PA Liquor Control Board Clarification Regarding Food Requirement During Targeted Mitigation

On 7/22/2020, the PA Department of Health along with the PA Liquor Control Board have provided clarification regarding its requirement that all on-site consumption alcoholic beverages must be accompanied by the purchase of food. Going forward, patrons must  purchase a meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), not a snack. (It is unclear where Lunchables fall in this requirement due to its tiny serving size even though it has lunch right there in the name!) The guidance further provides that customers may purchase additional alcoholic beverages while they are consuming the meal, but that once they have finished the meal, they cannot purchase any additional beverages. This clarification would also seemingly eliminate the possibility of serving a moldy, Raines Law-style, ham sandwich.

Food trucks, or other food service providers, can fulfill the meal requirement, although compliance with the food requirement seemingly falls to the licensee. It will be important to work out a system to ensure that customers cannot purchase additional beverages unless they still eating their meal.

Additional clarification of note, bar service remains prohibited, indoor occupancy is limited to 25% capacity, indoor events/gatherings are limited to 25 people, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 250 people (each capacity requirement includes staff).

If you have any questions/concerns or are cited for this, or any other violation, please contact Daniel Jones at or call 215-572-8111.

Pennsylvania Annual Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeal Deadline Is August 1

The August 1 deadline is fast approaching if you want to appeal your annual Pennsylvania real estate tax bill. Your real estate tax bill is determined by multiplying the county assessed value of your property by the common level ratio factor, a number determined annually by the state. For the upcoming fiscal year, the average common level ratio factor in Southeastern Pennsylvania Counties (Phila, Bucks, Montco, Chester and Delco) increased anywhere from 5% to almost 13%, meaning that for real estate tax purposes the value of almost all properties in these counties increased by 5% to 13%, depending on the county where your property is located. Are you paying too much in real estate property tax? To learn how appeal your real estate tax bill, contact us today.

Estate Planning, Retirement Plans & The CARES Act (Part 2): COVID-19 Related Planning Opportunities

In addition to the suspension of required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020 available to retirement account owners as a result of the federal CARES Act that we discussed in our last post, this COVID-19 relief legislation also provided some additional relief efforts to help retirement account owners. First, retirement plan owners who were directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may take an IRA distribution this year of up to $100,000 and spread the income tax on that distribution out over 3 years (2020, 2021 and 2022). Also, if you are under 59.5 years of age and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can avoid the 10% penalty on early withdrawals. These relief provisions have created some interesting, albeit aggressive tax planning opportunities with IRAs. One possible, but aggressive strategy, is for an IRA owner to do a Roth IRA conversion and spread the income tax cost of the converted amount (up to $100,000) over 3 years. Another aggressive strategy is for an IRA owner directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to make a deductible IRA contribution in 2020, then take a taxable distribution from the IRA this year. The deduction for the contribution is taken in 2020, but the taxes on the distribution can be spread out over 3 years. Although these strategies appear to comply with the CARES Act provisions, whether or not Congress intended to allow such strategies as part of this COVID-19 relief legislation has been a matter of some debate, and future IRS guidance on these strategies may be forthcoming. To learn more on how the CARES Act may impact your estate and retirement plan planning, please contact us today.

ESTATE PLANNING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: An Introduction To Estate Planning

Join our Director of Estate Planning, Thomas E. Shea, Esquire, and Delaware Attorney, Darlene Blythe, Esquire, for an introduction to Estate Planning, and why COVID-19 has brought the importance of estate planning to the forefront.

  • What is an Estate Plan, what is the purpose, and who needs one?
  • The basic elements of an Estate Plan
  • What you need to do to get the process started
  • Advanced Estate Planning

Darlene Blythe & Thomas Shea - Webinar on ESTATE PLANNING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: An Introduction To Estate Planning

Estate Planning, Retirement Plans & The CARES Act (Part 1): Elimination of RMDs

Did you know that the federal CARES Act that became law earlier this year as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief efforts included a number of short-term changes designed to enhance the durability of retirement plan savings as well as emergency provisions to ease COVID-19 related hardships. Specifically, the CARES Act suspended all required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020 (you can still take them if you want to or need to but are not required to take your RMD in 2020). As RMDs are based on retirement account values as of the end of the prior year, this relief provision may be helpful to those with retirement plans who have other sufficient sources of income and do not need to take RMDs and who may want to give their retirement plan funds time to recover from the current market volatility. This suspension of RMDs for 2020 may also create opportunities for those considering converting their traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. If you already took out an RMD for 2020, you may be able to return the RMD to your plan or other retirement plan, but under current IRS guidance you must act by August 31, 2020. We will cover additional CARES Act provisions impacting retirement plans in future posts. To learn more on how the CARES ACT may impact your estate and retirement plan planning, please contact us today.

Stern & Eisenberg Webinar: CEMA – A Cost Effective Refinance Option in New York & Real Estate Market post COVID-19

Margaret Cascino, Esquire, our Managing Attorney in New York, and Zachary Champion, Esquire, our Regional Managing Attorney for REO/Retail Closings

Margaret Cascino, Esquire, our Managing Attorney in New York, and Zachary Champion, Esquire, our Regional Managing Attorney for REO/Retail Closings hosted this in-depth webinar on June 17th, 2020 discussing how homeowners with equity in their property are taking advantage of today’s low interest rates. What is a CEMA? Why use one? What is the process? What are the possible issues/delays? What are our COVID-19 Precautions?

IRA Rollover Relief – Deadline Extended

On June 23, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-51, which provides guidance relating to the waiver of 2020 required minimum distributions (RMDs) enacted as part of the federal CARES Act COVID-19 relief legislation.

Specifically, Notice 2020-51, allows for a rollover or repayment of an RMD taken in 2020 until August 31, 2020, effectively extending the traditional 60-day rollover rule for RMDs taken earlier in the year. Those plan owners who took RMDs this year thinking they were required to, but do not need the funds, have the opportunity to return those funds to their IRA or a rollover IRA. Consult with your plan custodian or financial advisor for more information. To learn more on the importance of estate planning in the age of COVID-19, please contact us today.

West Virginia: A New Title Curative Procedure

Join West Virginia Managing Attorney, Ryan Keesee, Esquire, and Stern & Eisenberg President & CEO, Steven K. Eisenberg, Esquire, MBA,  for a detailed discussion and review of the New Title Curative Procedure, including:

  • Simple Property Description errors will now be resolved by affidavit and notice
  • No more Court delays in correcting scrivener’s errors!
  • New process will reduce time and costs in correcting title issues in WV

Ryan Keesee - West Virginia: A New Title Curative Procedure

For any questions please contact us.

SBA, PPP and EIDL Small Business Loan Programs Update – Additional Funding Approved

To Our Business Colleagues, Clients and Friends:

Since being signed into law on March 27, 2020, the federal CARES (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) established a comprehensive COVID-19 related financial support package for individuals and small businesses (those businesses with up to 500 employees). The primary SBA COVID-19 related support programs are the SBA PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) and the SBA EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan program). The CARES Act provided for an initial round of funding of $349 billion for the PPP and $10 billion for the EIDL program. Unfortunately, the initial funding for both programs was exhausted in 2 weeks. Many small business owners have reached out to us concerned that they lost the ability to participate in these programs. However, we are happy to report that, last night, the House passed H.R. 266, The Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. President Trump signed this new bill this morning. It provides for additional PPP funding of $310 billion and additional EIDL program funding of $60 billion ($50 billion for disaster loans including EIDL loans and $10 billion for grants). As many applications were “in the pipeline” when the initial funding for these programs was exhausted, it is expected many of those pending applications will be processed first, and it is therefore imperative if you have not applied for these programs that you move quickly if you want to take advantage of these SBA COVID-19 related loan programs. We can help. For more information, please click here to contact us and speak with one of our attorneys.