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Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security Act: What SMBs Need to Know
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Workforce Management

Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security Act: What SMBs Need to Know

On March 27th, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was enacted to provide financial relief to those impacted economically as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Paycor is waiting for additional guidance from the IRS and the Department of Labor to determine how we can best support our clients. We will communicate more information once guidance becomes available.

The CARES Act keeps in place the credits established in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted March 18, 2020. View an infographic with the details here.

Below is a list of additional details released as part of the CARES Act.

Advance Payment of Payroll Credit

Under the CARES Act, employers could get the payroll tax credit in advance. The I.R.S. have issued this form and a guidance document with instructions on how to apply for these credits.

Employee Retention Credit

The provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages to employers whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19 related shut-down orders, or who had gross receipts decline by more than 50 percent compared to the same quarter the prior year. To apply, employers can use the same form and guidance as for the Advance Payment credit.

Option for Employers to Defer Payroll Tax Payments for 2020

Employers may delay the payment of the employer share of payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022, with half of payroll taxes for 2020 due by Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half due by Dec. 31, 2022. Paycor clients can now have an option to self-select these tax deferrals within Paycor Payroll. Deferments are not available to employers with forgiven loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. (Update: The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act now makes it possible for PPP loan recipients to make use of the tax deferral.)

Direct Payments to Individuals

Individuals that make up to $75,000 received direct payments of $1,200. Married couples making up to $150,000 received $2,400. Parents with children under the age of 17 also received $500 for each child. Individuals with incomes that exceed those limits received reduced payments.

Expanded Unemployment Benefits

The federal government will provide unemployed workers an extra $600 per week for four months in addition to the state benefits. Unemployed workers will also receive 13 weeks of extended benefits, fully covered by the federal government. Currently, state unemployment checks last up to between 12 weeks and 28 weeks, depending on the state.

The CARES Act calls for a pandemic unemployment assistance program, which will provide jobless benefits to those who are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable to work because of the virus and don’t otherwise qualify for traditional benefits. Independent contractors and the self-employed, who typically don’t qualify for such assistance, would receive these benefits. So too would gig economy workers who aren’t eligible in many states.

Paycheck Protection

Eligible small businesses can obtain loans to cover employee payroll costs as defined in the CARES Act. The loan program applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. Read our in-depth article.

Employer Payments of Student Loans – Excluded from Income.

The provision enables employers to provide student loan repayment benefit to employees on a tax-free basis up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s student loans. Provision applies to any student loan payments made by an employer on behalf of an employee from the date of enactment to January 1, 2021.

Penalty on Early Distributions from Retirement Accounts Waived

In line with past declarations of disaster relief, the CARES Act waived the 10-percent early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes. The waiver applies to distributions made on or after January 1, 2020.

What other resources are available to me?

Paycor is publishing expert advice, webinars, articles and templates for SMB leaders navigating the COVID-19 public health emergency on our Coronavirus Support Center.