Learn more about the program updates and eligibility details for COVID-19 financial assistance
As the end of 2021 nears, it is important to understand the financial assistance still available to small businesses as well as the recent policy and program changes. NFIB experts Elizabeth Milito and Holly Wade were joined by Senior Policy Advisor at the SBA Veronica Pugin to discuss the updates surrounding Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) programs in a recent webinar.
If you are a business owner who has already received loan forgiveness for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, you can also receive an EIDL. “The federal small business loan program is structured specifically to support small business in light of recovery from the COVID induced recession and economic hardship,” explains Pugin.
The EIDL is beneficial because of its generous terms. It has a 3.75% interest rate over a 30-year repayment horizon with two years of automatic deferment, resulting in smaller monthly payments. More flexibility has been added so small businesses can now use funds on any normal operating expenses and working capital including paying off commercial business debt, payroll, cost of goods sold (COGS), rent, and deferred rent.
New EIDL Policy Changes
As recently as September, there have been policy changes for the EIDL program. The newest updates are as follows:
- The total number of EIDL funds a small business can receive was increased from $500,000 to $2 million, giving eligible small businesses access to more funds.
- Funds can now be applied to payment and prepayment of commercial debt and scheduled payments of federal debt. Now you can take EIDL funds and wipe out a commercial debt on your business, and it can also be used for regularly scheduled payments on federal debt.
- The loan now automatically allows for 24 months of deferment from loan origination for all loans.
- Affiliation requirements are simplified to mirror those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. An affiliate is a business you control or have 50% or more ownership.
- Program size standards have been simplified for industries particularly affected by COVID.
- A $10 million limit was added for aggregate EIDL loans to a single corporation group.
EIDL Application Process
The application does not require a financial institution intermediary. In the past the processing times have been delayed. “This summer between the loan and the grant we’ve addressed almost 1 million applications in a backlog by adding personnel and improving processing efficiencies,” Pugin said.
Depending on the loan amount, it could take anywhere between three to nine weeks. You will have to wait for your application to be approved before requesting an increase if you originally applied for $500,000.
If you have not applied for EIDL, you can visit the SBA website to review information and complete an application. If you have previously applied and are seeking to increase the loan amount, go straight to the portal you used when first applying. Do not complete an intake form again, as this will cause delays.
“There are plenty of funds available today,” Pugin confirms. “We are not concerned about the supply suddenly dwindling and the demand that is already in the queue not being met.”
The ERTC, also known as the ERC, is still available and NFIB has many resources available to help you navigate this program. “The ERC reduces your employer social security tax liability. It can be extremely beneficial and can be worth up to $33,000 per employee,” Beth explains. “The purpose of the ERC is to give a payroll tax credit to employers who retained employees even though they were partially or fully closed or had a big drop in revenue.”
Until December of 2020, you could not receive both a PPP loan and apply for the ETRC. However, the December 2020 stimulus bill allowed for small businesses to apply for both programs. The ETRC can also be applied retroactively, so you may still be eligible to receive the tax credit.
ERTC eligibility requirements changed from 2020 to 2021 to make the ETRC more beneficial for small businesses in 2021. For 2021, eligibility criteria include any private sector business or tax-exempt organization with W-2 employees that carries on a trade or business that:
- Experienced significant decline in gross receipts. In 2020 this was defined as gross receipts that declined by at least 50% compared to the same quarter in 2019. In 2021 gross receipts must have declined by at least 20%.
- Eligibility will not end until you have a quarter where gross receipts get back up to greater than 80% of 2019 quarter levels.
- Fully or partially suspended operations due to a government order related to COVID-19.
- The IRS defines a business subject to a partial shutdown as more than a nominal portion, based on gross receipts, of its business operations suspended by a governmental order.
- Essential business may qualify if a portion of operations are non-essential or if there was a supply change shortage.
“I recommend starting with running the gross receipts test because you get the entire quarter and then you get to pick up the next quarter too,” Beth explains. “So, it could be more beneficial and more money in your pocket.”
Qualifying wages would include tip wages and qualified health plans. Restrictions prohibit employers from claiming the same wages for the ERC as used for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) or American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Leave Credits, Work Opportunity Tax Credits, and wages claimed on PPP loan forgiveness applications. Employers can claim the credit on their federal employment tax returns.
Watch the webinar on-demand now to hear more from Beth, Holly and Veronica. The Small Business Reset and Recovery series takes place the first Wednesday of every month at 12 PM EST.
NFIB’s next webinar, Why Every Small Business Owner Needs an Exit Strategy and How to Create One will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 3 with guest speaker Marty Abo, CPA. Registration will be available soon at NFIB.com/webinars.