Resource Roundup – Independent Contractors and PPP

The Paycheck Protection Program is now open to 1099 workers and independent contractors, of whom there are over 23 million in the U.S.. There has been a lot of confusion around how independent contractors interact with this program, and not a lot of guidance from the SBA or Treasury. In a virtual town hall hosted by Inc., a panel of experts shed some helpful light on this murky area.

Panel:

Kimberly Weisul, Inc. editor-at-large (Moderator)

Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Keith Hall, President and CEO of The National Association for the Self-Employed

Sarah Jennings, Principal of Accounting and Outsourced Solutions and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement at Maner Costerisan

Tanya Motta, Vice President of Domestic & Global Programs at California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce

Bridget Wetson, Acting CEO of SCORE.

Qualifying for PPP loans

Keith Hall is sanguine about qualifications. “You do qualify. It’s going to be a very rare situation that you as a self-employed business owner don’t qualify. If you have a business, you qualify,” he says.

How to calculate a 1099 salary for a PPP loan

Contractors and sole proprietors are eligible for up to $100,000 in annual income, prorated. “Definitionally, payroll is net earnings for self-employment,” said Bradley.

To calculate this, add up all 1099 revenue for 2019 and then divide that by 12 (months) and then multiply that by 2.5 (months).

What to know about defining 1099 payroll and loan forgiveness

PPP loan forgiveness requires that 75% of the amount is going to payroll.  “Your payroll is your net earnings from self-employment,” says Hall. “Say you get a PPP loan for $15,000. By definition, that $15,000 is indeed used for payroll because it goes to your family, helps you buy food, or pay your mortgage. It is my expectation from a practical standpoint that these PPP loans for 1099 people will be forgiven.”

What documents 1099 workers need to apply for PPP loans

Independent contractors currently use  the same form as small businesses to apply for these loans. Where small business employers write in “average payroll,” independent contractors substitute income. “Contractors or the self-employed should use 1099 forms and other tax documents to help them verify these forms,” says Bradley.

Hall points out that your Schedule C form will be hugely helpful in your calculations. Your net earnings will be your payroll, stated on the bottom line of your Schedule C.

Where to apply

Bradley suggests that FinTech lenders may be good sources for independent contractors as banks are prioritizing clients with existing relations and debt. We cover FinTech companies’ recent authorization for PPP lending here. Exercise caution. A good rule of thumb is to never give information to anyone reaching out to you.

 

Note: This is a summary of aggregated information from other parties and does not express the direct advice of Sam Goldenberg & Associates.

Resource Roundup – FinTech Joins PPP

It’s fair to say that the Paycheck Protection Program’s launch hasn’t been perfectly smooth. The adjustment period as lenders familiarize themselves with unprecedented terms and the enormous volume of demand created a significant bottleneck. As some experts have warned, banks are prioritizing applicants with whom they have existing relationships. The systems to process all of this didn’t immediately exist.

After weeks of lobbying, FinTech (technology that supports banking and financial services) companies, including PayPal, Intuit, and Square, have been authorized as PPP lenders. Many have also joined the fray as facilitators of the loan application process.

This gives businesses some new options, which might be helpful if your bank is balking. In a letter to lawmakers last month, an alliance of FinTech leaders called Financial Innovation Now outlined the capabilities of their industry. Specifically, digital payroll records, analysis, and delivery systems help remove friction, they say.

“Collectively, FIN member companies alone have a direct deposit and underwriting capability with over 20 million small businesses. FIN estimates that our companies could rapidly disburse approximately $100 billion in capital to vulnerable small businesses, in many cases within weeks. Through payment processing data and other technologies, these alternative online lenders have direct visibility into real-time hardship of a small businesses and they have the credit models and the digital infrastructure to move money rapidly.”

“The tech integration issues for the banks trying to participate for the first time were considerable (unique application forms not matching SBA required fields etc.) but my hope is that the lessons learned in the last week and some upgrades and standardization will help speed the second iteration,” says Nat Hoops Executive Director of the Marketplace Lending Association.

“Our goal is to get relief money into the hands of as many eligible applicants as possible, as fast as possible. Validation of payroll information is necessary to complete the PPP application. For QuickBooks Payroll customers, the customers’ data is already in the QuickBooks system. As a result, we are well positioned to help expedite the loan application process for this group. One in 12 American workers are paid through our payroll systems, which makes this an impactful place to start,” says Luke Voiles, VP and Business Leader of QuickBooks Capital.

This Forbes article provides a list of FinTech companies helping with loans. If you do explore alternative, non-bank lending options, exercise caution to avoid scams. This Inc. article outlines some steps to take to protect yourself in a fraught lending market.

 

 

Note: This is a summary of aggregated information from other parties and does not express the direct advice of Sam Goldenberg & Associates.

Resource Roundup – Independent Contractors and Payroll Calculations

There has been a lot of confusion around how independent contractors engage with the Paycheck Protection Program.  See, for example, this letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin y Forbes Senior Contributor Tony Nitti delineating some vexing points.

To clarify, independent  contractors are not included in an employer’s PPP loan amount.

“As an employer and borrower, what you pay independent contractors and 1099s does not count toward your payroll cost in calculating how much you can borrow and how much can be forgiven,” says U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Neil Bradley.

While small businesses and solopreneurs have had access to PPP loans since last Friday, April 3, there is a separate PPP loan process for 1099 workers. 1099 workers will be eligible to apply for PPP support this Friday, April 10. We will share more information as it’s available.

Resource Roundup – Avoid Scams and Fraud Schemes

Be careful to avoid fraud schemes, cautions New Mexico Small Business Development Center Executive Director Russel Wyrick. Information about around relief programs for small businesses is changing at a dizzying rate right now. Unfortunately, some scams are already attempting to capitalize on the confusion. In a webinar hosted today by the New Mexico Economic Development Department, Wyrick shared some tips for avoiding traps and scams.

Additionally, if you’ve applied for an EIDL, all communications will include your EIDL number. Do not send sensitive information to requests that do not reference that ID.

Note: This is a summary of aggregated information from other parties and does not express the direct advice of Sam Goldenberg & Associates.

Resource Roundup – Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans?

What are the relative merits of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) options? This question comes up a lot lately amidst the whirlwind of new information about business relief programs.  The infographic below, by Live Oak Bank, provides a helpful and concise comparison.

Steve Mariani, President and Founder of Diamond Financial Services, shared some additional insights in a webinar hosted by the International Business Brokers Association. Key takeaways from Mariani’s talk include the following:

  • The EIDLs are available now if you need funds to keep your business afloat.
  • 75% of PPP funding must be used to cover payroll. Only 25% can be used for other expenses like rent, utilities, etc.
  • Be careful calculating payroll. If you ask your payroll company for a report, it might not include things like simple IRA employee expenses and health insurance reimbursements. Be thorough!
  • If you receive $10 thousand dollars or less from an EIDL, there is an option to roll that amount into a PPP loan.
  • If you plan to apply for PPP support, Mariani suggests you do so quickly and through a lender with whom you have a current relationship. He says lenders are prioritizing current clients.

Lenders are working to interpret and implement the approximately 1,000 pages of information released in the last week. Updates will become available soon as procedures are put in place to process applications. Stay tuned!

Note: This is a summary of aggregated information fro other parties and does not express the direct advice of Sam Goldenberg & Associates.

Resource Roundup – Paycheck Protection Program

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has published concise and helpful resources to help small businesses navigate the details of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under the Paycheck Protection Program initiative of this law, $350 billion have been allocated to help businesses stay afloat, and particularly to help businesses sustain employment. As we mentioned in last week’s overview of the CAREs Act and its intended impact, these loans come with forgiveness terms for businesses that maintain or restore payroll.

There are still details in the works (importantly, a list of lenders!), but here is a clear outline of information to help businesses prepare to file for this loan.

Specifically, this resource addresses the following questions:

  • Am I ELIGIBLE?
  • What will lenders be LOOKING FOR?
  • How much can I BORROW?
  • Will this loan be FORGIVEN?

The Chamber has also created an interactive map with state-by-state details of the Paycheck Protection Program and CAREs Act aid. Clicking on a state of interest on the map generates an image like the one shown above.

We will post more information about utilizing relief resources as it becomes available.

 

Resource Roundup – Families First Coronavirus Response

Congress recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Here is a summary of provisions dealing with employee absences, especially the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. These are relevant to small business owners. As we mention in our last Resource Roundup on the CARES Act economic relief package, sustaining employee headcount correlates to dollar to dollar forgiveness on relief loans.

  1. Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act:

    The Act is effective April 2, 2020 and will remain in place until December 31, 2020. A poster will be distributed by the DOL that must be posted by the Employer.

Which Employers does it apply to? All employers with fewer than 500 employees are covered, although the DOL has authority to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees if the requirement to provide leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.  It is unclear at this point how Employers will request an exemption.

Which Employees does it apply to? All full time and part time employees are immediately eligible. An employee qualifies when they cannot work or telework because one of the following: (i) they are subject to a quarantine or isolation order (federal, state, or local), (ii) they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, (iii) they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and is seeking a diagnosis, (iv) they are caring for a person subject to a quarantine or isolation order (federal, state, or local), (v) they are caring for a son or daughter whose school/daycare is closed, or (vi) they are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the government.

Payment: the first 10 days are unpaid and can be used in conjunction with the first 10 days under the expanded FMLA employees may also use PTO. Employers cannot require employees to use PTO first.  Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave part time are entitled to be paid for the number of hours per day they worked on average during the prior two-week period. Leave due to quarantine order, medical advice to self-quarantine, or experiencing symptoms receive regular pay rate subject to a limit of $511 per day and $5,110 total. Leave for taking care of a person subject to quarantine order, caring for child, or any other substantially similar condition as specified by government receive 2/3 of regular pay subject to a limit of $200 per day and $2,000 total.

  1. Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act: 

    The Act expands the coverage available under FMLA related to the coronavirus. It is effective April 2, 2020 and will remain in place until December 31, 2020. A poster will be distributed by the DOL that must be posted by the Employer

Which employers does it apply to? Employers covered by the Act is expanded from the FMLA and includes all employers with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt when compliance would jeopardize the viability of their business. It us unclear how an exemption may be obtained.

Which employees does it apply to? Employees are eligible for relief after working for at least 30 days. They may apply for leave when they are unable to work or telework due to the need to care for a child under the age of 18 or when the child’s school/daycare is closed due to coronavirus.

Payment: Initial 10 days are unpaid (but PTO can be used), after this the remainder is paid. May be used at the same time as Emergency Paid Sick Leave. After the 10 days, Employer pays 2/3 of regular rate multiplied by number of hours normally worked (look at prior 6 months to determine). Maximum of $200 per day and $10,000 total during leave, after maximum hit remaining up to 12 weeks total unpaid.

Returning to work: Employer required to return employee to work at the end of the leave, exception for employers with fewer than 25 employees if: position no longer exists because of the emergency and employer makes reasonable efforts to restore employee to an equivalent position.

  1. Payroll Credit for Employers:

    The Act allows Employers to receive a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of qualified paid sick leave wages paid by the employer for each calendar quarter. Credit may be increased by certain qualified health plan expenses that are allocable to wages paid under EPSLA. Employers may claim the credit to offset their obligation for the employer portion of social security taxes (6.2%) and their part of the hospital insurance portion (1.45%). The amount of the credit depends on the reason for the sick leave.

  2. Credit for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Self- Employed Individuals: 

    Self-employed individuals are eligible for a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of the qualified sick leave equivalent amount for self-employed individuals subject to limitations above or 67% for care of a family member (used to offset self-employment tax and is refundable). Tax Credit equal to 100% of a qualified family leave equivalent amount for eligible self-employed individuals used to offset self-employment tax and is refundable.

Note: This is a summary of aggregated information from other parties and does not express the direct advice of Sam Goldenberg & Associates.

Resource Roundup – U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President Shares Relief Package Advice for Small Businesses

With the $2 trillion CARES Act economic relief package just passed in the House and President Trump expected to sign the bill into law today, small business owners will have access to new channels of support and payments. How can your business take advantage of these opportunities and be strategic during this time?

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley shared insights and advice this morning in a virtual Town Hall meeting hosted by Inc. and joined by other experts. Here are some of the key takeaways from this session.

See the U.S. Small Business Administration and Chamber of Commerce for more information and extensive guidelines.

Panelists:

Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Kimberly Weisul, Inc. Editor at Large (Moderator)

David Barron, Cozen O’Connor

Marilyn Landis, Basic Business Concepts, Inc.

Shari Levitin, Shari Levitin Group

Christel Slaughter, SSA Consultants

Overview

A main goal of the stimulus package is to remove bottlenecks and roadblocks that might hinder receipt of relief. Sustaining employment is another important focus. To these ends, lenders are being added, high-risk limitations are being waived, and forgiveness policies are being implemented.

Who qualifies?

Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that would normally qualify for SBA loans will clearly qualify. Businesses may also be able to qualify based on revenue. Additionally, extensions are available for 501(c)(3) nonprofits, veterans organizations, food and hospitality businesses (based on the headcount per location, not entire business), and self-employed contractors. Affiliate rules are relaxed for franchisees, food, and hospitality. The SBA cannot require collateral, and high-risk classification does not apply under these circumstances.

Timing

Bradley was optimistic that loans will be available within two weeks. “I would bet that if we were doing this call next week, we would be talking to folks who have already applied for the loans and were in the process of receiving it,” he said.

Amounts

The maximum loan size is $10 million. Loans will be based on payroll cost, specifically average monthly payroll cost in 2019 multiplied by 2.5. This includes wages for employees making under $100,000, paid sick leave, health care, and other benefits.

Forgiveness Policies

Dollar to dollar forgiveness will be implemented based on small business expenses during the 8-week period following the origination of the loan. Payroll, utilities, rent, mortgage debt interest will be directly subtracted from the debt.

Employee Headcount

The dollar for dollar forgiveness holds for employees whose wages are not cut by more than 25% for employees making $100,000 per year or less. It also holds for employees who may have been furloughed and brought back on board in response to the relief package.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Small businesses can request an immediate advance up to $10,000 on EIDLs. This advance does not need to be repaid, but the money does interact with the paycheck protection forgiveness program.

Caution

Forgiveness only applies to the extent you meet exact terms. Beware the backside and plan carefully. These loans are still debt, so be strategic about what you need. What expenses will increase as sales go up? Will normal cash flow be enough to cover repayments?

 

 

Note: This is a summary of information shared in the Virtual Town Hall and does not express the direct advice of Sam Goldenberg & Associates.

 

 

 

 

 

Resource Roundup – Working From Home

The second in our series of resource roundups is dedicated to managing remote work.

Tech and Security

Make sure you have the technology you need. Good internet, a dedicated phone (and reception), account access and passwords, programs – all are easy to take for granted from a work computer with saved login credentials. There are a ton of apps to help with project management, workflow, productivity, and communication. Try to get your team on the same page about what to use and how to use it for clarity and coordination. Waiting while factions of Zoom versus Hangouts users debate which to adopt is a frustrating waste of time. Saving files to a cloud storage service ensures they will be accessible from non-office devices. Don’t neglect security and use a Virtual Private Network to protect your work and data.

Keep a Routine

Establish and maintain consistent working hours. A morning sequence (including getting dressed) is important. If you’re free to set your own timing, there are apps available to help you discover your peak productivity times and track your output. Your routine should also include real breaks, but be disciplined and avoid rabbit holes. Limit your exposure to distractions to non-work time. It’s also helpful to have an “end of work day” ritual to mark the transition between work time and personal time. Attention can easily diffuse across multiple demands (personal, professional, family, etc.) and end up too thin to be useful in any area. A clear start and end to work defines and directs your time and energy.

Have Boundaries

Spatially and conceptually, boundaries are important in this situation. Working out of a dedicated space in your home helps you psychologically shift to and stay in work mode. It also helps anyone with whom you are cohabitating to recognize and support times of concentration that shouldn’t be interrupted. Even if it’s only the difference between a bedroom desk and kitchen table, designating one of those as The Work Station (and keeping other spaces as social, sleeping, non-work areas) helps trigger focus and intention.

It’s also helpful to set some ground rules with your colleagues. While the comforts of home can distract from work, that vector can be reversed and impinge on your presence during personal time. Working from home doesn’t imply 24/7 availability, especially when domestic pressures might be intensifying around school closures!

Define Expectations

Accountability can feel vague and remote corresponding to the drift of normalcy and your colleagues.  Being clear about deliverables and schedules helps sustain everyone’s understanding and work ethic. “In a remote work environment you’re entirely judged by the volume, quality, and timeliness of your output. In this way, remote work is a great equalizer, and you may find it gives you an opportunity to shine,” says Kari DePhillips,  CEO of The Content Factory and cohost of the Workationing podcast. It may be helpful to be super organized about your goals and tasks. Creating daily and weekly lists and action plans provides useful structure in a time when structure feels confused.

Communication is Crucial

Relatedly, clear and frequent communication is imperative. To define, manage, and meet expectations, managers need to provide clear directions and check in often to make sure teams have the tools they need. Team members need to share often to update colleagues on progress, needs, changes, etc. Remember that tone is often lost over emails, so try to stay positive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resource Roundup – Business Assistance

Here is the first in a series of resource roundups of helpful information.

COVID-19 BUSINESS AND NON-PROFIT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Small Business Administration- Disaster Loan Assistance

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing up to $2 million in disaster assistance low-interest loans. This funding is now available to all New Mexico small businesses.

Apply online: https://disasterloan.sba.gov, call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

State of New Mexico – Help for Businesses Negatively Impacted by COVID-19

The State of New Mexico has a business-loan guarantee programs in order to make capital more available to business owners whose operations are severely impacted by the COVID-19 health emergency.

COVID-19 New Mexico Mainstreet

Resources, opportunities, and response examples to help Main Street districts during the health crisis.

Emergency Action Fund for Non-Profits

Albuquerque Community Foundation and United Way of Central New Mexico have teamed up to deploy an Emergency Action Fund to support nonprofit organizations struggling with lost and non-recoverable revenue expenses due to COVID19.

Washington Federal Interest

Free Credit Lines Washington Federal is offering small business lines of credit of up to $200,000 interest free for 90 days.

Facebook Small Business Grant Program

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. Use link to sign up for updates as more details are released.