The Government Shutdown and You - PPA Today
The Government Shutdown and You
Maria Matthews drops in from PPA's Copyright & Government Affairs Department to fill you in and the Government Shutdown as it applies to professional photographers.
It's been just about one week since many federal departments and agencies closed their doors due to lack of funding. As processes slow, or have already come to a complete standstill, more and more businesses are feeling the effects. As a photographer and small business owner here's what a shutdown means to you.
The U.S. Copyright Office remains closed. The Public Information Office and the Technical Support Desk of the Copyright Office are not being staffed and access to some sections of www.copyright.gov has been limited.
You can still file copyright registrations online using the eCO however; your application will not be processed until the office reopens. Filing your claim now will help ensure the earliest possible effective date of registration so don't delay in ensuring your works are eligible for the fullest protections available under the law.
The Office's closing does not mean any loss of copyright ownership. You should however continue to ensure you are properly marking your work and arranging licensing agreements whenever you allow someone to make use of your images.
Need a passport for an upcoming assignment? As of October 7, the U.S. Passport Office is open and will continue to issue passports. While operational, you may experience a delay in processing. The office estimates a four week turnaround time on "routine" service and two weeks for "expedited" service.
If you've already applied for your passport and have not yet received it you can visit: http://travel.state.gov/passport/status/status_2567.html to find out its status. If you've not yet applied, visit the passport office website to find out if the nearest passport office to you is open.
If you're looking for information about your destination you can continue to visit the International Travel page for up to date information about entry and exit requirements as well as any special travel alerts.
As most government offices were ramping down on October 1, the health insurance marketplaces were just revving up their engines. You can visit www.healthcare.gov to find out how you can purchase health coverage that will take effect January 1, 2014. If you're in a state that operates its own exchange you can access it through this site as well. If your state is not managing its own exchange you can purchase through the "federal exchange" operating in your state. It is important to note that these sites are experiencing heavy volume so you're likely to encounter delays and other hiccups in navigating their pages.
For additional information on how the new healthcare laws apply to you, watch the Health Insurance Reform webinar series presented by Ross Pallay of Pally Insurance Agency.
National Parks and Other Federal Property
Land operated by the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture have been closed. These sites include properties managed by the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forrest Service. This shutdown has also extended to their respective websites.
This means that even if you or your client has obtained a permit for a session on this property, you will not be allowed on park land. It is important to note that any permit or special use fees that have been paid to the location are non-refundable. Whether these permits will be honored for future dates remains to be seen.
If you have an upcoming session at one of these properties you will need to make alternate arrangements with your clients.
Small Business Administration
Yet another government agency affected by the shutdown is the Small Business Administration. The only services that continue to function under this arm of the government are Disaster Relief Services. If you have applied for a loan, grant, or any other assistance offered by this agency services have been suspended until they are fully funded.
PPA is closely watching all developments on Capitol Hill and will keep you informed as to how they impact you. As always, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Yes, you still have to file and pay your taxes even though the shutdown has affected the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Whether you filed an extension through October 15, 2013, or have to complete your quarterly filing responsibilities you, or your tax preparer must still meet this deadline.
General assistance through their automated service line is still available along with all of the resources at www.irs.gov. If you're planning on e-filing, your tax preparation software should have agents available to help you as you will not be able to reach staff at this agency. If you're planning to paper file, it's highly likely your return will not be processed until the IRS is fully funded. Other services that will see a delay are issuing refunds. For more information about day to day operations visit, their website.