President Donald Trump signed the final version of the economic stimulus package on March 27. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides financial assistance to individuals and businesses and contains a number of provisions which are aimed at granting temporary relief. The Better Business Bureau provides information on the following programs available for businesses who may be struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.
Applications should be available soon. However, until the applications are available, it would be wise to begin gathering information on your company’s previous 12 months of payroll, utilities, rent, etc. You will need this information to apply for these programs once the forms and process are in place.
About the Paycheck Protection Program:
Section 7(a) of the CARES Act provides loans for businesses through the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during coronavirus can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance. The following are some of the highlights:
— Small businesses and 501 (c) (3) organizations with fewer than 500 employees, select businesses with fewer than 1,500 employees, some 501 (c) (9) veteran organizations, self-employed, sole proprietors, freelance and gig economy workers are eligible to apply.
— Any pre-existing economic injury disaster loans borrowed between Jan. 31 and the passing of the CARES Act may be refinanced under the new plan.
— The loan cannot exceed the sum of 2.5 times the average monthly payroll cost during the year prior to the loan plus any pre-existing economic injury disaster loans from 2020.
— The loan must be capped at $10 million and have an interest rate no greater than 4 percent.
— Collateral and personal guarantees are not required.
— To be eligible, the borrower must have been in operation on Feb. 15 and have paid employee salaries and payroll taxes.
— These loans could be eligible for forgiveness, provided organizations use the loans to cover payroll, health care costs, rent and utility payments, mortgage interest. Any amount not forgiven will have a maximum maturity date of 10 years from the date the borrower applied for loan forgiveness.
LOAN, EMERGENCY GRANT
If your business needs cash right away, once you have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Grant, you can request an emergency advance of up to $10,000. This is available to small businesses and private nonprofits to small businesses and private nonprofits and should be available within 3 days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you must first apply for the loan and then request the advance.
EXPRESS BRIDGE LOANS
This is a pilot program that allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender up to $25,000. This loan can help a small business overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing while waiting for funds from an EIDL.
Small Business Debt Relief Loans
These loans are available to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest and fees for six months.
PAYROLL TAX CREDIT
The Employee Retention Credit is a credit against an employer’s portion of payroll tax for an eligible business that is forced to suspend or close operations due to COVID-19, or otherwise has a significant revenue decrease, and continues to pay its employees while not currently working.
— May receive a payroll tax credit of up to $5,000 for each employee on the payroll and must either have business operations fully or partially suspended during the calendar quarter because of orders from a government authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19; or have a reduction in revenue of at least 50 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019.
— The organization’s entire operations are considered when determining the decline in revenues.
— 501 (c) (3) organizations receiving emergency SBA Paycheck Protection Program 7(a) loans are not eligible for these payroll tax credits.
COMMUNITY RELIEF FUND
In an effort to help businesses who are struggling through this crisis and for ones they may face in the future, the Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas has launched the BBB Community Relief Fund for BBB Accredited Businesses. East Texas residents are encouraged to help ensure businesses in our communities thrive by helping with business expenses which are not forgiven by EIDLs. For more information, please contact BBB at Relief@easttexas.bbb.org.