Emergency loans aren't the only way to protect your business during the coronavirus crisis. In addition to Paycheck Protection Program loans, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (Cares) Act also offers other ways for business owners to access capital. Taking advantage of these options can be critical while you wait for PPP loans to arrive.
Even businesses that remain open during the crisis and are generating sales might encounter cash flow problems, as actually collecting those sales from clients could be problematic. That's according to Marilyn Landis, CEO of Basic Business Concepts, which provides CFO services to small companies. Landis spoke at the National Small Business Town Hall, a live webinar hosted by Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce on Friday, April 3.
Here's how to get cash flow relief and other help fast:
1. Retirement funds
While tapping into retirement funds early typically requires paying penalties, there are now waivers that will allow you to access those funds without paying a penalty. Before just withdrawing money from those accounts, however, contact the institution that manages your retirement account and ask how to obtain a penalty waiver. "Ask them for the particulars for your particular plan and how that works," Landis says.
2. Social Security tax relief
Business owners no longer have to pay the employer portion of the Social Security tax for payroll--you can keep it. This is equal to around 6.5 percent of what you would normally pay as the employer portion of your tax. Though you will have to pay this money back, you have until December 31, 2021 to pay half of it, and until December 31, 2022 to pay the rest back. "Payroll companies right now are scrambling to get all their software so they can do that," Landis says.
3. Grace periods
Many U.S states are requiring landlords and lenders to extend 90-day grace periods to businesses that owe rent payments or loan payments. Some states are also restricting landlords from conducting evictions. For business owners with existing Small Business Administration loans, the SBA has granted six-month payment deferments, so contact your lender. "That can give you some relief from anxiety," Landis says.
4. Prior taxes
Some business owners can expect refunds on prior taxes. "It's not an immediate fix but it's something to look into," Landis says. "There are going to be some payroll tax credits, in some cases qualifying up to $5,000 per employee." Business owners can also take advantage of loss carrybacks, a situation in which a net operating loss can be applied to a prior year's tax return. Get in touch with your accountant. "If you've had losses, you can go back and get refunds," Landis says.