Coronavirus and COVID-19 have changed almost every aspect of our daily routines and behavior. Unfortunately, the changes that are crucial to flatten the curve and mitigate the immediate public health crisis – social distancing, reducing travel, avoiding crowded areas, working remotely, homeschooling – are also causing widespread devastation to small businesses.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses. According to Governor DeSantis, $50 million will be earmarked to the loan program in the short-term to assist businesses with between two and 100 employees in the industries most affected by COVID-19. The short-term, interest-free (for the first year) working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as insurance payments or federal disaster assistance. Eligible small businesses may borrow up to $50,000, and loans of up to $100,000 may be available in special cases. Additional information about the program and online application forms are available at floridadisasterloan.org. The program will accept applications through May 8, 2020, contingent on availability of funds.
The United States Small Business Administration (the “SBA”) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome temporary losses of revenue. Information about the program is available at disasterloan.sba.gov. Businesses may be eligible to receive loan assistance from both the Florida and SBA programs.
The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) has issued guidance allowing corporate taxpayers to defer up to $10 million of federal income tax payments otherwise due on April 15, 2020 until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. The IRS will also be permitting high-deductible health plans to pay for Coronavirus testing and treatment without waiving their status. Additional information and details about tax deferment and treatment of insurance benefits is available through the IRS website, www.irs.gov.
While it will not provide immediate economic assistance, Florida business owners should complete the Business Damage Assessment Survey, available online at floridadisaster.biz. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will use the information obtained from the survey to determine appropriate actions to implement and apply for various relief programs in the longer term.