We’re getting an unprecedented amount of calls and emails regarding the various stimulus and relief legislation that’s been rolling out, so I thought it might be best that I set up a page dedicated to this information, and promise to update it as I gather additional information.
I’m splitting this into three categories – Stimulus Checks, Paycheck Protection Program (Small Business Loans), and Expanded Unemployment. If and/or when new legislation is passed, I’ll add additional categories.
Stimulus Checks (Individuals) – last update 3/30
Most of this has been covered fairly well by the media, but each taxpayer should receive a $1,200, one-time stimulus payment, and $500 per child. The $1,200 phases out based on your reported Adjusted Gross Income (AGI; on your 2019 Form 1040, this would be the amount reported on line 8b) as well as your filing status.
At last estimate, Federal Treasury Secretary Mnuchin thought these checks would be direct deposited to individuals within 3 weeks, but others are saying that’s a fairly aggressive estimate. ( https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/29/politics/treasury-secretary-steve-mnuchin-stimulus-checks/index.html )
While there is no official guidance from the IRS posted on their dedicated coronavirus page, I’ve seen several news sources say that the IRS will be using your 2019 AGI if you’ve already filed, and your 2018 AGI if you have not yet filed, so I am recommending to everyone to go ahead and get your tax forms filed if you can…even if you don’t owe any money. Lots of tax firms (Turbo Tax, H&R Block, etc have free-file options if you have uncomplicated returns). If yours are more complicated, and you need help, reach out and we can either get you a quote, or provide you with a referral to tax experts in your situation.
If you think you’re fairly close to the phase out limits (75k for single, 150k for married. 112.5k for head of household), you are welcome to use the below calculator to estimate your payment.
TL;DR Sum-Up – Get your 2018 or 2019 personal taxes filed, make sure the IRS has the correct bank account information (if you e-file/e-pay) or mailing address (if you filed via postal mail). Otherwise, no action needed or recommended at this time.
Payroll Protection Program (Small Businesses) – last update 4/1
The CARES Act rolled out a new loan/grant program designed to get small businesses the working capital that they need in order to keep folks on the payroll and to help out with fixed payment items like payroll, rent expense or mortgage interest, utilities expenses, or other loan interest on pre-covid loans. At a very high level, a bank will loan you 2.5x’s your average monthly payroll costs, and so long as you spend the loan proceeds on the fixed payment items mentioned, those amounts will be forgiven under a federal “grant.” Any remaining balance on the loan will be switched over to a “regular” loan, with interest capped at 4% and up to a 10 year term. Payments on this loan can be deferred for 6-12 months. No collateral or personal guaranty needed.
EIG.org posted a good summary of the main points of this program.
I’ve talked to a few local (Tulsa and surrounding areas) banks today, and have received some limited information on what will be required. Applications can start being submitted this Friday, April 3rd, so BHC is officially open for business if you need some help filling out the application and compiling the information they need to go along with it. I DO have a calculator available here that should help you estimate the amount of loan you would be eligible for, as well as an estimation of the “grant” amount vs amount you would need to pay back. Banks are to begin accepting applications as early as April 3rd.
TL; DR Sum Up: The Feds have made money available to small business owners to keep folks on payroll. Applications for funds can be submitted starting April 3rd. Use the calculator , and if you think this fits your business situation, and you want BHC to help you fill out and gather required documents, we’d love to help. We’re charging a flat fee of $200 for this service, to cover our labor costs. Fee is due upon loan approval or rejection. (We cannot guarantee your application will be accepted, but we will do our best to let you know up front if we think you do not qualify). We are currently compiling a list of participating lenders.
Expanded Unemployment – last update 4/1
The CARES Act expanded existing state unemployment programs to provide an additional $600 on top of the state-calculated benefit. It also expanded unemployment to cover self-employed, independent contractors, and gig workers. It removed the one-week waiting period before benefits kick in, and right now, the OESC (Oklahoma Employment Security Commission) is waiving the work-search requirement.
Right now, the OESC offices are closed to the public, and they are asking everyone to file their claims online. But…their online claim tool is not really ready to accept claims from anyone that is a non-traditional employee (ie. self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, etc). It’s been my experience that their phone lines are overwhelmed, and I was unable to reach an agent. However, Robin Roberson, Executive Director was nice enough to provide a document that might provide additional info.
Below is a tweet from the OESC Executive Director on the morning of 4/1 around 9:30am…they are working as quickly as they can, but it’s not just Oklahoma who is behind.
However, she also recommended that people go ahead and file, even if they get denied, so they have the claim and the claim date in the system.
Oklahoma OESC COVID FAQ Page
Department of Labor COVID FAQ Page
TL; DR Sum Up: Go ahead and get your claim started here. ( https://unemployment.state.ok.us/W2.aspx ). If you’re a part of the newly expanded eligibility list (contractors, gig workers, self-employed), there’s a good possibility that your claim will be denied, but at least you’ll have a claim number and claim date for when the system can handle expanded eligibility.