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Tax day now July 15

Treasury, IRS extend filing deadline and federal tax payments regardless of amount owed

WASHINGTON—The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

Even with the filing deadline extended, we urge taxpayers who are owed refunds to file as soon as possible and file electronically, said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds. As a federal agency vital to the overall operations of our country, we ask for your personal support, your understanding  and your patience. Im incredibly proud of our employees as we navigate through numerous different challenges in this very rapidly changing environment.

The IRS will continue to monitor issues related to the COVID-19 virus, and updated information will be posted on a special coronavirus page  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus on IRS.gov.

This announcement comes following the Presidents emergency declaration last week pursuant to the Stafford Act. The Stafford Act is a federal law designed to bring an orderly and systematic means of federal natural disaster and emergency assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens. It was enacted in 1988.

Treasury and IRS will issue additional guidance as needed and continue working with Congress, on a bipartisan basis, on legislation to provide further relief to the American people.

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Update on hours due to corona virus

We have a temporary change in our office routine to announce in regard to circumstances regarding the COVID-19 virus. Due to the fact that we have employees with auto-immune disorders and employees caring for vulnerable family members with breathing problems, our office will be closed to the general public until further notice. Please consider emailing us or calling us (696-3655) if you need to submit something, discuss something, or need to make a payment. We can take your payment over the phone with a credit/debit card. If you need to drop something off, we will have a mailbox outside our door that we will check often. Please do not put checks or valuables in the box. If you need to give us a check, please send through regular mail. At least one person will be in the office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday to take calls, and we will be closed on Friday. This is only temporary and we apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for understanding!

For more contact information visit our About page http://cedarspringspost.com/about/

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Busy Moms Bakery opens

Rep. Mark Huizenga (center) of Walker attended the grand opening of Busy Moms Bakery in Cedar Springs on Saturday, March 7. Pictured with Huizenga are Busy Moms Bakery owners Tom and Sharon Wilkes. Huizenga represents parts of Kent County, which includes the cities of Cedar Springs, Grandville, Rockford, and Walker and the villages of Kent City and Sparta.

Having trouble finding bread or other baked goods? Pop into Busy Moms Bakery, 43 N. Main Street, and get what you need, including some delicious cinnamon rolls!

The bakery, owned by Sharon and Tom Wilkes, opened earlier this month. They provide stone ground wheat, breads, sweets, pastries, cakes, gluten-friendly and keto items. 

“We make our products from scratch using freshly ground wheat that is ground in a handcrafted grain mill imported from Austria,” they explained. 

They also offer baked goods made to order and try to fill special dietary needs when requested.

The couple said that their 3-5 year goal is to build an offsite kitchen so they have the ability to supply fresh baked goods to local businesses and restaurants. 

Stop in and see them Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. They are closed on Monday. Follow their Facebook page or give them a call at 616-826-6116 with questions.


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Art Probst retires

By Tom Noreen

For 66 years, the Probst family name hung on the store at 326 North Main Street in Cedar Springs. Carl and Dorothy Probst opened the store in the fall of 1953. They bought the store from Sherry Olin. Olin owned a new furniture store in Sparta and sold used furniture in Cedar Springs. Carl made the jump from real estate to furniture and floor coverings at the urging of his friend Leo Conklin, who owned a retail furniture store in Grand Rapids. Shortly after buying the store, the Probst family (Carl, Dorothy, Art, Don, and Dave) moved from Grand Rapids to Cedar Springs.  

Art, the oldest of the three boys, began working at the store as soon as it opened. During the school year, he commuted to Ottawa High School where he graduated in 1954. Art took over the floor covering side of the business. He attended the Armstrong floor installation school where he learned how to lay carpet and linoleum. Throughout his career, flooring was Art’s forte. 

I asked Art what he missed the most about retiring? He said, “I miss the people the most. There are great people in the Cedar Springs area. I enjoy helping people. Customers would come into the store knowing that they wanted a new floor but had no idea what they wanted to put on it. Guiding them through the options to a decision was what I liked to do.”

Art met his wife, Carolyn, at the 5th Wheel Truck Stop (now Classic Kelley’s) in 1958. Carolyn graduated from Cedar Springs High School that year and went to work for her mother, Dorothy Brooks, who owned the restaurant. Art would walk next door to the restaurant for lunch and they got to know each other. In 1961 they were married. They had two sons, Alan and Kurt. Alan and his family live in Texas and Kurt recently passed away. 

Carolyn came to work at the store. Art said she was good with colors and decorating doing interior design. Customers would ask her to help match flooring, paint, wall paper and furniture.

In 1966, Art and Carolyn took over the store from Carl and Dorothy. As the business grew, they added onto the store three times in the 1970s. 

Art said one of the most challenging aspects of the business was keep up with the trends and introducing new items to customers. The store carried a wide range of furniture and flooring brands to offer customers the best selection possible. Art said he was thankful for the many loyal customers he had over the years. I know that my parents and in-laws shopped there. The only piece of new furniture we ever bought was from Art and Carolyn!

In 2008, Carolyn decided it was time to retire. She also wanted Art to retire but Art said, “I wasn’t ready yet.” At that point, they liquidated the furniture side of the business and concentrated on floor coverings and window treatments. Art was back where he started in 1953.

Over the last few years, his son Kurt kept urging him to retire “while he could get out and enjoy life.” After 66 years and the oldest family run business on Main Street, it was time to take down the sign. Unfortunately, Kurt passed away before the business was sold to Lori Gates and Joan Dewey. They plan to continue the floor covering business.

Art is a charter member of the Cedar Springs Lions Club. Since 1959, Art has proudly worn his Lions vest serving others around the community. 

In the mid-70s, Art served on the Cedar Springs City Council and as Mayor. He still serves on the City’s Tax Board of Review.

When they were still selling furniture, they would loan pieces to the Cedar Springs Community Players to use during their productions. This is just one of the ways they helped around the community. Art would drop the items off and pick them up when the show was done.

At present, Art and Carolyn have no plans other than to stay in Michigan. They visit their son, Alan, in Texas a couple of times each year. 

I asked Carolyn about how it was to have Art home all the time? She jokingly replied, “I told him he had to go out and get a job!”

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State provides guidance to employers contemplating potential layoffs

LANSING, MICH. The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity provided guidance Wednesday to Michigan employers on how to avoid potential layoffs related to COVID-19. “We know that many families and businesses are and will experience economic pain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio. “Through Governor Whitmer’s executive action and existing state programs, there are resources for employers affected by COVID-19. We are also strongly urging job providers facing work shortages to place their employees on temporary leave as opposed to termination, so that they may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.” 

Work Share If employers are financially distressed but hope to continue operations by cutting back hours, they are encouraged to use the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s Work Share program that allows employers to maintain employment levels and business operations during declines in regular business activity rather than laying off workers. More information about the program can be found at www.michigan.gov/workshare. Temporary Leave vs. Termination Due to the uncertainty regarding potential congressional action regarding whether and how furloughed workers will be able to access federal paid sick, family and medical leave resources, employers are strongly urged to place employees on temporary leave and advise the worker that they expect to have work available within 120-days as opposed to termination. There is no additional cost to employers, employees remain eligible for UI benefits through the state, and employees may remain eligible for potential federal assistance. 

Steps for employers placing employers on temporary unpaid leave: 

  • Do not terminate the employee–specify a temporary / indefinite leave with return to work expected that is within 120 days. 
  • Do not create a contractual obligation to bring the employee back to work. Let the employee know that the situation is fluid and subject to change. 
  • Provide the employee with a formal Unemployment Compensation Notice. Employers will need to provide their Employer Account Number and Federal Identification Number. 
  • Communicate to the employee about their rights. Under Governor Whitmer’s recent Executive Order, workers are placed on leave, or are unable to work because they are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised, or have an unanticipated family care responsibility, are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. 
  • Ensure employers are provided information on how to obtain unemployment insurance benefits. A factsheet can be found here. 
  • Get each employee’s up-to-date contact information. 
  • Let employees know if you will be putting updated information on the entity’s website or intranet, if applicable. 
  • Appoint a single, or limited number of individuals who will field questions, and communicate that information to employees. 
  • Keep a tally of all questions and answers. Periodically share with employees. The state is monitoring issues related to continued medical insurance coverage and will update accordingly. 

Elimination of Certain Unemployment Costs to Employers Under the governor’s order, an employer or employing unit must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations. 

Other Resources The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit the MEDC’s website: www.michiganbusiness.org or call 888.522.0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website https://sbdcmichigan.org/small-business-covid19/ for additional information visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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Resources for Michigan’s small businesses impacted by COVID-19

Organizations working together to support Gov. Whitmer’s request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance from U.S. Small Business Administration

LANSING, MICH. The state of Michigan’s small business entrepreneurial support organizations have joined forces with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to ensure economic support is available to Michigan businesses to overcome anticipated loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 virus, the organizations announced this week.

“Small businesses drive the economies of our communities, and we understand that they are facing unprecedented challenges. We are committed to providing vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” said MEDC CEO Mark Burton. “We are working with small business organizations and partners around the state to ensure that every possible resource is made available to businesses, communities, entrepreneurs and others around the state, and we will continue to provide updates as soon as they’re available.”

On March 16, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer informed the U.S. Small Business Administration that she is seeking an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for the state and has initiated the process to receive the declaration from SBA. That application process is expected to be completed this week.

Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation that makes $1 billion available to the SBA to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

MEDC is also encouraging businesses and communities throughout the state to learn more about its wide range of tools aimed at assisting Michigan’s small- and medium-sized businesses. In particular, the

MEDC Access to Capital programs can provide greater availability of working capital during times of growth, change or economic uncertainty. To support businesses and communities during this unprecedented time, the organization will also be evaluating virtual matchmaking and other enhancements to programs such as its International Trade, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Pure Michigan Business Connect, PlanetM and Match on Main Street programs.

“I’m so proud to see the state’s small business resources rally together in this time of crisis. The stories we are hearing from the small businesses affected by COVID-19 are devastating,” said State Director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center J.D. Collins. “Rest assured that the combined resources of Michigan’s small business support system are here to help.”

MEDC’s call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit MEDC’s website: www.michiganbusiness.org or call 888.522.0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website https://sbdcmichigan.org/small-business-covid19/ for additional information.

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Treasury: Small business taxpayers provided tax assistance

Penalties and Interest Waived for 30 days for Some Sales, Use and Withholding Tax Filers

LANSING, Mich.  Small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Effective immediately, small businesses scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest for 30 days.

The past week has been hard for small businesses owners across the state as we work to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. Allowing them more time to pay their monthly tax payments will help us provide some much-needed assistance. I will continue doing everything I can to ensure our small businesses have the support they need during this time. We will get through this together.

Specific information about Treasury providing tax assistance to small businesses due to COVID-19 can be found in SUW Penalty and Interest Waiver Notice [ https://www.michigan.gov/documents/treasury/SUW_Penalty_and_Interest_Waiver_Notice_684145_7.pdf ].

Our small businesses are important drivers of Michigans economy, State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. This change will provide some help to businesses as they navigate their way through this state and national emergency.

The waiver is not available for accelerated sales, use or withholding tax filers. Businesses with questions should call the Treasury Business Tax Call Center at 517-636-6925.

To learn more about Michigans taxes, go to www.michigan.gov/taxes [ https://www.michigan.gov/taxes ]or follow the state Treasury Department on Twitter at@MITreasury [ http://www.twitter.com/mitreasury ].

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at*Michigan.gov/Coronavirus* [ https://www.michigan.gov/Coronavirus ]and*CDC.gov/Coronavirus* [ https://www.cdc.gov/Coronavirus ].

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Check your refund

Tax Tip 2020-36

Taxpayers can check the status of their refund on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go App

Taxpayers who filed their 2019 tax return and are waiting for their refund can check their refund status by going to IRS.gov and clicking on Get Your Refund Status to access the Where’s My Refund? tool [ https://www.irs.gov/refunds ].

People can check the status of their tax return about 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an electronically filed tax return and up to four weeks after a taxpayer mails a paper return. The Wheres My Refund? tool updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so taxpayers only need to check once a day.

Taxpayers can also check their refund status, make a payment, and find free tax prep help through the IRS2Go app  [ https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs2goapp] for their mobile device.

Taxpayers will need three things to use the tool:

  • Their Social Security number 
  • Their tax filing status 
  • The exact amount of the refund claimed on their tax return 

Once the taxpayer enters that information the tool will display the progress of their tax return through the following stages:

  • Return received 
  • Return approved 
  • Refund sent 

Taxpayers should use the IRS2Go app or the official Wheres My Refund? tool at IRS.gov to avoid scammers who may create look-alike sites in an attempt to steal sensitive personal information. They should go directly to IRS.gov and not rely on search engine results or click on links to refund sites they receive by email or text.

In certain instances, a taxpayer will need to call the IRS, such as:

* It has been 21 days or more since they electronically filed their tax return 

* It has been more than six weeks since they mailed their return 

* When the Wheres My Refund? results tell the taxpayer to contact the IRS 

More information:

* Refunds Information https://www.irs.gov/refunds/about-wheres-my-refund

* Refunds FAQs https://www.irs.gov/refunds/tax-season-refund-frequently-asked-questions 

* Direct Deposit https://www.irs.gov/refunds/get-your-refund-faster-tell-irs-to-direct-deposit-your-refund-to-one-two-or-three-accounts 

* Amended Returns https://www.irs.gov/filing/wheres-my-amended-return

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Taxpayers should know the signs of a phone scam

Taxpayers should be aware that aggressive criminals pose as IRS agents in hopes of stealing money or personal information. The tax filing season is a prime time for phone scams because people are thinking about taxes.

Here are some tell-tale signs of a tax scam along with actions taxpayers can take if they receive a scam call.

The IRS will never:

* Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. 

* Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying. 

* Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. 

* Call out of the blue about an unexpected tax refund.

Taxpayers who receive these phone calls should:

* Hang up the phone immediately. 

* Report the call to TIGTA using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form [https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml] or by calling 800-366-4484. 

* Report the number to phishing@irs.gov and be sure to put IRS Phone Scam in the subject line. 

More information:

Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts [ https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts ]

Report Phishing and Online Scams [ https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing ]

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Five steps taxpayers can take now to protect against identity theft


All taxpayers should make sure they’re doing everything they can to prevent a thief from stealing their identity.

Tax-related ID theft occurs when someone uses a taxpayers stolen personal information to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. The thieves use personal information like a stolen Social Security number.

The IRS and its partners are constantly working to combat these types of crimes, but they can’t do it alone. Taxpayers play an important role when it comes to preventing identify theft.

Here are some tips to help taxpayers protect themselves against identity theft. Taxpayers should:

*Always use security software.* This software should have firewall and anti-virus protections

*Use strong, unique passwords.* They should also consider using a password manager.

*Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves.* These scammers pose as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies, and even the IRS.

*Not click on links in unsolicited emails or messages from unknown senders.* Also, people shouldn’t click on links or download attachments from emails that seem suspicious, even if they appear to be from senders they know.

*Protect personal information and that of any dependents.* For example, people shouldn’t routinely carry around their Social Security cards. They should also make sure tax records are secure. 

*More information:

Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers [ https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4524.pdf ]

Identity Theft Central [ https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-central ]

Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft [ https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft ]

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