One of the many, many changes that COVID-19 has ushered in is the extreme uptick in people working remotely. Social distancing has made working from home a necessity for millions.
The technology that is allowing remote working to take place has matured greatly in the last decade. Today, it is possible for team members to work from virtually any location. Of course, as with most technologies, there is a potential downside. Accountability can become a significant challenge with remote workers. Of course, the more remote workers you have at a given time, the greater the potential challenges will be.
Many businesses are struggling with the phenomenon of remote working, as it is something new for them. Under normal circumstances, large numbers of employees working remotely simply wouldn’t happen. Writing for Inc., Elise Keith, Co-Founder and CEO of Lucid Meetings, recommended key steps businesses should take to help ensure that their employees stay on target while working from home.
Don’t demand high productivity
To be effective, Keith says remote work environments must avoid four major mistakes. Employers, especially those unfamiliar with remote work, often demand too much productivity right out of the gate.
Remote teams can be very productive and even outperform their in-office counterparts. Put everything you’re doing on one of three lists: Start, Stop, Continue. “Challenge yourselves to get the Start and Continue lists as short as possible while still ensuring critical business operations.”
Don’t Assume this is Temporary
It’s a mistake to assume the current pandemic situation is temporary. Even if COVID-19 disappears, other crises will occur, and it makes sense to be prepared. Why not “get good at working remotely?” Teams with good remote working skills are more resilient now. You can be sure your competitors are working remotely, too.
Be Open to Technology
Don’t automatically ban the use of non-approved tools. Now is not the time to fret about what software tools people are using. “You can’t have it both ways. Either give your teams the resources they need to be effective or decrease your expectations,” says David Horowitz, the CEO of Retrium, a platform for running online retrospectives.
Keith suggests creating an expedited process for the adoption of new tools. If your team finds a new tool that boosts productivity, you should consider buying it.
“Software costs pale when compared to the costs of lost opportunity,” Keith points out. Set aside restrictive thinking and become more open-minded and flexible. Remember, your top goal and that of your clients is to stay in business until the pandemic has passed.
It’s a mistake for managers to dictate hours and response times. Remote work is, by its nature, going to be more flexible. Trying to micromanage every move digitally is simply not a savvy move and will hurt morale.
Instead, Keith thinks businesses should opt for having a daily meeting via phone or videoconference with the team. Consider having a one-on-one meeting with every team member, also.
Adapt and Survive
“Remote work may be new to you, but that doesn’t make it unproven or risky,” Keith says. “Stop trying to control the situation and focus instead on finding the new opportunities created. Remote work is different, so slow down and learn from many of the excellent resources out there.”
Remote work can be highly effective for you, especially when used correctly.
The post How to Make Remote Teams Accountable appeared first on Deal Studio – Automate, accelerate and elevate your deal making.
Businesses that borrowed less than $2 million under the Paycheck Protection Program will get an automatic safe harbor, according to a Small Business Administration announcement issued May 13.
“Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith,” according to the SBA’s responses to FAQ’s about PPP loans.
The SBA had previously said it would review any PPP loans exceeding $2 million, according to the ABA Banking Journal.
As of May 13, the SBA said it had approved 2,686,493 loans totaling $192,565,254,187 in the second round of the PPP. The average loan size in the second round was $71,679, issued by 5,428 lenders. In round one, 1,661,367 loans totalling $342,277,999,103 from 4,975 lenders were approved, the SBA said.
Borrowers that received PPP loans for amounts over $2 million will be subject to review by the SBA for compliance with program requirements, including the certification of economic need. “If SBA determines in the course of its review that a borrower lacked an adequate basis for the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request, SBA will seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance and will inform the lender that the borrower is not eligible for loan forgiveness,” SBA said.
Borrowers who repay their loans after receiving notification from the SBA will not be subject to administrative enforcement or referrals to other agencies, the SBA said. Additionally, SBA’s determination regarding the necessity of the loan request will not affect the SBA loan guarantee.
SBA will also automatically extend until May 18 the safe harbor deadline to allow PPP borrowers “an opportunity to review and consider” the new guidelines. Borrowers do not need to apply for this extension. This extension will be promptly implemented through a revision to the SBA’s interim final rule providing the safe harbor.
SBA said this safe harbor is appropriate because borrowers with loans below $2 million “are generally less likely to have had access to adequate sources of liquidity in the current economic environment than borrowers that obtained larger loans.” The SBA also said “this safe harbor will also promote economic certainty as PPP borrowers with more limited resources endeavor to retain and rehire employees. In addition, given the large volume of PPP loans, this approach will enable SBA to conserve its finite audit resources and focus its reviews on larger loans, where the compliance effort may yield higher returns.”
“Importantly, borrowers with loans greater than $2 million that do not satisfy this safe harbor may still have an adequate basis for making the required good-faith certification, based on their individual circumstances in light of the language of the certification and SBA guidance. SBA has previously stated that all PPP loans in excess of $2 million, and other PPP loans as appropriate, will be subject to review by SBA for compliance with program requirements set forth in the PPP Interim Final Rules and in the Borrower Application Form. If SBA determines in the course of its review that a borrower lacked an adequate basis for the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request, SBA will seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance and will inform the lender that the borrower is not eligible for loan forgiveness. If the borrower repays the loan after receiving notification from SBA, SBA will not pursue administrative enforcement or referrals to other agencies based on its determination with respect to the certification concerning necessity of the loan request. SBA’s determination concerning the certification regarding the necessity of the loan request will not affect SBA’s loan guarantee.”
The SBA’s list of FAQ’s related to the PPP is frequently updated.Read More
As of late April 2020, there is one thought at the forefront of the vast majority of businesses around the globe, namely, what steps do I need to take to stay in business until the COVID-19 pandemic is over or recedes? There is no doubt about it, this is the “big question” of the day.
The global economic structure hasn’t seen this much uncertainty since WWII, and some would argue that we’ve never seen this level of simultaneous global economic disruption. Knowing what steps you need to take to keep your business up and running is of paramount importance.
In short, business owners must be sure that their businesses are in good shape. You should take every step possible to position yourself for when the economy is back up and running at full steam. Right now, there is a degree of chaos and uncertainty, but this will not last. As a business owner, you need to focus on getting your house in order.
Now is not a time to take a vacation. Instead, you should be focused like never before on the inner workings of your business. You should be striving to find ways to improve every single aspect. Of course, this is easier said than done. There is a real psychological hurdle, as for many people it seems as though everything has “stopped.” While customers, clients, and staff interactions have been dramatically reduced, now is not the time for you to “check out” mentally and wait for things to get better.
Rarely, if ever, has it been more important for owners to invest as much of their time and energy as possible. After all, as a business owner, you have already shown a great deal of drive and determination, as well as at least some level of out of the box thinking. You have proven that you have what it takes to get through the recent challenges.
Many will feel dejected right now. But you should pool on the same skill sets that allowed you to create a successful business in the first place. What obstacles did you overcome in life to create your business? Was your business created during a prior economic downturn? The odds are that you already have skill sets and strengths that will allow you to survive the fallout of COVID-19.
For business owners who truly want to survive the economic stress of the pandemic, ultimately, focus is key to survival. The odds are excellent that there are revenue streams and different approaches that may have been overlooked. Your job is to identify and then exploit those avenues.
The post Now is the Time for Focus appeared first on Deal Studio – Automate, accelerate and elevate your deal making.
Developing Your 90-Day Plan
Those who want to make sure their businesses survive this pandemic will want to achieve a laser-like focus. It is important to realize that the forced downtime triggered by the pandemic affords you the opportunity to work on potentially neglected aspects of your business.
Summed up another way, now is the time for dynamic and focused action. In this article, we’ll address what you can do to help your business survive this unusual time period.
Reevaluating Your Business
It’s time to step back and look at every aspect of your business, including your processes. You should be encouraged to find new ways of doing things. In short, now should be viewed as a time of opportunity to reboot your business. That way when the pandemic has subsided, and your business picks up once more, it is more efficient, more effective, and more competitive.
Scott Bushkie, Founder and President of Cornerstone Business Services, recommended that business owners create 90-day plans where they look for ways to innovate. This strategic plan should focus on what they are going to do and what they want to accomplish. It is critical that there is an actual plan that achieves tangible results and not simply a list of things that should be accomplished. Listed below are a few questions you should be pondering.
- How can I outperform the competition?
- How can I innovate?
- How can I increase my use of technology?
- How can I deliver my products and services in a different way?
- How can I reduce my operational costs?
- Have I reached out to my suppliers and creditors for assistance?
- Have I applied to applicable SBA COVID-19 focused programs?
- What do I want to accomplish in the next 90-days?
It’s Time to Reboot
The main point is that businesses should not look at this pandemic situation as some sort of “miserable and stressful vacation,” but instead as an opportunity to reboot what is not working, and look for ways to make improvements in every aspect of your business. This process begins by asking the right questions and striving to find the answers.
In answering these questions and finding ways to help boost your rates of survival, you should turn to every asset at your disposal. Why not ask your management team as well as all of your employees for ideas that could help their business? Everyone should understand that owners are looking for ways to keep their business healthy while navigating the pandemic.
Now is the time for reflection, short-term and long-term planning, and tangible actions. Business owners should also consult with a range of business professionals, including, of course, business brokers and M&A Advisors. Brokers are uniquely positioned to help business owners through this crisis.
The post Questions for Helping Businesses Survive the COVID appeared first on Deal Studio – Automate, accelerate and elevate your deal making.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service issued the following, Notice 2020-32, to answer questions about how to handle the deductibility of certain expenses if a taxpayer gets a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, created under the CARES Act.
The CARES Act, however, did not address whether the business expenses that result in PPP loan forgiveness will be deductible for tax purposes, according to a post by JD Supra, which posts a daily newsletter of news, commentary and analysis from leading lawyers and law firms. In this notice, released on April 30th, JD Supra concludes that “the IRS concludes that when the payment of business expenses results in the forgiveness of a PPP loan, such as payroll costs or rent, those business expenses will not be deductible for tax purposes. According to the IRS, this treatment prevents a “double tax benefit” and is consistent with Section 265(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, which generally provides that no tax deduction is available for expenses that are paid with tax-exempt dollars.”
The full text of the IRS notice is reproduced below:
This notice provides guidance regarding the deductibility for Federal income tax purposes of certain otherwise deductible expenses incurred in a taxpayer’s trade or business when the taxpayer receives a loan (covered loan) pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program under section 7(a)(36) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(a)(36)). Specifically, this notice clarifies that no deduction is allowed under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) for an expense that is otherwise deductible if the payment of the expense results in forgiveness of a covered loan pursuant to section 1106(b) of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Public Law 116-136, 134 Stat. 281, 286-93 (March 27, 2020) and the income associated with the forgiveness is excluded from gross income for purposes of the Code pursuant to section 1106(i) of the CARES Act.
The Paycheck Protection Program was established by section 1102 of the CARES Act. Under the Paycheck Protection Program, a recipient of a covered loan may use the proceeds to pay (1) payroll costs, (2) certain employee benefits relating to healthcare, (3) interest on mortgage obligations, (4) rent, (5) utilities, and (6) interest on any other existing debt obligations. See section 7(a)(36)(F) of the Small Business Act (describing allowable uses of a covered loan). See also Q&A 2.r. in Part III of the interim final rule, Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program, Docket No. SBA-2020-0015, 85 Fed. Reg. 20811, 20814 (April 15, 2020).
Under section 1106(b) of the Cares Act, a recipient of a covered loan can receive forgiveness of indebtedness on the loan (covered loan forgiveness) in an amount equal to the sum of payments made for the following expenses during the 8-week “covered period” beginning on the covered loan’s origination date (each, an eligible section 1106 expense): (1) payroll costs, (2) any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation, (3) any payment on any covered rent obligation, and (4) any covered utility payment. See section 1106(a) (defining the terms “covered period”, “covered mortgage obligation,” “covered rent obligation,” “covered utility payment,” and “payroll costs”), (b) (regarding eligibility for covered loan forgiveness), and (g) (regarding covered loan forgiveness decisions). However, section 1106(d) of the CARES Act provides that the amount of the covered loan forgiveness is reduced if, during the covered period, (1) the average number of full-time equivalent employees of the recipient is reduced as compared to the number of full-time employees in a specified base period, or (2) the salary or wages of certain employees is reduced by more than 25 percent as compared to the last full quarter before the covered period. In addition, pursuant to an interim final rule issued by the Small Business Administration, no more than 25 percent of the amount forgiven can be attributable to non-payroll costs. See Q&A 2.o. in Part III of the interim final rule, Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program, Docket No. SBA-2020-0015, 85 Fed. Reg. 20811, 20813-20814 (April 15, 2020).
Section 1106(i) of the CARES Act addresses certain Federal income tax consequences resulting from covered loan forgiveness. Specifically, that subsection provides that, for purposes of the Code, any amount that (but for that subsection) would be includible in gross income of the recipient by reason of forgiveness described in section 1106(b) “shall be excluded from gross income.” Thus, section 1106(i) of the CARES Act operates to exclude from the gross income of a recipient any category of income that may arise from covered loan forgiveness, regardless of whether such income would be (1) properly characterized as income from the discharge of indebtedness under section 61(a)(11) of the Code, or (2) otherwise includible in gross income under section 61 of the Code.
II. Deductibility of Eligible Section 1106 Expenses
Neither section 1106(i) of the CARES Act nor any other provision of the CARES Act addresses whether deductions otherwise allowable under the Code for payments of eligible section 1106 expenses by a recipient of a covered loan are allowed if the covered loan is subsequently forgiven under section 1106(b) of the CARES Act as a result of the payment of those expenses. This Notice addresses the effect of covered loan forgiveness on the deductibility of payments of eligible section 1106 expenses.
III. Summary of Relevant Law
Section 161 of the Code provides that, in computing taxable income under section 63 of the Code, there shall be allowed as deductions the items specified in part VI, subchapter B, chapter 1 of the Code (for example, sections 162 and 163). However, section 161 of the Code provides that the allowance of these deductions is subject to the exceptions provided in part IX, subchapter B, chapter 1 of the Code. These exceptions include section 265 of the Code. See also section 261.
In general, section 162 of the Code provides for a deduction for all ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business. Covered rent obligations, covered utility payments, and payroll costs consisting of wages and benefits paid to employees comprise typical trade or business expenses for which a deduction under section 162 of the Code generally is appropriate. Section 163(a) of the Code provides a deduction for certain interest paid or accrued during the taxable year on indebtedness, including interest paid or incurred on a mortgage obligation of a trade or business.
However, section 265(a)(1) of the Code and §1.265-1 of the Income Tax Regulations provide that no deduction is allowed to a taxpayer for any amount otherwise allowable as a deduction to such taxpayer that is allocable to one or more classes of income other than interest (whether or not any amount of income of that class or classes is received or accrued) wholly exempt from the taxes imposed by subtitle A of the Code. See generally section 265(a)(1); §1.265-1. The term “class of exempt income” means any class of income (whether or not any amount of income of such class is received or accrued) that is either wholly excluded from gross income under any provision of subtitle A of the Code or wholly exempt from the taxes imposed by subtitle A of the Code under the provisions of any other law. See §1.265-1(b)(1). The purpose of section 265 of the Code is to prevent a double tax benefit.
Section 265(a)(1) of the Code applies to otherwise deductible expenses incurred for the purpose of earning or otherwise producing tax-exempt income. It also applies where tax exempt income is earmarked for a specific purpose and deductions are incurred in carrying out that purpose. In such event, it is proper to conclude that some or all of the deductions are allocable to the tax-exempt income. See Christian v. United States, 201 F. Supp. 155 (E.D. La. 1962) (school teacher was denied deductions for expenses incurred for a literary research trip to England because the expenses were allocable to a tax-exempt gift and fellowship grant); Banks v. Commissioner, 17 T.C. 1386 (1952) (certain educational expenses paid by the Veterans’ Administration that were exempt from income tax, were not deductible); Heffelfinger v. Commissioner, 5 T.C. 985 (1945), (Canadian income taxes on income exempt from U.S. tax are not deductible in computing U.S. taxable income); and Rev. Rul. 74-140, 1974-1 C.B. 50, (the portion of a state income tax paid by a taxpayer that is allocable to the cost-of-living allowance, a class of income wholly exempt under section 912, is nondeductible under section 265).
In Manocchio v. Commissioner, 78 T.C. 989 (1982), a taxpayer attended a flight-training course that maintained and improved skills required in the taxpayer’s trade or business. As a veteran, the taxpayer was entitled to an educational assistance allowance from the Veterans’ Administration pursuant to 38 U.S.C. section 1677 (1976) equal to 90 percent of the costs incurred. Because the payments received were exempt from taxation under 38 U.S.C. section 310(a) (1976), the taxpayer did not report them as income. The taxpayer did, however, deduct the entire cost of the flight training course, including the portion that had been reimbursed by the Veterans’ Administration. In a reviewed opinion, the court held that the reimbursed flight-training expenses were nondeductible under section 265(a)(1) of the Code.
NON-DEDUCTIBILITY OF PAYMENTS TO THE EXTENT INCOME RESULTING FROM LOAN FORGIVENESS IS EXCLUDED UNDER SECTION 1106(i) OF THE CARES ACT
To the extent that section 1106(i) of the CARES Act operates to exclude from gross income the amount of a covered loan forgiven under section 1106(b) of the CARES Act, the application of section 1106(i) results in a “class of exempt income” under §1.265- 1(b)(1) of the Regulations. Accordingly, section 265(a)(1) of the Code disallows any otherwise allowable deduction under any provision of the Code, including sections 162 and 163, for the amount of any payment of an eligible section 1106 expense to the extent of the resulting covered loan forgiveness (up to the aggregate amount forgiven) because such payment is allocable to tax-exempt income. Consistent with the purpose of section 265, this treatment prevents a double tax benefit.
This conclusion is consistent with prior guidance of the IRS that addresses the application of section 265(a) to otherwise deductible payments. In particular, Rev. Rul. 83-3, 1983-1 C.B. 72, provides that, where tax exempt income is earmarked for a specific purpose, and deductions are incurred in carrying out that purpose, section 265(a) applies because such deductions are allocable to the tax-exempt income. In accordance with the analysis set forth in Rev. Rul. 83-3, the direct link between (1) the amount of tax exempt covered loan forgiveness that a recipient receives pursuant to section 1106 of the CARES Act, and (2) an equivalent amount of the otherwise deductible payments made by a recipient for eligible section 1106 expenses, constitutes a sufficient connection for section 265(a) to apply to disallow deductions for such payments under any provision of the Code, including sections 162 and 163, to the extent of the income excluded under section 1106(i) of the CARES Act.
The deductibility of payments of eligible section 1106 expenses that result in loan forgiveness under section 1106(b) of the CARES Act is also subject to disallowance under case law and published rulings that deny deductions for otherwise deductible payments for which the taxpayer receives reimbursement. See, e.g., Burnett v. Commissioner, 356 F.2d 755, 759-60 (5th Cir. 1966); Wolfers v. Commissioner, 69 T.C. 975 (1978); Charles Baloian Co. v. Commissioner, 68 T.C. 620 (1977); Rev. Rul. 80-348, 1980-2 C.B. 31; Rev. Rul. 80-173, 1980-2 C.B. 60.
The principal authors of this notice are Sarah Daya and Patrick Clinton of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Income Tax & Accounting). For further information regarding the application of sections 161, 162, 163, and 261 please contact Ms. Daya at (202) 317-4891 (not a toll-free call); for further information regarding the application of section 265, please contact Mr. Clinton at (202) 317-7005 (not a toll-free call).Read More