Do’s and Don’ts of New CARES Loans

If you are a business owner, I hope that you applied for your CARES loan! 

Professionally and personally, COVID-19 has had a dramatic, and often devastating, impact in our daily lives. Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in an attempt to help businesses stay afloat.  HOWEVER… there are strings attached, and eligibility criteria has recently changed.  Let’s make sure you understand the risks!

This blog will focus on the Small Business Debt Relief Program and the Paycheck Protection Program.  Keep in mind, however, that there are a number of other assistance programs, such as the Emergency Economic Injury Grants, as well as recently rolled-out Main Street Loan programs, to consider as well.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):  an SBA-administered loan that may be forgiven provided specific criteria are met. Many entities are ineligible to apply.

  • Do document the adverse impacts of the current environment on your business.
  • Do ensure you can make the required program certifications in good faith.
  • Do follow all guidelines carefully:  compliance will determine whether your loan can be forgiven.
  • Do maintain payroll and keep detailed records.
  • Don’t use this loan for individual employee/owner compensation over $100,000.
  • Don’t use this loan to compensate employees who reside outside of the United States.
  • Don’t lay off, furlough, or reduce the salaries of employees who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the PPP.

The Small Business Debt Relief Program:  an SBA-administered emergency source of funding up to $10,000, as of May 7 capped at $150,000 and limited to farmers and agriculture businesses.

  • Do apply for this loan if you qualify as an “agricultural business” (under 15 U.S.C. 647(b)) with 500 or fewer employees.
  • Do ensure you can make the required program certifications in good faith.
  • Don’t use this loan to pay back a PPP loan.
  • Don’t take out a loan your business cannot pay back.

Please be careful when accessing these resources:  large amounts of money are at stake, and audits/investigations of fraud and misuse are almost certain to follow.  (The new Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery has a mandate to do just that.)

With good reason, clients are often confused with certain changing and subjective criteria.  If you have questions about the Small Business Debt Relief Program, the Paycheck Protection Program, or other CARES Act programs, The Wallenstein Law Group is here to help. We will ensure that you can demonstrate compliance with applicable guidelines and access these valuable programs.  Give us a call at +1.713.598.4581.

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