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Defenders Q&A: Austin's anti-eviction ordinance, renewing a CHL and paper tax returns

If you have a question you'd like for KVUE to answer, text 512-459-9442.

AUSTIN, Texas — Many viewers have reached out to KVUE with questions regarding coronavirus, so our KVUE Defenders decided to take a look at some of them.

Here are the answers to some of your questions.

Question: With the supreme court order on evictions, is Austin's anti-eviction ordinance enforceable?

Answer: The Texas Supreme court had put a temporary hold on evictions during the pandemic, but eviction hearings can now be held as soon as May 19. Some renters are protected through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Safety Act through Aug. 23. Renters living in homes covered by federally backed mortgages are among those protected.

Question: I can't renew my CHL on the DPS website and can't get through on the phone. When will I be able to renew my CHL?


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Answer: The Texas Department of Public Safety said at this time, the license to carry (LTC) system is back up and running at full capacity with no known issues. DPS also said it did see a spike in calls and website traffic late last week, but its team is working hard to answer calls coming into the department, and calls are now being answered within the normal parameters for wait times.

Question: When are paper tax returns going to be processed by the IRS?

Answer: The IRS is not currently able to process paper tax returns as its offices remain closed. Paper tax returns received so far are being held in storage and key staff who process them have not been called back to work yet. The IRS encourages taxpayers to use electronic options to speed up the processing of tax returns, refunds and payments.

Question: What are the requirements for restaurant cooks in Texas? Must they wear masks or take any other precautions?

Answer: There are certain safety protocols restaurant employees have to follow under the governor's orders. Those include a screening prior to their shift, practicing social distancing, washing their hands between interactions and wearing a face mask if available.

Question: Is COVID-19 spreadable by mosquito bites?

Answer: The World Health Organization said there's no evidence of that. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus transmitted primarily through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneeze or through saliva or discharge from the nose. So, to protect yourself and your loved ones, avoid those who are sick and wash your hands frequently.

Question: Is the "added" $600 stimulus to unemployment benefits taxable income?

Answer: The Texas Workforce Commission said unemployment benefits are taxable income, so you do have to report all unemployment benefits you receive to the IRS on your federal tax return. You can sign up to have your taxes withheld and Texas Workforce Commission will deduct 10%, but doing so is voluntary and the amount will be taken out before the payment is sent to you.

If you have a question you'd like for KVUE to answer, text us at 512-459-9442.

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