Our Communications to Clients Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 16, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) and related tax relief measures were enacted in March 2020. These measures include various provisions that may be of interest to individuals and small business employers—certain of which are summarized for your reference below.
Your First Manhattan Co. Portfolio Manager is available to answer your questions and help in any other way, including by coordinating with your independent tax advisor who can help you determine how these measures may apply to your specific situation.
- Temporary Waiver of Required Minimum Distributions: Required minimum distributions (RMDs) from defined contribution plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) have been waived for the 2020 tax year. For certain individuals whose RMDs otherwise would have commenced in 2020, the commencement may be delayed until 2021. In addition, any RMD distributed during the period from February 1 through May 15, 2020, can be returned to the defined benefit plan or individual retirement account via an indirect rollover by July 15, 2020. Any RMD distributed in January 2020 or after May 15, 2020, remains subject to the standard 60-day rollover window.
- Extended Deadline for Filing 2019 Income Tax Returns and Making IRA and Defined Savings Account Contributions: The Treasury Department has extended various deadlines for tax year 2019 to July 15, 2020, including for filing income tax returns and certain contributions to Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Health Savings Accounts, Archer Medical Savings Accounts, and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.
- Retirement Plan Relief: The CARES Act temporarily waives the 10% penalty associated with early withdrawals from retirement accounts of up to $100,000 in 2020 for various individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain COVID-19-related hardship withdrawals may be returned to the respective retirement plan within the subsequent three-year period.
FOR SMALL BUSINESS EMPLOYERS:
- Employee Retention Credit: Eligible employers whose businesses have closed or otherwise suffered due to COVID-19 may qualify for a refundable payroll tax credit of up to 50% of qualified wages paid from March 13 through December 31, 2020. Eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees may qualify for enhanced benefits under the employee retention credit provision. The credit is limited to employment taxes on wages paid and reduced by other payroll credits, including those affected by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
- Deferral of Employer Payroll Taxes: The CARES Act allows for deferral of the employer share of Social Security taxes owed in 2020 (including the share owned by self-employed individuals), with the deferred amount to be paid over the subsequent two years. Payroll taxes incurred from March 27 through December 31, 2020, are eligible for the deferral.
- Charitable Contributions: The CARES Act increases the 10% limitation for corporations to 25% of taxable income.
Chief Executive Officer
March 25, 2020
We are sharing this video message with you to provide an update on our business operations and to offer insight into how we are managing client portfolios in the midst of the current market volatility. In sum, we remain up and running and operationally efficient. Since our founding in 1964, we have capably guided clients and their assets through periods of uncertainty.
We are confident that we will continue to effectively address this situation by prioritizing the well-being of our clients, our First Manhattan team, and our communities, maintaining the best service levels for you, and keeping our focus on the long term.
Please watch the video message below.
We are available at all times to be helpful in any way.
Best wishes for the health and safety of you and your families.
Chief Executive Officer
March 16, 2020
Dear Clients of First Manhattan Co.:
We are living in an extraordinary period. The President of the United States, the Governor of the State of New York, and the Mayor of New York City have all declared states of emergency in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. In order to protect the health and safety of our employees, our clients, and to act responsibly from a public health perspective, we have made changes to our operations. Currently, our office at 399 Park Avenue remains open on only a limited basis and until further notice, we have directed the majority of our staff to work remotely.
At this time, we do not anticipate any disruption in our wealth management services. We are fully prepared and equipped to maintain and deliver the same level of contact with, and service for, you.
During the past five years, First Manhattan Co. has implemented substantial measures to ensure our operations continue to flow smoothly across various scenarios, including the activation of a robust business continuity plan utilizing our strong technology infrastructure. We do not currently expect any change in our ability to accept and invest funds, monitor accounts, and make payments and distributions. We also continue to have full trading capabilities.
We are confident in our ability to continue to operate our business efficiently during business hours—even under these circumstances—and we encourage you to reach out to us, just as before.
We are highly attuned to this evolving situation and will continue to keep you apprised.
We hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy and that we will see a resumption of normal activity relatively soon.