Utah COVID-19 Joint Fiscal Information Team

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The COVID-19 Joint Fiscal Information Team is responsible for sharing interagency information and resources pertaining to state and local government fiscal operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UTAH COVID-19 JFIT NEWS

The Permanent Community Impact Board has approved a loan deferral policy for local Utah governments with CIB loans outstanding.

Download the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board Policy Regarding the COVID-19 Emergency(PDF).

Learn More

Learn more about the Utah COVID-19 Joint Fiscal Information Team by visiting our website: treasurer.utah.gov/jfit/

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Encourage your colleagues to stay informed by signing up to receive emails containing information and resources pertaining to government fiscal operations during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions (PPP FAQs)

Here are answers to the most common PPP-related questions. (As of April 6, 2020)

The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, intends to provide timely additional guidance to address borrower and lender questions concerning the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by section 1102 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or the Act). This document will be updated on a regular basis.

Borrowers and lenders may rely on the guidance provided in this document as SBA’s interpretation of the CARES Act and of the Paycheck Protection Program Interim Final Rule (“PPP Interim Final Rule”) (link). The U.S. government will not challenge lender PPP actions that conform to this guidance,1 and to the PPP Interim Final Rule and any subsequent rulemaking in effect at the time.

[1 This document does not carry the force and effect of law independent of the statute and regulations on which it is based.]

1. Question: Paragraph 3.b.iii of the Paycheck Protection Program Interim Final Rule states that lenders must “confirm the dollar amount of average monthly payroll costs for the preceding calendar year by reviewing the payroll documentation submitted with the borrower’s application.” Does that require that the lender replicate every borrower’s calculations?

Answer: No. Providing an accurate calculation of payroll costs is the responsibility of the borrower, and the borrower must attest to the accuracy of those calculations. Lenders are expected to perform a good faith review, in a reasonable time, of the borrower’s calculations and supporting documents concerning average monthly payroll cost. The level of diligence by a lender should be informed by the quality of supporting documents supplied by the borrower. Minimal review of calculations based on a payroll report by a recognized third-party payroll processor, for example, would be reasonable. If lenders identify errors in the borrower’s calculation or material lack of substantiation in the borrower’s supporting documents, the lender should work with the borrower to remedy the error.

2. Question: Are small business concerns (as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632) required to have 500 or fewer employees to be eligible borrowers in the PPP?

Answer: No. Small business concerns can be eligible borrowers even if they have more than 500 employees, as long as they satisfy the existing statutory and regulatory definition of a “small business concern” under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632. A business can qualify if it meets the SBA employee-based or revenue-based size standard corresponding to its primary industry. Go to www.sba.gov/size for the industry size standards.

Additionally, a business can qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program as a small business concern if it met both tests in SBA’s “alternative size standard” as of March 27, 2020: (1) maximum tangible net worth of the business is not more than $15 million; and (2) the average net income after Federal income taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) of the business for the two full fiscal years before the date of the application is not more than $5 million.

A business that qualifies as a small business concern under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632, may truthfully attest to its eligibility for PPP loans on the Borrower Application Form, unless otherwise ineligible.

3. Question: Does my business have to qualify as a small business concern (as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632) in order to participate in the PPP?

Answer: No. In addition to small business concerns, a business is eligible for a PPP loan if the business has 500 or fewer employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States, or the business meets the SBA employee-based size standards for the industry in which it operates (if applicable). Similarly, PPP loans are also available for qualifying tax-exempt nonprofit organizations described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), tax-exempt veterans organization described in section 501(c)(19) of the IRC, and Tribal business concerns described in section 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act that have 500 or fewer employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States, or meet the SBA employee-based size standards for the industry in which they operate.

4. Question: Are lenders required to make an independent determination regarding applicability of affiliation rules under 13 C.F.R. 121.301(f) to borrowers?

Answer: No. It is the responsibility of the borrower to determine which entities (if any) are its affiliates and determine the employee headcount of the borrower and its affiliates. Lenders are permitted to rely on borrowers’ certifications.

5. Question: Are borrowers required to apply SBA’s affiliation rules under 13 C.F.R. 121.301(f)? Answer: Yes. Borrowers must apply the affiliation rules set forth in SBA’s Interim Final Rule on Affiliation. A borrower must certify on the Borrower Application Form that the borrower is eligible to receive a PPP loan, and that certification means that the borrower is a small business concern as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632), meets the applicable SBA employee-based or revenue-based size standard, or meets the tests in SBA’s alternative size standard, after applying the affiliation rules, if applicable. SBA’s existing affiliation exclusions apply to the PPP, including, for example the exclusions under 13 CFR 121.103(b)(2).

6. Question: The affiliation rule based on ownership (13 C.F.R. 121.301(f)(1)) states that SBA will deem a minority shareholder in a business to control the business if the shareholder has the right to prevent a quorum or otherwise block action by the board of directors or shareholders. If a minority shareholder irrevocably gives up those rights, is it still considered to be an affiliate of the business?

Answer: No. If a minority shareholder in a business irrevocably waives or relinquishes any existing rights specified in 13 C.F.R. 121.301(f)(1), the minority shareholder would no longer be an affiliate of the business (assuming no other relationship that triggers the affiliation rules).

7. Question: The CARES Act excludes from the definition of payroll costs any employee compensation in excess of an annual salary of $100,000. Does that exclusion apply to all employee benefits of monetary value?

Answer: No. The exclusion of compensation in excess of $100,000 annually applies only to cash compensation, not to non-cash benefits, including:

  • employer contributions to defined-benefit or defined-contribution retirement plans;
  • payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance premiums; and
  • payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees.

8. Question: Do PPP loans cover paid sick leave?

Answer: Yes. PPP loans covers payroll costs, including costs for employee vacation, parental, family, medical, and sick leave. However, the CARES Act excludes qualified sick and family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under sections 7001 and 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116–127). Learn more about the Paid Sick Leave Refundable Credit here.

9. Question: My small business is a seasonal business whose activity increases from April to June. Considering activity from that period would be a more accurate reflection of my business’s operations. However, my small business was not fully ramped up on February 15, 2020. Am I still eligible?

Answer: In evaluating a borrower’s eligibility, a lender may consider whether a seasonal borrower was in operation on February 15, 2020 or for an 8-week period between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019.

10. Question: What if an eligible borrower contracts with a third-party payer such as a payroll provider or a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to process payroll and report payroll taxes?

Answer: SBA recognizes that eligible borrowers that use PEOs or similar payroll providers are required under some state registration laws to report wage and other data on As of April 6, 2020 the Employer Identification Number (EIN) of the PEO or other payroll provider. In these cases, payroll documentation provided by the payroll provider that indicates the amount of wages and payroll taxes reported to the IRS by the payroll provider for the borrower’s employees will be considered acceptable PPP loan payroll documentation. Relevant information from a Schedule R (Form 941), Allocation Schedule for Aggregate Form 941 Filers, attached to the PEO’s or other payroll provider’s Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, should be used if it is available; otherwise, the eligible borrower should obtain a statement from the payroll provider documenting the amount of wages and payroll taxes. In addition, employees of the eligible borrower will not be considered employees of the eligible borrower’s payroll provider or PEO.

11. Question: May lenders accept signatures from a single individual who is authorized to sign on behalf of the borrower?

Answer: Yes. However, the borrower should bear in mind that, as the Borrower Application Form indicates, only an authorized representative of the business seeking a loan may sign on behalf of the business. An individual’s signature as an “Authorized Representative of Applicant” is a representation to the lender and to the U.S. government that the signer is authorized to make the certifications, including with respect to the applicant and each owner of 20% or more of the applicant’s equity, contained in the Borrower Application Form. Lenders may rely on that representation and accept a single individual’s signature on that basis.

12. Question: I need to request a loan to support my small business operations in light of current economic uncertainty. However, I pleaded guilty to a felony crime a very long time ago. Am I still eligible for the PPP?

Answer: Yes. Businesses are only ineligible if an owner of 20 percent or more of the equity of the applicant is presently incarcerated, on probation, on parole; subject to an indictment, criminal information, arraignment, or other means by which formal criminal charges are brought in any jurisdiction; or, within the last five years, for any felony, has been convicted; pleaded guilty; pleaded nolo contendere; been placed on pretrial diversion; or been placed on any form of parole or probation (including probation before judgment).

13. Question: Are lenders permitted to use their own online portals and an electronic form that they create to collect the same information and certifications as in the Borrower Application Form, in order to complete implementation of their online portals?

Answer: Yes. Lenders may use their own online systems and a form they establish that asks for the same information (using the same language) as the Borrower Application Form. Lenders are still required to send the data to SBA using SBA’s interface.

14. Question: What time period should borrowers use to determine their number of employees and payroll costs to calculate their maximum loan amounts?

Answer: In general, borrowers can calculate their aggregate payroll costs using data either from the previous 12 months or from calendar year 2019. For seasonal businesses, the applicant may use average monthly payroll for the period between February 15, 2019, or March 1, 2019, and June 30, 2019. An applicant that was not in business from February 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019 may use the average monthly payroll costs for the period January 1, 2020 through February 29, 2020.

Borrowers may use their average employment over the same time periods to determine their number of employees, for the purposes of applying an employee-based size standard. Alternatively, borrowers may elect to use SBA’s usual calculation: the average number of employees per pay period in the 12 completed calendar months prior to the date of the loan application (or the average number of employees for each of the pay periods that the business has been operational, if it has not been operational for 12 months).

15. Question: Should payments that an eligible borrower made to an independent contractor or sole proprietor be included in calculations of the eligible borrower’s payroll costs?

Answer: No. Any amounts that an eligible borrower has paid to an independent contractor or sole proprietor should be excluded from the eligible business’s payroll costs. However, an independent contractor or sole proprietor will itself be eligible for a loan under the PPP, if it satisfies the applicable requirements.

16. Question: How should a borrower account for federal taxes when determining its payroll costs for purposes of the maximum loan amount, allowable uses of a PPP loan, and the amount of a loan that may be forgiven?

Answer: Under the Act, payroll costs are calculated on a gross basis without regard to (i.e., not including subtractions or additions based on) federal taxes imposed or withheld, such as the employee’s and employer’s share of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and income taxes required to be withheld from employees. As a result, payroll costs are not reduced by taxes imposed on an employee and required to be withheld by the employer, but payroll costs do not include the employer’s share of payroll tax. For example, an employee who earned $4,000 per month in gross wages, from which $500 in federal taxes was withheld, would count as $4,000 in payroll costs. The employee would receive $3,500, and $500 would be paid to the federal government. However, the employer-side federal payroll taxes imposed on the $4,000 in wages are excluded from payroll costs under the statute.2

[2 The definition of “payroll costs” in the CARES Act, 15 U.S.C. 636(a)(36)(A)(viii), excludes “taxes imposed or withheld under chapters 21, 22, or 24 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 during the covered period,” defined as February 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020. As described above, the SBA interprets this statutory exclusion to mean that payroll costs are calculated on a gross basis, without subtracting federal taxes that are imposed on the employee or withheld from employee wages. Unlike employer-side payroll taxes, such employee-side taxes are ordinarily expressed as a reduction in employee take-home pay; their exclusion from the definition of payroll costs means payroll costs should not be reduced based on taxes imposed on the employee or withheld from employee wages. This interpretation is consistent with the text of the statute and advances the legislative purpose of ensuring workers remain paid and employed. Further, because the reference period for determining a borrower’s maximum loan amount will largely or entirely precede the period from February 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020, and the period during which borrowers will be subject to the restrictions on allowable uses of the loans may extend beyond that period, for purposes of the determination of allowable uses of loans and the amount of loan forgiveness, this statutory exclusion will apply with respect to such taxes imposed or withheld at any time, not only during such period.]

17. Question: I filed or approved a loan application based on the version of the PPP Interim Final Rule published on April 2, 2020. Do I need to take any action based on the updated guidance in these FAQs? Answer: No. Borrowers and lenders may rely on the laws, rules, and guidance available at the time of the relevant application. However, borrowers whose previously submitted loan applications have not yet been processed may revise their applications based on clarifications reflected in these FAQs.

18. Question: Are PPP loans for existing customers considered new accounts for FinCEN Rule CDD purposes? Are lenders required to collect, certify, or verify beneficial ownership information in accordance with the rule requirements for existing customers?

Answer: If the PPP loan is being made to an existing customer and the necessary information was previously verified, you do not need to re-verify the information.

Furthermore, if federally insured depository institutions and federally insured credit unions eligible to participate in the PPP program have not yet collected beneficial ownership information on existing customers, such institutions do not need to collect and verify beneficial ownership information for those customers applying for new PPP loans, unless otherwise indicated by the lender’s risk-based approach to BSA compliance.

CLICK HERE FOR PPP APPLICATION

REQUEST LIST OF PARTICIPATING PPP LENDERS

Press Release: Agencies Issue Revised Interagency Statement on Loan Modifications by Financial Institutions Working with Customers Affected by the Coronavirus

FOR RELEASE AT 3:00 P.M. EDT

The federal financial institution regulatory agencies (the agencies), in consultation with state financial regulators, issued a revised interagency statement encouraging financial institutions to work constructively with borrowers affected by COVID-19 and providing additional information regarding loan modifications. The revised statement also provides the agencies’ views on consumer protection considerations.

The revised statement clarifies the interaction between the interagency statement issued on March 22, 2020, and the temporary relief provided by Section 4013 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Section 4013 allows financial institutions to suspend the requirements to classify certain loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs). The revised statement also provides supervisory interpretations on past due and nonaccrual regulatory reporting of loan modification programs and regulatory capital.

The agencies encourage financial institutions to work with borrowers and will not criticize institutions for doing so in a safe-and-sound manner. The agencies view prudent loan modification programs offered to financial institution customers affected by COVID-19 as positive and proactive actions that can manage or mitigate adverse impacts on borrowers, and lead to improved loan performance and reduced credit risk.

The agencies’ examiners will exercise judgment in reviewing loan modifications, including TDRs, and will not automatically adversely risk rate credits that are affected by COVID-19, including those considered TDRs. Regardless of whether modifications are considered TDRs or are adversely classified, agency examiners will not criticize prudent efforts to modify terms on existing loans for affected customers.

# # #

Attachment:  Interagency Statement (Revised)

Media Contacts:

Federal Reserve Board

Eric Kollig

(202) 452-2955

CFPB

Marisol Garibay

(202) 453-7170

FDIC

David Barr

(202) 898-6992

NCUA

Ben Hardaway

(703) 518-6333

OCC

Stephanie Collins

(202) 649-6870


FDIC: PR-49-2020

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment Reminder

Written September 19, 2019:

Open enrollment begins October 15, 2019 and runs through December 7, 2019. To assist Medicare Beneficiaries with the process of evaluating current prescription drug plan options, a Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Counselor will be available at each of the Senior Centers in Grand, Carbon, and Emery Counties. Please review the below listed schedule to determine when they will be in your Community.

    • October 15, 2019 – Moab 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • October 16, 2019 – Green River 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • October 21, 2019 – Emery 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • October 22, 2019 – Price 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • October 28, 2019 – Ferron 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • October 29, 2019 – Green River 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • October 30, 2019 – Price 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • November 4, 2019 – Huntington 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • November 5, 2019 – East Carbon 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • November 12, 2019 – Castle Dale 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • November 12, 2019 – Moab 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • November 18, 2019 – East Carbon 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center
    • November 19, 2019 – Castle Dale 11:30 am thru 1:30 pm at Senior Center

Please bring a list of your current prescription drugs and your Medicare Card.

Remember this is the only time to make changes to your Part D Plans unless there is a special enrollment period allowed just for you for various reasons. Please take the time to study and review your existing plan to determine if it will continue to be the best plan for you in 2020.

There may also be “Extra Help” available to assist with the costs of prescription drugs to those of you who may qualify. Please ask about this opportunity.

If you are unable to attend a scheduled enrollment date and have questions regarding a prescription drug plan, please contact Bill Engle at 435-613-0029 or 435-650-7742

Weatherization Energy Auditor (WX EA)

Job Description:

The Energy Auditor (EA) is an experienced professional who evaluates the health and safety issues, durability, comfort and energy use of a residential building. The EA conducts advanced diagnostic tests, gathers and analyzes data, and creates models to draw conclusions and make recommendations to the client for improvements.

Knowledge, Skills & Ability’s :

Must have demonstrated construction skills including

  • Ability to evaluate construction materials and components
  • Determine air leakage of the building envelope.
  • Ability to evaluate health and safety issues
  • Combustion appliance venting procedures
  • Familiarity with building standards
  • Building science
  • Insulation effectiveness
  • Insulation R-values & Effective R-values
  • Insulation placement
  • OSHA safety requirements
  • General thermography principles.

HVAC distribution testing protocols

  • HVAC terminology
  • Manufacturer’s specifications
  • Distribution system design and materials
  • Forced air systems
  • Hydronic distribution
  • Mechanical ventilation systems (e.g., exhaust, supply, balanced).

Minimum Qualifications

Must have Intermediate computer skills,

  • Microsoft office software
  • Google software
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Data entry skills, filing, and record keeping (through input with specific software).

Ability to perform apprentice level carpentry

  • Familiarity with customary construction tools
  • Window and door installation.
  • Insulating walls, attic and floors etc.

Ability to communicate both verbally and in writing, Maintain working relationships with co-workers, supervisors, and the public, ability to adhere to federal standards in a proactive manner

Must have a valid Utah state driver license to drive to individuals home in Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan counties, and other locations though out for periodic trainings. Must obtain BPI Energy auditor certification within 6 months or when the next testing is available.

(WX EA) will annual wage payed over 24 pay periods plus benefits; employer performs background check & drug test upon hire.

2019 Press Releases

Southeastern Utah Association of Local Government press release

Date of release: 03-06-19
Contact person: Richard Shaw, contract public relations specialist
Phone: 435 636 5343
Email: reddogpublish@gmail.com

Small businesses can grow with Revolving Loan Funds

One of the largest problems small businesses have is finding money to upgrade their operation. The Southeastern Utah Economic Development District (SEUEDD) has a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) available for businesses that qualify, and that money can make all the difference to a small operation.

Take the Patio Drive In that is located in Blanding for instance.

The Patio Drive In was built and established in 1959. It has been through multiple owners and is currently owned by Ricky and Lana Arthur who have owned and operated it since 2009. Patio has a long history and is an iconic establishment in the town, popular with visitors and locals alike. It is the only restaurant still in business in Blanding from its time period that has never closed its doors in 60 years of operation.

The menu at Patio, of classic burgers and fries, was established around 1960 (prior to that they served chili and chili dogs).  Patio drive In currently offers a large variety of burgers, several of their own creations, and assortment of classic sandwiches, homemade onion rings, homemade fries, a large variety of salads with in-house dressings, and a small lean and green menu for those calorie conscience customers.  Lana has had the opportunity to train with private chefs and with she will adding many new items to the menu.

The building needed some upgrading and they needed to enlarge the size of the building. They were able to obtain a SBA loan and a loan from the RLF Fund. They also were able to receive a HVAC grant and a GOED Fast Track Grant.  This move has made the venue more appealing and modern, yet still set in the memory of the 1950’s.

“Our desire to rejuvenate the building, enlarge our dining area and create storage was based on our need to accommodate more customers,” said Lana Arthur. “We had simply outgrown our space. However, because of Patio’s extensive history we had no desire to move locations. We
feel the upgrades to our current building were in our best interest.”

The reason for the two loans? The SBA was willing to loan a percentage of the money they requested, but that wasn’t enough to do what they wanted to accomplish. Enter Beth McCue of the Small Business Development Center at USU/Moab.

“Beth realized their need and sent them to us to see if we could help,” said Dawna Houskeeper, of the South Eastern Association of Local Governments (SEUALG) who is the Program Manager for the RLF Loan Program. “They are some of the best business people I had ever met and we were able to use RLF money as gap funding so they could accomplish their goals.”

The funds that the RLF fund provided to the business was used largely to upgrade equipment and the electrical system, as well as put in a new venting system for the kitchen, which they had to do if they were going to do the major remodel they planned on.

The Patio Drive In experience is just one of many success stories that the RLF has been a part of over the years.

The RLF program was started in 1969 SEUALG and the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The program began when SEUALG secured a grant with matching money from the EDA to start the fund. Over the years money has been lent out and more often than not, been paid back in full, plus interest. The interest that has been paid from past loans has been used to grow the fund. The money available in the fund year after year differs since its balance depends on the status and amounts of previous loans. The two agencies work together, but all the qualifications, procedures and policies for lending are under the EDAs direction.

The fund is designed to help a business start or expand current business’s to grow. Over the years many different kinds of businesses have benefited from the program. A few examples include convenience stores, mortuaries, monument builders, saddle tree builders, steel
manufacturing, food trucks, and yurts.

“The qualifying businesses are unique and so is this loan program which was designed to help them,” explained Houskeeper.

One of the rules that apply when qualifying includes a documented denial from traditional banks or financial organizations.

Another condition is that the loan recipient will add one new full time job to the area for each $25,000 borrowed. The businesses have two years to create the jobs. The structuring for the kinds of employment expected to be created is such that the positions are in low to medium salary compensation levels.

“This helps not only to finance new business and growth, but also helps stimulate the economy by adding jobs,” she said.

Houskeeper said that the Patio Drive In was a prime candidate and that the business is now able to accommodate the crowds that are showing up at their door.

“Lana noticed that during the summer when sometimes the lines were out the door for their small place they would see people walking away,” said Houskeeper. “The expansion from being basically a drive up window with a couple of small booths where people could eat to a large dining area and upgraded equipment has made it so their business is better
than ever.”  “Lana’s next goal is to be able to create at least four full time jobs for employees that pay strong enough wages that would allow them to stay in the Blanding area.”

The  RLF loan  fund of SEUALG/SEUEDD is only available to businesses in the four counties SEUALG serves which are Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan.

For more information on the RLF contact Houskeeper at (435) 613 0031 or dhouskeeper@seualg.utah.gov

Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments press release
 
Date of release:  02-14-19
Contact person:  Richard Shaw, contract public relations specialist
Phone: 435 636 5343
 

Tristan Garvin works with Renee Raso on her taxes utilizing the VITA program.

VITA is there to help with taxes

Taxes are a fact of life, and for most people doing them is well…taxing. So the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments (SEUALG) has a program, that under certain conditions, provides free tax preparation services to residents.

The program is called VITA which stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

One of the parameters to get this service is what kind of return is being prepared. There is a scope of work in which the taxes for people can be done. Usually most of the taxes done by the agency are fairly uncomplicated.

“To see if you qualify bring your taxes into one of our sites and one of our volunteers will check if it fits within our scope of work,” said Tristan Garvin, the manager of the program for the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments (SEUALG).  “Some of those that don’t qualify are those with Schedule F (farm taxes), taxes with rental properties included in them, certain business expenses, non taxable combat pay (among other among other types of military filings), foreign tax, as well some others.  The income level that qualifies a taxpayer for this service is one who earned under $55,000 last year.”

Another factor is the amount of money a filer makes. The program has been set up to help low to moderate income taxpayers.

“The program is active in all the counties that SEUALG serves (San Juan, Grand, Emery and Carbon)” he explained. “There are sites in each county where people can take their taxes to be done. Tax documents will be prepared by trained volunteers that have professional supervision over them. Sometimes people become concerned about just anyone seeing their tax returns. In terms of privacy, all the volunteers and people associated with handling tax documents and information sign a confidentially agreement to not divulge information they may see when performing tax preparation. In addition, all those involved in tax preparation must be finger printed and have a background check before they can work on any persons taxes.”

Besides going to the physical sites themselves, individuals can also use websites affiliated with the program to do their own taxes.

“We encourage those that do not fall into the scope of work for VITA to go to Myfreetaxes.com (which is supported by the United Way) where the qualifying amount an individual makes is higher at $66,000 a year,” he said.

People also ask questions about what happens if something are errors with the tax preparation that is being performed by the volunteers.</divp

“VITA is a program is operated by the IRS,” he stated.  “We report directly to an IRS employee, and the  IRS takes full responsibility if anything goes wrong because of the tax preparation that is performed.”

The various physical sites have different kinds of staffing and hours. In San Juan there are six volunteers, in Moab and Emery County there are three and in Carbon County there are 15, 10 of which are students at USU Eastern under the direction of Henning Olsen, a Business Professor at the school. The other five volunteers come from a professional accounting firm located in town. To become a preparer, volunteers get 10 hours of instruction and must take a test to qualify to prepare taxes.

Last year sites in the region did 636 returns through all channels. The average income for the people that had their taxes done this way was $20,770. The total tax refunds that came back to the region amounted to $638,535 or an average refund of $1434.

Preparation services will began February 7th and will continue until April 15th.

Services this year will be available at the following locations, dates and times. Note that some sites work by appointment only, and that some hours of operation may be subject to change.

Emery County Food Bank: There are five sites and they are in Castle Dale (95 East Main in the old courthouse upstairs in the box office), Cleveland (City Hall, 130 West Main Street), Ferron (City Hall, 130 West Main Street), Green River (Epicenter, 180 South Broadway), and Huntington (Town Hall, 20 North Main Street). For an appointment call Sarah at 435-609-0549 for an appointment.
 
USU- Grand County Extension:
125 West 200 South
Moab, UT 84532
By appointment only. Call Mike at 435-259-7558.
 
USU-Eastern Site:
Reeves Building Room 130
500 East 400 North
Price, UT 84501
Open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 am – 1 pm
Call Henning Olsen at 435-613-5219 for an appointment
Walk-ins are welcome
 
Carbon County Senior Center:
450 South Fairgrounds Road
Price, UT 84501
Wednesdays
Call Senior Center at 435-636-3202 for an appointment.
 
Mexican Water Chapter:
Highway 191 Milepost 2
Bluff, UT 84512
Call Chapter House at (435)650-0118 for an appointment.