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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support: Architects, Employees, and Self-employed

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support: Architects, Employees, and Self-employed

| COVID-19 Update | March 24, 2020

STATE AND FEDERAL AID PROGRAMS.

Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order that we must work from home and its unintended consequences, we have organized State and Federal relief announcements relative to self-employed consultants and small businesses. These programs change frequently.

Student Loan Forgiveness.

Student loan borrowers will suspend their federal student loan payments without penalty and accruing interest for at least 60 days, the Department of Education said Friday. The Federal Government announced they would waive student loan interest amid the coronavirus crisis — but borrowers were awaiting details on how it would work and how long it would last. The Department of Education’s announcement Friday clarifies the policy change. For now, borrowers will put off two monthly loan payments. The Department will wave interest will for 60 days, starting retroactively on March 13.

Mortgages.

Homeowners who have lost income or their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak are getting some relief. Depending on their situation, they should be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months. Federal regulators, through the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility. The move covers about half of all home loans in the U.S. — those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie. But regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy. Under the plan, people who have suffered a loss of income can qualify to make reduced payments or be granted a full pause in payments.

Unemployment Insurance.

With the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you can collect the Unemployment Insurance benefits you need to pay your bills while you work on that dream! You can work fulltime in your new business while receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. You don’t have to look for jobs while you work on your business. Money earned from your business is not deducted from your Unemployment Insurance benefits. You stay on track for success with training and counseling. You get opportunities to build a network of support to launch your business. You must receive a written acceptance into the SEAP before you can start your own business while collecting benefits.

Utilities.

New Jersey and New York utilities will keep the power, heat, and water on for all customers in response to the coronavirus emergency, both states announced Friday. Major utilities have agreed to suspend utility shut-offs, a particular concern for people who may be out of work and cannot afford to pay their bills. “No utility can turn off service … if a person cannot pay their bill because of responding to this virus situation.

Evictions.

The government is expecting landlords and tenants to work together to establish affordable repayment plans, taking into consideration tenants’ circumstances at the end of the period. Under urgent new laws, landlords cannot start proceedings to evict tenants for at least three months, because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

SBA Loans for Payroll.

Small business owners in the following designated states are eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19): New York Click here to apply. Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at SBA.gov/Disaster. The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Guidance for Businesses and Employers. The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America – 15 Days to Slow the Spread.

IRS.

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Following the President’s emergency declaration under the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.  The guidance also allows corporate taxpayers a similar deferment of up to $10 million of federal income tax payments that would be due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.  This guidance does not change the April 15 filing deadline.

“Americans should file their tax returns by April 15 because many will receive a refund.  Those filing will take advantage of their refunds sooner,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This deferment allows those who owe a payment to the IRS to defer the payment until July 15 without interest or penalties.  Treasury and IRS ensure that hardworking Americans and businesses have additional liquidity for the next several months.”    

Today’s guidance will cause about $300 billion of additional liquidity in the economy in the near term.  Treasury and IRS will issue additional guidance as needed and continue working with Congress, bipartisan, on legislation to provide further relief to the American people.

 Paid Sick Leave.

Small business owners in the following designated states are eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Click here to apply.

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About the author

After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis, and starting his own design firm, David McFadden saw that there was a gap to be filled in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work, while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed - flexibility and adaption to modern work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early 80’s, the early 90’s, the early 2000’s, and the Great Recession of 2007.

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