The COVID-19 pandemic has been looming over businesses and employees for a majority of the year. Florida businesses have been greatly affected and unemployment numbers have increased substantially throughout the pandemic. Miami businesses, in particular, were greatly affected due to county wide quarantine shutdowns and curfews. Many of these businesses that have been severely impacted by the pandemic will qualify loans through the CARES Act and two new employer tax credits.
What aid is offered to Florida businesses through the CARES Act?
The CARES Act tasks the U.S. Small Business Administration with overseeing the distribution of millions of dollars in loans and grants to help small businesses during the pandemic. Currently two of the three CARES act loan programs have reached their deadlines. However, Florida small businesses may still qualify for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan & Emergency Advance Grant Program. This program provides long-term, low interest working capital disaster loans for qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses that suffered substantial economic injury due to COVID-19.
What Tax Credits Are Available for Employers?
The employer tax credit is contingent on whether employees use the Employee Pandemic relief Options. The employee pandemic relief options are given to an employee that has coronavirus, caring for someone with coronavirus or caring for children due to daycare or school closures. These employees are entitled to paid sick leave for up to 10 weeks depending on the employee’s circumstance.
Sick Leave and Family Leave Credit
Florida businesses will be entitled to receive a credit in the full amount of the required sick leave and family leave, plus related health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the leave, for the period of April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. To be eligible to receive this credit Employers must have fewer than 500 employees and are required under the FFCRA to pay “qualified sick leave wages” and/or “qualified family leave wages.”
Employee Retention Credit
Some employers may also qualify for the Employee Retention Credit. The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Florida businesses can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make. Also, if the employer’s employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, the employer may get an advance payment from the IRS.
To be eligible for Employer operate a business during calendar year 2020 and experience either:
- the full or partial suspension of the operation of their business during any calendar quarter because of governmental orders limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19, or
- a significant decline in gross receipts.