Being in Demand During Unprecedented Times

Being in Demand During Unprecedented Times

Being in Demand During Unprecedented Times


With PPP Forgiveness guidelines still needing clarity and coronavirus continuing to rage on… What can you do now to be the super-hero at the end of the day?

The guidelines are still murky on PPP Forgiveness, clients are nervous about having to pay back the loan while trying to stay in business and the coronavirus is still raging on… and you are being sought out as the professional in this field. What can you do now to be the super-hero at the end of the day?

With more than 4 million small businesses participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), many are waiting to hear what the next step is. Meanwhile, unanswered questions are causing concern such as what are the potential tax problems for the loan I received? or am I meeting the requirements for loan forgiveness? and the list goes on. However, there has never been a higher demand for accountants as these business owners seek someone to help them prepare. 

What can you do to help your clients?

  • Be educated and keep updated: We are all in uncharted territory so new guidelines will continue to be revealed as we progress through the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn. Review provided resources like the AICPA tool that was created to help automate the PPP loan forgiveness process and the AICPA state filing tax relief chart. The PPP Forgiveness Tool states it will be updated to reflect additional guidance as its given, however, the tool is not currently updated. Likely it is because a second PPP initiative is currently in discussions to relax the forgiveness requirements for loans up to $100,000 to $150,000. AICPA stated they will update the latest state relief chart for you to download as developments happen. The current as of when this blog is written is dated 7/17/20.
  • Prepare in advance: Think ahead and create a strategy. Some CPA experts are recommending to their clients to defer income into next year and increase expenses this year for next year if possible. On a personal note, prepare yourself and get your CPE credits done while you have time, organize your office, and potentially prepare to hire help.
  • Communicate and be honest with your clients: Unfortunately, we can’t always give our clients the firm answers they seek but you can let them know that you are staying on top of the updates news from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), IRS and government. One thing for sure you can tell them is how important it is more than ever to keep receipts and documentation as well as, keep current on bookkeeping now because you know you’ll be busy when final guidance is given and filing is required.
  • Mark your calendar when specific release dates are given: Although some timelines get pushed back, a notification will at least serve as a reminder to check in on the updates. For instance, Congress goes into recess on Aug 8th and the SBA will not begin accepting PPP forgiveness submissions from lenders until it goes live on Aug 10th. There currently is not a deadline date to have the application for forgiveness submitted but guidelines state the submission must be completed before 10 months after the end of the covered period. If it is not submitted, the loan needs to be repaid.

Sources:

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/508546-thanks-to-the-ppp-small-business-owners-could-face-a-huge-tax-bill-this-year
https://www.americanbanker.com/news/leaked-ppp-forgiveness-plan-leaves-bankers-wanting

https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/jul/ppp-loan-forgiveness-tips.html
https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/jul/aicpa-tool-automates-ppp-loan-forgiveness-process.html#:~:text=A%20new%2C%20free%20tool%20developed,Protection%20Program%20(PPP)%20loans.&text=Borrowers%20or%20their%20CPA%20advisers,fill%20out%20the%20forgiveness%20application.

 

 

Covid Lawsuits and Claims Against Employers Increasing Nationwide

Covid Lawsuits and Claims Against Employers Increasing Nationwide

Covid Lawsuits and Claims Against Employers Increasing Nationwide

Watch out! Among everything else employers are facing during this pandemic to stay afloat, you can add liability lawsuits to the list. 

“Did you know that, “As of mid-June, more than 230 lawsuits directly related to labor and employment violations have been filed (including 30 class action suits). California leads the nation with 32 employment lawsuits already filed.” – Littler

As businesses are struggling to stay open and operational, the workplace liability lawsuits are piling up in the courts nationwide. It’s imperative for employers to stay up to date with federal, state, and local regulations during the pandemic to make sure they have an understanding of their employee’s rights.

There various types of lawsuits currently being filed against employers, but we wanted to inform all of you of the top 3 being seen across the nation.

Top 3 Types of COVID Lawsuits Against Employers:

1. Paid Leave Claims – Employers are seeing a rise in claims from employees alleging they were denied leave they were entitled to by way of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Employers need to makes sure their leave programs coordinate with these new regulations.
2. Discrimination Claims – Americans with Disabilities Act, which governs what medical information employers can seek from employees. With that said, laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, pregnancy, and other bases are areas employers should be careful. Particularly where employers are beginning to return their employees to the workforce, they should be mindful of potential legal “pitfalls” even where they believe they are acting in an employee’s best interests.
3. RIFS and Downsizing ClaimsEmployers that have been forced to downsize their workforces should be mindful of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. Under the WARN Act, employers may be required to provide 60 days’ notice to workers when they are laid off for an extended period, or when the employer closes its business. It is unclear as to what exemptions they may have when related to Covid-19.

 

We know that some of you may have HR questions relating to complying with Covid workplace regulations, so we wanted to present a resource for our CPA MOMS community.

We have partnered nationally with ADP who is a trusted advisor in the HR/Payroll industry and it’s their priority to ensure you have the proper tools and expertise necessary to safely re-open and maintain your business. Our national rep, Rachel, is helping clients cut costs and gain access to more hands-on support during this tumultuous time.

If you are interested in setting up a free consultation or getting more information, please fill out the contact form and she will get in touch you as soon as possible: CPA MOMS ADP Contact Form

 

Sources:
https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/covid-19-lawsuits-and-claims-increasing-courts-nationwide

 

 

President Trump Signs 5 Week PPP Application Extension into Law

President Trump Signs 5 Week PPP Application Extension into Law

President Trump Signs 5 Week PPP Application Extension into Law

Extended at the final hour! With a new application deadline, there is clarity on the PPP forgiveness guidelines. 

The President officially signed a five-week extension for PPP loan applications with a new deadline of August 8th. With approximately $130 billion of funding remaining, this is a huge opportunity for small business owners to access funding as the surge in COVID cases may case another partial or full shut down. With the new application deadline, we finally get more clarity to prepare for your work ahead. 

Guideline Update Highlights:

1. A borrower may apply for forgiveness any time on or before the maturity date of its loan – including prior to the end of its applicable covered period – if the borrower has used all the loan proceeds for which it is requesting forgiveness.
2. Borrowers that choose to apply for forgiveness prior to the end of their applicable covered period and who have reduced salaries or hourly wages for employees in excess of 25% must calculate such reductions for the full length of the covered period.
3. If a borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness within ten months after the last day of the covered period, or if the SBA determines that the loan is not eligible for forgiveness (in whole or in part), the borrower must begin paying principal and interest. If this occurs, the lender must notify the borrower of the date the first payment is due.

With the extension for PPP applications and the ease of forgiveness regulations, we are expecting to see a jump in applications during the next 5 weeks. Though some borrowers are finding it hard to match with lenders, the SBA launched their new lender matching tool which should help speed up their process in receiving funding.
(see prior blog post regarding the SBA Lender Matching Tool)

Congress has indicated that an additional COVID relief package will be considered in mid-July. As we receive more information regarding that relief we will be sure to keep you updated.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2020/07/08/ppp-loan-program-extended-loan-data-released-what-small-businesses-need-to-know/#43b77dfd7f11 
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/ppp-updates-borrower-details-released-application-extension-revisions-to-forgiveness

 

Senate Passes 5 Week Extension on PPP Applications

Senate Passes 5 Week Extension on PPP Applications

Senate Passes 5 Week Extension on PPP Applications

No rest for weary! Great news for your clients but it could take away what’s left of your summer. Hang in there, it’s almost over!

The U.S. Senate passed a five-week extension of the PPP on Tuesday night.  It was supposed to end on June 30, i.e. June 30 was the last day for small businesses to apply for PPP funds.  But it’s been extended until Aug. 8.  https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/jul/senate-approves-5-week-ppp-extension.html

Highlights:

1. There is approximately $129 billion in PPP funding remaining which will allow small business owners more time to apply.
2. The extension move the application deadline from June 30th to August 8th
3. There is talk by members of the senate that the next step should be to pass a second round of PPP loans to aid the smallest businesses with the most need.

Much has been asked of our accounting community in relationship to the government CARES Act program. Many of you are worn out from the effort and the idea of starting a new PPP loan while meeting the 7/15 tax deadline sounds as appealing as getting a root canal without novocaine. That being said, we believe there are a large number of accountants and entrepreneurs that have not taken advantage of this government funded program.

We noticed some discussion about the ethics of accepting this funding if you couldn’t show a direct “hardship”.  Our position is that if you are small business owner or professional service provider supporting your clients through this time, you have very likely experienced hardship. If you are an accountant, and you had to invest in educating yourself, you added additional support and services to your clients, relocated yourself or anything else, you have likely experienced hardship.

It has gotten much easier to apply (see previous blog post that provides a new bank matching tool), and the rules are clearer, so keep in mind that this is as close to obtaining a grant for a for-profit business that we’ll ever see. For so many small businesses, it is worth the extra effort. I encourage you to consider this for yourself and to share this with your clients that did not yet apply

PPP Application Deadline 6/30/20 – Use SBA Lender Matching Tool

PPP Application Deadline 6/30/20 – Use SBA Lender Matching Tool

PPP Application Deadline 6/30/20 – Use SBA Lender Matching Tool

Too Little Too Late? With the Short Deadline, SBA Finally Launches a Lender Matching Tool to Make it Easier for Small Businesses to Access Funding. 

The SBA’s Lender Match resource is meant for pandemic-affected small businesses who haven’t applied for or received an approved PPP loan. It connects small businesses trying to access PPP funds with lenders before the loan application deadline of June 30, 2020.

How it Works:

“Within two business days after entering their information into the Lender Match platform, a borrower receives an email from lenders who have been matched with them. The borrower can see lenders’ requests for them to begin an application.  Borrowers are then able to begin the application process directly from the email they receive.”

Lender Match was on pause due to CARES Act implementation priorities and loan volume. It is now being reinstated for CDFIs and other Small Asset Lenders.  Leads will only be forwarded to CDFIs and Lenders with < $10b in assets until the PPP program ends on June 30, 2020, at which time Lender Match will be open to all participating SBA Lenders.  Lender Match not only connects borrowers with accessing PPP loans, but also other SBA lending products, such as 7(a), 504, Microloans, and Community Advantage loans which are currently offering debt relief.”

 

“SBA Rolls Out Dedicated Tool for Small Businesses to Connect with CDFIs, Small Asset Lenders Participating in PPP: The U.S. Small Business Administration.” Small Business Administration, 19 June 2020, www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-rolls-out-dedicated-tool-small-businesses-connect-cdfis-small-asset-lenders-participating-ppp?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

NEW PPP Guidance for the Self-Employed!

NEW PPP Guidance for the Self-Employed!

NEW PPP Guidance for the Self-Employed!

SBA Announces Full Forgiveness for Self-Employed Borrowers

As always, PPP stuff is ever-changing.

The SBA announces full forgiveness for SELF-EMPLOYED borrowers and releases the new PPP Loan Forgiveness application as well as the EZ Loan Forgiveness application. What do these new applications include that make life easier for borrowers? Let’s take a look…

Here’s a Forbes article explaining the forgiveness rules for the SELF-EMPLOYED:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianthompson1/2020/06/17/sba-finally-clarifies-ppp-loan-forgiveness-rules-full-forgiveness-for-self-employed-borrowers/#3f617b186741

That’s key for the SELF-EMPLOYED, who previously with the 8-week time period were limited to 8/52 of their 2019 Schedule C Net Income; now with the new 24 week time period, they can use the original amount from their loan application of 2019 Schedule C Net Income / 12 x 2.5.  That’s lovely for the self-employed.

Now what we’d really like is future guidance on owner compensation for owner-employees (i.e. S-Corp owners), who are still officially limited to the 8/52, although this article makes the assumption that the 2.5 calculation should apply to S-corp owners, we’d really like it to be spelled out instead of an assumption.

New applications, Fewer Calculations, and Less Documentation Bring New Questions

The revised PPP Loan Forgiveness Application is out and is down to 5 pages from 11 pages. In the revised version, Page 1 with the Loan Forgiveness Calc is the same as before, but the Certification includes language about the 24-week Covered Period being used and that the 2.5 calc ($100,000 of 2019 compensation / 12 x 2.5) = $20,833 cap per individual and that if the 8-week Covered Period is used, then the 8/52 calculation cap applies.

Once again, this is where they specifically mention employee or SELF-EMPLOYED individual/general partner but NOT an S-corp shareholder.

The Newly released applications consisted of a revised full loan application and the EZ loan application. The new EZ loan application applied to:

  • SELF-EMPLOYED borrowers with no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number of hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

Here is a link to the SBA summary of the Loan Forgiveness Application revisions as well as a link to download the instructions and applications themselves:  https://content.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/PPP%20Loan%20Forgiveness%20Application%20%28Revised%206.16.2020%29.pdf

Here’s one final link to a new summary from the Journal of Accountancy, which includes 2 additional links to both the revised Loan Forgiveness Application and the EZ Loan Forgiveness Application for SELF-EMPLOYED with no employees: https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/jun/ppp-loan-forgiveness-applications.html

We will release all the updated information this week as it becomes public, so make sure you check back for updates!