March 21, 2020
Re: COVID-19 Update
Dear VRS Client,
We are entering uncharted territory with the COVID-19 pandemic, and VRS is closely monitoring all developments to both protect our clients and staff AND provide you with developments that will affect your business and/or tax return. Please recognize that the situation and laws are changing by the hour, so this letter is only meant to cover the situation as we know it as of the moment we are typing. You are encouraged to contact your VRS team members to discuss your current situation as things progress, as future developments may override the contents of this letter.
What is VRS doing?
• Effective immediately through December 31, 2020, VRS is turning off all finance charges for our clients. We value our relationship with you and do not want you to stress over immediate payment in order to avoid finance charges if you are facing financial difficulties. If payment cannot be made within a reasonable amount of time, we simply ask that you communicate a plan with our Firm Administrator, Beth Henricks.
• As of today, we have no plans to close our office. However, we are implementing social distancing by asking all clients to use one of the following means of getting us information:
- Our Watertown office:
- The secure drop box located on the east side of our building,
- Mail to P.O. Box 1267, Watertown, SD 57201, or
- Use our VRS Secure Online Portal (call 605-886-8425 and speak with Briana Davis or Whitney Zielske for more information if you are interested and do not currently have a portal).
- Our Brookings office
- The secure drop box located just outside the front entrance
- Mail to 726 22nd Ave S, Brookings, SD 57006, or
- Use our VRS Secure Online Portal
• If you must meet with one of our staff in person, and that staff member has agreed to meet in person, then we simply ask that you cancel your appointment if you or someone in your household has been sick recently.
• In the event that we are forced to close at some point in the future, we have plans in place to keep all essential staff working from home – so all of your needs will continue to be met. However, such an event would absolutely require electronic communication and use of the VRS Secure Online Portal system.
• Unfortunately, we are needing to prioritize our workloads in a completely different manner than in the past. Historically we finished returns in the order we received them; but COVID-19 has brought about a new prioritization scheme:
- First, we are committed to consulting with our business clients regarding how the recent legislation will affect them. Businesses are being given new mandates for paid leave, and some businesses have already been forced to close. You will be getting more detailed information from VRS in a separate communication.
- Second, we need to file tax returns for any business clients that have bank financing requiring tax returns before loan renewals will get approved. These businesses rely upon bank renewals in order to keep their doors open, especially in hard economic times, so we are committed to getting these returns done as quickly as possible.
- Third, we want to file as many returns for refunds as possible in the coming weeks to get money to our clients that may be facing a shortage of cash as the economy slows down and businesses close.
- Finally, we will work on tax returns with money due. This is last NOT because these clients are not important to us, but because the IRS has extended the filing AND payment deadline to July 15, 2020. So while these clients are still important to VRS, clients with the above situations need to take priority.
Please understand that VRS values all of our clients, and we have a team of 30 people working diligently to take care of all of our clients’ needs. However, these uncertain times are requiring us to shift our focus temporarily for the greater good of all. We humbly ask for your patience and understanding as we work through this tax season and all of the new legislation concerning COVID-19.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the contents of this letter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Very Truly Yours,
Certified Public Accountants & Consultants