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CPA Firms “Essential” under New York State’s Executive Orders Combating COVID-19

March 20, 2020

Author: Bradley Pryba

In the context of the escalating COVID-19 crisis response, governments are mobilizing to beat back the virus. A key tool in fighting the spread of COVD-19 has been “social distancing,” ensuring that residents are far enough away from one another to limit the possibility of community spread of the virus. In this context, New York State has been aggressive statewide and within workplaces. As CPA firms enter the final stretch of tax season, how are they to adjust?

Thus far, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) has not extended the deadlines to file or pay taxes. Filing and payment due dates for federal income tax have been extended until July 15, 2020, for C Corps up to $10 million for each consolidated group or for each C Corp that does not join in filing a consolidated return, and for all other taxpayers, including individuals, up to $1 million.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order encouraging employers to enact remote work procedures and requiring employers to reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 100% effective March 22, 2020. All but essential businesses or entities must abide by this directive.

However, the Empire State Development (ESD) recently issued guidance on what constitutes an essential business. Accountants have been included and thus are not subject to the in-person workforce reduction. In this rapidly evolving landscape, firms are encouraged to check ESD for guidance for information regarding all businesses that have been deemed essential in addition to accounting. CPA firms still must comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health.

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