HOPE + HELP

​Keep updated on the COVID-19 Pandemic!
Here are some great resources to help
you, your family and your business!

Financial Aid & Resources

We are urging business owners to develop an aggressive plan to manage through this crisis. Below are ten important items to be considered in that plan.   - Lauzen Accounting and Lauzen Payroll

1. Stabilize sales volume and explore new sources of revenue for recovery
    • Focus on taking care of existing customers. Be creative and proactive to build relationships with new customers.
2. Review costs with a level head
    • Remain committed to fundamental business and management practices.
    • Review vendor relationships and payment arrangements.
    • Consider reductions in non-critical services.
    • Don't make "across-the-board" cuts that will affect your most profitable and critical functions.
3. Review your business' cash needs
    • Create a budget and conserve cash.
    • Consider refinancing loans at lower interest rates.
    • Consider the need to loan or contribute funds to the business from personal funds.
4. Proactively communicate with your vendors and lenders now
    • Let them know you are still operating, how the crisis is affecting your business, and whether you anticipate difficulty with cash flow. Many lenders and vendors understand the importance of being flexible during the crisis.
5. Get a handle on your personal income tax situation for 2019 and 2020
    • The President ordered the IRS to allow personal income tax payments due on 4/15 to be deferred until 7/15.
    • 2020 1st quarter Federal estimated tax payments have also been deferred until 7/15.
    • The 4/15 filing deadline has been extended to 7/15.
    • If you're expecting a refund, file your tax returns immediately.
6. Employee/labor considerations
    • Carefully consider how your most valuable employees are affected and protect them. You will need them for recovery.
    • Unfortunately, you may need to consider reductions in employee pay rates and/or hours.
    • Consider how losing employees to sickness could affect operations.
    • Understand and implement the new paid leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This is a critical new law that can potentially affect your cash flow.
7. Explore federal and state economic relief and financing programs
    • The Small Business Administration has programs for this purpose (SBA Disaster Loan Assistance).
    • Locate and contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) if you have questions about SBA COVID-19 Disaster Injury Loan Options SBA Local Office Locations.
8. Review insurance policies for business interruption coverage
    • Consider contacting your agent to determine your coverage.
9. Consider how you can reduce overhead by outsourcing administrative and back office functions
10. Stay up-to-date on the government's response to the crisis and how it affects your business

If you would like our help reviewing any of these items, please feel free to contact us. We are fully staffed and ready to work with you via telephone and/or web-based meeting.

Lauzen Accounting has been serving small businesses for three generations. Along with many of our small business clients, we've been through crises before and we're committed to helping you survive this one and to thrive when it passes.

by Lauzen Accounting and Lauzen Payroll


Last night, the President signed The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. While the accounting profession is still learning the details and how this will impact businesses, we wanted to provide an update.

The FFCRA provides a) paid leave benefits to employees; b) tax credits for employers and self-employed taxpayers; and c) FICA tax relief for employers.


Emergency Paid Sick Leave
The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires certain employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work or telework under certain circumstances. Paid sick leave is available when an employee:

1.is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation;
2.is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
3.is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis, preventive care, or treatment;
4.is caring for a family member under quarantine or isolation;
5.is caring for a child due to a school or childcare provider closing; or
6.is experiencing a substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Eligible full-time employees will be may receive up to 80 hours (two weeks) of paid emergency sick leave equal to 100% of regular pay (up to $511 per day) when the employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation, is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or is seeking a diagnosis and/or treatment. Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave for the typical number of hours worked in a two-week period (up to $511 per day).

For employees who are caring for a family member or a child during a school or childcare provider closing or experiencing a substantially similar condition, eligible full-time employees may receive up to 80 hours (two weeks) of paid time off (up to $200 per day). Eligible part-time employees are entitled to paid leave for the typical number of hours worked in a two-week period (up to $200 per day).

Payroll Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave
Employers may take a payroll tax credit against Social Security (6.2%) and Medicare (1.45%) for paid sick leave of up to $511 per day or $200 per day, whichever is applicable as described in the above circumstances for a total of 10 days per individual per calendar quarter.

Emergency Paid Family Leave
The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires certain employers to provide paid family leave to employees who are unable to work or telework under certain circumstances. Paid family leave is available for eligible employees to take care of a child in the event of a school closure or if a childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave. The first two weeks of leave may be unpaid and is followed by 10 weeks of paid leave. Employees may use other available paid leave during the two weeks of unpaid leave. Employees will receive no less than 2/3 of the employee's usual pay. Paid family leave may not exceed $200 per day and $10,000 in total.

Payroll tax credits for paid family leave
Employers may take a payroll tax credit against Social Security (6.2%) and Medicare (1.45%) for paid family leave of up to 100% of qualified family leave wages paid in each quarter. The maximum amount of the credit for each employee is $200 per day up to $10,000 in total.

Provisions applicable to both Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave
The FFCRA generally applies to employers with 500 or fewer employees. However, the legislation also gives the Secretary of Labor the authority to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from some paid leave requirements if those requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.

Paid sick leave and paid family leave will not be considered wages for the employer or the employee for the purposes of FICA (Social Security and Medicare).

While employers will front the cost of paid sick leave and paid family leave, the federal government will fully reimburse the employer within three months. The reimbursement will cover wages and the employer's contribution to the employee's health insurance premiums ("qualified health plan expenses") during the period of leave to the extent that such amounts are appropriately excluded from the gross income of employees. The reimbursement will be through a refundable tax credit against the employers' payroll tax. A refund will be made if the costs are greater than the employer's tax liability.

More to Come
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated on the Senate floor that while he supports the House bill to provide "some emergency relief for some American workers," the Senate will work towards a package to provide "significant relief for small businesses." McConnell stated that the Senate will remain in session until an economic relief package is passed for America's small business owners.

Unemployment Policies During COVID-19 Pandemic
https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200312-0

Unemployment FAQs in Illinois:
https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/unemployment-faqs

https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-provide-disaster-assistance-loans-small-businesses-impacted-coronavirus-covid-19

Release Date: Thursday, March 12, 2020
Release Number: 20-24
Contact: Jennifer.Kelly@sba.gov (202)205-7036
WASHINGTON – SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza issued the following statement today in response to the President’s address to the nation:

“The President took bold, decisive action to make our 30 million small businesses more resilient to Coronavirus-related economic disruptions. Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans through our network of 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners located around the country. The SBA will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Process for Accessing SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration. Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance. 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. 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 interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov(link sends e-mail).

The mayor also announced that schools will stay closed until mid-April to help control the COVID-19 spread.

https://www.chicagobusiness.com/government/lightfoot-100m-loan-fund-businesses-hit-coronavirus​

USA.gov: Financial Assistance After A Disaster:  https://www.usa.gov/disaster-financial-help
​U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19Chicago

New Federal, City Assistance Available to Illinois Small Businesses: The low-interest loans offer up to $2 million in working capital to any qualifying small business or non-profit organization that applies. THE LOANS can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the impact of the pandemic.

Separately, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that creation of the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund, a public-private partnership that will provide low-interest loans to severely impacted small businesses throughout the city.
Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19Chicago

FEDERAL TAXES DUE - JULY 15, 2020: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

ILLINOIS STATE TAXES are now due JULY 15, 2020: 
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois State Tax Return deadline has changed from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Illinois State Income Taxes for Tax Year 2019 (January 1 - Dec. 31, 2019) can be prepared and e-Filed now along with an IRS or Federal Income Tax Return. Federal Tax Return deadline details.

About COVID-19

Small Business Owner Resources

USA.gov: Financial Assistance After A Disaster:  https://www.usa.gov/disaster-financial-help
​U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19Chicago

New Federal, City Assistance Available to Illinois Small Businesses: The low-interest loans offer up to $2 million in working capital to any qualifying small business or non-profit organization that applies. THE LOANS can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the impact of the pandemic.

Separately, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that creation of the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund, a public-private partnership that will provide low-interest loans to severely impacted small businesses throughout the city.
Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19Chicago

Sanitation

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html​


COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses and Employers

https://www.americasbeautyshow.com/Portals/0/PDFs/COVID-19%20INFO%20PAGE/COVID-19%20Guidance%20for%20Businesses%20and%20Employers%2003.18.2020.pdf?ver=2020-03-24-224236-080

Stay positive & get inspired

Isolating at home can get claustrophobic, but the internet is cooking up ways to help kids and adults make their time at home more educational

• Monterey Bay Aquarium: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams
• San Diego Zoo: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams
• Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: https://naturalhistory2.si.edu/vt3/NMNH/
• Louvre, Paris, France: Visit the museum's exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre... Come along on a virtual tour and enjoy the view, thanks to the sponsorship of Shiseido. https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne