Provided by Whitlock Wealth Management
The economic shutdown that we’ve endured as a nation has created significant challenges for small business owners. Even those that were thriving before the crisis are not immune to the effects of a sustained closure or limitation on how they operate.
Millions of American small business owners worry about being able to pay bills or even stay in business during this challenging period. If you’re one of them, you’re likely wondering how assistance from the U.S. government can help. Here is information on three programs that may be available to you, depending on your circumstances:
#1 – The Paycheck Protection Program
This was a major element of the fiscal stimulus act passed by Congress, designed to help small businesses. You can apply through a bank for a government loan to help keep your business operating. If the funds are used to cover payroll costs and other necessary expenses like rent and utilities, the loan may be forgiven in part or entirely. This program works best if you are still able to keep your business operating and some of your staff employed. If you’ve been forced to shut down completely and laid off your workforce without a clear idea of when you can be up and running again, it may prove less beneficial. Congress has added more funding for the program, but the demand for loans among businesses is strong, and to date only a finite amount of dollars are available.
#2 – Employee Retention Credit
If you have continued to pay wages to employees even through your business income declined significantly compared to last year, you may be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit. You qualify if your business was fully or partially suspended by the government due to COVID-19 during a calendar quarter, or if your gross receipts are below 50 percent of what you earned in a comparable quarter last year. The credit equals 50 percent of qualifying wages paid up to $10,000 per employee, beginning for wages paid after March 12, 2020 and before Jan. 1, 2021. Be sure to consult with your tax advisor to find out if you qualify.
#3 – Social Security Tax Deferral
If cash flow is an issue, you can defer deposits of the employer’s share of Social Security payroll taxes or, if you are self-employed, a portion of self-employment taxes. Deferred tax payments apply to payroll effective March 27, 2020 and ending Dec. 31, 2020. Deposit of the 6.2% employer share of Social Security tax due can be deferred. 50% of the deferred tax payments will be due on December 31, 2021, with the remaining half due Dec. 31, 2022. Be sure to consult with your tax advisor.
Take time to assess where you stand
Government programs can only go so far in helping to keep your business viable. Carefully assess factors such as your available resources, access to lines of credit through your lending institution, and ways to adjust your business for the environment that likely lies ahead.
It also pays to talk to your financial advisor about whether your personal financial plan needs to be adjusted to account for what may be changing circumstances for your business. This is clearly a time for review and action to keep your business and your personal financial life on track.
Bennett C. Whitlock III, CRPC®, is a Private Wealth Advisor and CEO with Whitlock Wealth Management, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC . He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 25 years. To contact him visit whitlockwealth.com, call 877-WHITLOCK or email [email protected]. Offices are located at 12848 Harbor Drive, Suite 101, Lake Ridge, VA 22192 and in Downtown Historic Manassas at 9073 Center Street, Manassas VA 20110.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.
Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.
Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.