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Last Updated: 4/24/2020
To help individuals, businesses, and the economy, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. Many details of the Act will be fleshed out by regulatory agencies like the IRS, Department of Labor, and Small Business Administration over the next few weeks, but we now know enough to give you a good idea of how it can help most small businesses.
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act offers wide-reaching regulations, loans, and grants that impact small businesses, their employees, major corporations, and individual taxpayers. In this article, we’ll focus on the parts of the legislation that affect small businesses directly. We’ll also include a quick list of other provisions that are likely to be relevant to business owners and their employees.
There are three parts of the Act that will be particularly relevant to many small
There are also provisions that benefit self-employed business owners, rebate payments for individuals who earn less than $99,000 annually and help for certain industries. See the full text of the law, or review this broader overview of the CARES Act for more detail. Also, note that Congress also recently passed a series of reforms to expand paid sick and family leave in the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act.
To address the rise in unemployment claims, the CARES Act provides two types of tax incentives for small businesses to retain workers during the crisis:
Certain employers (including tax-exempt entities) are eligible to have 50% of what they spend on wages refunded in the form of a tax credit — up to $5,000 per worker.
See our article to understand whether you’re eligible and how refunds work.
Instead of paying the 6.2% employers’ portion of social security taxes (or corresponding self-employment taxes) each quarter, employers have the option of making delayed payments:
For more detail, see our article.
The CARES Act expands the SBA’s 7(a) loan program to certain businesses that are affected by COVID-19. Eligible businesses may receive larger loans and easier approvals when applying for SBA-backed funds. To understand eligibility and how funds may be used, see our article.
Here are a few more provisions of the CARES act that apply to a narrower group of small businesses.
The CARES Act also includes relief for specific industries. To learn more, here’s a broader overview of other key provisions. Also note that these lists may not be complete, so please consult with your lawyer, accountant, or the relevant government agency for more information.
Finally, the CARES Act includes three provisions that will be important for many small business owners and their employees:
The CARES Act is just one way the federal government is trying to help people through the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, paid sick and family leave were expanded under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. For more information about how your small business can navigate the COVID-19 outbreak, see our Resource Center.
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