COVID-19 Relief for Washington Businesses and Employees

Alert COVID-19 – Shannon & Associates LLP _ Kent, WA

Given current circumstances, it is difficult to imagine that the first case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the State of Washington (and the U.S.) was confirmed on January 21st, 2020 and a state of emergency declared on February 29, 2019.  As the pandemic continues to impact businesses and individuals, state and local government have been quick to implement various forms of relief for taxpayers, employers, and employees alike. 

We have outlined some of the available relief options and resources below

Washington Department of Revenue is offering extensions to remit tax payments for monthly, quarterly (Q1 2020), and annual (2019) excise tax (including B&O) return filers, but is requesting that taxpayers continue to timely file their returns.  Taxpayers on a payment plan are also eligible to extend payment dates. We recommend monitoring extension dates and applicability as things continue to change.

For taxpayers with collection or audit issues, the department is delaying the issuance of new compliance assessments and the scheduling of most audits with the intent to reevaluate and reassess at a later date.  For those currently under audit, DOR is aiming to be flexible, encourage electronic records, and providing extensions of up to 60 days depending on preference and circumstances.

Washington State Employment Security Department has adopted a series of emergency rules in response to COVID-19 to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and quarantine for workers and businesses.  ESD has compiled a Scenarios and Benefits Available Chart as well as a web page for Layoff assistance.

The department recommends that the best option for employees who must miss work is to utilize their employer-paid time off followed by paid family & medical leave.

Unemployment benefits may be available if a worker is:

  • Mildly ill with COVID-19
  • Worker was exposed & quarantined- business is still open
  • Worker is immune compromised and advised to self-quarantine
  • Employer must shut down due to a quarantine by public official
  • Employer shuts down business due to lack of demand
  • Employer reduces available hours due to slow down – employees can collect partial unemployment

The following webpages are available for additional information, resources, and frequently asked questions:

Paid Sick Leave and COVID-19 Common Questions
COVID-19 and Paid Family and Medical Leave FAQ
COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits Application Checklist

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has made available additional resources regarding Workers’ Compensation after Governor Inslee announced that coverage would be expanded to include quarantined health care workers and first responders

Other quarantine cases will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but in most cases, exposure and/or contraction of COVID-19 is not considered to be an allowable work-related condition.  In order to file a claim, L&I recommends filing online via their FileFast tool, by calling 1-877-561-3453, or by completing a Report of Accident at your doctor’s office for them to remit on your behalf.

A listing of common questions can be found at L&I’s website at the link below:
Workers’ Compensation Coverage and COVID-19 Common Questions

Please also see our listing of additional resources available here.

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