Health and government officials the world over are working around the clock to maintain the health and safety of their citizens. For small businesses, there’s a growing number of relief programs, including financial assistance, to help them through these difficult times.
To help companies stay afloat and keep economies ticking along, many governments are now offering small business assistance. This includes:
For many, cash flow can be a major issue. If you are worried about your finances, be sure to speak to your bank as soon as you can. They should be able to offer various options. After all, those companies that treat their customers well now will reap the benefits in the long run.
Many countries have different policies at a national level and at state or local authority level. So please remember to explore all the options to see what support is available to you.
In addition, big tech companies are donating free advertising to the World Health Organization and government agencies.
Facebook has announced a $100 million program to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries. And Google is giving SMBs worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across Google Ads.
Many small businesses may be in the same boat as you. With so many applications for small business assistance to be processed, there’s bound to be a lag period before anyone will receive anything. So don’t delay. Start researching what you could be entitled to now.
Depending on where you are in the world, you’ll find this list Of COVID-19 small business relief programs useful.
The US has a variety of programs on offer including an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Loan Advance Program, which allows you to apply for a low-interest loan to provide economic support to cover a temporary loss of revenue.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
There are export loans available to small businesses that export directly overseas, or those that export indirectly by selling to customers that then export their products.
For individuals and businesses with tax payments under $10 million, the federal tax return filing deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020. Many states are now aligned to this new federal deadline, too.
There is also a growing number of state specific programs. However, for many of these, you will need to demonstrate that you have lost at least 25% of your revenue due to COVID-19. In addition, there may be restrictions on the number of employees and revenue size to be eligible.
Here are a few of the most notable examples:
COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund. Small businesses with up to 5 employees can apply for up to $10,000 in emergency funding to help cover rent and employee salaries, as long as revenue doesn’t exceed $2.5 million.
Small Business Emergency Microloan Program. Small businesses providing low-income jobs can get emergency microloans of $5,000 to $20,000. You must have “reasonable and responsible” individual credit history, and commit to use the loan for working capital only. For loans from six months to one year, the interest rate is 0% and for five-year loans, the rate is from 3% to 5%.
The Microfinance Guarantee Program is available to stimulate access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Florida by providing targeted guarantees to loans made to such entrepreneurs and small businesses. Funds appropriated to the program must be reinvested and maintained as a long-term and stable source of funding for the program.
Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program. This program will distribute $5,000 grants to up to 1,000 businesses with four or fewer employees in low- and moderate-income areas of the city that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and could most benefit from a grant. Applications are available now and will be open until 5:00pm on Monday, May 4. Grants will be distributed via a lottery, with winners equitably distributed across business types and eligible Community Areas based on population.
Options available to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:
Deferring by up to six months the payment date of amounts due through the business activity statement (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, fringe benefits tax assessments and excise.
Allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting in order to get quicker access to GST refunds they may be entitled to.
Allowing businesses to vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter.
Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters.
Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities.
Working with affected businesses to help them pay their existing and ongoing tax liabilities by allowing them to enter into low interest payment plans.
Launching on 4 May 2020, the Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.
Employers registered with the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system can apply for up to 80% of employee wages, up to £2,500 per month per employee, under the Job Retention Scheme. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant and is initially for three months,but may be extended.
While VAT and Income Tax payments will be deferred, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is offering SMEs access to loans of up to £5 million and for up to six years.
In addition, there are other measures including small business grant funding of £10,000, plus grants of £25,000 for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses.
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic, and protect the jobs Canadians depend on.
The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee's wages – up to $847 per week - for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.
The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
In addition, the Work-Sharing program is designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs. And the Business Credit Availability Program will make more than $10 billion available to Canadian businesses for financing, whilst deferring tax payments until August 31, 2020.
Under the Business FInance Guarantee Scheme, businesses with annual revenue between $250,000 and $80 million can apply to their banks for loans up to $500,000, for up to three years. The scheme will offer a total of $6.25 billion in loans to New Zealand businesses.
Government is guaranteeing 80% of the risk, while the banks are covering the remaining 20%. A normal lending process will be followed by the banks, which will make the lending decisions. Further details can be found on the banks' websites.
The Wage Subsidy Scheme helps employers and workers affected by COVID-19. Eligibility criteria includes revenue being down by at least 30% and the retention of named employees for the period of the subsidy.
There are also a number of other measures covered by the Business Continuity Package to assist businesses struggling due to this outbreak.
There are a number of economic measures now in place, including a Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to help enterprises retain their local workers.Under the JSS, the Government will co-fund the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each local employee for 9 months. In addition, wage support for the month of Apr and May 2020 will be topped-up to 75% for all sectors to support firms during the ‘circuit breaker’ period. This will continue to be paid on the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to local employees. months.
To assist firms with cash flow, a Corporate Income Tax rebate has been announced for 2020. It grants companies a rebate of 25% of tax payable, capped at $15,000. Several tax treatments under the corporate tax system have also been enhanced for one year.
As announced at Solidarity Budget 2020, the Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL) was enhanced to help small businesses with their working capital needs. The maximum loan quantum was raised from $300,000 to $1 million. Risk-share was also increased to 90% (from 50% and 70% for young companies) for new applications initiated from 8 April 2020 until 31 March 2021.
Please also check out our website to see other ways that we are supporting small businesses.
COVID-19 is impacting on every area of our lives—from work to travel, shopping, to schools, and even eating out. However, it will not beat us. Together, we’ll get through this. Stay strong and be safe.
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