TIPS FOR MAINTAINING INCOME/CASH FLOW
- Conduct business on line
- Email past customers discounted offers for future business if they pay or make a deposit now.
- Sell discounted gift cards that can be redeemed for a greater value on line or by email.
- Start a “Go fund page” that does the above items.
- Use this down time to do telemarketing to develop leads for when things return to normal.
During this period of uncertainty, many Bridgton small businesses- near and dear to our hearts- have either had to shut down or operate in new and challenging ways. As residents, our families and lives are also facing disruption. We recognize the stress this puts on our community and are addressing your concerns by providing resources with information on how to minimize losses. We encourage participation via Town of Bridgton social media where ideas may be shared among community members.
For the most up-to-date State of Maine COVID-19 Response Information click here.
CARES ACT of 2020
Recovery rebates for Individuals– Income Tax rebates of $1,200 ($2,400 in the case of eligible individuals filing a joint return), plus $500 for each qualifying child for households with income up to $150,000 in the case of a joint return, $112,500 in the case of a head of household, and $75,000 in the case of all other taxpayers. For households over these limits the amounts shall be reduced by 5% of the amount of income over these limits.
Unemployment Insurance – recently signed into law is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided additional flexibility for state unemployment insurance agencies and additional administrative funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES act expands states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance for many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including for workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits. In order to apply you need to contact Maine’s unemployment insurance program.
Retirement plans: The five main areas of retirement planning impacted by the CARES Act are: required minimum distributions, 401(k) loans, Social Security benefits, the new coronavirus-related distribution exception, and charitable giving. Forbes published an article detailing the changes in each of these areas.
Payroll Tax Delay
Payroll tax delay-The CARES Act will allow employers and self-employed individuals, to defer paying their portion of the Social Security payroll tax otherwise due with respect to wages accrued between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The deferred amounts will ultimately have to be paid to the U.S. Treasury in two installments. Half of the deferred amount of payroll taxes from 2020 will be due December 31, 2021, with the remaining half due December 31, 2022. Detailed information can be found here.
Telehealth- CMS and the Federal Government have lifted many restrictions on the use of telehealth (telemedicine). Services now available include:
- Medicare patients in all settings can receive telehealth services
- Physicians may provide telehealth services to NEW and existing patients
- Medicare will pay physicians for all telehealth services, not just related to COVID-19
- Physicians can now provide audio-only telephone evaluation
The American Medical Association (AMA) has posted information that is useful to both physicians and patients.
Net Operating Losses
Net operating losses- The CARES Act temporarily suspends retroactively changes made to the treatment of net operating losses by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “2017 Tax Act”). It also suspends retroactively the limitation on excess business losses added to the Internal Revenue Code by the 2017 Tax Act. These changes will result in some taxpayers receiving refunds on taxes previously paid for 2018 and 2019 taxable years. The IRS provides guidance under CARES Act to tax payers with NOL.
Small Business Loans
Small Business Loans
Pay Check Protection Program -will provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the crisis. Features include: forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply 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.
Debt Relief 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.
There are many other components to the program for varied situations. Please visit SBA.gov for more information.
Employee Retention Credits
Employee Retention Credit-The CARES Act is designed to encourage Eligible Employers to keep employees on their payroll, despite experiencing economic hardship related to COVID-19, with an employee retention tax credit. The Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) that Eligible Employers pay their employees. This Employee Retention Credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The maximum amount of qualified wages taken into account with respect to each employee for all calendar quarters is $10,000, so that the maximum credit for an Eligible Employer for qualified wages paid to any employee is $5,000. Visit the IRS for more information.
Flexibility for use of CDBG funds used to support COVID-19 response
Bridgton is a recipient of CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds annually and uses it to support programs such as the Community Center Navigator Program and the Food Pantry. The Town was recently notified by Cumberland County of additional relief funds available for planning and resources related to COVID-19 and is actively putting together a plan for helping residents. More information about the federal funding can be found here.
Executive Orders Related to COVID-19 and What They Mean
Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers arriving in Maine
In order to preserve the public health and safety of Maine residents (in or out-of-state), Governor Mills enacted an executive order regarding required measures every individual traveling into the state must adhere to. What does that mean?
- Unless you are coming into the state for essential services, you must self-quarantine for 14 days-even if you live here as your primary or secondary residence
- Visitors are instructed not to travel to Maine if showing any symptoms of COVID-19 OR if you are coming from an area that is considered a “hot spot”
- There are restrictions that apply to specific states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut)
- The order will be enforced- including by means of community policing
- You may be subject to a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and $1000 fine
If in doubt, please check the order for details.
Extended Compliance Dates-Certain Motor Vehicle Laws
Given the state of emergency and stay at home orders there are changes to requirements related to motor vehicle laws.
- If your Driver’s License or State issued ID expires during the state of emergency, your expiration date is extended 30 days after the termination of the emergency
- Expiration of Dealer “plates” are extend 30 days after the termination of the emergency
- If you just purchased a vehicle or trailer the requirement for registered by be eligible for a temporary stay
There are other extensions allowed in the executive order and some exceptions. Please review the complete document for more information.
Fishing and Hunting Changes
If you hunt wild turkey you will want to review the Executive Order issued on April 21st that list a number of changes to the season and requirements.
This order also includes changes to fishing derby and bass tournament permits.
Governor Mills signed an order regarding unlawful evictions, writs of possession and initiation of eviction proceedings. With the courts currently closed to most eviction actions, there is concern of attempts to evict tenants unlawfully. During the state of emergency the eviction process is essentially halted. There are limitations and exceptions to this rule-so to find out more information view the completer order here.
Extended Stay at Home Order
Governor Mills extended the stay at home order to continue the prioritization of public health and safety. The order also implements a plan to restart Maine’s economy over the Summer.