Accountants have once again been proving that America does indeed count on CPAs, as they have entered uncharted waters to assist both individuals and small businesses in obtaining recently enacted financial assistance and tax benefits. These resources were made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. The business tax provisions include employee retention and payroll tax credits, as well as more favorable deductions for interest and depreciation, and an extended net operating loss carryback period. In addition to tax relief, federal financial assistance for small businesses, most notably the Paycheck Protection Program, is implemented by the Small Business Administration, which provides some helpful resources, as does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Small Business Administration – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources

https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal agency created to provide capital, counseling, and contracting advice for small businesses. Its website at https://www.sba.gov/provides access to partnering lenders for small businesses as identified in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Much of the background information on the SBA’s pre-coronavirus programs is available on its website, along with a size standards tool and other resources.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) related materials are segregated into specific web pages; the Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources page at https://bit.ly/3ckVZjS is an excellent place to start. It provides links to funding sources, which of course are of interest to CPAs trying to help business entities. There is, however, also some interesting information on common issues for small businesses, such as workforce capacity, inventory and supply chain shortfalls, and marketing, which are exacerbated by an economy battered by COVID-19.

Specific information on temporary funding programs under the CARES Act can be found on the Coronavirus Relief Options webpage at https://bit.ly/2zlUZNs. These options include the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL), SBA Express Bridge Loans, and SBA Debt Relief. EIDL funding was not available when this column was written, but the SBA refers users to its Disaster Assistance loan information at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.

The Paycheck Protection Program webpage (https://bit.ly/2Wcsvib) includes a downloadable PDF document of participating lenders by state (563 pages at the time of this review). Users can enter a zip code in the SBA website search tool (https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find) to locate banks in their area that are offering PPP loans. Of course, obtaining a list of potential banks is the easy part of the search, as many small businesses and their advisors are already aware.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a substantial number of resources on its website at https://www.uschamber.com/to help companies weather the COVID-19 impact and prepare for a reopening of the Main Street economy. The chamber has also established a subsidiary website with helpful general business advice, simply named CO (https://www.uschamber.com/co/). The CO hub is a collection of webpages that are individually packed with substantial content, such as the “Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide.” The Survival Guide provides a complete listing of website resources that include general information, stimulus legislation, financial assistance, and marketing and human resource issues (https://bit.ly/3doOmJ8). “Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Federal Small Business Stimulus Aid Programs” is an overview of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act; the FFCRA; and the CARES Act, with links to related resources on the Chamber’s website (https://bit.ly/3b91lgw). “Coronavirus Small Business Tax Changes: Everything You Need to Know” summarizes the tax credits, such as the Employee Retention Tax Credit, and other tax changes from the CARES and FFCRA that affect small businesses (https://bit.ly/3b9kjU9). “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: What Small Businesses Need to Know” focuses on an overview of the financial assistance in the CARES Act from the Paycheck Protection Program and the EIDLs (https://bit.ly/3beLxJc).

U.S. Tresasury Department Resources

Q&A on How to Calculate Maximum Loan Amounts

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/

How-to-Calculate-Loan-Amounts.pdf

Small Business Administration – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources

https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Small Business Guide

https://www.uschamber.com/co/small-business-coronavirus

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Small Business Guide

https://www.uschamber.com/co/small-business-coronavirus

The Coronavirus Small Business Guide may sound like the “Survival Guide” discussed above, but is a separate portal to articles, blog posts, videos, news, inspiration, technology tips, videos, webinars, guidebooks, and COVID-19 information from the Chamber of Commerce (https://www.uschamber.com/co/small-business-coronavirus). A very handy article included in this portal is “A State-by-State Guide to Coronavirus Financial Assistance,” (https://bit.ly/35NZhJW), which links to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation webpage that lists specific nonbank sources of financial assistance for small businesses.

Another noteworthy Chamber of Commerce resource, which may be of particular interest to CPAs, is the Combating the Coronavirus webpage (https://www.uschamber.com/coronavirus), which serves as another portal to many of the resources on the main Chamber of Commerce website, including several short downloadable guides. “Coronavirus Emergency Loans—Small Business Guide and Checklist” covers eligibility, borrowing limits, and forgiveness for the Paycheck Protection Program and links to the SBA lender search tool (https://bit.ly/2xGCyme). “Guide to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans” is a one-page quick overview of the EIDL program (https://bit.ly/2WbeIZj). Readers are also encouraged to check out the PPP, which is better funded than the EIDL. “Guide to Independent Contractors’ CARES Act Relief” answers many questions for independent contractors or self-employed individuals without employees with regard to the PPP, EIDL, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The brochure addresses eligibility and limitations, as well as provides links to find applications (https://bit.ly/2LctLeW).

“Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit” explains that the refundable tax credit is calculated as 50% of the first $10,000 in compensation, including health benefits, per employee. Employers that receive a PPP loan or claim a Work Opportunity Tax Credit for the same employee for the same period are not eligible (https://bit.ly/2xIgdon). Another employee-related provision is covered in the “Guide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs.” The publication summarizes the Paid Sick Leave and Family Medical Leave Act programs created under the FFCRA, including which employers are affected and which are exempted (https://bit.ly/3ckVWoc).

Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA/CGMA, is the Louis J. and Ramona Rodriguez Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Tex. She is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.