The CARES Act that passed Friday, March 27 (www.abmp.com/updates/news/cares-act-information-and-analysis-massage-therapists-and-bodyworkers), provides many potential methods of assistance for our members. There are small business loans and payroll assistance loans, modifications to tax filing deadlines, and an expansion of unemployment benefits to include a longer duration, access to benefits by self-employed individuals and independent contractors, and an additional $600 per week from the federal government.
In addition, there is a $1,200 tax rebate/payout available for most individuals who make less than $75,000 per year and couples who file jointly and make less than $150,000. The goal of the government is to have these payments to everyone by the end of April.
Small Business Loans
Small business loans are available from the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the recent CARES Act has created some additional considerations regarding these loans. (Massage therapy and cosmetology businesses are determined to be small businesses if they bring in less than $8 million in revenue in a year.)
The SBA has information about applying, eligibility requirements, and more at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/. Self-employed/independent contractors can also apply for these loans to help pay for mortgage, rent, utilities, business costs, and payroll if you have it.
Here is a concise and helpful article from the Washington Post discussing how to get a small business loan under the CARES Act: www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/30/heres-how-get-small-business-loan-under-349-billion-coronavirus-aid-bill/
Our recommendation to members interested in these loan options is to use the information available from the SBA to determine your eligibility and move quickly on applying if you fit both the eligibility requirements and the qualifications on where you will spend loan funds.
Small Business Disaster Loans
Disaster loans are available and identifying whether you are a sole practitioner or independent contractor or a small business with employees is streamlined in the application. The loans available are long-term, low-interest loans with interest capped at 4%.
Payment Protection Program Loans
In addition to small business disaster loans, the CARES Act also created a Payment Protection Program loan, which is available beginning April 3, 2020, for small businesses and sole proprietorships and then on April 10 for independent contractors and self-employed individuals, on a first-come, first-served basis. Per the SBA website at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp, “This program gives small businesses access to short-term cash flow assistance aimed to help deal with the immediate global impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans are made by approved lenders, certified by the SBA (Small Business Administration), and are guaranteed by the federal government of the United States.”
“All PPP loan terms will be the same for everyone. The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as: The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the 8-week period after the loan is made; and employee and compensation levels are maintained.”
Under the CARES Act, those who are self-employed or independent contractors are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The states are in charge of deploying unemployment benefits. States are in the process of creating language that would lay out the requirements for what counts as wages for those who are self-employed or independent contractors. We expect this will be in place some time during the week of April 13, 2020. We encourage you to visit your state unemployment website for the most updated information: www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/Find-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx.
If you were an employee, you can already apply for unemployment benefits.
In addition to expanding who can receive unemployment benefits, the CARES Act allows for an additional $600 per week for the benefits from the federal government, plus an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits.
There is a helpful unemployment guide courtesy of The Washington Post available at www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/03/unemployed-coronavirus-faq/?arc404=true.
Income Tax Deadlines Extended
Federal Tax Deadlines: All individual and business income tax filings at the federal level have extended deadlines from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
State Tax Deadlines: As of April 1, 2020, all states but Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia have extended state filing deadlines to July 15, 2020.
Federal student loan payments can be suspended through September 2020. While this does not apply to private student loans, it may be possible to call private lenders for more information about the possibility of suspending your student loan payments.