As we come out of the summer, the hope of life returning to a ‘normal’ level continues to receive some basis for optimism. A lot of this came from the job market in August, which saw payroll numbers rise as unemployment fell (read more here), where large companies were a big part of adding jobs during the month (as seen here), and some areas are seeing small business growth (as stated in this article). At the same time, many schools across the country are opening or using hybrid models, and even though there are also stories of this not always going well, it does help with that sense of normalcy.
Although all of this feels great, let it not make us complacent. There are still many industries that are waiting for their resurgence (restaurants, airlines, etc.) and this can only be achieved when the pandemic is under control. So, things aren’t as bad as they have been this year, but they’re not as good as we want them to be. Continue taking steps to control the spread and transmission of the virus as we take the uplift from good news when it comes.
Not all the payroll news is fully good, though, as President Trump’s executive order deferring payroll taxes is being largely ineffective. Much of this is due to the limitation of the office of president. The president can defer such taxes, but it takes an act of Congress to forgive them. And even though that deferral could have started at the beginning of the month, it is not being universally used.
A big reason for this is that it is a voluntary move that an employer opts in to. At the same time, though, if an employer does that, it gains a headache in making sure that the numbers are properly recorded, paid back by the end of April next year, and remaining on the hook for any taxes not paid by employees no longer with the company at the end of that period. If you want to get more in-depth on this, you can read this article, but that is the basic layout for why it is easy to see why employers are choosing not to engage in this program.
So who knows what we can expect over the new few months. Hopefully people will steadily keep going to work and the numbers of those infected with and dying from COVID-19 will continue to decline. But will that lead to people continuing to take measures to hold off the spread or will it make things more lax? Will there be government action to create goodwill before the election or will the two sides just get further entrenched? As has felt the case for the last six months, answers are not always easy. But we remain here to help in any way we can as we continue to travel the road forward together.
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