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Letter From The President

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29 April 2020

By now, you have seen that the second round of Paycheck Protection loan money is starting to be divvied out by lenders. Hopefully more of this revenue will reach Utah small businesses this time around.  The SBA Website crash that happened the first and second day the new loans were being processed seems to have been corrected and the process is beginning to move forward for many businesses.

Providing timely and valuable information as trusted advisors is a critical mission of Fringe Benefit Analysts during this pandemic.  Please visit our website often as we are scanning hundreds of articles and viewing dozens of webinars each week and are posting the best and most relevant information and removing any redundancies. As it appears that the pandemic will drag on for months to come, the emotional toll is beginning to have an effect on many.  We have witnessed amazing acts of charity on one end and sadly, some pretty unpleasant human behaviors on the other end.  The main page of our website now includes an Emotional Health section to help us cope with the drawn-out recovery from COVID-19.  If you have the financial means or the time, here are some things you might consider doing to help:

FBA—Caring for Our Community

We know many in our community are hurting. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in one way or another, and quite negatively for most. There are some that are literally devastated and it’s hard to know if they will be able to get back on their feet. In these situations, a loan or stimulus check might be putting a bandage on a gushing wound.

It is with these individuals in mind that we at Fringe Benefit Analysts are striving to share information about where and how we can give back to our Utah communities.

There is a lightly publicized section of The CARES Act which allows taxpayers who do not itemize the opportunity to take an above-the-line charitable deduction. Steve Adams, with Adams & Petersen CPAs, provided:  Individuals will be able to claim a $300 above-the-line deduction for cash contributions made, generally, to public charities in 2020. This rule effectively allows a limited charitable deduction to taxpayers claiming the standard deduction. This is a very easy way for any Utahn to generously donate to a charity of choice.

Areas critically in need of support:

  • Food is in short supply for those in need. Listed below are organizations that specialize in feeding Utah families:

https://www.utahfoodbank.org/

https://www.foodpantries.org/st/utah

  • The restaurant industry has been hit particularly hard, especially those relying on tips having literally no income during this time. The Downtown SLC Alliance has a program to assist them:

https://downtownslc.org/tip-your-server-donate

  • UserveUtah provides personal protective equipment to healthcare workers:

https://userve.utah.gov/ppe/

  • Silicon Slopes has developed a site to collect money for medical supplies and COVID-19 test kits to accelerate testing for all Utahns:

https://www.slopesserves.com/donate

  • Weber County has been hit particularly hard and these sites direct funds to residents:

http://ogdendowntown.com/supportogdendining/

https://ogdenrescuemission.org/

https://www.stannescenter.org/item-donation

  • The United Way of Utah connects individuals in need with more than 1,000 resources and agencies throughout the state:

https://uw.org/

Dial – 211 from any phone to connect with a representative who will assess your

needs and direct you to the available and appropriate services in Utah.

  • Fringe Benefit Analysts has been continuing its 50 Acts of Service in celebration of its fiftieth anniversary. When many of our planned community service opportunities were cancelled at homeless shelters, food banks, soup kitchens and charitable fund-raising events – a stack of $250 Target gift cards were purchased and distributed to many with immediate dire circumstances.

These are just a few of the organizations who are assisting citizens as we work through this pandemic. Hopefully you find this a helpful resource if looking for a way to get involved.

Best wishes to all our loyal clients and their employees. We will get through this and be stronger when it comes to an end.

 

Scott Deru

President

 


6 April 2020

In this period of temporary closures, the uncertainty of financial stability is on the mind of every business owner.  We certainly understand and want to be a resource to you in every way possible.  A Coronavirus Resource Center has been created on our website to offer a breadth of resources regarding Medical and Disability Insurance, HR, Legislative, Finances and everything COVID-19.  Team members spend hours each day screening emails and notices, web pages and viewing webinars.  The best of the best resources are then placed on this frequently updated site in an easy to navigate manner.  Additionally, your FBA team members stand ready to assist, from your Account Executive, to your Sales Representative to the Management team.

With the Passage of the CARES Act, Congress allocated $2.2 trillion to assist business in maintaining their payroll, employee benefit and overhead expenses.  Several of these loans do not need to be repaid.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) will be administering the distribution of these funds.  It is important that you consider completing applications with one or more of these programs (you may qualify for several) as soon as possible through your bank or credit union that has an SBA Lending Department.  Additionally, there are state and local resources available, but all of these are on a first come, first serve basis.  When the funds are gone it will take additional federal and state legislation to allocate additional money.  The advice we are receiving from numerous sources is that there is a sense of urgency to complete your application(s) immediately so you can get a place in line.  You can always decline the funds if approved and you feel that you do not need them at that time.

We cannot express enough gratitude for your business and hope to have the opportunity to extend your trust further in helping navigate these difficult times for all of us.  It is also our hope that you, your family and team members remain safe and that we can all return to a normal work, family and social life very soon.

Kindest Regards,

Scott Deru, RHU, REBC
President


CARES Act Financing Options

In a time of substantial economic hardship and uncertainty, both at the state and federal level, there are options to help small business owners. Here is a current list (as of April 5, 2020) of the loan programs and links to more information.  We also suggest you contact your own bank or credit union that has an SBA Loan Department as these approved institutions are your method for submitting the applications.

Federal Options:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.  SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.  This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.  The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months, if not used for qualified expenses. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.  Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.  This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%.  Here is a link to download an application https://www.sba.gov/document/sba-form–paycheck-protection-program-borrower-application-form

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program can provide up to $2 million of financial assistance (actual loan amounts are based on amount of economic injury) to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of the declared disaster, regardless of whether the applicant sustained physical damage.  An EIDL can help you meet necessary financial obligations that your business or private, non-profit organization could have met had the disaster not occurred. It provides relief from economic injury caused directly by the disaster and permits you to maintain a reasonable working capital position during the period affected by the disaster. EIDLs do not replace lost sales or revenue and does require repayment unlike the PPP option. Here is a link to start the application: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan

This is an advance offered from the EIDL. Small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.  This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.  Here is a link to start the application: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

Each business can apply for one of the options listed above.  If you have multiple businesses, you may qualify for multiple loans.

State Options:

Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan Program

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development is offering a bridge loan to Utah-based small businesses with 50 or fewer employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000 with 0% interest for up to a 60-month period. Loan amounts shall not exceed three months of demonstrated operating expenses. Loan payments are deferred for 12 months.  For more information on loan criteria, please visit https://business.utah.gov/utah-leads-together-small-business-bridge-loan-program/.

City Options:

Ogden

Ogden City has funds available to help companies immediately within Ogden that have been affected by COVID-19. The loan is intended to support companies during a short period of economic hardship with a loan amount up to $10,000 at a 0% interest rate over 10 years with payments being deferred for up to 12 months.  Here is a link for the loan application: https://www.ogdencity.com/1458/Business-Information-Center

Salt Lake

Salt Lake City has funds available to help companies immediately within Salt Lake that have been affected by COVID-19.  The loan is intended to support companies during a short period of economic hardship with a loan amount up to $20,000 at a 0% interest rate over 5 years with payments being deferred until 90 following the expiration of the local emergency tied to COVID-19.  Here is a link for the loan application: https://www.slc.gov/ed/elploan/

If you have any specific questions about any of these options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team directly.  We cannot express enough gratitude for your business and hope to have the opportunity to extend your trust further in helping navigate these difficult times for all of us.

Be safe and be well!


Fringe Benefit Analysts® Readiness for the Coronavirus

By now, if you are like everyone else in the United States, you have been inundated with emails about COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. The amount of outdated and incorrect information is staggering. We have created a “Resource Page” with relevant topics and frequently asked questions we are receiving in our office with links to reputable sources of information. Please see the accompanying tab to access this information.

The point of this communication is not to reiterate the important steps of Coronavirus prevention, but to assure you that we are ready and available to assist you and your employees with the same level of committed service as you are accustomed to receiving and to Simplify the Complex™  by providing you and your employees with an easy to navigate, credible source of up to date information in our “Resource Page.”

Our core values have always included the safety and wellbeing of our employees coupled with superior customer service for you, our valued clients.  Several years ago, we developed an emergency response plan for occasions such as the Coronavirus outbreak or other natural disasters.  Here are the decisive steps we have taken:

  • Every employee has a laptop with secure remote access through our VPN. All client files have been digitized, encrypted and securely stored in the cloud.  Clients have been converted to an online enrollment system and all customer service functions within our office can be conducted electronically or through voice or video conferencing.  This will allow complete access to all of you and your employees information so that full customer service can be performed on our end;
  • Every employee has mobile phone and video conferencing access and capabilities;
  • Employees have been cross trained in various job positions so that if several employees are unable to perform due to illness, there are multiple back-ups available;

These and other systematic steps have been taken to be able to be fully functional from remote locations.  If a widespread quarantine in instituted, Fringe Benefit Analysts is prepared and capable to assist you with claims, billing, enrollment and customer service questions and issues.  Additional steps taken recently include:

  • Calls and emails have been placed to insurance carriers to confirm their capabilities to be assessable during a quarantine. We are happy to report that the responses received are positive and they have been testing their emergency plans. This is a critical part of our ability to serve you, as to be fully functioning on our end requires that we can effectively communicate with the insurers on their end;
  • We have been monitoring our emergency plan and closely reviewing our strategies over the past several weeks and have added additional voice and video conferencing capabilities to handle the increased virtual workload;
  • Every one of our employees have been working remotely since March 16th with little or no technical problems or disruption.  We ask for your continued cooperation and understanding as employees will not be making site visits and will be conducting business with you from their homes.  As stated above, we are fully prepared to conduct all business with you and your employees via the telephone, email, video conferencing and internet applications for your enrollment, billing, claims and other customer service needs.

Thank you for trust and confidence in allowing the Fringe Benefit Analysts family to serve you and your employees.  Should you have any questions or concerns about the level of customer service you are receiving, please reach out to our Director of Operations, Katie Carey at: kcarey@FBAbenefits.com  We certainly hope that the Coronavirus will have minimal impact on you, your family, your employees and their families.  For those affected, may you have a full and speedy recovery.

Warmest Regards,

Scott Deru
President

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