How the CARES Act Can Help Your Business
I touched base with my accountant a few weeks ago, when the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress. Like many of you, I’m also a small business, and the CARES Act has provisions to help individuals and businesses through these challenging times. The bill allocates about $560 billion to individuals and $377 billion to small businesses.
For individuals, you’re probably aware of the direct cash available through the CARES Act—most individuals earning less than $75,000 a year can receive a one-time payment of $1,200, and families can get an additional $500 per child. These payments are based on either your 2018 or 2019 tax filings. As income increases, the money decreases, and disappears completely for individuals making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000.
The CARES Act also makes changes to unemployment benefits, increasing the assistance and broadening who is eligible. States will still pay unemployment benefits to those who qualify; the amount varies by state, as does the amount of time people are allowed to claim it. But the bill will add $600 per week from the federal government on top of the base amount a worker receives from the state. That added amount will last for four months.
Importantly, especially for many in the tennis business, the CARES Act creates a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of this year specifically for self-employed people, freelancers and contractors who normally can’t apply for unemployment.
For small businesses, the main features of the CARES Act are emergency grants and forgivable loans for companies with 500 or fewer employees. The bill provides $10 billion for emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide funds for small businesses so they can cover immediate operating costs.
The $350 billion allocated for forgivable loans are through the Small Business Association and can provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Provided workers stay employed through the month of June, then the portions of that loan are used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage or existing debt may be forgiven.
There are a lot of other features to the CARES Act, and you should go online to check out what benefits might be available for you and your business and to apply. Useful documents include The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act and the Coronavirus: Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources.
Make sure you look at all the assistance that may be available—federal, state and local—to help you and your business through this unprecedented time. As we all try to make sense of what this pandemic will do to our lives and our livelihoods, the fact that we’re all in this together can help us all get through this together.
Peter Francesconi is the editor of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.
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