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Business Relief During the Coronavirus

Every business in the world has been impacted by the worst health crisis since 1918 when the so-called Spanish Flu decimated the planet. Eventually, the pandemic from a century earlier claimed between 50 and 100 million lives. As of March 27th, 2020 the coronavirus has caused almost 30,000 deaths worldwide. These tragic and terrible epidemics affect everyone. They especially disrupt businesses around the world.

How the Virus is Affecting Businesses Worldwide

Even if your business hasn’t been shut down by government order, it’s probably suffering from supply chain disruptions, absenteeism and slowed consumer spending. Supply chains have been disrupted worldwide from the base materials for tech companies to parts for electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Absenteeism occurs when workers will not go to work, a reality for those afraid of contracting the coronavirus. One of the worst impacts the coronavirus is having on the world economies is slamming consumer spending. When people are afraid of losing their jobs they lack the confidence to spend regularly and this impacts all business sectors.

Federal Government Allocates Funds for Businesses During Coronovirus

The federal government is beginning to take this problem seriously, passing legislation to assist small business owners. Inside of the $2 trillion relief package, the U.S. Senate has offered as much as $367 billion in loans to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis. If you own a small business it’s crucial to take steps to help it survive this crisis. It’s a good idea to consult with an attorney experienced in business law to discuss applying for the programs that would be most helpful for your particular business. 

Here are some of the relief options for small businesses that have passed or are proposed:

Mandatory Sick Leave With Employer Tax Credit

On March 18th, a bill was signed into law that will provide income tax deferment for small businesses. In an effort to help businesses keep their workers on the payroll during the crisis, the law requires small businesses to pay employees sick leave at 100% of their pay (up to $511 a day) for two weeks. These payments will reduce a business’ tax liability dollar for dollar, functioning as a tax credit. However, there are both stipulations and limitations on this tax credit. First, the credit will only apply for sick leave payments made during certain dates (likely April to December, 2020). Second, the credit is not available to those businesses already benefiting from tax credit for paid medical leave. An experienced business attorney or accountant will be able to guide you through this process so that you are able to achieve the highest savings possible from this tax credit.

Low Interest Loans / Emergency Loans for Businesses

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will also be offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses that qualify with low interest rates (3.75% for most businesses and $2.75% for non-profits). However, businesses that have access to credit elsewhere, at any rate, do not qualify for these loans. Also, a business must show that they were “severely impacted” by the current coronavirus crisis. There are also proposals for zero interest loans and grants, so it might be prudent to wait to see if these options become available.

Proposed Payroll Tax Cut

FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) is currently taxed at 15.3%, with employees and employers sharing the cost equally. The proposed relief package would also help self-employed workers that are currently paying the 15.3% tax on their own. Currently, it’s unclear how large the cut would be. This proposal has received a great deal of criticism from opponents who say it doesn’t address the crucial needs of the unemployed and that it might lead to a reduction in Social Security benefits.

Business Attorneys Are Busy Helping Small Businesses

An experienced business attorney can help you stay on top of all the options to help your business survive. Safe virtual consultations are available.

Contact us today so we can discuss the best ways to take advantage of the economic relief options available for your business.

human resources, furlough, layoff

Should a Business Furlough or Layoff Employees Amid Covid-19?

Business owners are looking for ways to mitigate revenue losses during the coronavirus pandemic, including how to handle their workforce. Some are considering furloughs and layoffs.

It goes without saying that furloughs are the best option for those who have cash flow availability. For others, layoffs are inevitable.

However, establishing a practical strategy during the coronavirus pandemic is essential to long-term growth and operations continuity. Speaking with an experienced Florida business attorney, who has experience in business disasters, will help forward-thinking business owners make the right decision.

Furlough vs. Layoff: What Is the Difference?

Furloughs and layoffs are actions that employers can take to save on payroll expenses by reducing its workforce payroll. While people sometimes use these two terms similarly, they are two vastly different strategies.

What Is a Layoff?

Layoffs are temporary separations between the employee and the company. It is predicated by the idea that work will resume when there is enough available.

Pros and Cons of Layoffs

It is an arrangement that allows displaced workers to collect unemployment benefits, and in some cases, maintain insurance coverage as an incentive to come back when a recall is issued.

However, businesses should carefully prune their workforce using this method as there is a chance for top talent to look for work elsewhere. This method is more likely to turn into a permanent loss.

What Is a Furlough?

In its simplest explanation, a furlough reduces employee hours for a specific period and is mandatory. Some companies require employees to take a furlough at some point during the year as part of their routine business practices.

Pros and Cons of Furloughs

The theory behind a furlough is that all employees experience hardship rather than just a few select individuals. It also helps companies reduce labor expenses without adding new ones.

Furlough could be an negotiated option with valuable employees to preserve the employment relationship. For the employee, it could appear a better option than layoff during a crisis that may make it difficult to find work. For the employer, reducing expenses makes the possibility of reopening the business more likely.

Implications that Business Owners Should Consider Discussing with Florida Business Attorney

There are specific aspects for business owners and managers to consider carefully. Florida follows governing state and federal laws when establishing how companies can handle furloughs and layoffs.

An Orlando business attorney will help them deal with the following:

  • Unemployment benefits advice
  • FLSA compliance
  • WARN Act compliance
  • Wage and hour considerations
  • How to handle exempt and non-exempt workers
  • Company communications
  • Furlough and layoff rollout strategies

Taking the time to plan for the long-term is the most practical approach during a temporary situation. An Orlando business lawyer will help agile companies weather the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Need Legal Advice? Boyer Law Firm is Here to Help!

Making the right choice when lives are at stake is one of the most challenging parts of running a business. Companies can perform their due diligence and discuss how to handle employees and economic impact issues with an experienced Floirda business attorney at Boyer Law Firm, P.L.

Request a case evaluation with our legal team by calling (904) 236-5317, emailing office@boyerlawfirm.com, or sending us a message through our contact form.

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IRS Defers Tax Payments Due to Coronavirus

It’s not often that we receive good news regarding federal income taxes.  In the current state of global pandemic crisis, we all could use a little good news. Thanks to the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Treasury, we are happy to share bit of good news.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury have deferred the payment deadline from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.  Although the payment of estimated tax has been extended, the filing deadline of April 15, 2020 for corporate tax returns, individual tax returns, or extension remains in place.

What does the tax payment extension mean for individuals?

For individuals, the payment deadline is being automatically extended for those 2019 tax bills up to $1 million.  This includes individuals, self-employed, estates, and trusts, essentially any filers other than C-corporations.  There are no additional forms to complete, and it is not necessary to contact the IRS as this is applied across the board. As a reminder to individuals, the IRS emphasizes that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their federal return. Utilizing this option can give additional relief. 

What does the tax payment extension mean for corporations?

For  C-corporations, the tax payment deadline is extended to July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of the 2019 tax bill. 

What about penalties and interest?

Penalties and interest will accrue beginning July 16, 2020, but provided the return is filed by April 15, 2020, and paid by July 15, 2020, no interest or penalties will apply.  

Contact us today for assistance navigating the available options for business financial relief. Our experienced business law attorneys can help suffering businesses reduce their losses. 

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Coronavirus: U.S. Bans Travel for Euorpeans

Since President Trump’s announcement to ban Europeans from traveling to or from the United States, the country is preparing for the consequences of the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

This border closure has several consequences:

  • Delays for immigration
  • Financial losses
  • Legal ramifications

The consequences in terms of immigration

Immigration concerns both non-residents seeking entrance to American territory and those who wish to leave the US. Currently, there are many confusing situations for which one may need an immigration attorney. The Boyer Law Firm specializes in many aspects of immigration law.

Entering the United States:

Regarding this situation, the President’s speech is very clear, Europeans from the European Union have been prohibited from entering American territory since March 12th. The British and those from the Republic of Ireland have similarly been restricted from entering the US since March 16th. This week, the border closure with Canada was announced.

For those who planned to go to the United States, it just became impossible. Having a visa, whatever it is, won’t change anything.

Be careful, however, if you are already in the United States. Indeed, the government has not announced any visa extensions for people already in the United States. Also, regardless of the current situation, if you exceed the maximum duration of your visa, or your ESTA, you will be considered an illegal immigrant. Though you are unlikely to be deported under the current circumstances, you take the risk of being unable to return to the United States in the future because of this violation. You will probably have to apply for a B visa to be authorized to return to the United States.

Leaving the United States:

If you are a citizen of one of the countries to which the United States no longer provides travels, the first step to take is to obtain information from your nation’s consulate in order to know if measures have been put in place to ensure repatriation of its citizens. If this is not the case, remember that the travel ban does not concern the whole world. It would be wise to consider a strategic withdrawal to another bordering country: Bahamas, Mexico, etc. It will of course be necessary to plan financially for this “exfiltration.” In this case, do not hesitate to use your insurance.

For those waiting for a visa, note that some American embassies and consulates, like the United States Consulate in Paris, are closed for health reasons. If you made an appointment to submit a visa application, we advise you to go directly to the website of the embassy concerned to verify it remains open. If it is closed, remember to postpone your appointment.

Any European citizen in the United States who has requested a status adjustment or a green card should know that the USCIS announced that all of its offices are closed from March 18 to April 1. This means that until at least this date, all requests to the administration will not be processed. The naturalization ceremonies are currently canceled. Further, a postponement date has not yet been set. The administration will send out notices with new meeting dates for all concerned.

Meeting with an Experienced Immigration Attorney

If you need assistance with immigration, or with negotiating with insurance companies for financial costs associated with expatriation, please contact us at the Boyer Law Firm. Our teams are highly specialized in the many complexities of immigration law, international law, visas, and citizenship. Contact us now, we’ll go over all your options and help you navigate the new laws and procedures. 

business closed, commercial lease, renegotiate commercial lease

Avoiding Lease Issues During the Coronavirus

As we all see on the news every day, the Coronavirus epidemic is rapidly spreading. This virus not only impacts our health, but our wealth, as well. Recently, the American president has severely restricted travel to the United States from Europe. In today’s spotlight series, we’ll explore some tactics businesses and landlords can use to help lessen the severity this pandemic will have on bottom lines.

Travel and Gathering Restrictions Hurting Local Economies

This quarantine decision is not without consequences for the United States. Florida, for example, depends on tourism for a considerable portion of her annual revenue and many of these tourists are from European countries. Each year, the Sunshine State attracts millions of tourists to enjoy the amusement parks; miles of sandy beaches and turquoise sea; shops that Florida has to offer. 

According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida’s tourism industry brings in over $6 billion in state taxes. In 2017, in the state of Florida alone, tourists (all nationalities combined) spent more than $88.6 billion, including $24.3 billion on hotels or lodging; $20.2 billion in food and restaurants; $15 billion in shopping; $18 billion in transportation and $11.2 billion in attractions and other entertainment activities. 

Bottom line, tourism is huge in the Sunshine State:

  • Tourism is the state’s 4th largest employer in the private sector 
  • As an industry, Florida Tourism employs more than 1.5 million Floridians

This 30-day travel ban could prove to be a real financial disaster for all sectors of tourism, especially since we are at the start of the spring break season.

The first victims will be restaurants, hotels, and shops. Fear spreads faster than the virus. Fear affects all sectors of the economy – airlines are desperately marketing reassuring messages. Restaurants only offer delivery service. Hotels slash prices, but nothing really stems the tide. In a globally connected economy, world markets are simultaneously contaminated by this drastic market slowdown. Restaurants, shopping centers, gathering places, tourist places, and even places of worship are deserted, generating significant deficits, especially in places like  Chinatown, New York. All major tourist destinations are affected. So, what advice can an expert legal team like Boyer Law Firm provide?

Renegotiating a Commercial Lease

While washing hands regularly is essential, it’s not the only solution to survive the epidemic. The first thing to do to prevent a financial meltdown is to renegotiate your commercial lease with your landlord. Through this unprecedented health crisis landlords should reduce interest rates, and consider waiving fees or even permitting delayed payments. 

Renegotiating the lease benefits the owners as much as the tenants to find an agreement on the payment of the rents for the period of slowdown. This keeps the property rented and at least some cash flow coming in until business can resume normally. Inflexible owners will only create more empty commercial spaces which, if left unchecked, can blight whole cities. Business owners should, though, seek to follow the terms of their lease rather than compromise their credit or risk expulsion. Negotiating with your landlord can be difficult and conversely renegotiating a contract may be outside the realm of many landlord’s expertise. That’s where the experience of a Florida business attorney can be a true benefit to all parties involved.

Trusted Florida Landlord Tenant Attorneys

A legal firm experienced in business law and specifically Florida Landlord Tenant Law like Boyer Law Firm can help businesses and property owners come to agreeable terms on matters of contention for the duration of this present crisis. Our business law team stands ready to help walk you through all your options with regards to the commercial lease and to help chart a path forward.

Contact our team now to renegotiate your commercial lease as best as possible today.