I am sure everyone at this point is experiencing information overload in regard to understanding what benefits small business and individuals alike may be eligible to receive from the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) and from the state of New Jersey.
Two sites I would strongly recommend you review are referenced below, the NJ.Gov site and the NJ Business & Industry Association site. They both provide excellent information in a format that is easy to follow and understand.
FEDERAL AID VIA CARES ACT
On their website, the NJ Business & Industry Association has assembled a detailed list of all the aid available through the CARES Act, including:
- Payroll Protection Program– Encourage businesses to retain their employees and to help pay for certain other operating expenses. (see below for more detail regarding the PPP)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs)– This existing program has been expanded to provide loans to not only businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but also to sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and to ESOPs. Note: A business can elect to apply for both of the above programs but cannot borrow for similar purposes from each. An analysis should be made of eligible loan criteria for both programs to avoid conflicts.
- Unemployment Benefits
- Business Tax Relief
NEW JERSEY STATE FINANCIAL AID
New Jersey has made financial aid available to small businesses via a number of programs, detailed on the NJ.Gov Business/Covid-19 website.
Note: At this time, New Jersey has allocated a specific amount of money for each program, so review the information soon so as to ensure you apply in time to receive any aid for which you may be eligible to receive before the money runs out.
PAYROLL PROTECTION PROGRAM and LOAN FORGIVENESS
The below explains the provisions under the PPP for partial or complete loan forgiveness.
The loan is forgiven at the end of the 8-week period after the loan is originated subject to the following requirements, and borrowers can choose which 8 weeks they want to count towards the covered period which can start as early as February 15, 2020. The amount of loan principal that may be forgiven is equal to the sum of expenses for payroll costs, and existing interest payments on mortgages entered into before February 15, 2020, rent payments on a lease entered into before February 15, 2020, and covered utility payments. The PPP Loan can be used for other business-related expenses, but that portion of the loan will not be forgiven. Any amount of loan forgiveness is excluded from taxable income. However, a borrower whose loan is forgiven is not eligible for the payroll tax payment deferral offered under Section 2302 of the Act.
Reductions in Loan Forgiveness – Number of Employees
The amount of loan forgiveness available to a business will be reduced if the business fails to maintain the same level of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) as it employed during certain time periods. The loan forgiveness will be reduced by multiplying the loan amount (L) by the ratio of reduced number of FTEs during the covered period (A) divided by one of the following:
The average number of FTEs between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019 (B1);
The average number of FTEs between January 1, 2020 and February 29, 2020 (B2); or
For seasonal employers, the average number of FTEs per month between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019 (B3).
Reductions in Loan Forgiveness – Salary and Wages
The loan forgiveness is also reduced by the amount of any reduction greater than 25% during the Covered Period of the wages the employee was paid during the most recent full quarter the employee received wages, and only for those employees who were paid an annualized salary of $100,000 or less during any single pay period during 2019.
Exemption for Re-Hired Employees
Businesses who have reduced the number of employees and/or salary or wages between February 15, 2020 and 30 days after March 27, 2020, but then re-hire the reduced employees and/or eliminate the reduction in salary or wages, will see a lower reduction in loan forgiveness in direct proportion to the number of re-hired employees and/or the amount of the salary or wage restoration.
Should you have any questions regarding the below information, or any other questions concerning your business and/or your workforce, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at MARZANO HUMAN RESOURCES CONSULTING.