COVID-19 Federal Resources

COVID-19 Federal Resources

President Signs Executive Orders: President Trump signed four executive orders over the weekend after Congress did not reach an agreement on the next stimulus bill. The first executive order extends enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of the year at a rate of $400 per week, of which the state will pay 25%, which will reduce the federal government’s obligation to $300 per week per recipient. The other three actions include a memorandum on a payroll tax holiday from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year; a memorandum extending the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums for homeowners and renters until at least August 31, 2020; and a memorandum on deferring student loan payments.

PPP Application Deadline Has Passed: The Small Business Administration (SBA) reminded lenders and borrowers that they are not able to process any new PPP loan application as of August 8. Congress is negotiating Phase 4 of the stimulus package, which could include another round of PPP funding.

PPP Forgiveness FAQ: 
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provided new guidance to address borrower and lender questions concerning forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The Frequently Asked Questions included which loan forgiveness application is best for sole proprietors or independent contractors as well as what payroll costs, such as employer-paid health care and retirements benefits, will be eligible for forgiveness. Click here for those FAQs

Guides and Resources from the U.S. Chamber

The U.S. Chamber continues to create, update, and evolve its various guides and resources to continue bringing you and your members the information you need during this difficult time. We encourage you to continue utilizing and sharing the following items as you see fit:

U.S. Chamber Webinar on What's to Come for Restaurants, Sports and Theaters: U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark this week talked with industry experts about how high-density events and spaces, such as movie theaters, restaurants, and sports leagues, are planning for reopening. Panelists included:

  • Michael Kaufman, Partner, Astor Group; and Former Chairman, National Restaurant Association
  • Rick Roman, Owner, Roman Theatre Management
  • Vice Admiral (Ret.) Raquel Bono, Director, Washington State COVID-19 Health System Response Management; and Former Director, Defense Health Agency

The panelists discussed what to expect the next time you eat at a restaurant, how social distancing will change choosing seats and grabbing popcorn at movie theaters, and how hard-hit Washington is approaching the reopening process. Click here to watch the full event.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Resources on COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses: The IRS has made available a host of resources to provide guidance and answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to the COVID-19 related tax credits required for paid leave policies provided by small and midsize businesses. The resources and the FAQ document can be found on their webpage here.

More Federal Funding Approved for Businesses: On Friday, April 24, the President is expected to sign a nearly $500 billion bill to replenish SBA loan programs, as well as provide funding for testing and hospitals. The agreement, which passed the House Thursday (April 23) and the Senate Tuesday (April 21), would include $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program; $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans fund; $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing. Passage of more coronavirus relief is likely in the weeks ahead.

White House Unveils Plan to Reopen America: On Thursday, April 16, President Trump released a three-phase plan to reopen businesses across the country. The plan will be implemented on a state-by-state basis at the Governors' discretion based on several factors including a downward trajectory of symptoms and cases, hospital availability and testing. The plan is based on up-to-date data and is designed to mitigate the risk of resurgence and protect the most vulnerable. Click here to view the complete plan. 

Federal Funding Announced for Kentucky Airports, Child Care Providers and Kentucky Schools: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made several announcements recently of funding for Kentucky airports, child care providers and schools through the CARES Act. Paducah’s Barkley Regional Airport will receive $1,086,134 as part of $77.2 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. The 55 Kentucky airports will receive funding through the Airport Improvement Program. Read more here.

Kentucky will receive more than $67.74 million to support child care providers during the coronavirus pandemic. The federal funding will be delivered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. Read more here.

Kentucky schools will receive $43,799,187 from the Department of Education to meet students’ and institutions’ needs. This funding will be delivered through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. Because of the unique challenges facing students, school districts, and colleges and universities, the CARES Act provides extraordinary flexibility to governors to use these emergency federal resources. After completing the application process, Governor Andy Beshear will be able to send funding to K-12 schools and higher education institutions based on the Commonwealth’s needs. Read more here.

U.S. Chamber Implementing a National Return to Work Plan Memorandum: The U.S. Chamber is outlining the organization’s initial thoughts on potential strategies for implementing a National Return to Work Plan detailed across three different sections: 1) Essential Services and Resources; 2) Resolution of Regulatory and Legal Liability Issues; and 3) Support for Businesses and Individuals. The U.S. Chamber hopes that by exploring and cataloguing some of the major implications of returning to work in this environment, they can help business and government better anticipate the challenges that may be faced.  Feedback on the document is invited and there are questions at the end of the memorandum to returntowork@uschamber.com. Click here to read the memorandum.

Direct Payments to Americans: The IRS announced that Economic Impact Payments will be distributed automatically to most people starting this past weekend. Payments are up to $1,200 per individual and $500 per child. Payments would start to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will receive the payments automatically. In the near future, those receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive their payment. For those who don’t normally file a tax return, including those with too little income to file, should use a new web tool, available only on IRS.gov, to register for faster payments using direct deposit. Click on “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here” for the tool. Otherwise, the payment will be mailed to you.

Kentucky College Students Receive $156 million from CARES Act: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Friday, April 10 that Kentucky colleges and universities will receive more than $156 million in emergency cash relief from the U.S. Department of Education to support students and institutions during the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Department of Education, this emergency financial aid can be used by students for course materials, technology, housing, food, healthcare and childcare costs. Murray State University will receive $6,270,769 and West Kentucky Community and Technical College will receive $2,444,515 for financial aid and support to students. Click here to read the press release from Leader McConnell.
 
Health and Human Services to Begin Immediate Delivery of Initial $30 Billion of CARES Act Provider Relief Funding:
On Friday, April 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began the delivery of the initial $30 billion in relief funding to providers in support of the national response to COVID-19 as part of the distribution of the $100 billion provider relief fund provided by the CARES Act.
 
The $100 billion of funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to coronavirus and to ensure uninsured Americans can get the testing and treatment they need without receiving a surprise bill from a provider. The initial $30 billion in immediate relief funds will begin being delivered to hospitals and providers across the United States that are enrolled in Medicare. Facilities and providers are allotted a portion of the $30 billion based on their share of 2019 Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers, and will not need to be repaid.

Treasury and Federal Reserve Board Announce New and Expanded Lending Programs to Provide up to $2.3 Trillion in Financing: 
A new program, the Main Street Business Lending Program, has been established for mid-size businesses facing temporary financial difficulties. This program will offer mid-sized businesses with up to 10,000 employees loans of up to $25 million, some of which may be forgiven. Businesses that were capped out of the PPP program’s 500 employees threshold can take advantage of this one. The second part of the program, a Municipal Liquidity Facility, also offers up to $500 billion in lending to states and municipalities. Click here to learn more.

U.S Chamber Updates on the Federal CARES Act: The U.S. Chamber has conducted several calls this week for Kentucky Chambers. Earlier this week Kevin Courtois, Executive Director of the Chamber’s Great Lakes Regional Office, led a joint conference call for members of the Paducah and Bowling Green Chambers.  On Wednesday, the Kentucky Chamber hosted a conference call with U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley. 
 
Click here for the presentation for both calls. 
To watch the call with Neil Bradley, click here.  

UPDATED - Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) FAQ's from the U.S. Department of Treasury: Click here for the latest FAQ document.

On Friday, April 10 the Department of Treasury updated the Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions. For quick reference the additional question asked is #21. 

21.  Question: Do lenders need a separate SBA Authorization document to issue PPP loans? Answer: No. A lender does not need a separate SBA Authorization for SBA to guarantee a PPP loan. However, lenders must have executed SBA Form 2484 (the Lender Application Form for the Paycheck Protection Program) to issue PPP loans and receive a loan number for each originated PPP loan. Lenders may include in their promissory notes for PPP loans any terms and conditions, including relating to amortization and disclosure, that are not inconsistent with Sections 1102 and 1106 of the CARES Act, the PPP Interim Final Rule and guidance, and SBA Form 2484.

On Wednesday, April 8 the Treasury Department released an updated FAQ document to address common inquiries and requests for information. For quick reference the two additions are questions #19 and #20:
 
19. Question: Do lenders have to use a promissory note provided by SBA or may they use their own? Answer: Lenders may use their own promissory note or an SBA form of promissory note.
20. Question: The amount of forgiveness of a PPP loan depends on the borrower’s payroll costs over an eight-week period; when does that eight-week period begin? Answer: The eight-week period begins on the date the lender makes the first disbursement of the PPP loan to the borrower. The lender must make the first disbursement of the loan no later than ten calendar days from the date of loan approval.
 
In addition to the FAQ document, the following resources provided by the Treasury Department and their webpage should provide additional information.

  • Here’s the overview of the program here.
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here.
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here.
  • The application for borrowers can be found here.

Additional documents available from the Department of the Treasury

If you have questions, please contact Sharron Johnson, KY SBA Lender Relations Specialist, for West Kentucky or call 502-276-7655. The SBA staff is working diligently to research and answer all questions and phone calls.

Updated Guides and Paycheck Protection Program Resources: The U.S. Chamber has updated their Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide & Checklist that outlines the steps small businesses, independent contractors, and gig economy workers should take now to access funds available through the CARES Act. The new legislation provides funding for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. 

The SBA issued an interim final rule late Thursday. The interim final rule lays out additional implementation guidelines and requirements for the PPP. The new rule provides greater clarity on several issues and changes the interest rate on loans made under the program from 0.5% to 1%, a change the American Bankers Association said would encourage banks of all sizes to participate in the program.

The U.S. Chamber guide will answer these questions...
Am I eligible? Plus a break down of some special rules that may make you eligible.
What will lenders be looking for? Plus what lenders will NOT look for.
How much can I borrow? And how to calculate your average monthly payroll costs.
Will this loan be forgiven? What it means when they say borrowers are eligible to have their loans forgiven.

Click here to track aid amounts by state.

Poster for Businesses: The Department of Labor is requiring this poster to be on display in your business as of 4-1-2020. Here is a downloadable link of the poster.

Federal News: Senator McConnell Unveils Coronavirus Response Portal to Assist Kentuckians. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced the creation of a Coronavirus Response Portal on his website to help Kentuckians who may have questions related to how the CARES Act will help their families, organizations, small businesses, and communities take advantage of the provisions in the legislation. The portal can be accessed by Kentucky families and small businesses owners who may have questions related to unemployment insurance, low-interest federal loans, federal taxes and relief checks, federal grants, and assistance for Kentuckians traveling or living abroad.
 
Click here to access the Coronavirus Response Portal, which includes information to many frequently asked questions. To watch the video from Leader McConnell, click here.

Federal CARES Act: 

4-6-2020 - Below is an infographic explaining, in simple terms and format, the two available loan options available through the CARES Act. Our goal is provide you with key information that enables you to understand the possibilities, make decisions, and most importantly, get back to your business!
 
Please share this information with other business owners. We want to remind everyone that our Chamber is not a health official or government official. Our goal is to share information that is accurate and unbiased in a timely manner.

**Please note there are daily changes by the Treasury Department and SBA on the PPP. As our local lenders are adjusting, please be patient with them! A few resource reminders:

  • Consult your local lender and accountant for specific questions and guidance on PPP
  • MSU Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development is available to provide consultation and other services for businesses. Their Guide Here
  • SBA EIDL loans are an online application at sba.gov/disaster

Here is a guide that should help answer questions about that program:
The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Fact Sheet

CARES Act Highlights include:

  • $349 billion small business “paycheck protection program” (see more info below)
  • Loan program and credit facility with $500 billion in assistance
  • Business tax provisions delaying payroll taxes. Employers and self-employed individuals would be allowed to defer payment of their employer share of the Social Security tax until Dec. 31. The deferred amounts would be paid over the following two years, with half of the amount required to be paid by Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half by Dec. 31, 2022.
  • Payments and relief for individuals up to $1,200 per individual and $500 per child. Payments would start to phase out for individuals with gross incomes more than $75,000, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify at all.
  • Pandemic unemployment assistance for those not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance
  • Increase of unemployment benefits of as much as $600 per week
  • Improved access to healthcare

Here is a summary of the bill by the US Chamber.

Helpful Resources:

Kentucky Bankers Association: Attached is more information from the Kentucky Bankers Association and other organizations about this new program and how it will work with the existing disaster loans provided by the SBA as well as other relief that local lenders can provide. 

Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act – The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance providing information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. This will help to address critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

Find more information below or click here.  
Fact Sheet for Employees
Fact Sheet for Employers
Questions and Answers
 
Guidance on Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave - The U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

For more information about these credits and other relief, visit Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted next week.

U.S. Extends Tax Filing Deadline to July 15: President Donald Trump has ordered the national income tax filing day be extended to July 15, 2020. The move was announced today by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and adds to the list of emergency measures being taken at the federal level to deal with COVID-19 and the financial situation surrounding the pandemic. "All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties," Mnuchin wrote in a Tweet announcing the move. The new date is three months later than the normal deadline for Americans to send in their returns.

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