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Getting through the crisis as a small business

Helpful resources for dealing with the financial effects of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all, and it’s no secret that small businesses have been hit particularly hard. From restaurants to manufacturers, retail to real estate, none of us are operating in a world that’s anything like it was even two months ago.

In this rapidly changing environment, the federal government has passed emergency legislation to help small businesses surmount the economic effects of COVID-19. We’ve put together this topline guide to help you find agencies and programs ready to assist.

The Small Business Administration (SBA)  

The SBA has always been the small business backstop. Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocating billions to help businesses with fewer than 500 employees keep workers employed during the pandemic.

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides federally guaranteed loans to businesses that maintain their payrolls. 
  • A portion of these loans will be forgiven if companies keep their workers on the payroll for eight weeks and use the money for payroll, rent mortgage interest or utilities. 
  • Businesses not enrolled in PPP can still take advantage of tax-deferment and tax-credit programs created by the CARES Act.

Small businesses may also qualify for a federal disaster loan through the SBA, giving them access to as much as $2 million in capital. Small businesses can use these loans to pay bills that, due to the impact of COVID-19, couldn’t be paid otherwise. 

The Department of Labor

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA), passed at the beginning of April, mandates paid leave for workers in companies with fewer than 500 employees. 

  • FFRCA gives businesses tax credits to reimburse the cost of keeping their employees on the payroll.
  • These credits are applied against the employer portion of Social Security contributions.
  • In this way, the law helps employers keep workers on the payroll while ensuring that employees are not forced to choose between paychecks and health.

At the same time, the CARES Act allows states to offer Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to those who are suddenly unemployed—including “gig” workers, part-timers, and the self-employed. 

  • To qualify for PUA benefits, applicants must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits, and need must result from consequences of the pandemic. 
  • The PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits, which are available retroactively.
  • Further, the new law provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular unemployment compensation.
  • The CARES Act also allows states to extend unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks after the initial 39-week period.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • The IRS will soon be sending one-time economic impact payments to workers and families across the nation. 
  • The IRS has extended the federal tax filing deadline, moving it from April 15 until July 15.

Check the website for any additional pandemic-related changes.

These are trying times, but they will not last forever. It is important to stay up to date on information, assistance and financing that helps throughout the crisis and beyond.

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