Restaurant Recovery Update August 26, 2020

By Massachusetts Restaurant Association August 26, 2020
**Note-Please know that the MRA updates moving forward will be rebranded as the "Restaurant Recovery Update", but will continue to provide you the same relevant information you have become accustomed to over these past 6 months. Since early March, the MRA has been issuing "Coronavirus Updates", where our mission has been to assist as many restaurants as possible to successfully get to the other side of this crisis. As an industry, we continue to focus on survival, but we must also jointly focus on how we recover. We feel that this is an important mindset change in how we communicate future information to the food and beverage industry, but you will not see a change in the value of the information.**  
Latest Restaurant Impact Survey 

Restaurant Impact Survey

Food and Beverage Operators, today we are asking you to participate in a new survey being conducted by the MRA along with our partners at the National Association. We suspect at this point you have had your fill of completing surveys, but we want you to know that this one in particular is very important. 
As a business group, it is vital that we have substantive and deep data to provide the evidence needed to support our industry specific and very significant funding requests for grants and other forms of aid from both the Federal and State levels of government. Without this deep level of data, our chances can diminish significantly, and the only manner we can collect it is through this direct survey to our owners and operators. 
Please take the short amount of time to complete the survey, this is critical for us to be able to have the tools to get the meaningful assistance each and every one of you so deserve.  #togetherwewin  Thank you in advance.   This survey will remain open until COB Tuesday, Sept. 1.  
Click here for Restaurant Impact Survey
Washington DC

Emerging issue: Restaurant Operators Need Clarification on Option to Defer Payroll Taxes

A recently issued White House Executive Order, entitled “Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster” directs Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to use his authority to defer withholding, deposit, and payment of the employees’ 6.2% Social Security tax on certain wages or compensation paid between September 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
Employers are concerned about passing along the tax deferral to their employees—fearing those employees will be saddled with a big tax bill in 2021 after the deferment period ends.
A group of employer trade associations, including the National Restaurant Association, sent a letter asking the Administration & Congress to clarify this issue. The letter includes examples of what the tax liability would look like for an employee earning $40,000/year, $65,000/year, and $95,000/year. The letter also lists implementation concerns with a mid-year payroll tax change, especially as businesses are already struggling with rehiring/accounting. Currently, no companies within these trade associations have signaled they will take the option to defer taxes for their employees. 
Responding to the association letter, the White House as of last Thursday was considering a longer payback or even forgiveness for an employee’s deferred payroll tax. 
The Trump administration is looking to ensure that the payroll tax deferral implemented by executive action is fully forgiven, meaning there would be no liability for the deferred taxes, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
As the Executive Order currently stands, workers and their employers would be on the hook in 2021 for the taxes that were deferred this year. Removing the liability would require congressional action.
Upcoming Webinar:

Massachusetts Workshare program
Thursday, September 3, 2020 11:00 am

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts WorkShare program is an alternative for employers faced with a cut in workforce. Employers can divide available work between affected employees instead of laying off workers. It allows employees to receive a part of their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits while working reduced hours.

If you have a reduced work force, then the Commonwealth's workshare program may be right for your operation.

Please join us for this restaurant specific webinar with the state's unemployment Rapid Response Team
Event link: Massachusetts Workshare Webinar