CARES Act: Guidance for Small Businesses, Unemployment Insurance, IRS Payments
Since the CARES Act was signed into law, states are continuing to receive guidance from federal agencies to help with the implementation of the new programs created under the bill. It’s important to note that some agencies have issued guidance quicker than others, but all necessary agencies are actively working to develop guidance as soon as possible. I will be sure to continue sharing information with you as we receive it.
Small Business Paycheck Protection Program
The CARES Act created the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of assistance to small businesses through federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
On April 2, 2020, the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued new and final regulations about the Paycheck Protection Program.
The SBA has announced eligible small businesses can begin applying Friday, April 3, and independent contractors and self-employed individuals may do so starting April 10, 2020.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
Eligible businesses: All businesses, including non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees, or no greater than the number of employees set by the SBA as the size standard for certain industries.
- Learn more about the program HERE;
- Lender information can be found HERE;
- The Application for Borrowers can be found HERE; and
- Additional information for borrowers can be found HERE.
The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), Employment Security Division entered into an agreement at the end of March to take steps to implement the expansion of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits created under the CARES Act.
Temporary Unemployment Compensation Programs Established Under CARES:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): Provides an additional $600 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits paid for the weeks after March 29 through July 31.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Provides up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Provides unemployment compensation for individuals not typically eligible for regular unemployment insurance or any extensions to unemployment insurance, including self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers.
How much money should I expect?
Unemployment benefits across the country averaged $385 per week in February 2020, but payment amounts vary by state. Generally, a person’s benefits replace about 1/3 to 1/2 of their wages.
Through the FPUC program, the CARES Act provides an additional $600 per week on top of the amount a person would normally receive in their state – limited to the next 4 months (expires July 31, 2020). Since the maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount in Nevada is $469, the maximum weekly unemployment benefits a Nevadan could potentially receive through July 31, 2020 is $1069.
How do I apply?
CLICK HERE to file an unemployment claim through the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). This service is available online to Nevadans 24/7. DETR has extended the hour of its unemployment lines from 8 AM PT to 8 PM PT Monday through Friday.
- Northern Nevada: (775) 684-0350
- Rural Nevada: (888) 890-8211
Info for Self-employed Workers, Independent Contractors, & Gig Workers:
On April 5, the Department of Labor officially published guidance to states for the implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program created under the CARES Act. Under PUA, individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to continue working as a result of COVID-19, such as self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers, are eligible for PUA benefits. This provision is contained in Section 2102 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act enacted on March 27, 2020.
PUA provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to qualifying individuals who are otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of applicable state law, except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons, as defined in the CARES Act. Benefit payments under PUA are retroactive, for weeks of unemployment, partial employment, or inability to work due to COVID-19 reasons starting on or after January 27, 2020. The CARES Act specifies that PUA benefits cannot be paid for weeks of unemployment ending after December 31, 2020.
Click here for more information from the Department of Labor regarding this program.
*IMPORTANT REMINDER* During these uncertain times, it’s important to protect yourself against scammers who are trying to take advantage of fears surrounding COVID-19. Recently, we’ve seen reports of scammers filing for unemployment insurance under someone else’s name. To better protect yourself against fraud, I wanted to share a very helpful resource with you that provides guidance on what to do if you believe this has happened to you: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/06/scammer-getting-unemployment-benefits-your-name
If you or someone you know believes a fraudulent claim has been filed through DETR using your information, the quickest way to report this information is:
- Through DETR’s updated online Fraud form at: detr.nv.gov, select fraud reporting form under “quick links”, And/or:
- Through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
- Employers needing to report fraudulent filings can respond to filing notices indicating they believe the claim to be fraudulent. Employers may also upload this information with the filing of a singular online Fraud report indicating all attached claims are believed to be fraudulent.
Tips on how to protect your personal information can be found on DETR’s website bulletin board at detr.nv.gov.
Economic Impact Payments/Relief Checks
On Monday, March 30, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that distribution of Economic Impact Payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, either into your checking account or via paper check through the mail. Social Security recipients who do not file a tax return will not have to file one in order to receive a direct cash payment. The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.
Information for Social Security Beneficiaries: On April 2, 2020, Treasury and the IRS announced Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will NOT need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.
Who is eligible for a 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. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.
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 and up to $500 for each qualifying child.
How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.
Click here for more information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about how this program will function, and click here for information from the House Ways & Means Committee regarding the distribution of these payments.
Treasury, IRS to Launch “Get My Payment” Web App Week of 4.13.20
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS will launch the “Get My Payment” web application this week. The FREE app—which will be found at IRS.gov—will allow taxpayers who filed their tax return in 2018 or 2019, but did not provide their banking information on their return, to submit direct deposit information.
Once provided, they will get their Economic Impact Payments (relief checks) in their bank accounts quickly, instead of waiting for a check to arrive in the mail. “Get My Payment” will also allow taxpayers to track the status of their payment.
“Get My Payment” is an online app that will display on any desktop, phone or tablet. It does not need to be downloaded from an app store.
For taxpayers to track the status of their payment, they will need to enter basic information in the “Get My Payment” app:
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
- Mailing address
Taxpayers who want to add their bank account information to speed receipt of their payment will also need to provide the following additional information:
- Their Adjusted Gross Income from their most recent tax return submitted, either 2019 or 2018
- The refund or amount owed from their latest filed tax return
- Bank account type, account and routing numbers
Treasury and the IRS encourage taxpayers to collect this information now, through their tax preparers or other means, so they can submit this information in the app as soon as it is launched and get their money fast.
Americans who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 can use “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” to submit basic personal information to quickly and securely receive their Economic Impact Payments.
Americans who filed 2018 or 2019 tax returns with direct deposit information or receive Social Security do not need to take action. They will automatically receive payment in their bank accounts.
Reminder: To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change bank account information already on file with the IRS. Please also know the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Please be on the lookout for scammers and email phishing attempts about the COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments.
Please visit IRS.gov for updates on the launch of the “Get My Payment” app.
Avoid Scams Tied to Coronavirus Relief Checks
As the federal government continues offering assistance to Americans through programs created under the coronavirus response packages mentioned above, please be aware of scammers trying to take advantage of people during these uncertain times.
To help taxpayers avoid falling victim to one of these scams, multiple federal agencies – from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Health and Human Services, to the Social Security Administration – have issued warnings. Here are some common red flags to look for, courtesy of the IRS:
- Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” Those are incorrect. The official term is economic impact payment.
- Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them.
- Ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
- Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer’s behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
- Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.