COVID 19 INFORMATION FOR INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL BUSINESSES:
Thank you for your patience during these unprecedented times we are living in. It is amazing how something so small can cause such a major disruption to everyone. However, we are seeing - on a daily basis - how the American spirit and ingenuity is keeping our Country afloat. This page was developed to help spread the word on initiatives that effect individuals and small businesses – please understand that this information is changing daily, our goal is to keep it updated with helpful known information.
TAX DEADLINE: (IRS news release 2020-58)
The new tax deadline for 2019 for Individuals (Form 1040), Trusts (Form 1041 December Year End), and Corporations (Form 1120 December 31 Year End) is July 15th, 2020. Basically, all returns that were due on April 15th, 2020 are now due July 15th, 2020.
This also applies to any payments that were due April 15th, 2020. Those payments (including payments due with the filing of a tax return) are now due July 15th, 2020. No penalties or interest will accrue until after July 15th, 2020. Note: this includes the 1st Quarter Estimated Payment for tax year 2020 – it is now due July 15th, 2020; however, the 2nd Quarter Estimated tax payment for 2020 has not been extended yet, it is still due June 15th, 2020.
The State of Arkansas has also implemented the same relief.
FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT:
This legislation goes into effect April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 and expands on the Family Medical and Leave Act. This applies to essentially all employers with less than 500 employees and requires employers to grant paid sick leave to their employees. Employers are required to display a poster that covers the employee’s rights under the act. The poster must be on display by April 1st, 2020. You may download the poster at the following link:
Overview: All employees are eligible to take paid sick leave of up to 80 hours for full-time, or up to their average hours incurred over a 2 week period for part-time if they need to miss work due to one of the 6 reasons listed. The employee’s rate of pay will be either their full regular rate or 2/3 of their regular rate based on the reason for missing work. Additionally, for reason #5, an employee may be eligible for an additional 10 weeks of paid leave. It will be important for Employers to obtain documentation from their employees which would provide proof of eligibility for the reason they are taking the leave. Please see below for more in depth information.
There are six reasons that an employee may qualify for paid sick leave under this Act:
1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
3. The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
4. The employee is caring for an individual subject to an order described in #1 of self-quarantine as described in #2.
5. The employee is caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons.
6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified b the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
REQUIRED PAID SICK LEAVE:
For reasons 1-4, and 6:
A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, a part-time employee is eligible for up to the average number of hours they normally work over a two-week period.
For reason 5:
A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours per week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that they are normally scheduled to work over that period.
AMOUNT OF PAY:
For reasons 1, 2, and 3:
Full regular amount of pay (or applicable minimum wage whichever is higher) not to exceed $511/day and $5,110 overall (over a two-week period).
For reasons 4 & 6:
2/3 of employee’s regular rate (or 2/3 of the applicable minimum wage whichever is higher) not to exceed $200/day and $2,000 overall (over a two-week period).
For reason #5:
2/3 of employee’s regular rate (or 2/3 of the applicable minimum wage whichever is higher) not to exceed $200/day and $12,000 overall (over a twelve-week period; two weeks sick leave followed by 10 weeks under expanded Family and Medical Leave Act).
For employer’s with less than 50 employees, the DOL has the ability to exempt certain requirements under the act. The only guidance provided by DOL at this time is the following from their website:
Certain provisions may not apply to certain employers with fewer than 50 employees. See Department FFCRA regulations (expected April 2020).
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Wages paid under this act are exempt from Social Security Tax (employer and employee).
Employers are eligible for full reimbursement of the wages paid, plus employer paid health insurance, plus federal withholding, plus employer portion of medicare tax.
This credit will be applied against 941 payroll taxes and is refundable. The exact process is still under development.
SMALL BUSINESS HELP:
There are many programs being developed to aid small businesses at this time. Even though they are still under development you may start applying now at SBA.GOV
Your lender may be the best source of guidance with these programs listed below:
Economic Injury Disaster Loan - Low interest loan with up to a $10,000 advance.
Paycheck Protection Program – Loan provided to cover payroll and other operational expenses with possible loan forgiveness for proceeds used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll and other expenses following loan origination.
SBA debt relief – for those who already have 7(a) loans – SBA will pay principal and interest for 6 months.
SBA Express bridge loans – meant to bridge the gap while waiting for other SBA assistance.