Tag Archives: Covid-19

Podcast – Update on Covid-19 Relief for Individuals and Businesses | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published January 11, 2021.

Update on Covid-19 Relief for Individuals and Businesses

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Update on Covid-19 Relief for Individuals and Businesses” You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: “Update on Covid-19 Relief for Individuals and Businesses.”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz will be asking the questions and I will be responding to her questions on this important tax topic: “Update on Covid-19 Relief for Individuals and Businesses.”

Reyna Munoz Introduces Herself to the Audience:

  • Good morning everyone. My name is Reyna Munoz, and I am the Immigration Legal Assistant at Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Coleman Jackson, P.C. is a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based right here in Dallas, Texas.
  • Attorney a lot of folks are receiving bills from the IRS claiming that they owe a “shared responsibility payment for failure to maintain healthcare coverage on members of their household”. I mean some of these bills are for tax periods that are a long time ago, like 2015, 2017 and 2018.  What is this about?
  • Question 1: Just tell me, what is this all about?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 1:

  • Good morning Reyna.
  • Yes Reyna; Congress recently passed and the President recently signed into law a $900 Billion Covid Relief Package with quite a few tax provisions.  The package includes $600 payments to individual taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000 or less or in case of head of households with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $112,500.  The new relief payment for joint return tax filers is $1,200 with AGI of $150,000 or less.  And taxpayers receive $600 for each qualifying child.  The new relief package also extended the weekly federal unemployment compensation of $300 for qualified individuals who lost their jobs due to Covid-19.”.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 2:

  • Attorney, who qualifies for the recovery rebate tax credits or stimulus checks?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 2:

  • Other than the adjusted gross income limitations that I mentioned, the following individuals are eligible to receive stimulus checks unless specifically ineligible:
  • Everyone is eligible other than —
  1. Any nonresident alien individual;
  2. Any individual with respect to whom a deduction under section 151 is allowable to another taxpayer for a taxable year beginning in the calendar year in which the individual’s taxable year begins; and
  3. Any estate or trust.
  • To summarize: Anyone who does not fall into either 1, 2 or 3 above is eligible to receive a stimulus check.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 3:

What is the substantial presence test?

 Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 3:

  • Reyna; that is an excellent question!
  • In United States Tax Law a nonresident alien is any individual who is not a United States Citizen and does not pass the Green Card Test or Substantial Presence Test.
  • To summarize: A Nonresident is anyone who is not
  1. a United States Citizen; or
  2. a Lawful Permanent Resident or Green Card Holder; or
  • a person who passes the substantial presence test with respect to length of physical presence within the United States. We go into detailed discussions of the substantial presence test in prior blogs which can be found on our website and in prior podcast as well.  So I will not go through this mechanical test again now.

 Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

QUESTION 4:

  • Attorney how does an eligible individual apply for a stimulus check?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 4:

  • Well, taxpayers don’t exactly have to apply for stimulus checks.
  • Taxpayers who are eligible to receive a stimulus check will receive the check by direct deposit to any account to which the taxpayer authorized the IRS to send refunds or federal payments to on or after January 1, 2019. In the event the taxpayer does not authorize the IRS to direct deposit the stimulus check the United States Treasury will mail a paper check or debit card directly to the last known address of the taxpayer.  The law requires the Treasury to send out these payments as rapidly as possible.  Eligible individuals should already have received their stimulus check or should receive them pretty soon.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

  • That sounds easy enough; but Attorney!

Question 5:

  • How will the United States Treasury know the correct amount of money to send to the taxpayer?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 5:

  • Excellent question!
  • The stimulus payment computations and eligibilities will be based on tax returns filed by taxpayers for the tax period ending December 31, 2019.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 6:

  • What should families do if they think they are eligible but they have not received a stimulus check at all or in the wrong amount?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 6:

  • They should contact the Internal Revenue Service and inquire.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

  • Covid-19 has killed a lot of people. And also lots of people have died since December 31, 2019; my question is whether their heirs, such as, surviving spouses and children going to receive their deceased relatives stimulus payments. I am kind of wondering about this since the tax refunds or credits are based on tax returns filed for tax periods ending December 31, 2019.  Is that right!

Question 7:

  • Attorney, are the heirs of a deceased individual eligible to receive a stimulus check on behalf of the decedent?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 7:

  • The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021”. That is the official title of the United States Law that was recently passed by Congress that implemented the tax provisions we have been talking about this morning in this podcast.
  • Under the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021”; any individual who was deceased before January 1, 2020 or in case of joint return, both taxpayers were deceased before January 1, 2020; the heirs of those taxpayers would not receive the stimulus payment.
  • Under the Act, any individual who dies after January 1, 2020 or in case of joint return, both taxpayers die after January 1, 2020, the lawful heirs of those taxpayers should be able to claim the stimulus payment. They might have to specifically make a claim with the IRS like you would normally in a decedent representative case. What I am saying is that I am not sure the U.S. Treasury would know to send the stimulus payment to a decedent’s heir or representative unless they are told of the decedent’s death.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks

  • Attorney, thank you for this cogent presentation.
  • I know we have not talked about the $900 Billion Covid Relief Packages’ tax implications for businesses yet. Perhaps we can talk more about this and produce a future podcast or blog.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast. Everybody take care!  And come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620, Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431; Spanish callers:  214-599-0432 and Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 and Spanish callers:  214-599-0432.

Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about “Updates on the Recent $900 Billion Covid Relief Package Recently Enacted Into Law. We talked basically about the Stimulus Payments in this blog; but there are many individual and business tax provisions in the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021”.  We could do several future podcast and blogs on this massive piece of legislation.  If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Stay tune!  Watch for a new Legal Thoughts podcast in about two weeks.  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Podcast – The Earned Income Tax Credit | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published September 28, 2020.

 

The Earned Income Tax Credit - Podcast - Legal Thoughts

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Mayra Torres, the Public Relations Associate of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “The Earned Income Tax Credit “. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
LEGAL THOUGHTS
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas
  • Our topic for today is: “The Earned Income Tax Credit.”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our public relations associate, Mayra Torres will be asking the questions and I will be responding to her questions on this important tax topic: “The Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

  • Good afternoon everyone. My name is Mayra Torres and I am the public relations associate at Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Coleman Jackson, P.C. is a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based right here in Dallas, Texas.
  • Attorney many families’ household income during this dreadful Covid-19 pandemic has been terribly cut to the core. I mean folks are struggling financially just to pay their bills, keep a roof over their heads and buy basic food and necessities.  Besides killing way too many people, this virus has destroyed people’s livelihoods.  Folks can hardly make a fraction of the amount of money they were making before this dreadful disease happened.
  • This is a general question and I’m not sure even how to ask this question:
  • Question 1:

I recently heard some families talking about something called earned income tax credit.  What is an earned income tax credit, who qualifies and how do they apply?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good afternoon Mayra.
  • Internal Revenue Code Section 32 allows an earned income tax credit for certain eligible individuals who work and meet certain criteria established under Section 32. The income tax credit is a refundable tax credit based on earned income that is available to certain low to modest wage earners.  IRC Section 32 applies to individuals not corporations, partnerships, or any other form of business entity.  The earned income credit is designed to offset some of the cost of living expenses for low to modest income taxpayers to ease the economic strain and rigor on them and their families.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 2:

  • Other than the work requirement and being an individual, what are the other qualifying criteria for the earned income credit?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • In order to qualify the individual taxpayer must meet a number of different requirements. Different sets of rules apply in determining the earned income credit for taxpayers with qualifying children and taxpayers without qualifying children.  If an individual is the qualifying child of more than one taxpayer, only one taxpayer can claim that person as a qualifying child for purposes of the earned income credit.  Internal Revenue Code Section 32 also establishes certain qualifying income levels and provide phase out provisions blocking high income individuals from benefiting from the earned income tax credit.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 3:

  • Attorney could you explain in more details the following distinctions:
    1. What are the qualifying criteria for taxpayers with children?
    2. What are the qualifying criteria for the earned income credit for taxpayers without children?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Mayra, that is an excellent idea to hopefully help our listeners to understand this better. Let metake these in the order that you have suggested:
  • First: The Taxpayer who have a qualifying child for the tax year is eligible for the earned income tax credit if she meets the following seven requirements in addition to the earned income criteria –
    1. the taxpayer has taxable income for the tax year;
    2. the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income does not exceed a specified ceiling amount;
    3. the taxpayer does not have more than a specified ceiling amount for investments;
    4. the taxpayer is a United States Citizen or Resident for the entire year and if married, the taxpayer is married to a United States Citizen or Resident or, if taxpayer is married to a nonresident, the taxpayer must file an election for the nonresident to be taxed as a Resident. In this event the nonresident’s worldwide income is subject to U.S. taxation;
    5. the taxpayer must use the filing status of married filing jointly, single, head of household, or widower with children. Taxpayer cannot qualify for the earned income tax credit filing married filing separate;
    6. the taxpayer has a valid social security number; and
    7. the taxpayer does not claim the foreign earned income tax credit or the foreign housing tax credit
  • Second: The Taxpayer who does not have a qualifying Child during the tax year is eligible for the earned income tax credit only if the taxpayer meets all four of the following requirements in addition to the earned income criteria:
    1. The taxpayer and spouse; if any, are between the ages of 25 and 64. Note that the couple can meet this particular requirement if either the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse is within these age requirements;
    2. The taxpayer resided in the United States for more than half the tax year;
    3. The taxpayer was not claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s tax return for the tax year; and
    4. The taxpayer is not a qualifying child of another taxpayer for the tax year.

 Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 4:

  • Attorney what is a qualifying child for the purpose of the earned income tax credit?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • A qualifying child is defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 32 as someone who meets four tests:
    1. The child must be the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child, foster child, or a descendant of such person or the taxpayer’s brother, sister, half brother or sister, stepbrother or stepsister, or a descendant of such person;
    2. The child must be under 19 years of age at the end of the tax year and the child must be younger than the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse if the couple is filing a joint tax return. There are special rules that applies to students and disabled individuals when it comes to the earned income credit age requirements;
    3. The child must live in the taxpayer’s home within the United States for more than six months out of the tax year. There are certain temporary absences rules that applies in calculating the residency requirement under Internal Revenue Regulations Section 1.152-2(a)(2)(ii);
    4. The married child of the taxpayer cannot be a qualifying child of the taxpayer  if the married child of the taxpayer files a tax return with their spouse; except, solely for the purpose of filing a claim for refund and the married child is the taxpayer’s dependent.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 5:

  • That That is a lot to digest! I mean what types of income is included to determine whether the taxpayer meets the earned income criteria in the first place?
  • And what happens if the taxpayer misunderstands these tax rules and claims the earned income tax credit by mistake or something?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • For clarity purposes Mayra; let me answer your two questions step by step:
  • First:
  • What types of income is included to determine whether the taxpayer meets the earned incomecriteria in the first place?
  • Earned income typically consists of-
    1. Wages, tips, and other types of employee compensation;
    2. Net earnings from self-employment;
    3. And certain taxable disability payments received by a taxpayer prior to reaching the minimum retirement age;
    4. Extra pay earned by active duty soldiers in a military combat zone pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 112;
    5. There might be other types of income, but, these are the basic categories of income that are included in computing the earned income tax credit. I might add that some categories of income are specifically excluded from income for purposes of computing the earned income tax credit, such, investment income, social security income, welfare benefits, unemployment compensation, community property income and any other income exclusions specifically mentioned in Internal Revenue Code Section 32(c)(2)(a)(i).
  • What was your second question Mayra? Could you repeat it again?

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 6:

  • Oh, sure I would be glad to attorney. My question was-
  • What happens if the taxpayer misunderstands these tax rules and claims the earned income tax credit on their filed tax return by mistake or something?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Taxpayers are responsible for the accuracy of any tax return that they file or someone else files on their behalf with the Internal Revenue Service and there can be civil and criminal consequences for filing inaccurate returns. Detailed Earned Income Computation Worksheets are contained in IRS Publication No. 596.  The taxpayer should read this publication very carefully, especially, if they prepare their own tax return and are contemplating claiming the earned income credit.
  • In the event the taxpayer is using a paid tax return preparer to prepare their return and claim an earned income tax credit, they must perform their due diligence in selecting a qualified tax return preparer. The tax return preparer who is a paid tax return preparer of a tax return claiming the earned income credit must sign the return and complete and sign Form 8867, Paid Preparer’s Earned Income Credit Checklist and attach it to each return filed with the IRS claiming the earned income tax credit.  Form 8867 also applies to returns filing head of household, child tax credit and additional child tax credit.  The taxpayer must make sure Form 8867 is properly completed and filed with their tax return; so that, they can demonstrate that they possibly acted in good faith and reasonable in claiming an earned income credit for the tax year.  This could form the basis for a reasonable cause defense in the event the IRS challenges the earned income tax credit position on the tax return; or these due diligence steps could form the basis for a tax preparer negligence claim.  There is an inflation adjusted preparer penalty of $500 which applies when the tax preparer fails to complete Form 8867.
  • If a taxpayer claims the earned income credit in a previous year though they were not eligible and the IRS determines that the error was due to reckless or intentional disregard of the earned income credit rules, the taxpayer could be prohibited from claiming the credit on subsequent tax returns for two years pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 32(k)(1)(B)(ii).

Mayra’s Concluding Remarks

  • Attorney, thank you for very clear responses to all my questions concerning the Earned Income Credit.
  • I understand the earned income tax credit better now than when we first began discussing it this afternoon.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to our podcast. Everybody take care!  And come back in about two weeks, for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 and Spanish callers:  214-599-0432.

Coleman Jackson, Attorney’s concluding remarks:

 THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about the earned income tax credit. If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Stay tune!  Watch for a new Legal Thoughts podcast in about two weeks.  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Foreign Doctors and Other Healthcare Workers Opportunities to Work & Live in the United States

October 9, 2020
By Coleman Jackson, Attorney
Foreign Doctors and Other Healthcare Workers Opportunities to Work & Live in the United States

Covid-19 has revealed a lot of short comings in the health care system in the United States.  An overwhelming majority of negative health outcomes have affected the minority communities throughout the country.  The social injustices and the long tail of racial injustice and its impact on the health and well being of our follow citizens are glowing clearly down whatever dark path Covid-19 takes as it sweeps across America’s urban areas and rural areas and whatever other path this mysterious virus goes down.  One thing is clear its impact is not equal on all of America.

America needs to do better.  She must do much better by its citizenry.  One place to start is making sure that a sufficient supply of quality healthcare workers is available to serve all America regardless of what they look like or how much money they have in the bank.  Quality healthcare involves much more than universal health insurance and access to understaffed hospitals and clinics.  There must be qualified, compassionate, skilled healthcare providers who are willing and able to serve communities throughout America staffing the hospitals, clinics and medical offices.

Health Care Worker Visa

If there is a shortage in health care workers, can health insurance coverage alone solve the problems laid bear by Covid-19? There were a woefully insufficient number of healthcare workers in under served communities throughout the United States long before Covid-19 arrived on our shores.  Health insurance does not solve this problem.  Legislation enacted on November 12, 1999, 220 Public Law No. 106-95, 113 Statute 1312 Section 5 suppose to have made it easier for certain foreign physicians and other healthcare workers seeking to work and reside in the United States to enter the United States in the second employment-based preference category, known as the,  EB-2 Visa under the national interest waiver.  Now the EB-2 NIW is not the only visa that health care workers may use to work in the United States, for example, the H1-B, J-1, EB-1 and the traditional EB-2 are all visa types that might afford foreign health care workers the opportunity to live and work in the healthcare field within the United States.  But the EB-2 NIW was designed to make it easier and shorten the time for foreign healthcare workers to come to the United States to live and work indefinitely in the healthcare industry.

The EB-2 NIW- Who Qualifies for the EB-2 National Interest Visa?   All kinds of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers may qualify; so long as, they agree to work full time in a field designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a health professional shortage area or in a Veterans Administration Hospital; and a federal agency or a state department of public health has determined that the healthcare workers’ service is in the public interest.  These are the two prongs of the 1999 legislation establishing the EB-2 National Interest Waiver.  They must be satisfied by obtaining a certification from the federal or state agency, such as the Veteran’s Hospital (VA) on the federal level or State Public Health Agency on the State level.  Local health agency certification will prove to be insufficient and also private organization attestation of the public interest will prove to be insufficient to satisfy this requirement.  A certification by the State Department of Public Health tend to be persuasive evidence of “public interest” when it comes to satisfying the National Interest Waiver certification requirement.  Keep in mind that an NIW is generally considered an easier path to the second preference employment-based EB-2 visa.  NIW healthcare workers must still satisfy all of the requirements for the traditional EB-2 visa in addition to the NIW requirements.

EB-2 Visa
The EB-2 NIW- Does the EB-2 National Interest Visa applicant need to obtain a U.S. Department of Labor certification?  The EB-2 NIW is exempt from labor certification requirements under the 1999 legislation.  The physician or other healthcare worker must certify that they will work full time in a healthcare shortage area or VA hospital for five years.  The healthcare worker must present credible evidence that their work will advance a critical national goal and that their work will benefit the public interest of the United States.  In this time of Covid-19, this certification by the foreign healthcare worker could possibly be easier that ever before to meet due to increased coronavirus related sickness, hospitalizations and exhaustion and depletion of health industry capacity that was already strained in some rural and underserved areas of thee U.S. long before Covid-19 hit the American shores.

The EB-2 NIW- What is the process of applying and how long does it generally take from the filing of the application and working at an American hospital, clinic or other healthcare facility?First of all, the petitioner applying for an EB-2 NIW does not need a hospital or other institution to file the petition nor do they need a job offer.  The foreign healthcare worker can self-petition for an EB-2 NIW. The petitioner must first file USCIS Form I-140 with supporting documentation showing the following:

  • All identification evidence required for the traditional EB-2 visa;
  • Written evidence that the two prongs of the National Interest Waiver showing that the healthcare worker will work full time in an underserved healthcare area, or in a Veterans Administration Hospital facility;
  • Credible Credentialing evidence that shows or demonstrates that the physician or other healthcare worker has the educational, licensing, experience and other professional indicia required by Immigration and Nationalization Act Section 212(a)(5) (B) to work in the intended State of the United States in which they intend to work;
  • All evidence required for USCIS Form I-485 Adjustment Application in the event an Immigrant Visa is immediately available. The immigrant must review theVisa Bulletin published each month by the U.S. Department of State in making the determination as to when to file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Application; and
  • Other credible evidence as required for healthcare workers in the State.

 

healthcare workers spouse and family visa

As for the processing times at the USCIS, currently processing times are over one year; but, processing times varies based on all facts and circumstances and during Covid-19 the process could take a few months if the foreign healthcare worker shows that their skills are in the public interest and that they are willing to serve at medical facilities with acute shortages or in underserved communities in rural and intercity America.  It should be noted that although an adjustment of status application (Form I-485) can be filed when an immigrant visa is available and can even be filed concurrently with the I-140; the USCIS is not expected to approve the adjustment application until the healthcare worker has actually served in the underserved medical area for at least five years.    Where to file for EB-2 NIW?  Outside of the United Sates the foreign worker files the appropriate forms and supporting documents with the U.S. Consulates Office in their home country; whereas, inside the United These the petitioning foreign healthcare worker files the appropriate forms and supporting documents with USCIS who handles immigration processing inside the country.  Premium or expedited processing could be available to speed up the processing of the I-140 petition; but the availability of premium processing is changed by the government from time to time upon short notice.

The EB-2 NIW- What about the healthcare workers spouse and family? The foreign workers spouse and children under the age of 18 may be admitted to the Unites States in the E-21 and E-22 immigrant visa status.  Their spouse and children can enroll and attend school in the United States.  During the pendency of the adjustment of status application, the spouse is eligible to file for Form I-765, Employment Authorization Application for approval to work in the Unites States.  The spouse and the children can maintain this status and live in the United States indefinitely; so long as, the principal foreign worker maintains the EB-2 NIW immigration status.  Let’s just note that the foreign worker and their spouse and children can travel freely inside and outside of the United States, so long as, they maintain the second preference employment-based visa immigration status.  Once the individual family members adjustment of status application is approved (they get their Green Cards) and they can reside and work in the United States permanently and they can apply for U.S. citizenship after holding the Green Card status for five years.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432 | Portuguese (214) 272-3100

 

Podcast – Does unemployment compensation recipients have to pay federal taxes on the money received resulting from Covid-19? | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Published July 14, 2020 Podcast - Does unemployment compensation recipients have to pay federal taxes on the money received resulting from Covid-19? | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Mayra Torres, the Public Relations Associate of Coleman Jackson, P.C.

The topic of discussion is “Is Unemployment Compensation Received Taxable Income?” You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:  

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or where ever you may listen to your podcast.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Tax Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: “Is Unemployment Compensation Received Taxable Income?”
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz,Immigration Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our Public Relations Associate, Mayra Torres, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this important tax topic: Is Unemployment Compensation Received Taxable Income?

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 1:

What are unemployment benefits?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Unemployment benefits generally includes any amount of money received under any federal or state law program designed to protect taxpayers against loss of income caused by involuntary loss of employment or decrease in compensation.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

QUESTION 2:

Who is eligible to receive unemployment benefits?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • Keep in mind that unemployment benefits, as a general policy, is governed by State and federal labor laws and are designed to replace in whole or part the loss of employee wages due to some involuntary lay off or employment disruption.
  • Unemployment programs are administered by the States and each State has its own rules as to who qualifies and how they should apply. In Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission administers the Texas Unemployment Compensation System.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 3:

  • Well okay, I kind of understand. But there is a lot of talk about the CARES Act and something about$600 dollars people are receiving.
  • What is the CARES ACT? Does it affect unemployment benefits… like, who qualifies and how they apply and how much they get and how long they can get unemployment benefits?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Those are excellent questions!
  • The CARES Act was enacted into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. CARES stand for the Corona virus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. It is a $12, trillion-dollar economic relief package featuring extensive tax provisions. It is Public Law 116-136 (3/27/2020). And yes it does impact who qualifies for unemployment compensation, how they apply and how much they receive it and for how long if their loss income is related to Covid-19.
  • Employees who lost jobs qualify
  • Self-employed individuals qualify under the CARES Act
  • Qualified individuals impacted by Covid-19 must file unemployment claims through the State governmental agency who regulate unemployment benefits in their State. Residence in Texas must file claims with the Texas Workforce Commission and follow all filing requirements and follow-up guidance that TWC requires to obtain their compensation. Keep in mind that TWC rules and requirements may continue to change as the State continues to reopen its economy during this pandemic.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 4:

Okay…. And what about undocumented workers and self-employed people; can they file for

unemployment benefits with TWC too?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

Yes, workers and self-employed individuals do not have to be United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to qualify for unemployment. All residence of Texas who had employment prior to the Covid-19 Crisis can file for unemployment.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 5:

What about the $600 everybody is talking about; how do unemployed people get that?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • The CARES Act not only expanded the eligibility for unemployment to self-employed individuals like I mentioned before; the Act also extended coverage by 13 weeks and provides unemployed individuals with an extra $600 per week of federal assistance on top of the State benefits.
  • Qualified individuals apply for this extra $600 per week federal benefit when they file their State Unemployment Claim. Again, in Texas everything is filed with the Texas Workforce Commission.Contact TWC for help in filing an unemployment claim in Texas. The TWC rules are in flux as the State reopens during this pandemic.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 6:

  • Okay, I was just curious; many folks are afraid of going back to work because they might get sick or get their families sick.
  • Can somebody continue to receive unemployment even though their boss tell them that they can come back to work now?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Unemployment benefits are for people who loss their jobs or income due to no fault of their own. People who quit their jobs generally will not qualify for unemployment compensation in Texas. I say generally because facts and circumstances matter. Application of the law can be messy at times because facts matters. Perhaps an unemployed individual can make out a winnable case that it’s too dangerous for them to return to work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • But, Keep in mind that people who file initial and continuation claims for benefits with TWC provides self-certification under penalty of perjury that they are otherwise able to work and are available for work under the Texas Labor Code that governs such matters in Texas.
  • The rules concerning this question may change from day to day or week to week as the State of Texas reopens during this pandemic.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 7

  • Okay, I understand; it sounds like it just depends on all the facts, and circumstances and State and federal government rules updates.
  • Another BIG QUESTION A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE IS THIS!
  • Do unemployed individuals have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits that they receive?

Attorney Answers Question 7:

  • The tax treatment of unemployment benefits received depends on the type of program paying the benefits.
  • I am going to try to keep this simple; but folks must understand that the federal and state program funding the compensation can impact whether the amounts received are taxable.
  • I am going to limit my answer to only three types of unemployment benefits that I think are germane to the types of benefits that most people are receiving during this Covid-19 national emergency:
  • Types of Unemployment Benefits that are Taxable
    1. Benefits paid by a State or the District of Columbia from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund
    2. State Unemployment insurance benefits
    3. Unemployment assistance under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974
  • Conclusion: Most people receiving unemployment due to Covid-19 falls under one of these programs. The benefits are taxable!

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 8

I think I’m getting it now! What about the extra $600 per week from CARES Act, is it taxable too?

Attorney Answers Question 8:

  • Yes, unemployment compensation received under the CARES Act is taxable because the CARES Act does not specifically exempt the $600 extra unemployment compensation from federal taxation.
  • In fact, the CARES Act states that in the event there is a conflict in the CARES Act with provisions in the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, then the provisions of the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974 controls. As we have seen, benefits received under the 1974 Act is taxable.
  • So, the answer to your question is, yes, unless Congress exempts the $600 from federal taxation, it is taxable under Internal Revenue Code Section 85(a).

 Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 9

When does the taxes on that unemployment money have to be paid?

Attorney Answers Question 9:

  • Those filing for unemployment can ask TWC to withhold the appropriate amount of tax from their unemployment compensation. Make this choice by giving TWC Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request; or
  • They may have to file estimated taxes by the 15th day of the end of each quarter. They can compute this amount on Form 1040-ES and make their estimated payments to the IRS by phone,online or by mail.

Interviewer:  Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate

Question 10

What if people don’t know and never ask TWC to withhold the money and never do this

estimated tax thing?

Attorney Answers Question 10:

  • If taxpayers don’t pay enough taxes during a year, either by withholding or by estimated tax deposits, or some combination of the two, they may have to pay an underpayment penalty.
  • The federal tax system in the United States is a pay-as-you-go self-certification system. But keep in mind, the IRS and the taxpayer will probably receive a Form 1099-G from TWC for all unemployment compensation paid during the course of the calendar year.

 Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

This is end of Legal Thoughts for now

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about taxation of unemployment compensation. If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tune! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration. Until next time, take care.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers on American Farms During Covid-19 National Emergency

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Certified Public Accountant
May 14, 2020

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

The H-2A nonimmigrant visa classification has been around for a very long time.  See Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(ii)(a), 8 U.S.C. 1101.  The H-2A foreign agricultural workers visa; known as H-2A is more in the public eye right now due to the media’s focus on the rise of Covid-19 cases in meat packing plants, on farms and in rural America potentially resulting in food supply chain disruptions.  The concern of the coronavirus’ disruption of the food supply is very real and it is of grave concern to the well being of farmers’ bringing their goods to market and to their fellow citizens ability to feed their families.  In a nutshell, the foreign agricultural workers program known as the H-2A Visa permits agricultural employers to fill shortages in the available work force by following certain procedures to lawfully bring foreigners to the United States temporarily to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work.  The Department of Homeland Security defers to the U.S. Department of Labor with respect to defining what work falls into the categories of temporary and seasonal agricultural work.  Historically, the Department of Labor has defined “agricultural labor” as such duties as hauling and delivery on the farm, harvesting, cultivating and planting seed.  Foreign workers on H-2A Visas has historically also worked as sheep herders, goat tenders, cattle raisers, poultry farmers and in other occupations typically in rural areas of America where various kinds of animals are raised for market.  The point is that agricultural workers are not limited to farms performing task around a farm; foreign workers on H-2A Visas work on plantations, ranches, nurseries, meat packing plants, greenhouses, orchards, and as truck drivers and delivery drivers on these or other similar locations.  The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has defined the term temporary agricultural work as no more than 12 months or employment of a seasonal nature tied to a certain time of the year, event or pattern.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

There was-and-still-is a very regimented step-by-step process that  agricultural employers must follow to bring foreign farm laborers to work on their farms, ranches, meat packing plants or similar locations; which begins with a petition filed with their state workforce commission; then they go to the DOL for labor certification that there is a lack of available domestic workers to perform the intended project; once the employer receives the DOL Labor Certification they file a request with the Department of Homeland Security; and upon approval, the foreign worker petitions the Consulate’s Office in their country to obtain the H2-A Visa to come to America and work on a specific  temporary or seasonally project for less than 12 months.  The H-2A visa is valid for 3 years.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

This process has been relaxed and modified somewhat. Covid-19 has created the necessity to impose travel restrictions, stay at home orders and caused lots-and-lots of tremendous pain, loss and suffering throughout the country.  In response to anticipated disruptions and uncertainties in the U.S. food supply and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 epidemic in rural America; the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published temporary amended regulations regarding temporary and seasonal agricultural workers and their U.S. employers in the H-2A nonimmigrant agricultural workers classification.  These final regulations are published in 85 FR 21739 and is effective from April 20, 2020 through August 18, 2020.The following are the major amendments to the normal process that historically were used by domestic farmers to bring foreign nonimmigrant workers to work temporarily on their farms, ranches, meat packing plants and other similar locations under the H-2A Agricultural Workers program:

  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to permit all H-2A employers to allow nonimmigrants who currently hold a valid H-2A visa status to start working upon the receipt of the employer’s new H-2A petition, but not earlier than the start date of employment listed on their H-2A petition.
  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to permit all H-2A workers to immediately work for any new H-2A employer, but not earlier than the start date of employment listed on the H-2A petition filed during the Covid-19 National Emergency.
  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to create a temporary exception to 8 CFR 24.2 to allow nonimmigrants to extend their H-2A period of stay beyond the three-year limitations without first requiring that the immigrant leave the United States and remain outside of the United States for an uninterrupted period of three months. It is important that an H-2A petition for an extension of stay with a new employer must have been filed with USCIS on or after March 1, 2020 and remain pending as of April 20, 2020.
  • H-4 nonimmigrants who are the spouses and children of an H-2A agricultural worker visa holders are beneficiaries of these same amendments noted in one through three above. H-4 visa holders’ admission and limitations of stay are dependent on the validity of the H-2A visa holders’ status and they must be otherwise admissible.

Moreover, as a practical matter, certain in-person interview requirements at the Consulate Offices have been eased during this Covid-19 National Emergency to facilitate foreign workers traveling into the United States.  H-2A workers fall under the ‘essential worker’ category of critical worker and probably are exempt from the stay-at-home, travel restrictions and other measures imposed by local, state and federal governmental agencies during this Covid-19 National Emergency.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

Foreign agricultural workers on H-2A visas are subject to the United States federal tax laws but they are exempt from withholding of U.S. federal income taxes, social security taxes and Medicare taxes on compensation paid to them for services performed in connection to their H-2A agricultural worker visa status.  If they receive more than $600 in compensation, the foreign nonimmigrant worker must receive a Form W-2 from their employer which exempts social security and Medicare taxes.  Typically, the worker files Form 1040-NR and the employer must report the wages of its agricultural nonimmigrant workers on Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees and file all other appropriate tax returns with local, state and federal taxing authorities.   Most of the modified filing, payment and reporting deadlines announced by the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service during this Covid-19 National Emergency applies to H-2A agricultural workers and their employers.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Some Things About Contracts While Sheltering from the Unknown Virus like Covid-19

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Counselor
April 29, 2020

Some Things About Contracts While Sheltering from the Unknown Virus like Covid-19

What is a Contract?  A contract is an enforceable promise under the law.  That means that if you agree to do something for consideration and the other party either performs or changes their position in any material way, the law will compel you to do what you promised to do or demand that you pay the performing party compensation of some kind.  Usually the compensation is going to tailor the party’s expectations at the time they agreed to do such-and-such.  In a nutshell, that is what the term contract means.

 

What about when Covid-19 says go home, stay there and I will let you know when you can come out again?

What about when Covid-19 says go home, stay there and I will let you know when you can come out again?  Contracts are based on expectations; or put another way, a contract is a bargained for outcome.  Sometimes parties insert a clause into their contracts that is called a ‘force majeure’ cause.  Don’t get lost in the foreign language… force majeure is French.  First thing you really need to know is that force majeure clauses in contracts are enforceable in Texas.  Texas will make the parties to contracts perform in accordance to what the force majeure clause says.  That is simply in keeping with the fundamental contract law in Texas; which is, consenting parties can pretty much agree to do or not do any lawful thing in the State of Texas.  So be careful about what you agree to do or not do in Texas.  What about enforcement of force majeure clauses in Texas:  first they are enforceable contract provisions; your contract must contain language that a court can construe as a force majeure event excusing your performance of your obligations under the contract.  Parties to contracts in Texas can define or describe situations, occurrences, or events that constitute a force majeure event and typically they are defined as some event or series of events that make it impossible to perform under the contract or impractical to perform under the contract.  But a mere difficulty in performance would not likely be reason for a party to fail to perform under the contract.  Parties to contracts in Texas must make all reasonable efforts to perform responsibly under their contracts.  What constitutes reasonable efforts depends upon the nature of the contract because the scope of a force majeure clause in a contract depends upon the benefit of the bargain the parties negotiated within the four corners of their contract.  Courts in Texas do not like to take the liberty of contract away from responsible contracting parties afforded to them by the Texas and United States Constitution.  So, it follows that if the parties did not bargain for force majeure, it is highly unlikely that Texas Courts will recognize an event or series of events out of its own clothe that would excuse or release parties of contracts without the possibility of paying damages.  In a nutshell, force majeure is a lawful bargained for excuse to not perform under the contract.

 

breach of contract

An unexcused failure to perform pursuant to the agreed upon bargain is called a breach of contract when a party’s failure to deliver what’s promised is material to the expectations of the parties from the start.  In a nutshell, breach of contract damages could be a reasonable option or perhaps even the only option for a party if it becomes impossible or impractical to perform obligations of contracts entered into before the Covid-19 Pandemic sent the global economy to the dog pound.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

 

Federal Tax Developments Related to Covid-19

By: Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Certified Public Accountant
March 30, 2020

As you can imagine, things are changing and developing fast and furious during this Covid-19 Pandemic. Developments in taxes are no exception! Our law firm desires to keep our clients and others informed with regards to certain tax developments that might impact their businesses. In keeping with that desire, note some of the most significant recent federal tax developments:

  1. Tax Day now July 15, 2020: The U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service automatically extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020 the federal income tax filing due date. The IRS gives affected taxpayers until the last day of the Extension Period to file tax returns or make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or extended due date falling within the Period. The IRS will waive any interest and late filing and payment penalties related to these late tax returns.
  2. Small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two refundable payroll tax credits designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar of dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
  3. The CARES Act of 2020 enacted in response to Covid-19 provides employers with an employee retention credit in the amount of 50% of their wages impacted by closure due to Covid-19. Further the Act which became law on March 27, 2020 extends the due date for paying employer payroll taxes. Taxpayers must carefully review the law and properly compute the amount of payroll taxes that can be deferred; because it is not 100% deferral of all payroll taxes. Note: The Small Business Administration has announced that they are taking applications for disaster relief from small businesses with respect to loans up to two million dollars for monies borrowed to make payroll and pay rent during this Covid-19 Crisis. The application process and details regarding what businesses qualify and the procedures for applying can be found on the Small Business Administration website. The SBA has announced that they have relaxed some of their processing and documentation requirements to expedite the processing of these emergency loans to small businesses impacted by Covid-19. It appears that these SBA emergency loans could be converted to grants under certain condition(s). The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected Covid-19 taxpayers who need them to apply for benefits or to file amended tax returns claiming casualty losses. Watch our blogs as more changes may be forth coming in the area of employer relief due to Covid-19 closures. But for now, this appears to be the game plan regarding employers.
  4. “Existing Installment Agreements –For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are suspended. Taxpayers who are currently unable to comply with the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement, including a Direct Deposit Installment Agreement, may suspend payments during this period if they prefer. Furthermore, the IRS will not default any Installment Agreements during this period. By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.” Source: IR-2020-59, March 25, 2020.
  5. The CARES Act eliminates the 10% early withdrawal penalty for Covid-19 related distributions from retirement accounts and make other rule changes regarding retirement account contributions.
  6. The Act relaxes certain corporate and individual charitable contributions rules and provides for an above the line deduction up to $300 for charitable contributions.
  7. Texas has been declared a Presidential Disaster Area related to Covid-19, so more specific rules and provisions could be developed by the IRS related to individuals and businesses with business operations in Texas or impacted by this particular Presidential Disaster Area Declaration.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader. You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432