We are we here during these uncertain times.
The Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce is organizing all available resources to help companies stay afloat and keep paychecks flowing to workers and families; mobilize the business community to combat the pandemic; and help companies prepare for a safe, successful, and sustainable reopening of the economy. We are committed to providing as much information and available resources as many businesses endure the financial hardships caused by the pandemic and return to work in a safe and sustainable way.
COVID-19 Emergency Loans
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated almost $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.
Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
The administration has released initial guidelines; they are available at www.treasury.gov. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals check eligibility and prepare to file for a loan. Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying on April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning on April 10.
Here are the questions you may be asking—and what you need to know.
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. While the program is open until June 30, 2020, the government is advising borrowers to apply as soon as possible given the loan cap on the program.
You are eligible if you are:
• A small business with fewer than 500 employees
• A small business that otherwise meets the SBA’s size standard
• A 501(c)(3) with fewer than 500 employees
• An individual who operates as a sole proprietor
• An individual who operates as an independent contractor
• An individual who is self-employed who regularly carries on any trade or business
• A Tribal business concern that meets the SBA size standard
• A 501(c)(19) Veterans Organization that meets the SBA size standard
In addition, some special rules may make you eligible:
• If you are in the accommodation and food services sector (NAICS 72), the 500-employee rule is applied on a per physical location basis
• If you are operating as a franchise or receive financial assistance from an approved Small Business Investment Company the normal affiliation rules do not apply
REMEMBER: The 500-employee threshold includes all employees: full-time, part-time, and any other status.
In evaluating eligibility, lenders are directed to consider whether the borrower was in operation before February 15, 2020 and had employees for whom they paid salaries and payroll taxes or paid independent contractors.
Lenders will also ask you for a good faith certification that:
1. The uncertainty of current economic conditions makes the loan request necessary to support ongoing operations
2. The borrower will use the loan proceeds to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage, lease, and utility payments
3. Borrower does not have an application pending for a loan duplicative of the purpose and amounts applied for here
4. From Feb. 15, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020, the borrower has not received a loan duplicative of the purpose and amounts applied for here (Note: There is an opportunity to fold emergency loans made between Jan. 31, 2020 and the date this loan program becomes available into a new loan)
If you are an independent contractor, sole proprietor, or self-employed individual, lenders will also be looking for certain documents (final requirements will be announced by the government) such as payroll tax filings, Forms 1099-MISC, and income and expenses from the sole proprietorship.
What lenders will NOT look for
• That the borrower sought and was unable to obtain credit elsewhere.
• A personal guarantee is not required for the loan.
• No collateral is required for the loan.
Loans can be up to 2.5 x the borrower’s average monthly payroll costs, not to exceed $10 million.
How do I calculate my average monthly payroll costs?
INCLUDED Payroll Costs
1. For Employers: The sum of payments of any compensation with respect to employees that is a:
o salary, wage, commission, or similar compensation;
o payment of cash tip or equivalent;
o payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave
o allowance for dismissal or separation
o payment required for the provisions of group health care benefits, including insurance premiums
o payment of any retirement benefit
o payment of state or local tax assessed on the compensation of the employee
2. For Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors, and Self-Employed Individuals: The sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation and that is in an amount that is not more than $100,000 in one year, as pro-rated for the covered period.
EXCLUDED Payroll Costs
• Compensation of an individual employee in excess of an annual salary of $100,000, as prorated for the period February 15, to June 30, 2020
• Payroll taxes, railroad retirement taxes, and income taxes
• Any compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside of the United States
• Qualified sick leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7001 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116– 5 127); or qualified family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under section 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
NON SEASONAL EMPLOYERS:
Maximum loan = 2.5 x Average total monthly payroll costs incurred during the year prior to the loan date
For businesses not operational in 2019:
2.5 x Average total monthly payroll costs incurred for January and February 2020
Maximum loan = 2.5 x Average total monthly payments for payroll costs for the 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019 or March 1, 2019 (decided by the loan recipient) and ending June 30, 2019
Borrowers are eligible to have their loans forgiven.
A borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount the borrower spent on the following items during the 8-week period beginning on the date of the origination of the loan:
• Payroll costs (using the same definition of payroll costs used to determine loan eligibility)
• Interest on the mortgage obligation incurred in the ordinary course of business
• Rent on a leasing agreement
• Payments on utilities (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet)
• For borrowers with tipped employees, additional wages paid to those employees
The loan forgiveness cannot exceed the principal.
How could the forgiveness be reduced?
The amount of loan forgiveness calculated above is reduced if there is a reduction in the number of employees or a reduction of greater than 25% in wages paid to employees.
Reduction based on reduction of number of employees
Reduction based on reduction in salaries
What if I bring back employees or restore wages?
Reductions in employment or wages that occur during the period beginning on February 15, 2020, and ending 30 days after enactment of the CARES Act, (as compared to February 15, 2020) shall not reduce the amount of loan forgiveness IF by June 30, 2020 the borrower eliminates the reduction in employees or reduction in wages.
The Treasury Department has more details and an Paycheck Protection Program loan application available for download (PDF).
Starting April 3, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for loans through existing SBA lenders. Starting April 10, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for loans through existing SBA lenders. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans as soon as they are approved and enrolled in the program. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders. There is a funding cap, so the Treasury Department recommends applying as soon as possible.
For more guidance and resources for small businesses, visit www.uschamber.com/co