Arizona small businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19 have limited time to benefit from important benefits passed along with the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses can apply for 100% federally guaranteed loans for an amount up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll expenses for the prior year.
Funds provided in the form of loans will be fully forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and/or utilities. Loan monies not eligible for forgiveness will carry a 1% interest rate.
Most small businesses are eligible today. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals may apply starting April 10. This program is first come, first served, meaning it’s critical that Arizona businesses prepare and apply now.
Businesses can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through any existing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lender or through any federally insured depository institutions, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Most applications are available on the websites of participating banks. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Arizona businesses should contact their banks or credit unions to begin the application process now.
YOU ARE ELIGIBLE IF YOU ARE:
- A small business with fewer than 500 employees;
- A small business that otherwise meets the SBA’s size standard;
- A 501(c)(3) with fewer than 500 employees;
- An individual who operates as a sole proprietor;
- An individual who operates as an independent contractor;
- An individual who is self-employed who regularly carries on any trade or business;
- A Tribal business concern that meets the SBA size standard;
- Or a 501(c)(19) Veterans Organization that meets the SBA size standard.
In addition, some special rules may make you eligible:
- If you are in the accommodation and food services sector (NAICS 72), the 500-employee rule is applied on a per physical location basis.
- If you are operating as a franchise or receive financial assistance from an approved Small Business Investment Company the normal affiliation rules do not apply.
NOTE: The 500-employee threshold includes all employees: full-time, part-time, and any other status.
Answers to questions related to the Paycheck Protection Program can be found on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
In addition, the Arizona Commerce Authority is hosting a series of webinars designed to provide guidance, tools and resources to Arizona’s businesses impacted by COVID-19. The second webinar in the series—“Workforce Continuity & Strategy”—will provide information on how to utilize the Paycheck Protection Program. It will be held Tuesday, April 7 from 2 P.M. to 3 P.M. and registration to participate is found HERE.
Last week, Governor Ducey announced a cooperative agreement with the state’s banks to protect small businesses and families from eviction and foreclosure. He also launched the Arizona Together initiative to support Arizonans during the COVID-19 outbreak, connecting individuals and businesses to resources, raising money for community organizations and providing information on volunteer opportunities. Visit ArizonaTogether.org to learn about ways to give back to the community.
Additional details about the Paycheck Protection Program and other COVID-19 financial resources can be found at azcommerce.com/covid-19/business-financial-support.