The biggest provision for small business owners in the economic aid package is roughly $350 billion in new loans, at least a portion of which will be forgiven so long as the business continues to employ and pay its workers.
Business owners need to apply for the loans at a lender approved by the Small Business Administration. The forgiven amount would be equal to 8 weeks’ worth of payroll obligations (e.g., wages and benefits), plus rent or mortgage bills and utilities. And the forgiven debt would not be treated as taxable income to the owner.
An emergency grant of up to $10,000: Small businesses may apply directly to the federal Small Business Administration to receive an economic injury disaster grant of up to $10,000 that does not need to be paid back. The money would be paid out to business owners within three days of their application’s submission. It can be used to maintain payroll, cover paid sick leave and service other debt obligations.
Short-term forgiveness on new loans of up to $10 million: The bill allots $350 billion for special SBA loans that may be partially forgiven if certain conditions are met.
“Think of this as a grant that can be part of a bigger loan,” Jaret Seiberg, managing director of financial services at the Cowen Washington Research Group, wrote in his analysis.
SBA lenders will be authorized to make loans equal to 250% of an employer’s average monthly payroll up to $10 million.
Under that loan, eight weeks’ worth of payroll obligations (including wages and benefits), plus rent or mortgage payments and utilities will be forgiven, and the amount forgiven would not be treated as taxable income to the small business owner.
The new loans will be available through 800 SBA-approved banks, credit unions and other lenders. But the bill also calls on the SBA and Treasury to increase the number of lenders offering the new loans. And it calls on the agencies to expedite the loan process.
Lastly, owners who also take the $10,000 grant described above will see the amount of their loan forgiveness reduced by $10,000.
A payroll tax credit to help retain employees: Businesses that have experienced a 50% drop in gross receipts relative to the same quarter last year may qualify for a payroll tax credit worth up to $10,000 per employee so long as they are still paying their employees wages and/or health benefits.
Even businesses that have furloughed employees due to forced closures under state and local mandates may claim the credit as long as they are still paying their workers wages or health benefits on furlough.
The credit would reduce the small business’ payroll tax liability and the employer may get an advance on that credit from the IRS.
The credit would also be refundable, meaning it would still be paid in full even if it exceeds the business owner’s payroll tax liability.
But there is one caveat: small businesses that opt to claim this credit will not be allowed to apply for the new SBA forgivable loans.
Other individual provisions: Small business owners, particularly self-employed independent contractors, may qualify for one or more of the provisions in the bill designed to help workers through direct cash payments and temporarily enhanced unemployment benefits.
Unemployment – there is a long wait time for calls to the Unemployment Office, please try to do as much as you can online.
If you have lost your job or been laid off, file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. If you are not eligible for UI benefits, the business owner and/or employee may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA is a federal program that provides temporary payments to people in a federally declared disaster area whose employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of the disaster. Business owners that are self-employed, farmers, or commercial fishermen, who are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster may be eligible.
How do I apply for DUA? – What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)?
You can file online. Once you have created an online account, file for unemployment and choose the appropriate reason for losing your job. If you have difficulty filing online, you may contact the DUA Hotline at 1-866-795-8877
Employee Call Center 866-278-3822
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response in North Carolina https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina
United Way Worldwide has announced that it has established the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund to support affected communities and help the most vulnerable populations receive critical financial and social service support during the global crisis.