All businesses are feeling economic hardship right now, and horse owners are no exception. Congress and the Trump Administration have provided several mechanisms to keep businesses afloat and provide some financial relief. Every business and every financial situation is unique, however, so it is critical that you have a conversation with your tax or financial advisor to ensure that you are accessing all the benefits to which you are entitled under the new law.
1. Tax Benefits. Owners may be entitled to some new tax benefits that allow them to file amended returns for prior years and get cash in the form of tax refunds.
a. Net operating losses can now be carried back for up to 5 years. This applies to C corporations and individuals who generate net business losses. The IRS is currently accepting faxed refund requests in order to expedite these cash refunds.
b. The excess business loss limitation for individuals, trusts and estates is now deferred until 2021. Those who were subject to this limitation in 2018 and 2019 may file amended tax returns to receive cash refunds.
c. The prior year AMT credits in C corporations, originally refundable through 2021, are now fully refundable in 2018 or 2019. The IRS is currently accepting faxed refund requests in order to expedite these cash refunds.
2. Emergency Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are available to owners regardless of whether they have employees to assist in funding working capital needs (e.g., payment of training and board bills). In some instances, the borrower may be entitled to a $10,000 forgivable loan advance. The initial loan disbursements (in addition to the $10K advance) are available based on two months of working capital, with a maximum of $15,000 per applicant. The first loan payment back to SBA on EIDLs is deferred for one year.
a. The EIDL program does not require a business to have employees who receive W-2 wages but the SBA is currently distributing the $10k EIDL advances that are not required to be repaid to only those businesses with employees or self-employed individuals. They are calculating these as $1k per employee up to $10k maximum per applicant.
b. Through the EIDL program, the SBA is also supposed to be quickly distributing two months of working capital up to $15k per application. So, racing stables, trainers, and others without employees should still apply thru the EIDL program, although these loans will have to be repaid. Loan applications for the EIDL loan program will be available on the SBA’s website once the SBA has posted it.
3. The Main Street Lending Program will enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury recognize that businesses vary widely in their financing needs and are still working on the specific guidelines for this program, which are expected to be finalized by May 1st.
4. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been funded with an additional $310B in the latest Congressional act passed on April 24, 2020, $60B of which is designated for smaller banks and credit unions. Those loan terms include two-year loans at 1% interest, deferral of payments for six months, interest accrued from the date the loan is received and no prepayment penalty. Also, the PPP loan may be forgivable if spent on qualifying expenditures (payroll, rent or mortgage interest and utilities). The exact forgiveness calculation for the PPP loan is pending additional guidance from Treasury.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are available to owners but only under specific circumstances:
a. Owners are generally required to have employees who receive W-2 wages to take advantage of the PPP.
b. Owners in Partnerships with both employees who receive W-2 wages and self-employment income of partners should include both the W-2 wages and the partners’ self-employment income when calculating the partnership’s PPP loan. The partnership only should file the application.
c. Self-employed sole proprietorships and pass-through single-member entities (e.g. LLCs) may qualify for a PPP loan if they have 2019 Schedule C or Schedule F net profit (2019 Net Profit). If 2019 Net Profit is less than zero, then that entity is not eligible for a PPP loan. PPP loan forgiveness for sole proprietors is limited to 8/52nds of 2019 Net Profit.
d. Employers who have received a PPP loan, but whose loan is not yet forgiven, may defer deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security taxes beginning on March 27, 2020 until the loan is forgiven. These taxes will continue to be deferred under the normal payment terms for the PPP program. Once the employer’s PPP loan is forgiven, this deferral is no longer available.
5. Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit. The CARES Act created payroll tax credits for employers who retain W-2 employees if the business is fully or partially suspended due to COVID-19 orders from a government agency or if there is a 50% decrease in gross receipts when compared to the prior calendar quarter. This is essentially a refundable payroll tax credit of up to 50 percent of the “qualified wages” paid by an employer to an employee from March 13 through December 31, 2020. Qualified wages include salaries and employer-provided health benefits and cannot exceed $10,000 per employee. This credit for an employee who earns at least $10,000 annually is capped at $5,000. This credit is only available to employers that do not receive a PPP loan and additional restrictions apply for those with more than 100 employees. An advance of this credit may be requested via the IRS Form 7200; otherwise, this may be claimed on the quarterly payroll tax return.
As a reminder, owners need to consult their tax and financial advisors for their specific situations.
The NTRA acknowledges the contributions of Jen Shah, CPA, and Director of Tax Services for the Lexington, KY accounting firm, Dean Dorton, and Lauren Bazel, Vice President and tax policy advisor for the Washington, DC lobbying firm, The Alpine Group, in the preparation of this tax advisory release.