Local tax experts give tips on how to help small businesses stay afloat with federal funding

As some local businesses work to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, navigating the loan process can be difficult. Local tax experts say to apply to as many programs as you can and to get help to maximize your assistance.

“The small business owners need to work with a bank,” said Jeffrey Lipsey, certified public accountant and owner of Lipsey and Associates, which covers D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

He said the best way for small businesses to keep going during the crisis is through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Though the program recently ran out of funds, they are still processing those applications that went through before the lapse in funding on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lipsey said Congress could provide the Small Business Association program with more money, and you want to be ready as it requires you to apply through a bank.

“You should definitely apply to more than one bank. Do not just apply to one bank because then you have all of your eggs in one basket,” Lipsey said.

The program will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks, and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

Additional assistance comes in the form of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance. Lipsey said businesses must apply online.

“You can get $10,000 as a forgivable advance of the total loan amount, which can be up to $2 million. I’ve seen some business owners receive $1,000 per employee. These business owners received the EIDL advance, currently unavailable, without much hassle and fairly quickly,” Lipsey said.

Zachary Giegel, managing partner at GSP Financial in D.C., said that it’s tough for small businesses right now because there’s help available, but it could take awhile.

“They were quick to mention the programs, but not very quick to disperse the funds,” Giegel said.

GSP Financial recently launched a COVID-19 relief tool on their website to help with coronavirus-related claims for businesses to help with where to go and what to do.

“Reach out to your banker and reach out to your CPA; they are the two people that are going to be able to point you in the right direction,” Giegel said.

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