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*Please note that the information below is not, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. We encourage you to consult with your attorney, financial institution, or accountant.
CLICK HERE for "A Guide to the CARES Act: Self-Employed and Independent Contractors"
1) Paycheck Protection Program
The CARES Act created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which can provide small businesses, private nonprofits, veteran organizations, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and more with the funds necessary to sustain their operations and keep their workers employed.
Assistance will come in the form of loans that can be forgiven; forgiveness will be based on the borrower using the funds appropriately and maintaining or quickly rehiring employees while also maintaining wage/salary levels.
These loans can be accessed through SBA approved lenders. To find an SBA approved local lender, click here. It is our understanding that the following member banks and credit unions are SBA participating lenders:
- Adirondack Bank
- Adirondack Regional Federal Credit Union
- Champlain National
- Community Bank NA
- Dannemora Federal Credit Union
- Glens Falls National Bank
- Peru Federal Credit Union
- TD Bank
- SeaComm Federal Credit Union
For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.
May 6th, 2020 Update:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that as of Tuesday, May 5th, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) still had nearly $130 billion remaining in available funding. The SBA is encouraging all eligible businesses who are interested in applying to do so as soon as possible.
The SBA and Treasury have also made a number of updates to their “Frequently Asked Questions for Lenders and Borrowers” document. We encourage you to read this FAQ and check it frequently as it updated daily.
Lastly, we know many of you have inquired about specifics on how PPP loans will qualify for forgiveness and how those calculations will be made. The official guidance from the SBA and Treasury regarding PPP loan forgiveness procedures has not yet been released. As soon as this guidance is published, we will distribute it promptly via our Daily Dose E-Newsletter and our website.
2) SBA Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Enhancements and Emergency EIDL Grants
The CARES Act expands access to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, while also giving SBA more flexibility to disperse small dollar loans.
Emergency Cash Advance:
- The CARES Act allows for entities that are eligible to apply for EIDL to request an advance in the form of an emergency grant of up to $10,000 for the purpose of maintaining payroll, providing paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations. Applicants will not be required to repay emergency grant – even if they are ultimately denied the EIDL.
- The SBA has determined that the amount of the EIDL cash advance/emergency grant will be determined by number of employees. Eligible applicants may receive up to $1,000 per employee; self-employed individuals and independent contractors can count themselves as a single employee.
NOTE: Can a business get an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection Program loan? Yes, small businesses can get both an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection Program loan as long as they don’t pay for the same expenses. However, be sure to check with your financial institution, financial advisor, or lender before taking both types of loans if you are not sure of the specifics.
May 4th, 2020 Update:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application portal had temporarily re-opened to allow all previously ineligible agricultural businesses to apply for the EIDL and EIDL Advance programs.
The re-opening of the portal to eligible agricultural businesses is a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act.
Eligible agricultural businesses are now defined as those businesses with 500 or fewer employees engaged in the legal production of food or fiber, ranching, raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other forms of farming.
Non-agricultural businesses may not apply, except for any businesses that had completed an EIDL application prior to March 29th, received a confirmation # starting with a “2”, and has not yet had the opportunity to submit the additional information required through the new streamlined portal.
Agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the portal prior to the legislative change will not need to reapply. The SBA will move forward and process these applications on a first-in, first-out basis.
All other EIDL loan applications from all other business types that were submitted before the portal was closed due to a lack of funding on April 15th will continue to be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.
3) Small Business Debt Relief
The CARES Act requires the SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loans currently including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and microloan loans for six (6) months.
For more information, click here.
4) Tax Credits for Businesses
The CARES Act creates a 50% refundable payroll tax credit during COVID-19 crisis for businesses that either fully or partially shut down OR have a 50% decrease in receipts versus the same quarter in the previous year and continue to pay employees.
- This refundable payroll tax credit will be based on qualified wages paid to employees during crisis, tied to number of employees.
- Covers up to $10,000 paid per employee, including benefits, for the period 3/13/20-12/31/20.
In addition, under the CARES Act:
Businesses and self-employed individuals can delay their payroll tax payments. These payments, the employer share of Social Security tax owed for 2020, can instead be deferred and paid over the next two years. Fifty percent must be paid by the end of 2021 and 50% must be paid by the end of 2022.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The ability to defer these taxes does not apply to a business that has a Paycheck Protection loan forgiven.
Net operating losses (NOLs) arising in FY’s ’18, ’19, and ’20 can be carried back 5 years.
Alternative Minimum Tax Credits that were available as refundable credits through 2021 can be claimed as a refund now.
Businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry, will be able to immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities, increasing cash flow.
The government will make a temporary exception from the excise tax normally applied to alcohol, if that alcohol was used to produce hand sanitizer in 2020.
- Allowable deductible interest expenses are increased from 30% to 50% for 2019 and 2020.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of these changes will apply to small businesses all over the country, so it is vital to discuss with a tax professional which can apply to your business and/or situation.
5) Tools to help Workers and Small Businesses Understand the CARES Unemployment Benefits
The CARES Act has created a new program, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PAU) program for those not traditionally covered by unemployment insurance (UI), including the self-employed, independent contractors, or those with limited work history.
It also expands UI for workers affected by Coronavirus by providing an additional $600 per week for those in receipt of UI or the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs and provides an additional 13 weeks of UI after state UI expires.
The New York State Department of Labor has released three new informational documents to help
people understand the Unemployment Benefits authorized by the CARES Act. These benefits will, for the
first time, be available to people who are self-employed or independent contractors.
The documents include:
- A Flow Chart showing the actions that should be taken depending on the person’s situation - here
- A document that provides an overview of what benefits are available - here
- A checklist to help people determine if they are eligible for Unemployment Benefits - here
To apply for unemployment insurance in New York State, click here.
April 1st Update:
The NYS Department of Labor has released an updated FAQ sheet on the changes to NYS Unemployment Insurance and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The FAQ can be accessed here.
6) Cash Rebates
The CARES Act provides direct financial support to individuals and families through tax rebate checks. This payment includes all taxpayers with work-eligible SSN, including those with low or no income.
All U.S. residents with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of up to $75,000 (individuals) and $150,000 (couples) will receive a cash rebate of $1,200 (for individuals) or $2,400 (for couples). An additional $500 will be given for each child per household.
The amount will decrease by $5 with for every $100 over the threshold, with individuals with an AGI over $99,000 completely phased out, $146,000 for head of household with at least 1 child phased out, and $198,000 for couples phased out.
Payment eligibility will be determined by individuals 2018 tax returns, however, those who did not file a tax return will be able to receive a refund check if they file a return for the 2019 tax year.
Additionally, the IRS will use SSA-1099 information from the Social Security Administration to identify seniors and individuals with disabilities who are eligible but may not file taxes.
The payment will be distributed electronically to individuals who have an account authorized with the IRS on or after January 1, 2018 for the purpose of receiving tax refunds as a direct deposit, and by mail to all others.
The payments will not be counted as taxable income.
Most individuals will not need to complete any applications or take any action to receive this payment.
April 1st Update:
- The IRS has released additional guidance regarding the economic impact stimulus payments. Read it here.
April 17th Update:
- The IRS has launched a portal to be able to track your economic impact stimulus payment, you can access the portal here.
The IRS also released a FAQ on the payments.