If your business or employment situation is being impacted by the Covid-19 coronavirus, here’s a partial list of state resources that the governor’s office has compiled:
- The Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) can work with impacted companies that request an extension on tax filing. The law grants the Department authority to extend the due date for excise tax returns. A business may request such an extension from the department prior to the due date of the return, and, if granted, the business would be allowed to delay reporting and paying its tax liability. If a business needs an extension of more than 30 days, the law requires the Department to collect a deposit from the business. The amount of deposit required is based on the business’ reporting history and how many reporting periods are covered under the extension WAC 458-20-228 (13). Contact DOR at 360-705-6705
- The state revenue department may also waive penalties under limited circumstances if a business is late in paying its tax obligation. The law also grants the Department authority to provide a one-time, 24-month late payment penalty waiver if the business has not owed a late payment penalty during the previous 24 months WAC 458-20-228 (9). Contact the department at 360-705-6705.
- The revenue department may also work with businesses that cannot file or pay their taxes on time if they are impacted by a declared state of emergency. When a state of emergency or disaster has been officially declared, affected businesses that owe Washington taxes may qualify for:
- A filing extension for excise tax returns (without the limitations described above); and/or
- A late payment penalty waiver request (without the limitations described above)
- The state is working to compile a larger list of local bankers, financial associations, telecoms, utilities and major employers that may be able to provide relief, such as:
- Deferred bills, waived fees, discounts, no-interest loans and other support.
- Debt and late-penalty forgiveness for companies and workers in order to help keep people employed.
- Favorable credit terms for firms that encounter cash flow problems.
Employer and worker assistance
- The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide support in the form of unemployment benefits. For employers that want to keep from losing highly-trained employees, these unemployment benefits can be received through, or while covered by, shared work, partial unemployment and standby (which allow certain workers to collect unemployment while remaining with their employers and not actively seeking other jobs). Visit www.esd.wa.gov/newsroom/layoff-assistance.
- ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a health care provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition. Visit: paidleave.wa.gov.
- If Covid-19 disrupts a Washington business and causes a mass layoff or closure, ESD and its local workforce development board partners can respond with Rapid Response services and funding to help impacted workers get connected to unemployment benefits and re-employment services, including re-training, worker support services, and referrals to other social services. Visit: www.esd.wa.gov/newsroom/layoffassistance
The Washington State Insurance Commissioner can help answer questions about insurance coverage for damages related to Covid-19.
What you need to be covered
To be covered against any business losses due to a communicable disease, such as Covid-19, you would need to have purchased an additional endorsement to your policy.
Contact your insurance agent or insurance company directly to find out if you already have this added coverage. If you don’t have added coverage and would like to buy it, contact your insurance agent or company to see if it’s available.
If you didn’t buy the added endorsement prior to the outbreak and you want to buy it, the insurer may not want to sell you the endorsement.
Event cancellation insurance
Event venues typically require the person or company booking a scheduled event to have event cancellation insurance coverage. Coverage for communicable disease outbreaks is typically not included in a standard event cancellation insurance policy. This type of insurance only covers these type of incidents:
- Adverse weather
- Natural disasters
- Labor disputes
- Acts of terrorism
- Failure to vacate
What you need to be covered
You can buy an added endorsement to your event cancellation insurance policy to cover canceling an event due to a communicable disease. If your insurer doesn’t offer this type of endorsement, you should shop around with other insurers.
Be aware that if you didn’t buy the added endorsement prior to the outbreak and you need to cancel an event, the insurer cannot back date a policy to provide coverage for the cancellation. Insurers may also not want to sell this type of endorsement.
Note: The Office of the Insurance Commissioner does not have the authority to require insurers to sell any type of coverage or policy endorsements to consumers.
Additional information is available on state Covid-19 resources here.