President Trump recently signed the final version of the economic stimulus package. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides financial assistance to individuals and businesses and contains a number of provisions which are aimed at granting temporary relief. BBB provides information on the following programs available for businesses who may be struggling during the Covid-19 crisis.

“Applications should be available soon however, until the applications are available, it would be wise to begin gathering information on your company’s previous 12 months of payroll, utilities, rent, etc.,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas said. “You will need this information to apply for these programs once the forms and process are in place.”

About the Paycheck Protection Program: Section 7(a) of the CARES Act provides loans for businesses through the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during coronavirus can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance. The following are some of the highlights:

  • Small businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 employees, select businesses with fewer than 1,500 employees, some 501©(9) veteran organizations, self-employed, sole proprietors, freelance, and gig economy workers are eligible to apply.
  • Any pre-existing economic injury disaster loans borrowed between Jan 31, 2020 and the passing of the CARES Act may be refinanced under the new plan.
  • The loan cannot exceed the sum of 2.5 times the average monthly payroll cost during the year prior to the loan plus any pre-existing economic injury disaster loans from 2020.
  • The loan must be capped at $10 million and have an interest rate no greater than four percent.
  • Collateral and personal guarantees are not required.
  • To be eligible, the borrower must have been in operation on Feb. 15, 2020 and have paid employee salaries and payroll taxes.
  • These loans could be eligible for forgiveness, provided organizations use the loans to cover payroll, healthcare costs, rent and utility payments, mortgage interest. Any amount not forgiven will have a maximum maturity date of 10 years from the date the borrower applied for loan forgiveness.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Grant (EIDL)

If your business needs cash right away, once you have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Grant, you can request an emergency advance of up to $10,000. This is available to small businesses and private nonprofits to small businesses and private nonprofits and should be available within 3 days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you must first apply for the loan and then request the advance.

Express Bridge Loans

This is a pilot program which allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender up to $25,000. This loan can help a small business overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing while waiting for funds from an EIDL.

Small Business Debt Relief Loans These loans are available to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months.

Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit (ERC)

The Employee Retention Credit is a credit against an employer’s portion of payroll tax for an eligible business that is forced to suspend or close operations due to COVID-19, or otherwise has a significant revenue decrease, and continues to pay its employees while not currently working.

  • May receive a payroll tax credit of up to $5,000 for each employee on the payroll
  • Must either:

— Have business operations fully or partially suspended during the calendar quarter because of orders from a government authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19; or

— Have a reduction in revenue of at least 50 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019

  • The organization’s entire operations are considered when determining the decline in revenues.
  • Nonprofit organizations receiving emergency SBA Paycheck Protection Program 7(a) loans are not eligible for these payroll tax credits.

BBB Community Relief Fund

In an effort to help businesses who are struggling through this crisis and for ones they may face in the future, BBB Serving Central East Texas has launched the BBB Community Relief Fund for BBB Accredited Businesses. East Texas residents are encouraged to help ensure businesses in our communities thrive by helping with business expenses which are not forgiven by EIDLs. For more information please contact BBB at Relief@easttexas.bbb.org. For more information on SBA loans, go to sba.gov. For information on how to be a savvy consumer and business, go to bbb.org/coronavirus.

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.