Welcome to CPA at Law, helping individuals and small businesses plan for the future and keep what they have.

This is the personal blog of Sterling Olander, a Certified Public Accountant and Utah-licensed attorney. For over nine years, I have assisted clients with estate planning and administration, tax mitigation, tax controversies, small business planning, asset protection, and nonprofit law.

I write about any legal, tax, or technological information that I find interesting or useful in serving my clients. All ideas expressed herein are my own and don't constitute legal or tax advice.

SBA Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

According to the Small Business Administration, small business owners "in all U.S. states and territories" are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest rate loan if the business has suffered substantial economic injury due to coronavirus.

These loans are available through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. The loan amount can be for up to $2 million at a 3.75% interest rate for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits with a term of up to 30 years, depending on the borrower’s ability to repay. These loans can be used to pay for debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of coronavirus. Detailed information and online application forms are available on the SBA's website.

UPDATE: Since I published this post, information about the CARES Act has become available. Among other things, this act creates a new "Paycheck Protection Program," which authorizes forgivable SBA loans to eligible businesses. More information is located at this link.

Tax Credits for Paid Leave under FFCRA

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) generally requires employers to provide up to two weeks of paid leave at regular pay rates for employees who can't work due to being sick with coronavirus, up to two weeks of paid leave at two-thirds of regular pay rates for employees who can't work due to a family member being sick with coronavirus, and up to ten weeks of paid leave at two-thirds of regular pay rates for employees who can't work because a child's school or child care provider is unavailable. Fortunately, all of an employer's costs for this qualified sick leave is designed to be offset by payroll tax credits.

By way of background, employers are required to withhold estimated employees' income taxes and payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicaid) from employees' paychecks and then match the payroll tax withholding and remit all of such funds to the IRS on (usually) a quarterly basis. The credit for paid leave under the FFCRA offsets the employer's portion of payroll taxes. However, the credits are refundable, meaning that if the qualified sick leave paid in respect of employees impacted by coronavirus exceeds the employer's portion of payroll tax for all employees, the employer will receive a refund from the IRS.

Regulations and forms for these new tax credits will be forthcoming. The most interesting aspect of these tax credits is that employers will apparently be able to retain income taxes withheld and both the employer's and the employees' share of payroll taxes up to the amount of qualified sick leave, rather than deposit such withholdings with the IRS and seek a refund. As I discussed in a prior post, these withholdings are considered to be held in trust for the IRS, and individuals who do not remit such taxes to the IRS will be personally liable for the entirety of such taxes. As such, employers should not utilize this method of reimbursement for qualified sick leave they pay without maintaining very careful records and waiting until final guidance is issued by the IRS. Trust fund taxes must never be used to cover any other expense.

Free, Simple Last Will and Testament Form

Below is a very simple form for a last will and testament that you are welcome to use for free, subject to this disclaimer and to the following: Executing a will does not guarantee that all, or even most, of your property will be subject to the will. A last will and testament will have no impact on property held in joint tenancy with a surviving tenant; retirement plans, brokerage accounts, and life insurance policies that have a valid beneficiary designation; pay-on-death bank accounts; and property titled in trust. A will alone will not allow your estate to avoid probate, and a will is only one component of a complete estate plan.

This will form is not appropriate for every circumstance, and only a competent estate planning attorney can provide advice regarding your particular situation. Under Utah law, this will form will be unenforceable unless it is (1) completed and signed by you and signed by two adults who witnessed you sign the will or (2) entirely handwritten and signed by the you. While witnessed wills are preferred, I have kept this will form short enough that it can be handwritten, in which case no witnesses are required. Once complete, you will need to deposit your will in a secure location or with someone you trust to carry out your will.

Last Will of
[your name]

1. This is my Will. I revoke all prior Wills and codicils.

2. I nominate [name of person you want to be in charge of your estate] as my personal representative. If they do not serve, I nominate [name of alternate] to serve in their place.

3. I might prepare a separate written list of items of tangible personal property and designate who I want to receive such items. If I complete such a list, I give such items to the persons designated therein as the recipient of each such item.
This tangible property list is an optional document that is separate from your will; if signed, the list becomes incorporated into your will upon your death. It is a flexible option because if you change your mind about who you would like to receive a tangible item, you need not execute a whole new will, just update your list.

4. I give the balance of my assets as follows: Only chose one option
Option One: All to my surviving spouse; otherwise, to my descendants, by right of representation.
Option Two: All to my descendants, by right of representation.
Option Three: Equally to the following persons who survive me: [insert names of the beneficiaries of your estate]

Paragraphs 5 and 6 are only necessary if you have minor children
5. I nominate [name of person you want to be guardian of your minor children] as guardian of any minor children of mine. If they do not serve, I nominate [name of alternate] to serve in their place.

6. I nominate [name of person you want to be in charge your minor children's assets] as conservator of the estate of any minor children of mine. If they do not serve, I nominate [name of alternate] to serve in their place.

I execute this document as my Will on the _____ day of _______________, 20____, at _______________, Utah.

[Your Signature]

Unless your will is entirely handwritten, two adults who witnessed you sign your will must also sign.


[Witness Signature]
[Witness Printed Name]

[Witness Signature]
[Witness Printed Name]