The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, has mostly gained attention for the stimulus payments to be delivered to qualifying individuals and families. However, the Act contains huge benefits and tax incentives for businesses and certain non-profit organizations. Incorporated non-profit fire departments exempt under IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) qualify for consideration under the Paycheck Protection Program section of the Act. Many departments have applied for exemption under Section 501(c)(4) which is fine for normal operations but they will not be eligible for the loans offered in the Act.
Basically, businesses can apply for an expedited SBA loan through their participating bank for loans to help pay payroll and related taxes and benefits, rent, mortgage interest or utilities during the period affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Afterwards, these loans can be forgiven based on the level of employment continued by the borrower during the period so in effect, it becomes a grant.
Another part of the Act which all non-profits may apply under is the expansion and simplification of existing Emergency EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) program loans. The Act section on Payroll Tax Credits would probably not apply to emergency services since our operations have not been “fully or partially suspended by government order” during this time.
This is a very complex piece of legislation. Even though it contains 880 pages, it still does not lay out the specifics to administer. The SBA is supposed to have applications and framework ready to begin processing loans by April 3. If your department is interested in pursuing these funds, I would suggest that you contact your local bank for their guidance on submitting an application and/or watch the SBA website.
A full article discussing the Act and non-profits is sponsored by NVFC and located athttps://www.venable.com/insights/publications/2020/03/cares-act-provides-financial-relief-for-nonprofit