COVID-19 updates and resources
Coronavirus: Reources and Updates
Coronavirus Guidelines for America - from the White House Coronavirus Task Force
From Congressman Steve Scalise
On March 6th, President Trump signed H.R. 6047 the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act into law. The bill provided $8.3 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for federal, state, and local responses to the Coronavirus.
H.R. 6201 – the second Coronavirus bill – was signed into law by President Trump on Wednesday, March 18th. This legislation expands testing for all Americans, provides paid sick leave for workers impacted by the Coronavirus, and supports small businesses by giving them the flexibility needed to care for their employees and remain open.
Click here for Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus Legislation.
Assistance for Small Businesses
H.R. 6047 – the first Coronavirus bill – allowed $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses which have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Additionally, H.R. 6201 – the second Coronavirus bill – includes a refundable payroll tax credit to reimburse, dollar-for-dollar, local businesses for paid sick leave and family and medical leave wages paid to employees that are affected by COVID-19. Click here for an explanation of who is eligible and for what amounts.
Louisiana small businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to Coronavirus are now eligible for low-interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). You can apply online here.
For additional questions, you can contact the SBA at (800) 659-2955, or the New Orleans regional SBA office at (504) 589-6685.
Click here for an overview of the resources available to small businesses.
Update on Testing and Supplies
The second Coronavirus bill requires free access to Coronavirus testing, ensuring there are no cost barriers to these tests. It also included $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of testing, including $142 million to directly help our servicemembers and veterans.
The Trump Administration is working with industry partners to increase capacity. Additionally, the Administration has moved quickly to grant tariff exclusions to reduce the cost of a broad range of medical and health-related items, including hospital gowns and headwear, medical gloves, face masks, surgical drapes, biohazard bags, cleansing wipes, anti-microbial linens, and protective glasses.
Yesterday, President Trump announced an expansion in telehealth. Medicare beneficiaries will now have the option to replace an in-person doctor’s visit using telemedicine by phone or video conference, and the appointment does not have to necessarily be related to Coronavirus.
Tax Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The filing deadline for tax returns remains April 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the April 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return.
Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.
Corporations: For C Corporations, income tax payment deadlines are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of their 2019 tax due. This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.
The United States has issued several Travel Health Notices related to the COVID-19 outbreak. For a full list of travel advisories, visit the CDC’s website here.
A phase three package is currently under consideration in Congress to provide further assistance for our economy. The Trump Administration is seeking secured funds for industries that are taking a substantial hit due to this pandemic. They also want to provide cash assistance to all Americans, with the amount being dependent on income level and family size. Additionally, they want to create a loan program for small businesses who are offering paid leave to their workers at this time.
Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The Small Business Association (SBA) has informed us that Louisiana has officially received a disaster declaration due to COVID-19, which will allow small businesses to apply for a 3.75% loan up to $2 Million to help during this event. For more information and to apply, Go here: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most non-profits in declared-disaster areas. The SBA defines a small business as one that typically makes a maximum of $750,000 – $38.5 million in annual revenue and has less than 100 – 1,500 employees, depending on industry.
Loans are determined by actual economic injury and can be worth up to $2 million. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. The loans are long-term, up to 30 years.
Funds may be used to:
- Pay fixed debts;
- accounts payable;
- employee sick leave; and
- other bills that cannot be paid due to the disaster’s impact.
Funds may not be used to:
- refinance debts incurred prior to the disaster event;
- make payments on other loans owned by another federal agency or SBA;
- pay tax penalties or non-tax criminal/civil fines;
- repair physical damage; or,
- pay dividends or other disbursements to owners or partners except as related to their performance of services for the business.
Federal Housing Finance Agency guidance for homeowners impacted by COVID-19.
There are hardship programs in place to help homeowners who have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus and are struggling to make their mortgage payments.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encourages homeowners adversely impacted by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgages to reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises, “you can find the number for your mortgage servicer on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book.”
FHFA has established a dedicated webpage with relevant updates and resources available here: www.fhfa.gov/coronavirus
Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own dedicated webpages for homeowners, with online tools for determining if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:
- Use Fannie Mae’s Loan Lookup Tool
- Or call 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643)
- Use Freddie Mac’s Loan Lookup Tool
- Or call 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343)