While Congress works to overcome political hurdles in passing promised COVID-19 relief for individuals, families, and small business, the rest of us are drowning in uncertainty. We’ve take many calls from clients who need immediate relief and aren’t sure where to begin. Here are a few of the relief options that are available now:
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor notified employers last week that any unemployment claims made by employees as a result of the effects of COVID-19 would not affect payroll tax rates imposed on the former employers. Employers in Pennsylvania who are worried they will not be able to provide their employees with a paycheck can initiate layoffs and direct their employees to file an unemployment claim without the risk of being penalized by an increase in the employer tax rate.
SBA Disaster Loans
Businesses experiencing – or expecting to experience – an erosion of working capital as a result of COVID-19 can apply for a loan directly with the SBA. Go to SBA.gov and follow the links to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application. There are no payments due on these loans for 12 months. The repayment terms are attractive as well – 3.75% fixed for 30 years. The criteria for the use of the proceeds are specific so review them carefully.
The website is experiencing heavy traffic so it is recommended that applicants try completing the application early in the morning or late at night. Be sure to supply all required documentation after you apply if you are unable to upload the documents when you are completing the application.
Tax Credits for Paid Leave
For employers who are continuing to pay employees who have taken leave related to the effects of COVID-19 may qualify for payroll tax credits that will largely offset the cost of the paid leave. Eligible leave includes COVID-19 illness or quarantine. Also, paid leave related to taking care of a sick family member, or to parent of children whose child care facility or school has closed as a result of the pandemic qualifies for the credit.
This credit even applies to self-employed individuals who are unable to work for the same reasons. We’re watching for further regulations on this and will post updates when we see them.