Small businesses have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic as many have been forced to close their doors. Even the ones that have been able to remain opened amid the Stay-at-Home order have seen their profits decimated due to lack of business.
The latest coverage on small businesses in North Carolina:
'Fingers are crossed:' Raleigh small businesses anxiously wait for grant to go liveWedding venues offer deals to brides who book during pandemicSmall Durham cafe keeps staff employed through COVID-19 with simple, effective strategyNC lets more than 3,000 businesses reopen after appeal to be considered essentialTriangle businesses hopeful for second round of Paycheck Protection Program fundingBattered small businesses say they have little hope for second round of PPP funds$1M in grant money created for Raleigh small businesses dealing with COVID-19 revenue lossRaleigh restaurant pulls plug on GrubHub saying the service is too costly for business ownersThe federal PPP fund for small businesses is out of money: Answers to your questions about itCary strawberry farm hires recently unemployed workersBusiness is buzzing for Pittsboro entrepreneur as barbers, salons are closedWhat small businesses need to know about getting aid during coronavirus outbreak
Here are some resources available for small business in North Carolina:
AVAILABLE FINANCIAL SUPPORT
The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can provide a small business with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including benefits. Qualifying businesses will not need to repay the funds.
LATEST: Following a suspension, as of April 27, 2020, the SBA is again accepting new applications for this program, based on available appropriations funding.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM: Money from this program is provided in the form of a loan, but one that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. (Due to anticipated demand for the PPP , at least 75% of the forgiven amount must be used for payroll). No collateral nor personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Loan forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. As of April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply.
An Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact.
LATEST: Following a suspension, SBA is again accepting new applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program, based on available appropriations funding. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The loan advance of up to $10,000 from an Economic Injury Disaster Loan can provide economic relief to businesses that are currently seeing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds can be made available within three days of a successful application.
LATEST: Following a suspension, the SBA is again accepting new applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program, based on available appropriations funding. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The loan advance can provide economic relief to businesses that are currently seeing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds can be made available within three days of a successful application.
A SBA Express Bridge Loan up to $25,000 might be available.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM: If you currently have an existing business relationship with an SBA Express Lender, this pilot program allows small businesses to access funds while applying for an EIDL. This loan will be repaid in full or in part by the proceeds from the SBA.
THE LATEST ON FEDERAL AID
On April 24, President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion bill to aid employers and hospitals under stress from the coronavirus pandemic.
The legislation contains:
- $100 billion demanded by Democrats for hospitals and a nationwide testing program
- $60 billion for small banks and an alternative network of community development banks that focus on development in urban neighborhoods and rural areas ignored by many lenders
- $60 billion for small-business loans and grants delivered through the Small Business Administration's existing disaster aid program.
Am I able to file unemployment benefits on behalf of my employees who may be affected by COVID-19?
An attached claim is a claim filed by an employer on behalf of an employee who has been temporarily laid off or who has worked less than 60% of their customary scheduled full-time hours.
Executive Order No. 131 provides flexibility on the enforcement of some of the normal requirements for filing attached claims. Under the order:
An employer does not need to prepay the cost of the unemployment benefits for their employees at the time the attached claim is filed.
Employers may file attached claims for a period of more than six weeks of benefits.
Employers may submit an attached claim for an employee more than once in a year.
Employers do not need to have a positive credit balance with DES to file attached claims.
The Order is effective for attached claims filed as of April 1, 2020.
Will I receive relief of benefit charges for claims related to COVID-19?
Yes. The Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security has been directed to not allocate charges to employers' accounts for individuals who are paid benefits for reasons related to COVID-19. Employers responding to requests for separation information should indicate that the separation was due to COVID-19.
Will a business owner who is also paid a salary be eligible for unemployment insurance?
A business owner required to pay unemployment insurance taxes for him/herself may be eligible.
If I have employees working intermittently, what should they do when filing for unemployment insurance benefits?
If you have employees working intermittently (for example, one week on, one week off), they must report their gross earnings for the week in which they did the work, not the week in which they were paid, when filing for unemployment benefits.
What is the maximum benefit amount for individuals?
Benefits currently remain at a maximum of $350.00/week for 12 weeks.
What effect do vacation and severance weeks have on eligibility for benefits?
Any worker who receives severance pay is considered to be attached to that employer's payroll during that time and not eligible for UI benefits.
Paid Time Off (Vacation and/or Sick Pay) will not be considered separation pay if the payment was issued as a result of the employer's written policy established prior to your separation. Workers receiving Paid Time Off (Vacation and/or Sick Pay) under these conditions will not be disqualified from receiving benefits.
What's a WARN notice?
As an employer, when your company announces plans to either close a facility or conduct a mass personnel layoff, you may be required to file a report with the state, under certain circumstances, known as a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification - commonly called a WARN notice.
- As a business, your federal income tax filing due date has been automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest.
- As a business, your state income tax filing due date has also been automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, mirroring the federal change.
- Expanded state tax relief due to the COVID-19 situation now includes no penalties for late filing or payments of many tax types, including sales and use and withholding taxes, through July 15.
- Physical access to all North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) service centers in the state has been suspended to the public through at least April 1, 2020.
Advice and guidance
- Receive one-on-one counseling and professional advice and programming from the experts at the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC).
- Receive advice and access webinars, on-demand content, and articles from the N.C. Community Colleges' Small Business Center Network (SBCN).
- If your business is at risk of laying off significant numbers of workers, consider participating in a consultation and assistance program designed to help minimize job losses.
- Public health guidance for businesses and restaurants is available.