MAR. 31, 2020
Update April 7, 2020: This article has been updated to include information about Google’s free ad credits that help small- and medium-sized businesses connect with customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As businesses strive to keep their customers and employees healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have had to shut down indefinitely, causing financial strain for everyone involved. Owners are wondering how to stay afloat when business has severely slowed or completely stalled, and they’re also unsure of how to support employees who aren’t allowed to work. There are a number of resources that help businesses of all sizes, from freelancers to corporations, during this trying time.
Tax Filing Extensions and Deferments
Taxes are now due on July 15 instead of April 15, giving businesses (and all taxpayers) extra time to file without paying interest or penalties. Additionally, corporations can defer up to $10 million of payments they owe to the IRS. The deferment is interest-free and lasts for 90 days.
Tax Credits and Exemptions
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for tax credits that will cover two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who are quarantined, have a sick family member, or are affected by school closings. Furthermore, the Labor Department may be able to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees from abiding by the paid-leave mandate if it poses a significant threat to the company.
The New CARES Act
The CARES Act is designed to “provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” There are a number of actions and resources for businesses (as well as individuals) included in the CARES Act, including
- Loan forgiveness
- Delayed tax payments
While this article includes some procedures from the act, there’s a lot more to know. Major news outlets are reporting CARES Act updates, and you may want to activate Google Alert for those stories to hear the latest information.
Learn more here.
U.S. Small Business Administration
President Trump has signed a bill to allow the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue approximately $7 billion in low-interest loans. Below are some of the main ways the SBA is able to support small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
This option is for businesses struggling to overcome economic and revenue losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Small business owners can apply for a loan of up to $10,000. The website also says that the loan program gives working capital loans of up to $2 million and that the loan advance will not have to be repaid. Find the application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan here.
Paycheck Protection Program
The goal of the Paycheck Protection Program is to help companies protect employees so they can keep their jobs. Small businesses and other organizations, like some nonprofits and independent contractors, may be eligible for the program, which includes
- Loans of up to $10 million
- Loan payments deferred for six months
- Partial loan forgiveness for businesses that maintain their workforce
You can learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program here. It seems that the best way to find out how to apply is to get in touch with your local SBA office.
SBA Debt Relief
Under the Debt Relief initiative, the SBA will pay the principal and interest on 7(a) loans. How long the SBA will make loan payments is based on when the loan was issued.
GrantSpace.org’s List of Grants and Financial Resources
GrantSpace.org has a dedicated page with emergency financial resources to help with hardships related to COVID-19. The list of grants is divided into categories, with specific resources for nonprofits and small businesses. The list is being updated as GrantSpace becomes aware of new opportunities.
Free Advertising for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
Three of the biggest internet platforms are helping small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) continue to run ads when budgets have dried up:
- Facebook: Facebook is giving $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for eligible small businesses.
- Google: Google is giving SMBs free ad credits that can be used through the end of the year. Visit this information page to find out if you qualify.
- Yelp: Yelp is supporting independent hospitality businesses, namely restaurants and nightlife venues, by waiving fees for advertising.
Help for Freelancers, Independent Contractors, and Gig Workers
Even when SMBs receive financial assistance, freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers often end up on their own, especially when they’re not eligible for unemployment. As part of the relief initiatives, people who are self-employed may be eligible for unemployment benefits. How much they’re able to receive depends on past income, and there’s also an additional $600 per week offered.
Note that some gig workers aren’t covered. For example, freelancers who can work from home and recent gig workers trying to find jobs are not eligible.
Free Google Ad Credits for Small and Medium Businesses
Google is giving $340 million in ad credits to small- and medium-sized businesses that have been advertising with the company since the beginning of 2019. Eligible businesses will receive an award notification in their ad accounts in the coming months. These ad credits can be used at any point until the end of 2020.
Final Thoughts: Tap Into Local Resources
In addition to staying on top of what the federal government is doing to help businesses get through this time of financial uncertainty, it pays to tune into what’s happening on a more local level. There are a lot of communities and organizations at the state, county, and city levels that are offering financial assistance programs, as well as free training and resources. Zenefits has a useful and thorough chart that lists different financial aid opportunities in each state.
AdvertiseMint will also continue to publish advice for businesses and professionals in navigating through the pandemic. Currently, we have tips for working remotely, making money as an influencer despite COVID-19 disruptions, and protecting oneself from the virus while working onsite. We also closely monitor Facebook’s press page for updates. We have covered delays in ad review due to COVID-19, grants for newsrooms and small businesses, and the list of COVID-19 ads and posts banned from the platform.
By Lindsay Pietroluongo