PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

COVID-19 Small Business Resources: Navigating the Coronavirus Economy (Updated October 13)

By at 13 October, 2020, 6:46 pm

UPDATED October 13, 2020

By Karen Kerrigan-

The effects of the COVID-19 have hit small businesses very hard. Of course, many governments continue to place restrictions on business activity and public mobility. Sluggish demand continues to impact revenues, which is taking a toll on jobs and business viability. Let’s hope that mitigation strategies and state-based phased “re-openings” will allow our nation to get back to business.

This page, updated frequently, includes resources and important information from key government agencies (like the Center for Disease Control – CDC, SBA, IRS/U.S. Treasury, DOL and EEOC), and details about the CARES Act.

Uncertainty continues to persist about how long economic activity will be restricted (as this varies by state), but we know small business owners and their employees are resilient and innovative.

Business owners can play a key role in building confidence and promoting safety by communicating with employees and customers about what they are doing to ensure products and services are being delivered in clean and hygienic manner, and what owners are doing in their own “small” way to mitigate the virus’s spread and keep workers healthy and safe. The cumulative actions of millions of small businesses can have a massive impact on helping to stop or spread COVID-19 infections, and in re-building consumer confidence. Those actions will also play a critical role in building confidence among public officials as the economy continues to open on an incremental and state-by-state basis.

Feel free to share resources, articles of interest, or tips that we can include on this page. Please send them to info@sbecouncil.org.

NEW on October 13, 2020: Clarification on Deadline for PPP Loan Forgiveness

On October 13, the U.S. Treasury updated the FAQs regarding PPP Loan Forgiveness. Of note, question number 4 addresses the expiration date of 10/31/2020 in the upper right corner of PPP loan forgiveness application forms. October 31, 2020, is NOT the deadline to apply for PPP loan forgiveness, and you can read the updated FAQs and more information on this specific topic here.

NEW on October 9, 2020: Simplified Loan Forgiveness

SBA And Treasury Announce Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans $50k and Under

On October 8, a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less was released. There are approximately 3.75 million loans of under $50,000 or less (these loans total $62 billion of the $525 billion on PPP loans issued to date.)

Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.

Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.

Click here to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.

NEW on October 8, 2020: PPP FAQ Update

On October 7, 2020 the SBA updated its PPP Frequently Asked Questions. Of note, question #52 refers to the extended deferral period for borrower payments of principal, interest, and fees on all PPP loans as provided for in the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act of 2020.

UPDATE: The Paycheck Protection Program Closed on August 8, 2020: SBA is no longer taking applications.

New on August 24, 2020

Interim Final RuleTreatment of Owners and Forgiveness of Certain Payroll Costs

New on August 11, 2020

FAQs for Lenders and Borrowers

Question #51 Added: Do payments required for the provision of group health care benefits, including insurance premiums, include vision and dental benefits? Answer: Yes

New on August 11, 2020

FAQs on Loan Forgiveness

PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.

● Loans issued prior to June 5 have a maturity of 2 years. Loans issued after June 5 have a maturity of 5 years.

● Loan payments will be deferred for six months.

● No collateral or personal guarantees are required.

● Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

UPDATE June 26, 2020

How to Calculate Loan Amounts

NEW on June 26: Calculating Maximum Loan Amounts

On June 26, the SBA released new guidance on “How to Calculate Maximum Loan Amounts – By Business Type,” which includes steps if you are self-employed with or without employees along with partnerships, along with S-corps, C-corps, nonprofits and more.

NEW on June 25: PPP FAQs Updated

On June 25, the SBA added Question 49 to PPP “Frequently Asked Questions,” which updates loan maturity to five years for loans taken out on or after June 5, 2020. In addition, FAQs #12 and #20 have been revised.

New on June 24: Criminal Justice Reform Eligibility Rule

On June 24, the SBA released an interim final rule related to PPP eligibility for individuals with a criminal record.

New on June 22: PPP Rule Changes Resulting from Passage of the PPP Flexibility Act

These additional rules released by the SBA address changes to PPP under the “Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act” that was passed by Congress and signed into law. This interim final rule revises interim final rules posted on SBA’s and the Department of the Treasury’s websites on May 22, 2020.

NEW on June 17: Revised PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and New EZ Version

SBA issued a revised Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020.  In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:

●  Are self-employed and have no employees; OR

●  Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR

●  Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers.  Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form. Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period.  These changes will result in a more efficient process and make it easier for businesses to realize full forgiveness of their PPP loan.

Click here to view the EZ Forgiveness Application.

Click here to view the Full Forgiveness Application.

NEW on June 15: EIDL Applications Portal Re-Opens for All Eligible Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it is re-opening its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible small businesses.

New on June 12: Revised PPP guidance resulting from passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020. The new guidance also expands eligibility for businesses with owners who have past felony convictions. SBA also issued revised PPP application forms to conform to these changes.  (SBA will issue additional guidance regarding loan forgiveness and a revised forgiveness application to implement the PPPFA in the near future.)

Click here to view the new Interim Final Rules.

Click here to view the new Borrower Application.

Click here to view the new Lender Application.

NEW on June 9: The Deadline for Applying for a PPP loan is June 30!

Following passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010), the SBA and U.S. Treasury confirmed that June 30 is the final day to apply for a PPP loan. In a June 8 statement, they also reviewed key changes to PPP on the “covered period,” the new 60-40 rule, a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees, and other changes made by the legislation.

Clarification on 5 year maturity with the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act:

Based on the enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, the maturity of all loans approved on or after June 5, 2020 will be for 5 years. The SBA E-Tran loan system has been updated to reflect that all loans will automatically reflect the 5 year maturity when submitted and approved. Loans approved and/or funded prior to June 5, 2020 with the 2 year maturity may be extended by the lender and borrower mutually agreeing to a 5 year maturity. Formal guidance on the changes to the CARES Act are forthcoming from SBA.

CARES Act Implementation: SBA’s “Paycheck Protection Program” 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed by President Trump on March 27.  (The full text of the legislation is here.)

See the SBA’s PPP page here, and the U.S. Treasury’s CARES Act page here.

New on May 22: Interim Final Rules on Loan Forgiveness

The rules cover what is forgivable under PPP, the forgiveness process, and other procedures in a Q&A format.

New on May 22: SBA Loan Review Procedures and Related Borrower and Lender Responsibilities.

The rules, provided in a Q&A format, cover additional procedures and criteria through which SBA will review whether an action by the borrower has resulted in its receipt of a PPP loan that did not meet program requirements.

New on May 19: Over the past week, the SBA updated its PPP FAQs document twice. Click here for the May 19 update of the document, which includes Q&A #48 relating to deadline information for lenders to complete SBA Form 1502. It also includes an update from the May 13 guidance (Q&A’s #46 and #47) that address a PPP borrower’s required good-faith certification concerning the necessity of their loan request, a safe-harbor from loans under $2 million, and the extension of full loan repayment from May 14 to May 18 in order for PPP recipients an opportunity to review and consider FAQ #46 regarding their certification.

New on May 15 – PPP LOAN FORGIVENESS Application: In the early evening of May 15, the Small Business Administration released the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application. It’s a little complex, and as loan recipients begin to review and absorb the content, please keep in mind that guidance will be forthcoming on the application. As noted by SBA in a news release announcing the application: “SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.” In other words, stay tuned.

The application includes: (1) the PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form; (2) PPP Schedule A; (3) the PPP Schedule A Worksheet; and (4) the (optional) PPP Borrower Demographic Information Form. All Borrowers must submit (1) and (2) to their Lender.

New on May 13: In the latest guidance, Questions 46 and 47 address a PPP borrower’s required good-faith certification concerning the necessity of their loan request, a safe-harbor for loans under $2 million, and the extension of full loan repayment from May 14 to May 18 in order for PPP recipients an opportunity to review and consider FAQ #46 regarding their certification.

New On May 6: On May 3 and May 6, additional Q&As were added to SBA/Treasury’s core guidance document, which brings the total number of questions and answers on PPP rules to forty-five.

Question #40 addresses efforts at employee retention and whether PPP loan forgiveness will be reduced “if the borrower laid off an employee, offered to rehire the same employee, but the employee declined the offer?”

The answer is “No,” and to qualify for the exception “the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire, and the employee’s rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower. Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of re-employment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation.”

Question #41 offers additional guidance for seasonal employers regarding calculation of maximum PPP loan amounts.

Question #43 reminds borrowers to carefully review the required certification on the application form, and the safe harbor for loan repayment.

Questions #45 answers the question: “Is an employer that repays its PPP loan by the safe harbor deadline (May 14, 2020) eligible for the Employee Retention Credit?” The answer is yes.

NEW on April 24: HOW TO CALCULATE MAXIMUM PPP LOAN AMOUNTS – New guidance from the SBA in consultation with U.S. Treasury (released on the evening of April 24) will, according to the document, “assist businesses in calculating their payroll costs for purposes of determining the amount of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan businesses can apply for.”

The guidance, formatted in a Q&A format, provides information and steps for a variety of small businesses including: self-employed with no employees; self-employed with employees; documentation  business owners will provided depending on how they report their income; how partnership should apply for PPP loans; how is the maximum PPP loan amount is calculated for S corporations and C corporations; how it is calculated for eligible nonprofit organizations, nonprofit religious institutions, veterans organizations, and tribal businesses; and what other documentation can be provided for the purpose of substantiating the applied-for PPP loan amount.

NEW on April 24: SBA updated their PPP Loan FAQ’s on April 24 (Q&A 31-35 added), which can be accessed here. This latest Q&A supercedes the Q&A documents of April 8 and April 13. 

New on April 14: Supplemental PPP Guidance (April 14): Additional Eligibility Criteria and Requirements, and Calculating Self-Employment Income

On April 14, the U.S. Treasury and Small Business Administration issued supplemental guidance on several issues, including clarification for the self-employed regarding the calculation of net income and payroll for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and related guidance on forgivable expenses. Access the guidance here.

ABOUT CARES ACT: Eligibility and “the rules.” For a top-line overview of the program provided by U.S. Treasury, please click CLICK HERE

SMALL BUSINESS BORROWERS: If you’re a borrower, more information from U.S. Treasury can be found HERE. This link is helpful in filling out your PPP application, determining eligibility, etc.

“Final” Guidance and Rules: As expected, U.S. Treasury released Interim “Final” Rules on the CARES Act “Paycheck Protection Program” (PPP).  SBE Council has reviewed the rules which can accessed here, and will have forthcoming comments and analysis on them.

Borrower Application: This is Final borrower form for PPP loans (which is submitted to a PPP participating lender participating).

Final Lender Application: Here is the final application form that lenders use for each borrower.

 

Webinar Rewind: What’s in the CARES Act?

The Small Business Roundtable and its members, including SBE Council, hosted a webinar on March 27 with the SBA, U.S. Senate staff and small business leaders (including SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan) who dissected parts of the CARES Act. More than 8,000 small businesses registered for the event, so we reached capacity! If you weren’t able to tune in here’s the recorded version, which is definitely worth listening to or watching.

 

UPDATED: SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

●  Eligible recipients include tribal businesses, cooperatives, and ESOPs with fewer than 500 employees or any individual operating as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor during the covered period (January 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020).

● Requires that for any SBA EIDL loans made in response to COVID-19 before December 31, 2020, the SBA shall waive any personal guarantee on advances and loans below $200,000, the requirement that an applicant needs to have been in business for the 1-year period before the disaster. The credit elsewhere requirement is also waived.

●  During the covered period, allows SBA to approve and offer EIDL loans based solely on an applicant’s credit score, or use an alternative appropriate alternative method for determining applicant’s ability to repay.

● These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

● Establishes an Emergency Grant to allow an eligible entity who has applied for an EIDL loan due to COVID-19 to request an advance on that loan, of not more than $10,000.

● SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

● Apply for a loan here.

● For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov(link sends e-mail).

 

 

Federal Government Guidance on COVID-19 Related Paid Leave and Tax Credits

SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan has reviewed guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) related to the temporary paid leave mandate and the tax credits provided by the “Phase II” Coronavirus response legislation.

In this blog post, she highlights key parts of the guidance. Links to the FULL guidance are provided. There is good news with regard to the tax credits, as well as a 30-day non-enforcement period, which is helpful given the fact that the “Phase III” coronavirus response package is expected to have measures to help small businesses with the costs of paid leave and perhaps additional authority provided to the Secretary of DOL to help small businesses with this new burden.

 

U.S. Treasury/IRS Guidance on April 15 Tax Deferral, and Filing Deadline Extension

On March 18, the Treasury Department provided further guidance on their work to allow taxpayers to defer tax payments due to the coronavirus.

●  Who qualifies? Any individual who owes less than $1 million or corporation that owes less than $10 million.

●  The relief will be automatically provided to taxpayers. No additional forms are required to be filed.

● On March 20, it was announced that the filing deadline for tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020 for those who need it. (We expect guidance on this from U.S. Treasury in the near future.)

 

Details: All eligible taxpayers qualify for a deferral of their tax payment until July 15, 2020 with no penalties or interest. This relief includes estimated quarterly tax payments due April 15. For individual taxpayers who are unable to file by the April 15 deadline, they remain eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return. For taxpayers that expect to receive a refund, the IRS encourages filing as soon as possible. The sooner those taxpayers file, the sooner they can receive their refunds.

 

EEOC: What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

This Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) webpage has it all. There are many critical and sensitive issues in the workplace regarding COVID-19 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act and other EEO Laws. This webpage resource and guidance, provided in a Q&A format, provides important information for small businesses with employees.

NEW EEOC Guidance on April 23: The latest guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) allows COVID-19 testing of employees. Small businesses should be informed – and inform employees – about the range of technical and sensitive issues related to COVID-19, as they work to protect their workers and customers from potential infection. Read the full guidance here.

 

How to Help – Companies With Medical Supplies, Equipment and Services

● To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov.

● If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide details on what you are offering.

● If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email nbeoc@max.gov.

● If you are a hospital and other companies in need of medical supplies, contact your state Department of Public Health and/or Emergency Management.

● For non-medical supplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit Industry Liaison Program.

 

Kabbage Online Hub to Boost Small Business Sales – Gift Certificate Tool for Small Businesses

U.S. small businesses can sign up free here to immediately seek financial support through gift certificate purchases from individuals throughout the U.S.

Kabbage will provide businesses a unique URL to easily share their personalized page with customers via text, email, web, social media or print. Consumers can purchase multiple certificates for any amount between $15 and $500.

Once certificates are purchased, small businesses will get an immediate notification and can use free technology offered by Kabbage to scan, verify, track and fulfill gift certificates when redeemed. (Kabbage will not financially benefit from this service.)

 

Communicating with Customers and Clients

Effective communication and engagement with customers are differentiators in a competitive economy. This is especially important now.  If you want customers to keep purchasing from your business during this time of uncertainty, and to maintain their loyalty for the long-term, you need to tell them what you and your business are doing to keep your workplace and employees free from the coronavirus to prevent infection through their interaction and/or transactions in your business, or with your workers. Over the past week or so, I have received communications from many companies I do business with – small, medium and large – about how they are responding to the coronavirus. The messages are reassuring, and if you have not done so already and if appropriate in terms of similar actions you may be taking within your business, you can use the content or themes of these messages as a template for your emails to customers and/or social media postings. Click on the company logos below to read how these companies are communicating with their customers.  (To read or share this tip online in blog post form, click here.)

 

Platform Tools: Facebook’s Resource Hub

Tools across the platform economy and provided by internet platforms can help small businesses navigate the “coronavirus economy.” Facebook’s Resource Hub includes tools, tips and helpful information that can help your small business communicate and operate during this challenging period.

 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

Small Business Administration Will Provide Disaster Assistance Loans (link)

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Further resources can be found in the attached document as well as on SBA’s website: www.SBA.gov/coronavirus and www.SBA.gov/disaster.

DOL Announces New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities (link)

Today DOL announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Information for Businesses from the CDC and other Federal Government Agencies:

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Information for Communities, Schools, and Businesses

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations – Community Facilities

DOL: OHSA Resources for Workers and Employers on COVID-19

DOL: Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus

WHO: Get Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19

CISA: Risk Management for COVID-19

EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19   PDF

 

Information for Families and Households:

Information on COVID-19 for Pregnant Women and Children

Interim Guidance for Household Readiness

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for U.S. Households

Guidance for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Homes and Residential Communities

FAQ: COVID-19 and Children

EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19    PDF

 

What you should know:

How COVID-19 Spreads

Symptoms

Prevention & Treatment

Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do If You Are Sick with COVID-19

Stigma Related to COVID-19

What You Need to Know

What to Do If You Are Sick with COVID-19

Facts about COVID-19

Information for People at Higher Risk and Special Populations

Communication Resources

 

Situation Updates:

Situation Summary

Cases in the U.S.

Global Locations with COVID-19

Risk Assessment

CDC in Action: Preparing Communities

Karen Kerrigan is president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. 

 

News and Media Releases