Navigating Covid relief: the options for New Hampshire small businesses

Sen. Hassan explains the federal programs, resources available
Maggie Hassan

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, New Hampshire’s small businesses have continued to shine. Showing the ingenuity and entrepreneurship that is their hallmark, businesses have done all that they can to adapt, support their employees, and continue serving their customers and communities. Even so, many businesses, understandably, still require support to stay afloat.

As this crisis has evolved, so have the challenges facing businesses. To help address those needs, I have worked on a bipartisan basis to provide relief, and to expand the number of businesses that can benefit from it. I want to make sure that small businesses across our state are aware of the resources that are currently available to them.

To start, the deadline for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program has been extended until May 31. This program is designed to keep workers on payroll, and may also be used to cover mortgage interest, rent, worker protection costs related to Covid-19, and more.

Small businesses and nonprofits who have not yet taken advantage of the PPP may still apply for a First Draw loan; the application and tools to find a lender can be found via the Small Business Administration’s website

Certain businesses may also qualify for a Second Draw PPP loan. Businesses that previously received a PPP loan, have fewer than 300 employees, and can demonstrate a revenue loss of 25% or more in one quarter of 2020 as compared to the same quarter in 2019 can qualify. Applications for Second Draw loans are also available through May 31, and more information can be found here.

Another resource available to businesses is the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which is a refundable payroll tax credit designed to help businesses retain and compensate employees. The ERTC provides a fully refundable tax credit to cover 70% of the first $10,000 in wages and certain health plan costs for each employee.

Small businesses should know that over the last year, eligibility for the ERTC has expanded. For example, previously, small employers and nonprofits could not claim the ERTC if they had already received a PPP loan. The Covid-19 relief package that passed in December included bipartisan legislation that I drafted to fix this issue, and now eligible small employers can participate in both programs. This will ensure that small employers who have exhausted PPP assistance and are still struggling to retain their employees or provide health coverage can access ERTC relief.

In addition, new businesses that started during the pandemic have previously been left out of Covid-related businesses relief programs. This seemed unfair and counterproductive to me, so I developed a bipartisan provision in the American Rescue Plan so that businesses who had the courage to start during the pandemic can access payroll assistance through a tailored version of the ERTC.

To claim the ERTC, employers file with the IRS – either to get an advance payment of this credit or to claim the credit on their quarterly employment tax returns. You can learn more about that process by visiting the IRS website.

There are many resources currently available to businesses in our state, and I encourage business owners to reach out to my office for assistance in navigating getting this support. To contact my staff, you can reach my Manchester office at 603-622-2204.

I will keep working in Congress to provide New Hampshire businesses with the support that they need to weather this pandemic – and to thrive beyond it.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan is a Democrat who lives in Newfields.

Categories: Business Advice, Government, Opinion