What steps can I take to reduce my risk of contracting COVID-19?
Practice everyday preventive actions to help reduce your risk of getting sick and remind everyone in your home to do the same. These actions are especially important for older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).
Can I travel?
CDC issues Domestic Travel Advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply. These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedule. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.
Am I eligible for the economic impact payment?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
Can I delay filing my taxes?
The Treasury Department and the IRS has delayed Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. This means you will not be required to file your federal income tax until July 15, 2020. You are not required to fill out any paperwork or notify the government to take advantage of this extra time. This delay only applies to federal income tax, not state taxes or other federal taxes. For more information, please view the official IRS guidance (PDF).
How can I file the tax return needed to receive my economic impact payment?
IRS.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.
What if I have not filed my 2018 or 2019 tax return? Can I still receive payment?
Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.
What capital assistance is available to small business owners right now?
SBA’s long-term, low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance are currently available. In response to user feedback, the application is now easier and takes less processing time. You can find the application at www.sba.gov/disaster. Additional programs will be available the coming days.
What is the employee retention credit?
The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. The credit is available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations. There are only two exceptions: State and local governments and their instrumentalities and small businesses who take Small Business Loans. Qualifying employers must fall into one of two categories:
- The employer’s business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19 during the calendar quarter.
- The employer’s gross receipts are below 50 percent of the comparable quarter in 2019. Once the employer’s gross receipts go above 80 percent of a comparable quarter in 2019 they no longer qualify after the end of that quarter.
Employers can be immediately reimbursed for the credit by reducing their required deposits of payroll taxes that have been withheld from employees’ wages by the amount of the credit.
Eligible employers will report their total qualified wages and the related health insurance costs for each quarter on their quarterly employment tax returns or Form 941 beginning with the second quarter. If the employer’s employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, the employer may receive an advance payment from the IRS by submitting Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19. Eligible employers can also request an advance of the Employee Retention Credit by submitting Form 7200.
How do I apply for a small business loan?
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors—are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.
How do I apply for small business or self-employment benefits?
Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap.
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. All loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower. A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found at www.sba.gov.
How do I provide paid sick and family leave for my employees?
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020, gives businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid sick leave and family and medical leave related to COVID-19.
Eligible employers can receive a credit in the full amount of the qualified sick leave and family leave wages paid for between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
Employers can be reimbursed immediately by reducing their federal employment tax deposits. If there are insufficient federal employment taxes to cover the amount of the credits, employers may request an accelerated payment from the IRS.
For more detailed information, please visit the IRS.
FAQs courtesy of coronavirus.gov.