On July 7, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service published a series of Frequently Asked Questions that address the taxation of payments to health care providers under the HHS Provider Relief Fund.
As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Congress appropriated $100 billion to reimburse eligible health care providers for health care-related expenses and/or lost revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act appropriated an additional $75 billion to the Provider Relief Fund.
The first FAQ addressed the issue of taxation for for-profit health care providers. Specifically, the IRS was asked whether a for-profit health care provider is required to include HHS Provider Relief Fund payments in its calculation of “gross income” under Section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), or whether such payments were excluded from gross income as “qualified disaster relief payments” under Section 139 of the Code.
The IRS indicated that payment from the Provider Relief Fund do not qualify as qualified disaster relief payments under Section 139 of the Code. As a result, these payments are includible in the gross income of the entity. The IRS further indicated that this holds true even for businesses organized as sole proprietorships.
The second FAQ addressed the issue of taxation for tax-exempt organizations. The IRS indicated that health care providers that are exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(a) would normally not be subject to tax on payments from the Provider Relief Fund. Notwithstanding this general rule, the IRS indicated that the payment may be subject to tax under Section 511 of the Code to the extent the payment is used to reimburse the provider for expenses or lost revenue attributable to an unrelated trade or business as defined in Section 513 of the Code.
The IRS FAQ can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here. Members are advised to discuss the issue of potential taxation of any relief funding they received with their tax professionals.