April 9, 2020—
Dear Secretary Mnuchin & Administrator Carranza:
When the current economic crisis hit the United States last month, Congress moved as quickly as possible to provide assistance to small businesses across the country, recognizing that small businesses are the backbone of our country and our economy. Yes, we do have large, multi-state, multi-national business entities today, but they all have one thing in common: when they first started their business enterprise, they were a small business. Whether those enterprises were established to develop a new product or make improvements on an existing product or industry, they were small businesses.
The CARES Act created a ‘working capital advance’ within the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program at the SBA intended to help small businesses by awarding grants of up to $10,000 per business. This loan advance did not have to be repaid even if the loan application was denied, and more importantly, the advance was supposed to be made within three days. At the time it became law, there were no restrictions, announced or otherwise. Looking at the on-line application for the EIDL, the only data required, aside from general information about the business entity and its owner(s), are as follows:
- Gross income (most businesses use the 2019 gross income as it is readily available)
- Cost of goods sold
- Number of employees (not ‘full-time equivalents’)
Furthermore, at the beginning of the application, one of the choices is ‘applicant is an individual who operates under a sole proprietorship, with or without employees’, or ‘applicant is an independent contractor’. Nowhere in the application does it state or specify how the amount of the loan/grant under this program is to be determined. At the end of the application, it does say the following:
“I would like to be considered for an advance of up to $10,000.”
NOWHERE in the application is there ANY indication as to how the amount is to be determined.
With your announcement, the determining factor for the amount to be issued will be based on the number of employees. Therefore, you have, in effect: (1) eliminated ALL independent contractors with no employees from this process, and (2) eliminated any other business entity that does not have employees (i.e., real estate ventures).
Small businesses are seriously hurting. Business owners are trying to keep their businesses in operation to the extent possible. Many have been forced to shut down completely, but still have bills to pay. Others may never reopen once the current crisis ends. Unemployment is at a level that has not been seen since the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Many accounting firms, including our members, have been affected by the nearly nation-wide shutdown of businesses.
It appears that the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration are not operating this program in the true spirit for which it was created. It is IMPERATIVE that the federal government, through this working capital advance program, provide as much relief as possible to ALL small business owners, including those without employees.
Very truly yours,Neil. H. Fishman, CPA, CFE, FCPA, CAMS
National Conference of CPA PractitionersStephen F. Mankowski, CPA, CGMA
Co-chair, Tax Policy Committee
National Conference of CPA PractitionersSanford E. Zinman, CPA
Co-chair, Tax Policy Committee
National Conference of CPA Practitioners
The National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP) is a professional organization comprised of Certified Public Accountants practicing in the United States. In addition to serving as a forum for education, networking, and community impact, NCCPAP also advocates for its clients. NCCPAP influences tax administration and tax policy by regularly meeting with Internal Revenue Service representatives, state taxing authorities, and elected officials. NCCPAP members represent over one million businesses and individual clients. The organization is headquartered in Woodbury, NY. For more information visit, www.NCCPAP.org.