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Wolf Administration Provides Relief for Taxpayers Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

Press Release

Wolf Administration Provides Relief for Taxpayers Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

April 15, 2020

April 15, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf announced today the Department of Revenue is providing relief to Pennsylvanians and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The department is offering taxpayers increased flexibility, additional time to meet their tax obligations, and a pause on several of its standard enforcement actions.

“As we all work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s critical for us to take action that will provide immediate relief for Pennsylvanians and our businesses,” Governor Wolf said. “In addition to extending tax filing and payment deadlines, we are giving taxpayers more time and flexibility in other areas so that they can concentrate on their well-being. This is a needed step that will help everyone during this uncertain time.”

This temporary relief for taxpayers will remain in effect through at least July 15, 2020. Details on the specific relief can be found on the Department of Revenue’s website under its COVID-19 information page.

“While people focus on their health and keeping themselves and their families safe during the pandemic, our goal is to ease the burden for our customers and help everyone move forward,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “We want to help people and businesses make it through this challenging situation.”

The Department of Revenue will:

  • Pause payments for existing payment plans upon requests from taxpayers.
  • Provide flexible terms for new payment plans.
  • Work to boost customer service for taxpayers impacted by the pandemic.
  • Suspend or reduce automatic enforcement actions regarding liens, wage garnishments, bank attachments, license inspections, requirements for tax clearances and use of private collection agencies.
  • Suspend the creation of new desk reviews and field audits in most cases.
  • Suspend in-person meetings with taxpayers in most cases.
  • Broaden audit penalty abatement and interest relief.
  • Continue to administer tax credit and incentive programs.
  • Abate penalties in most cases if taxpayers have remitted trust fund taxes they collected.

Taxpayer Service and Assistance

In addition to the relief announced today, the Department of Revenue also has:

With the department’s call centers closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, taxpayers seeking assistance are encouraged to use the department’s Online Customer Service Center, available at revenue-pa.custhelp.com. You can use this resource to electronically submit a question to a department representative. The department representative will be able to respond through a secure, electronic process that is similar to receiving an email. Additionally, the Online Customer Service Center includes thousands of answers to common tax-related questions.

Find Alerts from Revenue Online

Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to visit the Department of Revenue’s COVID-19 information page on www.revenue.pa.gov for additional guidance and updates on department operations. You can also visit the department’s pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for real time updates.

Visit the commonwealth’s Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to visit the Department of Revenue’s COVID-19 information page on www.revenue.pa.gov for additional guidance and updates on department operations. You can also visit the department’s pages on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for real time updates.

Visit the commonwealth’s Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Dept. of Aging: Essential Court Functions and Legal Assistance Are Available

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2020

Dept. of Aging: Essential Court Functions and Legal Assistance Are Available


Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvanians follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 emergency, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Office of Elder Justice in the Courts remind older adults and their families that essential court functions and legal assistance remain available.

“The Wolf administration is committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens in every aspect of their lives during this outbreak,” said Aging Secretary Robert Torres. “Situations requiring immediate legal protections don’t stop during this crisis. The courts and legal advocates for older adults are available to provide essential services and assistance.”

“The Pennsylvania Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Office of Elder Justice in the Courts are committed to the protection of older Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd. “During these uncertain times, we want all older Pennsylvanians to know that the courts in Pennsylvania remain available for emergencies to ensure you are protected.”

While courts have generally been ordered closed to the public through April 30, there are essential court functions that are still being conducted. These essential functions include:
• Temporary protection from abuse actions;
• Civil mental health reviews;
• Guardianship defense and representation;
• Any pleadings or motions relating to public health concerns and involving immediate and irreparable harm;
• Emergency petitions related to protection of abused or neglected children; and
• Any other function deemed by a president judge to be essential and consistent with constitutional requirements.
Senior-serving organizations available to help with legal assistance during this crisis include:
• Pennsylvania SeniorLAW HelpLine: 877-PA SR LAW (877-727-7529 )
• Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE): 800-356-3606
• PA Pennsylvania Law Help: Help Line 800-274-3258 or www.palawhelp.org
Two essential functions of the Department of Aging are advocating for the rights of older adults and protecting them from abuse, neglect, exploitation and/or abandonment. Anyone suspecting elder abuse can contact their local Area Agency on Aging or call the statewide Elder Abuse Reporting Hotline at 1-800-490-8505 which is operational 24/7, 365 days per year.
Visit the PA Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. Information about the statewide court response to COVID-19 is available here.

Learn more about the various programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging at www.aging.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Karen Gray, Aging: 717-705-3702 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Stacey Witalec, AOPC: 717-877-2997 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Governor Wolf Extends School Closure for Remainder of Academic Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2020
View Online


Governor Wolf Extends School Closure for Remainder of Academic Year


Secretary of Education Implements State-Level Waivers to Ensure Continuity and Flexibility
Governor shares video message to students, parents and educators
Harrisburg, PA – Continuing his efforts to protect the health and safety of students and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. The governor made the decision in consultation with Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. Students and families can continue to pick up meals at designated sites.
Although schools are closed, teaching and learning may continue: schools are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible. PDE has secured resources intended to help all schools that want to use them – including those not currently offering online platforms, those requiring additional technology support, and those that may rely on traditional methods, such as paper lessons, to continue educating students. There is no cost to schools or students for these resources.
“We must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus during this national crisis,” Governor Wolf said. “This was not an easy decision but closing schools until the end of the academic year is in the best interest of our students, school employees and families.”
Secretary Rivera said the administration’s primary consideration has always been to make the best decision in the context of student and community health and safety.
“While the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation efforts have created uncertainty in our schools and communities, today’s action to close schools for the remainder of the academic year provides school communities with predictability and understanding of the conditions under which they’ll be operating and serving students,” Rivera said. “As schools and communities adapt to the prolonged school closure, PDE will continue to work with our state, educational, and business and nonprofit partners to meet the needs of students.”
Today’s decision applies to all public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers and intermediate units. All Department of Education early learning program classrooms, including those for Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) and Preschool Early Intervention, will also remain closed.
Colleges and universities may not resume in-person instruction or reopen their physical locations until the governor permits them to open or lifts the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses.
Schools will remain closed though the end of the 2019-2020 academic year as it is defined by the local school calendar.
Under the state’s directive, schools could begin summer programming on the day after their academic year ends.
Secretary Rivera added that all re-openings will be contingent on public health guidance provided by the Secretary of Health and stay-at-home orders issued by the governor.
In addition to the school closure announcement, through his order Secretary Rivera also took action that will ensure crucial stability of education programs. Under Act 13 of 2020, the secretary has exercised his executive authority to adjust requirements for the evaluation of professional employees and waive student teaching requirements that may not be possible in the context of school closures.
“By taking these actions, the department is providing flexibility in the near term, while signaling that core functions of public education can and will continue,” he said.
The department has been providing ongoing guidance to school communities in the form of FAQs. The guidance information is available at education.pa.gov/COVID19.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndsay Kensinger, Governor’s Office, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Eric Levis, PDE, 717-783-9802, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Scam Warning: Fraudsters Using New Tactics to Steal Personal Data During COVID-19 Pandemic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2020
Scam Warning: Fraudsters Using New Tactics to Steal Personal Data During COVID-19 Pandemic


Harrisburg, PA — Pennsylvanians should take steps to protect themselves from phishing scams that are targeting people who are expecting a stimulus payment from the federal government following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Department of Revenue and Department of Banking and Securities announced today.
“As we all work together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, this unprecedented situation has created new opportunities for criminals to target Pennsylvanians, including those who are vulnerable or struggling,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “We want to remind everyone that they should not provide their direct deposit or other banking information to anyone who contacts them on the phone, through email or text messages, or on social media.”
The stimulus payments, otherwise known as economic impact payments, are being distributed by the federal government as part of the federal economic stimulus legislation that was signed into law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the IRS, in most cases the payments will be directly deposited into the bank accounts that taxpayers previously listed on their federal tax returns.
However, the IRS has reported seeing a surge of scam artists perpetrating phishing schemes where they pose as government officials to trick people into turning over their banking information. Doing so may allow a criminal to steal your identity, file a fraudulent tax return in your name or use your personal data for other illicit purposes.
“If you have received an unsolicited email or phone call asking for your personal or financial information, the safest response is to delete the email or hang up the phone,” advised Acting Secretary of Banking and Securities Richard Vague. “Consumers must remain vigilant about protecting their finances, especially if they are being pressured to act quickly.”
How to Recognize the Scam
According to the IRS, some of the electronic messages associated with these phishing scams say, “In order to receive your stimulus check via direct deposit, you will need to confirm your banking information.” These messages are targeting not only individual citizens, but also tax professionals.
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to remember several warning signs from the IRS, which says scammers may:
• Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment.
• Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
• Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
• Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
• Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
Tips to Avoid Scams
• Look for imposters: Many times, criminals will pose as a government entity or an official business. If you are targeted by a scam artist through the mail, phone or email, do not provide personal information or money until you are sure you are speaking to a legitimate representative.
• Approach unusual attachments and links with caution: Links to a website or attachments to an email could be infected with malware that download malicious software. Spyware can track the recipient’s keystrokes to obtain passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information.
• Conduct research online: Using information included in a potentially fraudulent notice or communication, such as email address domain name, company name, address or telephone number, conduct a search online to see if a scam has been reported by other people or government agencies.
Tips to Remember About Stimulus Payments
The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS announced the stimulus payments will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Read the IRS press release, Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know, for further information. The IRS also said it would post additional information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as it becomes available.
Steps to Follow if You Are a Victim of a Scam
The Department of Revenue reminds taxpayers that it has a Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit dedicated to assisting victims of identity theft and combating tax refund fraud.
If you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
For more information on ways to protect yourself, visit Revenue's Identity Theft Victim Assistance webpage. You can also find further information about protecting yourself online at PA.gov/Cybersecurity.
Find more information on COVID-19-related financial scams. Anyone can contact the Department of Banking and Securities at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-600-0007 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products. If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, contact local law enforcement through a non-emergency number.
Visit the commonwealth's Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jeffrey Johnson, Revenue, 717-787-6960, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Virginia Lucy, DoBS, 717-214-6036, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Gov. Wolf: Support & Referral Helpline Created for Pennsylvanians in Need of Behavioral Health Resources and Referrals During COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2020


Gov. Wolf: Support & Referral Helpline Created for Pennsylvanians in Need of Behavioral Health Resources and Referrals During COVID-19 Public Health Crisis


Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced the launch of a statewide Support & Referral Helpline staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers who will be available 24/7 to counsel Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency and refer them to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs.
“Pennsylvanians will overcome this crisis together by following the guidance of public-health professionals who advise social-distancing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but physical isolation does not mean social isolation,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “We must support people where they are during this time of crisis.”
The toll-free, round-the-clock support line is officially operational today, Thursday, April 2. The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.
To create and staff the support line, DHS has partnered with the Center for Community Resources (CCR), an experienced regional crisis and call center provider based in Butler County and licensed to provide crisis services.
CCR staff are trained to be accessible, culturally competent, and skilled at assisting individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, co-occurring disorders and other special needs. Staff use the principles of trauma-informed care to listen, assess needs, triage calls, and provide appropriate referral to community resources to children, teens, adults and special populations.
CCR will collaborate with individuals, families, police, emergency medical teams, hospitals, schools, and human service providers on the local level to provide quality care to their community members.
“We recognize the significant strain this crisis is putting on families across Pennsylvania, and we want you to know that you do not have to struggle alone. If you need help, reach out,” said Secretary Miller. “The compassionate caseworkers staffing the Support & Referral Helpline will be there to answer your call and be a line of support during this difficult time.”
Many other resources also remain available to Pennsylvanians in need of support, including:
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
• Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
• Safe2Say: 1-844-723-2729 or www.safe2saypa.org
• Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
• Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
Visit the PA Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
Additional resources for citizens and DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.
A media call will begin at 1:00 p.m. Members of the media who are interested may contact Brandon Cwalina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for call-in information.

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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