In the wake of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID- 19) many businesses are facing significant economic losses. In an effort to mitigate the adverse financial impact, many local, state and federal programs and loans have become available to businesses. From loan programs to grant relief.
On March 18th the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. This law is in place to provide sick leave and free coronavirus testing expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits and requiring employers to provide additional protection for health care workers. On April 2nd this law goes into effect.
The bill also includes provisions that address the following:
- Establish a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak,
- Expand unemployment benefits and provide grants to states for processing and paying claims,
- require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees,
- establish requirements for providing coronavirus diagnostic testing at no cost to consumers,
- treat personal respiratory protective devices as covered countermeasures that are eligible for certain liability protections, and
- temporarily increase the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).- Congress.gov
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to designated stated and territories. Areas eligible include the following:
- District of Columbia
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Governor Ron DeSantis Activated the Emergency Bridge Loan Program for small businesses. Managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Financial Corporation. The application period is from March 17, 2020 and runs through May 8th, 2020.
This loan will apply to small business owners with two to 100 employees located in Florida affected by COVIC-19 who can then apply for a short-term loan up to $50,000. These loans are interest-free for up to one year. – Florida Disaster Loan
Short Time Compensation Program
The Department of Economic Opportunity is providing a program for employers and employees who are impacted by the Virus.
The Unemployment Compensation program for employees provides partial benefits to groups of employees working reduced hours. Employers may elect to participate in this program to retain valued employees by reducing hours for an entire group of employees instead of resorting to temporary layoffs.
The Florida Department of Revenue has provided access to a dedicated team to address tax-related issues pertaining to COVID-19 via email. COVID19TAXHELP@FloridaRevenue.com
Tax Day Now July 15
The U.S. government has also extended the tax-filing deadline from April 15th to July 15th allowing for three additional months to both file and pay taxes. The IRS says taking advantage of the extra 90 days will not incur interest or penalties.
The CARES Act
The new law called THE CARES ACT does just that. It allows you to RETAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES! It provides $350B in forgivable loans to business owners that maintain or rehire their employees. Your employees will not need to file for unemployment. From now through June 30th, 2020 the SBA will be giving loans to keep payrolls going, and those loans will be forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll. The basics:
• Contact your local bank.
• Sign an affidavit saying your business has been adversely affected.
• Your business must be less than 500 employees (for restaurants, less than 500 per location!).
• The total amount of the loan can be up to 2.5 times your monthly payroll.
• The Loan must be used for payroll, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest.
• The loan will be forgiven if it used for the above expenses (keep your records!).
• Any portion not used for the above will become a 10-year loan at no more than 4% interest.
To be ready, you will need your payroll data from February 1st-28th, 2019 and payroll tax filings.
SBA 7(a) Loan
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act expands the 7(a) loan and provides a “forgivable” program so long as the business meets the requirements of the loan, which include less than 500 employees, operational on Feb. 14.
The amount and periods, and partial forgiveness, will be determined on a case-by-case application basis, but the gist of this loan is that if it keeps all employees on payroll. There will be deferred interest for a year (then no greater than 4%), and some portion could be forgivable. The maximum term is 10 years, and there’s no prepayment penalty.
This is obviously still in development, and we’re getting more information by the minute, but it can be used to pay payroll, including paid sick or medical leave, mortgage, rent and utility payments, insurance premiums, and other debt obligations.
Certain borrowers are eligible for forgiveness for the amount spent in the 8 week period after origination on the following items: payroll costs, mortgage payments if mortgage incurred before February 15, rent payments on any lease if leased before February 15, and utilities if began service before February 15.
The amount forgiven would be ratcheted down in proportion to any reduction in employees compared to the prior year and in proportion to any reduction in pay to employees beyond 25% of the prior year’s compensation.
Apply through your normal banking contact – typically an SBA approved lender.
LISC Small Business Relief Grants
Thanks to a $1 million grant from Sam’s Club, LISC will provide emergency assistance that small businesses desperately need during the Covid-19 crisis. And it doesn’t stop there: Sam’s Club is mobilizing its members to support this effort as well. LISC will focus these efforts on historically underserved communities, with particular focus on those enterprises owned or led by women, minorities and veterans, which often lack access to affordable capital. Our goal is to help bridge financial gaps and navigate the intricate web of public and private resources now available.
Companies offering assistance
Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.
Google is offering small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) $340 Million in ad credits which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across Google platforms. The ad credits will be available for businesses that advertise directly with them or through partners and who have had active accounts since the beginning of 2019.