possible Back-To-School Coronavirus Rules

Murphy said he’s still expecting to have in-person learning in some form, and many districts are supposed to have plans released by early August.

New Jersey’s numbers continue to decline, he noted, and the state’s single-day death toll hit its lowest number on Monday since March 23.

Read on Patch.com

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Trump to Resume Coronavirus Briefings

Trump to Resume Coronavirus BriefingsPresident Donald Trump said that he will resume holding coronavirus press briefings at the White House, likely starting Tuesday, as a sharp rise in cases across the nation coincides with his declining poll numbers.

Trump, speaking in the Oval Office, told reporters Monday that “we have had this big flare-up in Florida, Texas, a couple of other places,” while maintaining that “a lot of the country is doing well” in its fight against the pandemic.

Read on CNBC

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PA Makes $50M Available for Hazard Pay Grants

Governor Tom Wolf announced the availability of $50 million in grant funding to help employers provide hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hazard pay is intended to keep front-line employees working in vital industry sectors across Pennsylvania.

“In the fight against COVID-19, our front-line workers have put themselves at risk every day in order to continue to provide life-sustaining services to their fellow Pennsylvanians, and this funding will increase their pay in recognition of those sacrifices,” said Gov. Wolf. “These grants will help businesses retain employees, ensure that Pennsylvanians keep working and avoid disruption of critical goods and services.”

Created through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this reimbursement-based grant is available to employers offering hazard pay during the eligible program period and will be administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Businesses may apply for grants up to a maximum of $3 million

The following applicants are eligible to apply:
• Businesses
• Healthcare Non-profits
• Public Transportation Agencies
• Certified Economic Development Organizations (CEDO)

Eligible Pennsylvania-based industries include:
• Healthcare and Social Assistance
• Ambulatory Health Care Services
• Hospitals
• Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
• Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
• Food Manufacturing
• Food Retail Facilities
• Security Services for eligible industries listed above and commercial industries that were not closed as a result of the Governor’s Business Closure Order
• Janitorial Services to Buildings and Dwellings

Grant funds may be used for hazard pay for direct, full-time and part-time employees earning less than $20/hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime for the 10-week period from August 16, 2020, to October 24, 2020. Applicants may apply for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent (FTE) employee. Employers may apply for a grant to provide hazard pay for up to 500 eligible full-time equivalent employees per location.

Eligible applicants may apply for grants using the online DCED Electronic Single Application for Assistance located at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us from July 16, 2020, to July 31, 2020. Program inquiries may be directed to (717) 787-6245 or ra-dcedcbf@pa.gov.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should follow https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.

In addition to the information above, here is the link to the DCED page: https://dced.pa.gov/programs/covid-19-pa-hazard-pay-grant/

Applications will be received between July 16, 2020 and July 31, 2020. To apply for funding, applications must be submitted through the Electronic Single Application (ESA).

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