US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
As our territory and indeed the world is battling the outbreak of COVID-19, our sincerest hope is that you and your entire circle remains safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. We have been closely monitoring the rapidly changing guidance from local and federal health authorities to ensure that we continue provide exceptional service to you in keeping with prudent social distancing protocols for the continued protection of our clients and employees.
In addition, we have been closely monitoring the recent $2 trillion federal aid package, namely the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was enacted to help combat the massive economic damage imposed on our nation and territory by COVID-19. To this end, we wanted to share some of the key provisions, benefits and FAQ’s of the CARES act and share good news of a new offering our team of financial professionals at Strategy Group VI will be providing to help our clients navigate the CARES aid programs at this critical juncture. Here are some of the main programs in the CARES Act to assist small businesses:
Paycheck Protection Program Loans (URGENT)
The program is designed to provide cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. These loans are offered by each of the five major commercial banks in the United States Virgin Islands: Merchants Commercial Bank, Banco Popular, Oriental Bank and FirstBank.
- Maximum loan amount of 250% of average monthly payroll costs up to $10 million
- Maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%
- Forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels during the crisis
- No SBA fees
- No collateral required
- At least 6 months of payment deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year.
Small businesses, sole proprietors and independent contractors are eligible for PPP loans if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. This program would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020 so it is essential that you act now as funds will be distributed by commercial banks on a first come first served basis.
Proof of expenses
Along with your application, here is a list of helpful supporting documents you should gather:
- Income statement covering 2019 or the 12 months preceding your PPP loan application date
- IRS form 941’s, 940’s, W-3’s or Quarterly Payroll registers for said period
- Quarterly VI Employment Security Agency Employer’s Quarterly Wage and Compensation Report for said period
- Documentation of health insurance, rent, utilities, mortgage costs for the same period
For sole proprietors or independent contractors, gather evidence of wages, earnings, commissions for 2019 or the last 12 months such as:
- 2019 1099’s
- Income statements for the preceding 12 months
- Other evidence of income (e.g. bank statements)
Proof of identification and business existence:
- Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Incorporation,
- Valid Business License
- Valid Photo ID
SEE HOW WE CAN HELP BELOW
Other CARES Act Programs:
Small Business Debt Relief Program
This program will provide immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the President signing the bill into law.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
EIDLs are lower interest loans offered by Small Business Administration of up to $2 million, with principal and interest deferment at the Administrator’s discretion, that are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.
Emergency Economic Injury Grants
These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.
Various Small Business Tax Provisions
- Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure or Experiencing Economic Hardship
- Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes for 2020 to the end of 2021 and 2022 (exclusions apply)
COVID-19 401(k) Distributions & Loans
The CARES Act allows certain qualified retirement plan participants, to take new distributions and plan loans from their plan accounts if they were impacted by COVID-19.
COVID-19 Related Distributions
Qualifying retirement plan participants include participants (or their spouses or dependents) who (1) have been diagnosed with the virus SARS-Co-V-2 or with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); or (2) experience adverse financial consequences as a result of COVID-19.
Qualifying plan participants can take a coronavirus-related distribution from their retirement plan account up to $100,000 without the normal 20% federal income tax withholding and the 10% early withdrawal penalty.
COVID-19 Related Loans
During the 180-day period that started on March 27, 2020, the same qualifying individuals identified above (who are eligible for a coronavirus-related distribution) are generally eligible to borrow up to the lesser of:
- $100,000 (which is double the normal limit); or
- 100% of their vested account balance (double the normal limit).
The Act also allows more flexibility for repayment of these loans. Generally, participants can be allowed to delay repayment by up to one year.
The Strategy Group VI strongly recommends that you consult your financial advisor when considering these new options or applying them to your personal circumstances as they can have a significant impact on your short-term and long-term financial health and security.
How The Strategy Group Can Help
To save you time and alleviate stress at this time at this critical juncture, we have mobilized a team dedicated to liaising with local commercial banks, SBA and SBDC on our client’s behalf to calculate, submit and manage loan/grant applications until your emergency loans/grants are finalized. In addition, our experienced tax professionals are on call to offer tailored advice and tax planning based on your circumstances and business/personal objectives in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. As partners, we can get through this together.
- PPP Loan Application Agent Service – NO COST TO YOU
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application Agent Service – $150/hour with $1,000 deposit credited to final bill
- Personalized COVID-19 related Tax Advice $250/hour
Here’s How To Get Started
Please contact Steve Lechowicz at 340.643.7125 or via email at email@example.com to get started.
For even more information on FAQ’s regarding the CARES Act, please see the attached information guide.