We’re hearing from many business clients that want to keep their employees on their payroll. But their revenue has taken a hit, and it’s increasingly difficult to operate in the face of the business downturn caused by COVID-19 and responsible social distancing practices.

Our attorneys are poring through all 880 pages of the CARES Act – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – to distill the provisions that our small business clients need to know about. Here’s one you should know about today, especially if you’re faced with challenges to fund your workforce.

The federal Paycheck Protection Program provides 100% federal guaranteed loans to eligible small businesses to help keep their employees on the payroll. The easiest-to-follow summary we’ve seen was published this weekend by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – check out its step-by-step guidance document! We also commend our friends at NAWBO – the National Association of Women Business Owners – for providing additional guidance on this program and others! that are contained within the CARES Act.

Small businesses, including not-for-profits, are eligible  for the Paycheck Protection Program along with sole proprietors, independent contractors, and others affected by this unexpected economic downtown. Remarkably, if all loan conditions are met, the loans will be forgiven. This may be one important way for your business to thrive in the face of the current challenges.

We know Western New York bankers are learning about the program as quickly as they can. They want to act as a resource for their small business clients. So if you think your small business may qualify, begin now to gather your business and financial information. We recommend you pull from storage:

  1. Your company’s most recent IRS Form 941 (that’s your Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return);
  2. A breakdown of your 2019 and 2020 year-to-date payroll expenses;
  3. Your 2019 financials, including profit and loss and balance sheet; and
  4. Your company’s 2019 tax return, if completed.

Having these items on hand will smooth the process of applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Of course, your banker and accountant are great team members at this time. Every company should have them and a lawyer as part of their support system.

Like many of our clients and colleagues across New York State, The Coppola Firm is a small business, and we’re committed to being here for our clients and colleagues to provide easily-digestible, practical information that everyone needs during times of crisis.

Feel free to call us; we’d be happy to be on your team.