Resources for Small Business Owners Amidst CARES Act

Due to the feedback I received from clients, I decided to turn an email I sent into a blog post, to allow for easy access and updates, as the situation evolves and information is made available. I will keep this post updated with the most current guidance available. Most (state) resources mentioned are specific to New York, so be sure to look into your specific state guidelines.


The CARES Act just passed, rolled out several initiatives. Among these, it extended unemployment to business owners.  I’m not sure of the specifics regarding what information you’ll need to file, but I believe it is based on previous income. I would expect them to ask for Profit & Loss Statements (P&Ls) or previous year tax returns. Here is the link to the NY DOL site that you can use:

The NY DOL released some helpful hints for self-employed individuals when filling out the online application for Unemployment:

Additional Information has just been rolled out addressing the influx of business owners, independent contractors, and sole proprietors. Here’s a PDF document that distinguishes who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUI)

Finally, here’s a flowchart showing how all the programs interact:

UI Flowchart.png


There are also a few loan programs available through the US Small Business Administration (SBA).  The first, and more widely known of these programs is the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).  This application can be found at the following link:

There is an SBA Economic Bridge Loan that could be available for qualifying small businesses while the above-mentioned EIDL is processing.  A guide to these bridge loans can be downloaded at this site:–express-bridge-loan-pilot-program-guide

Another loan (and the highlight of the CARES Act) is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that can provide forgive-able loans to businesses that maintain (or hire back) their employees during this emergency.  Some details can be found on the flyer attached to the following link:

The SBA says, “You can apply for this loan through any SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. The regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.”

Here is the link to the PPP Sample Application Form:–paycheck-protection-program-ppp-sample-application-form


I also found an informative article published by the NY Times that answers a long list of FAQs about the Stimulus Package, including relief checks for individuals and benefit eligibility.

The US Chamber of Commerce also published a great article highlighting more specifics on the programs mentioned above, as well as some of the tax changes/implications for businesses:


During this time, I recommend negotiating with creditors/vendors to get reduced or deferred payments on critical bills. Here is a link to an email template that I have used successfully with my vendors:

I hope this helps navigate the crowded waters of relief programs and funding.  There will certainly be tough times ahead, making it critical to stay in touch and take advantage of the resources out there.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything! We provide a variety of services for your business in the Buffalo area. Count on us for financial advice, tax returns, bookkeeping, and more.

Pandemic Vendor Forgiveness Template

This is an effective email template for small businesses in New York State (or any other declared disaster area) to use when requesting relief from certain vendor payments. I used it successfully when requesting rent deferment at one of my businesses, and thought others could use it as well. (Be sure to change the Governor name for use outside of NY).

In light of recent events surrounding the COVID-19 virus, as well as the executive order by Governor Cuomo, the [INSERT BUSINESS NAME] has decided to temporarily close its doors to the public.  During this time, we are working diligently to control operational overhead expenses and would like to request to defer payment and finance charges during this time period.  This will play a critical role in ensuring the continuity of this organization, and safeguarding the livelihood of the (nearly [INSERT # EMPLOYEES) employees that rely on this business.  We hope to continue to have a positive relationship, and will always be transparent with our intentions.



Sales Tax in New York State

When I was running my first business, I always forgot about the sales tax deadlines.  First of all, I was really busy working non-stop in my business, I didn’t have any office staff, and the quarterly deadlines didn’t even start at the beginning of the calendar year (making it hard to forget).

Sales tax was the furthest thing from my mind and I paid countless late fees ($50 bucks a quarter, plus I lost my vendor credit)!

So to help other business owners avoid this same pitfall, I thought I’d list some general information to keep things straight.

1.  How do I know when to file? 

Generally, you are a Quarterly filer if:

  • You have not been notified that you are an annual filer

  • your taxable receipts, purchases subject to use tax, rents, and amusement charges are less than $300,000 during the previous quarter.

  • (Most vendors file quarterly when they first register to collect sales tax.)

You file Annually if:

  • You owe $3,000 or less in tax during an annual filing period

You file part-quarterly (Monthly) if:

  • you file an annual or quarterly sales tax return and:

    • your combined total of taxable receipts, purchases subject to tax, rents, and amusement charges is $300,000 or more in a quarter, or

    • you are a distributor as defined under Article 12-A of the Tax Law and you have sold a total of 100,000 gallons or more of petroleum products (taxable or nontaxable).

I’m sure that most of you reading this land in the Quarterly Filer category.  For more information on this, don’t hesitate to contact us!

2.  What are the filing deadlines?

For Quarterly filers:

  • Q1: March 1 through May 31 DUE June 20

  • Q2: June 1 through August 31 DUE September 20

  • Q3: September 1 through November 30 DUE December 20

  • Q4: December 1 through February 28/29 DUE March 20

For Annual filers:

  • March 1 through February 28/29 DUE March 20

3.  How do I file?

When I was in business, everyone was still paper filing.  Since then, times have changed.  Filers are now required to file electronically if they meet these conditions:

  1. Prepare tax documents themselves, without the assistance of a tax professional;

  2. Use a computer to prepare, document, or calculate the required filings, or are subject to the corporation tax e-file mandate; and

  3. Have broadband internet access.

This is just a quick reference guide, but for more information, or to have Buffalo Tax Strategies prepare your NYS sales tax filing for you, contact us!

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