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THE CARES ACT – A PRIMER FOR CELL PHONE STORE OWNERS IN THE USA

With the beginning of the crisis generated by the COVID-19 and its effects on the economy, the U.S. government launched an economic rescue plan for small and large businesses called CARES ACT. This plan has diversified areas that respond to the different needs of the country’s economy. 

In this article we present a series of sources that introduce the CARES ACT as the case may be, detailing the different possibilities that this plan offers for cellphone store owners. You will also find specific information that will help you to present your application correctly. 

We hope this will be of great help to our small business community. It is very important for us to take care of our clients and help them to overcome in the best possible way this economic and humanitarian crisis in which we all find ourselves.

The articles included are the following:

  1. NY Magazine – Everything We Know About CARES Act Expanded Unemployment Benefits

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/cares-act-unemployment-benefits.html

  1. Forbes CARES Act Compliance, Oversight, And Investigations: A Basic Checklist For Business https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulrosen/2020/04/28/cares-act-compliance-oversight-and-investigations-a-basic-checklist-for-business/#769763ff69a2
  1. S.B.A US – SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resourcess
  2. Home Treasury USA The CARES Act Provides Assistance to Small Businesses
    https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses
  1. The Points Guy Ultimate guide to CARES Act relief options for small businesses and employers
    https://thepointsguy.com/guide/cares-act-relief-for-small-businesses/
  1. Forbes/How Small Businesses Can Get Coronavirus Relief Through The CARES Act
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/04/02/how-small-businesses-can-get-coronavirus-relief-through-the-cares-act/#20032b207934

Continue reading to get more information about the actual situation 

1.  NY Magazine – Everything We Know About CARES Act Expanded Unemployment Benefits – Written by  Adam K. Raymond, Published on April 27, 2020

When Congress passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package to combat the economic crisis created by the coronavirus outbreak, the top-line item was the $1,200 payments that will go out to most Americans. But the crown jewel of the legislation was the expansion of unemployment insurance that will benefit people who’ve lost their work due to the crisis. After weeks of delay, the extra federal benefits, which are added to the state unemployment payments, began arriving for many Americans in mid-April.

How much can you get?

Each state determines how much people receive based on their prior income and other factors, and some states are far more generous than others. Nationwide, the average payment is roughly $385 per week. The extra $600 from the federal government will be added to that total each week until July 31. Though the extra benefits are only now making their way to the unemployed, they will be retroactive to March 29.

When will the money arrive?

Many Americans have already started to receive the payments after long delays. The federal government sent $1 billion to states to improve their unemployment systems, which is reportedly being used to hire more workers and update technology. Some gig workers, freelancers, and self-employed workers are still waiting to receive benefits as states scramble to build programs that include them.

Will the program be extended?

The Urban Institute has also called for an extension, arguing that if the benefits end as scheduled, «renters will fall off an income cliff in July, which is also when the federal moratorium on evictions ends for those living in federally financed units».

2. Forbes – CARES Act Compliance, Oversight, And Investigations: A Basic Checklist For Business – Written by  Paul Rosen, Published on April 20, 2020

In the years that followed, SIGTARP became one of the most dogged oversight agencies in Washington, landing criminal convictions of 381 people and recovering $11 billion as a result of its investigations, including those arising from fraud, insider trading, obstruction of justice and more.

NCAA Suffers Another Blow To Current Amateurism Model

The SIGPR will not be the only oversight body looking after the use of taxpayer funds. Traditional government investigators, such as the FBI and dozens of inspectors general across the federal government, will continue to be vigilant for this kind of fraud. In addition, the newly formed Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which is made of up 21 inspectors general from a variety of government bodies, will most certainly use their authority and $80 million budget to aggressively audit and investigate the disbursement, receipt and use of funds under the act. The Executive Branch will be joined by Congress in exercising oversight, with the newly established Congressional Oversight Commission, which will oversee the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve in their implementation of the CARES Act, as well as traditional oversight committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In fact, Congressional investigations into businesses’ pandemic response have already begun in earnest, including, for example, the scrutiny of certain businesses that have received SBA Paycheck Protection Program payments. While any company doing business with or receiving funds from the government should ensure robust compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the flood of stimulus money in response to the coronavirus pandemic, along with the new oversight authorities and funding, demand an even stricter compliance focus and framework from businesses. While the initial tranche of some loans have been exhausted, last week the president signed a bill providing nearly $500 billion more in federal stimulus, including for the Small Business Loan program. One of the more common charges resulting from oversight of such programs is making a false statement to the government, which is a felony.

Whoever signs or submits a business’ application for CARES Act assistance is certifying to its accuracy. Neither the signer nor the business should simply rely on data provided by others. Demand the underlying documents and test the accuracy of the data as a basic measure of due diligence in verifying information and of whether the business satisfies the act’s statutory and regulatory requirements. The administration of any spending program needs policies and active controls to ensure a business is clear about what kind of spending is permissible and what is not.

The CARES Act has very specific requirements for how stimulus dollars can be used, and sloppiness – or worse – could result in civil or criminal penalties. Building policies and active internal controls around these requirements is critical, as is making sure there is one person or small group responsible and accountable for these important compliance activities. Develop a comprehensive training program so those responsible for CARES Act related activities know the rules of the road and abide by them. Acting appropriately is only one part of a strong compliance program.

Businesses should centrally and safely maintain records demonstrating appropriate due diligence and compliance, including in filling out applications and in spending stimulus dollars. Such records should include underlying support for representations made to the government, any interpretations or analysis by counsel , and an audit trail of how funds were spent. As part of its record-keeping, a business should create a list of CARES Act requirements and obligations, specifically demonstrating how it has complied with each of those obligations. It is always good practice to retain a backup of the documentation and to place such documentation in your records retention program.

Businesses may discover issues or problems in connection with their application, receipt, or spending of stimulus dollars after the fact.

3.  S.B.A US – SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Coronavirus Funding Options

Our nation’s small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses. agricultural businesses.

Common Issues Small Businesses May Encounter

Capital Access – Incidents can strain a small business’s financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory and respond to market fluctuations. Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it. See SBA capital access resources. Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – Depending on the incident, there may be a need to enhance the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity by which your business conducts cleaning of surfaces frequently touched by occupants and visitors.

Additionally, there may be public concerns about public exposure to an incident and they may decide not to go to your business out of concern of exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s Resources Partners and District Offices have trained experts who can help you craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand. Marketing – It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.

Plan – As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical scenario in the exercise.

Join the SBA’s Relief Efforts

The SBA is hiring additional employees to assist with disaster relief efforts.

SBA Products and Resources

SBA is here to assist small businesses with accessing federal resources and navigating their own preparedness plans as described by the CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers. SBA works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor and train small businesses.

Access to Capital

SBA provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. Express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000.The 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention.

Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures .

Exporting Assistance

The loans are available to U.S Businesses could use a loan to obtain or retain overseas customers by offering attractive payment terms. International Trade loan program helps small businesses engaged in international trade to retool or expand to better compete and react to changing business conditions.

More specifically

8 Business Development program serves to help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, and the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate. The 8 program offer and acceptance process is available nationwide, and the SBA continues to work with federal agencies to ensure maximum practicable opportunity to small businesses. If a situation occurs that will prevent small businesses with government contracts from successfully performing their contract, they should reach out to their contracting officer and seek to obtain extensions before they receive cure notices or threats of termination. The SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives can assist affected small businesses to engage with their contracting officer.

4. Home Treasury USA The CARES Act Provides Assistance to Small Businesses

ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS

This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is for any small business with fewer than 500 employees , private non-profit organization or 501 veterans organizations affected by COVID-19. Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

5. The Points Guy- Ultimate guide to CARES Act relief options for small businesses and employers – Written By Richard Kerr – Published on April 6, 2020.

On March 17, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act into law that contained $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses. These funds were allocated to several new temporary programs, most administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Paycheck Protection Program

The program is designed to allow small businesses to keep workers on payroll during the pandemic. The program is for any small business with less than 500 employees, including sole proprietorships, independent contractions, self-employed persons, private non-profit organizations or 501 veterans organizations. This has become the most popular program because you have the high potential of all or the majority of the loan being forgiven.

Loans can be in the amount of up to two months of your average monthly payroll costs from the last year plus an additional 25% of that amount up to a $10 million cap. Payroll costs are also capped at $100,000 annualized for each employee. That means if your average monthly total payroll is $100,000, your PPP loan could be up to $250,000.

You have until June 30, 2020, to restore your full-time employment and salary levels for any changes made between Feb. 15–April 26, 2020. The actual amount of your PPP loan that will be forgiven is still a bit murky. Several different government organizations have put out different FAQ documents that word the forgiveness criteria differently. Bankers are continuing to ask for clarification. Loans have a 1% interest rate, payments are deferred six months and the loan is to be repaid in two years.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance

The EIDL provides loans of up to $2 million with up to 30-year terms at 3.75% interest rates for small businesses and 2.75% for most private non-profits. Payments are deferred for 12 months but interest does accrue during deferment. No personal guarantee is required for loans of less than $200,000 and collateral is required for loans over $25,000.

You are eligible if you are a sole proprietorship, independent contractor, co-op or tribal small business with less than 500 employees.

Using the PPP and the EIDL

According to a few experts, you can apply for and use both programs as long as the funds are used for different purposes. The EIDL outside of the $10,000 advance is a loan that you must repay and you can use the funds for a far less restrictive number of purposes compared to the PPP. The only overlap between the two programs is if you also apply for the PPP, the $10,000 EIDL grant will count against the amount of the PPP that can be forgiven.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

Small businesses that need fast help can apply for a bridge loan of up to $25,000 to help while they apply and wait for long-term financing. To qualify, a business must have had an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender before March 13, 2020. The funds will be received within 45 to 90 business days of an application.

SBA Debt Relief

The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest and fees of current 7, 504 and microloans for six months. Also as mentioned in the above programs, the SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest and fees of new 7, 504, and microloans issued before Sept. 27, 2020. For current SBA Serviced Disaster Loans, if your disaster loan was in «regular servicing» status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through Dec.

If your business has a 50% decline in gross receipts for a calendar quarter in 2020, you can qualify for the ERC. This is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages that employers pay their employees.

Bottom line

The banking world was given roughly five days to bring online the largest lending program perhaps in history. Unsurprisingly, the entire process is still unorganized and an evolving matter. There are likely going to be unanswered questions and many different scenarios not answered. Business owners need to decide on their strategy of PPP and/or EIDL versus unemployment and furlough along with the employee retention credit without even having full guidance and banks turning off applications to new small businesses. In other words, this is complex and time-sensitive.

6. Forbes How Small Businesses Can Get Coronavirus Relief Through The CARES Act – Written by Michelle Black, Published on April 2, 2020

BIO of Contributor: 

Michelle Lambright Black, Founder of CreditWriter.com and HerCreditMatters.com, is a leading credit expert and personal finance writer with nearly two decades of experience in the credit industry.

Small Businesses Seek Answers in Federal Stimulus

Segments of the U.S. economy have nearly come to a halt in recent weeks as government officials have issued stay-at-home orders to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, there is a provision to send recovery checks of up to $1,200 to many taxpayers, which Congress hopes recipients will inject into the economy. Another section of the CARES Act creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program that will run through Dec. 31, 2020.

What Businesses Are Eligible?

The program is designed for companies and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, and other types of employees.

How Much Can You Borrow?

Companies should divide their payroll costs over the past year by 12 to determine their average monthly payroll, then multiply by 2.5 to find the maximum they can borrow, up to $10 million.

How Does Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Work?

Businesses that maintain their payroll levels—by paying workers at their normal rates for at least eight weeks after the loan is originated—will be eligible for forgiveness.

You can get loan funds forgiven if they were used to pay qualifying payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent or utility payments over the eight-week period.

How to Apply for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan

Normally, SBA-backed loans are handled by a network of banks the organization works with, known as SBA-approved lenders. But while the SBA will still guarantee the loans, more banks will be able to issue Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Existing SBA lenders can start accepting applications from small businesses and sole proprietors on April 3, according to the Treasury Department, and from independent contractors and self-employed workers on April 10.

Expansion of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

The CARES Act also introduced an expansion of the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. The goal of the expansion is to offer financial support to more businesses experiencing reduced revenue due to the pandemic.

Companies that have applied for a disaster assistance loan due to COVID-19 can request the $10,000 advance to help cover costs. If the loan application is approved, the SBA must distribute the advance within three days. Applicants are not required to repay the advance, even if they are subsequently denied an EIDL.

Updated Business Tax Provisions

Employers whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to a shutdown order, or whose gross receipts declined by more than 50% when compared to the same quarter a year ago, are eligible for a refundable tax credit.

Deferred Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes

Employers who do not receive forgiveness on a Paycheck Protection Program loan can delay payment of payroll taxes.

What’s on the Horizon?

Small-business owners may be able to benefit from additional support from states and the federal government in the coming weeks and months.

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