Despite delays, federal tax breaks and subsidies remain lifelines for orchestras and others during pandemic

Posted on: March 31, 2022

“Employers are waiting as much as six to 10 months for the Internal Revenue Service to process claims for a popular wage subsidy that was designed to keep workers on payrolls during the Covid-19 pandemic,” write Richard Rubin and Ruth Simon in Tuesday’s (3/26) Wall Street Journal (subscription required). “IRS delays and federal policy changes are causing the waits, forcing employers trying to claim the employee-retention tax credit to dig deeper into reserves and slowing their recovery…. Employee-retention tax credits were among a series of policies Congress passed in 2020 and 2021 to help businesses and workers…. IRS officials have said they are working … as quickly as possible…. The North Carolina Symphony now probably won’t get the $539,000 it had expected [for the 2021 fourth] quarter. Still, the group has received about $2 million from the employee tax credit and $5 million in other federal assistance. Those infusions helped fill an $11 million drop in operating income and let the orchestra keep musicians on the payroll and begin reversing pay cuts, said Rob Schiller, the symphony’s senior vice president and chief financial officer. ‘We’re grateful … for every penny,’ he said. ‘They’ve really helped save the industry.’ “