Businesses worldwide suffered nearly insurmountable losses during the COVID pandemic. Many were forced to shut their doors, while others had to submit to strict changes to their normal protocols. Often they had to pay employees to stay home with their children or endure mandatory quarantine periods.
The government created many different COVID relief programs to help businesses stay afloat and retain their employees during this difficult time. Much of the world has returned to business as usual, but many companies continue to deal with the pandemic and the aftermath of quarantine lockdowns.
This guide explains some of the most popular COVID relief programs, such as the ERC, and it gives businesses tips for applying for help. You are not alone if your business was affected by COVID, and there is support out there to help you.
Types of COVID Relief
The federal government created many several COVID relief programs designed to help different sectors with varying circumstances. Here is some detail about three of the most popular programs.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
PPP loans provided eligible businesses with low-interest loans to help them avoid laying off their employees. The government authorized up to $669 billion in funding for these loans. The first round provided eligible businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations with 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs, up to $10 million. The second round provided up to 3.5 times average monthly payroll costs.
PPP loans were backed by the government but funded through a vast range of lenders around the country. These loans had only a 1% interest rate, but businesses that could prove they used at least 60% of the funds for payroll costs and the rest for critical expenses such as rent and utilities can have their loans forgiven. PPP loans are no longer available, but businesses that received these loans can still apply for loan forgiveness.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are government-backed loans available to businesses and qualifying organizations in areas that have suffered some kind of catastrophe. This normally applies to areas hit by natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornados, but the government extended COVID-19 EIDLs to businesses from all over the country affected by COVID.
These loans featured a 3.75% fixed interest rate for businesses and a 2.75% fixed rate for nonprofits with a 30-year term and no prepayment penalties or fees. Companies can use the funds to cover any of their working capital needs, including payroll costs, health care benefits, utilities, lease payments, fixed debt payments, and other operating expenses.
Employee Tax Credit
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a refundable tax credit to incentivize employers to keep their employees on the payroll. The credit is worth up to 50% of the qualified wages paid to employees, and if you qualify, the government credits your employment tax account. Businesses that earn credits that exceed their required payroll deposits can get advanced payments from the IRS.
Businesses can only qualify for this credit if they had at least a 50% reduction in gross receipts between a quarter in 2020 and the same quarter in 2019. They can earn the credit on wages and health care costs paid that quarter, and the credit continues for every quarter after that until they reach 80% of the gross revenues from the same calendar quarter the year before.
These three COVID relief programs have different purposes. PPP loans are designed to help businesses with reduced sales keep their employees on board. The EIDL COVID relief program helps businesses stay on top of their expenses, whether they’re employee-related or not. The ERC rewards firms that have retained their employees despite significant drops in revenue.
How to Apply for COVID Relief Programs
Applying for COVID relief programs can be complicated, but you risk losing out on valuable resources that could allow you to keep your doors open if you don’t apply. Here are three steps to help your business apply for these programs:
1. Determine If You Qualify
Each of these COVID relief programs has different qualifications. Spend some time reading about each program to determine if your business or organization meets the eligibility requirements.
2. Gather Required Documentation
The documents you need vary based on the loan you’re applying for. The ERC, for example, requires you to show a reduction in gross receipts and prove that you paid employees during the time in question. You need your payroll statements as well as records from your point-of-sale or bookkeeping software.
3. Submit the Application
You need to fill out the application and submit it once you have determined that you meet the requirements and have gathered the supporting documents. Consider working with a specialist to ensure that you don’t overlook any of the details requested on the application.
These are the basic steps, but the exact application process varies based on the type of COVID relief you’re requesting. Employers can apply for the ERC through an online form. EIDLs can be requested directly from the Small Business Administration (SBA), while PPP loans were processed through conventional lenders.
Contact ERC Today for Help Obtaining Employee Retention Credits
Many companies worked hard to stay open through the pandemic amid the uncertainty of COVID mutations, and many committed to keeping their employees on the payroll. The Employee Retention Credit is one form of COVID relief that can help you offset the cost of keeping your team together, but if you don’t apply, you risk missing out on this valuable resource.
ERC Today can help you apply to earn a credit against wages you’re paying now as well as wages that you have already paid. Filling out the forms on your own can be time-consuming and confusing. Contact us at ERC Today and we will help you get the credit to offset damage to your business.