We are closely monitoring legal developments affecting the business community. Below you will find some information pertaining to recent legislation designed to support small businesses affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have specific questions, please consult with an attorney. This is not intended to be construed as legal advice.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
In a much-anticipated press release, the SBA has announced that it will be providing access to working capital loans of up to $2 million to qualifying small businesses. Funds are available to small businesses and nonprofits and can be used to pay debt, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. While some repayment terms will vary by borrower, the maximum term of the loan is 30 years. 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 Process for Accessing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending, According to the SBA
Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities. NOTE – this declaration has already been made for Florida.
– Complete the registration, at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1.
– Complete the application. Per the present version of SBA Form 5, the applicant must submit:
– Copies of the applicant’s 3 most recent Federal Income Tax Returns, including all schedules. If this is a new business that has not filed 3 Federal Tax Returns, submit the ones you have filed.
– Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 8821). Note – sole proprietors need only submit the IRS Form 8821. The SBA will contact you if it needs any additional information.
– A current (dated within 90 days of application) business balance sheet (SBA attaches a form Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413)) if you are a sole proprietorship), a current profit and loss statement, and a current schedule of liabilities.
– For each owner having a 20% or more interest and each general partner, a current (dated within 90 days of application) personal financial statement (you may use SBA Form 413 for this purpose), a complete copy, including all schedules, of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return and a complete and signed IRS Form 8821.
– Individuals with an ownership interest need only supply an IRS Form 8821 and a personal financial statement.
– A complete copy, including all schedules, of the latest Federal Income Tax Return for each affiliate. Affiliates include, but are not limited to, business parents, subsidiaries or other businesses with common ownership or management. An authorized individual must complete and sign IRS Form 8821 for each affiliate.
– If applying for physical damage, a Verification of Business Property (SBA Form 739A).
– If insurance covers all or a part of this loss (regardless of the current status of your claim), the name and telephone number of your agent and/or claims adjuster, the policy number and the name of the insurance company.
– If applying for economic injury, SBA Form 1368, Additional Filing Requirements – Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
Note: The SBA states that “the typical timeline for approval is 2-3 weeks and disbursement can take up to 5 days.”
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
On March 16, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. The bridge loan program is managed by the Department of Economic Opportunity and will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from Coronavirus COVID-19. PLEASE NOTE – as of today’s date, the application period ends May 8, 2020.
According to the program information, businesses must meet the following criteria to eligible:
– Be a for-profit, privately held small business that maintains a place of business in the state of Florida.
– Be located in a designated disaster area (however Eligible Florida counties per Executive Order 20-52 are: All counties statewide).
– Be established prior to March 9, 2020, the date of the designated disaster.
– Be able to demonstrate economic injury as a result of the designated disaster. The need for the loan and use of proceeds must be directly related to the economic injury caused by the designated disaster.
Note, according to the Florida Small Business Emergency Loan Program, loans will be made to individuals who, individually or collectively, own at least 51% of the equity of the business. Further, a borrower will be required to sign an agreement that the proceeds of the loan will be used only for purposes of maintaining or restarting the business in the designated area, and use of proceeds to pay off debts already incurred for qualifying business maintenance or restart purposes may be authorized on a case-by-case basis. A borrower will be required to certify that the proceeds of insurance claims, other loans applied for or to be applied for, or other financial assistance will be used to repay the loan.
The process for Applying to the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity:
– The State of Florida designates the activation of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program and makes the application available. NOTE – this now available, at: https://floridadisasterloan.org/a/w/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200323-COVID-19-Florida-Emergency-Bridge-Loan-Application.pdf.
– Complete and sign the application form and gathers required support documents.
– Submit the completed application and support documentation to the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Note: Applicant may be requested to complete the SBDC Request for Services form.
– A Florida SBDC Representative verifies the applicant’s eligibility, identification, completeness of application and support documentation. If the applicant is deemed to be eligible, and the application and support documentation are complete, the Florida SBDC Representative will request a personal credit report for each applicant from Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (state appointed fiscal administrator of the program) and forward all materials to the Loan Review Committee for loan consideration.
– If the applicant is ineligible, the Florida SBDC Representative will notify the applicant.
– If the application or support documentation is incomplete, or the loan review committee requests additional information, the Florida SBDC Representative will follow up with the applicant for needed information.
– The Loan Review Committee will review materials and approve or deny the loan request and notify the Florida SBDC Representative of the loan committee’s decision.
– The Florida SBDC Representative will verbally notify the applicant of the decision of the Loan Review Committee.
– The Florida SBDC Representative will send all application materials to Florida First Capital Finance Corporation who will, if approved, prepare the loan closing documents and loan proceeds for distribution.
– If not approved, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation will send written notification directly to the applicant.
– If approved, the Florida SBDC, or its delegated partner bank representative, will execute the closing process and distribute the loan proceeds.
Note – the list of closing documents will include: Promissory Note, Business Purpose Statement, Loan Settlement Statement, Assignment of Proceeds from other Sources, Closing Checklist and Payment Coupon.
Federal Income Tax Filing and Payment Deadline Extension
According to the Internal Revenue Service’s March 21, 2020 release, the federal tax return filing deadline is now July 15, 2020. For tax payments of up to $10 million, the IRS has also extended the deadline for both individuals and businesses to July 15, 2020. Estimated tax payments for 2020 originally due on April 15 will now be due on July 15.
Help is needed for small businesses, and some is arriving from the state and federal government. Florida small business owners considering access to this capital should not wait to apply. If you want to learn more about our services, including our business advisory and outside general counsel services, don’t hesitate to contact us or learn more about the Firm. Above all, we wish everyone health and safety.
These are extraordinary times. But we remain extraordinarily committed to our clients. Because of our technology-centric approach to practice, we have been able to remain fully functional and meet all of our clients’ needs with zero operational impact and zero increased costs to our clients.