Category Archives: News

Things You Should Know About the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

SBA and Treasury Announce New EZ & Revised Full Forgiveness Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program

Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness applicationimplementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020, signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020. In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form. 

Also see SBA Finally Clarifies PPP Loan Forgiveness Rules: Full Forgiveness For Self-Employed Borrowers

New information about PPP forgiveness — and EIDL reopens.

Keep an eye on the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance blog for breaking news about changes in COVID recovery programs. 

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SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopened

To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.

“The SBA is strongly committed to working around the clock, providing dedicated emergency assistance to the small businesses and non-profits that are facing economic disruption due to the COVID-19 impact.With the reopening of the EIDL assistance and EIDL Advance application portal to all new applicants, additional small businesses and non-profits will be able to receive these long-term, low interest loans and emergency grants –reducing the economic impacts for their businesses, employees and communities they support,” said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.“

Since EIDL assistance due to the pandemic first became available to small businesses located in every state and territory, SBA has worked to provide the greatest amount of emergency economic relief possible. Tomeet the unprecedented need, the SBA has made numerous improvements to the application and loan closing process, including deploying new technology and automated tools.”

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5 Things You Should Know About the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

1. There is more than $130 billion in PPP funding still available … and now, more flexibility too.

PPP funds are still available for small businesses, independent contractors, nonprofits and tribal businesses whose operations were impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. And with the enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, there is more flexibility, such as the extension of time to spend loan proceeds from eight weeks to 24 weeks and the expansion in the percentage of funds that can be used for non-payroll expenses. Read more in this joint statement from SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

New PPP Flexibility 

2. The last date on which a PPP loan application can be approved is June 30, 2020.

While many extensions and flexibilities were enacted with recent legislation, one date still remains: the last day a PPP loan application can be approved is June 30, 2020. That means now is the time to apply for a PPP loan before time runs out. Find a PPP lender — or even review PPP materials in 17 languages — by visiting www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection.

Find a PPP lender

3. SBA Resource Partners can help you with the PPP application or loan forgiveness process.

Through webinars, virtual meetings and phone calls, business advisers from the SBA Resource Partner Network are helping small businesses navigate through the PPP process. Plus, they are working with businesses on their individual recovery plans. Connect with a SBA Resource Partner near you or one of the many other helpful resources from the Federal Resources for Small Business website.

Connect with an adviser

4. We want to know how the PPP has helped your business. 

We’ve been answering a lot of questions from businesses about the PPP process along the way. Now we want to hear the end result. Tell us your story of how the PPP has helped your business and your employees.

Tell us your story

5. Report fraud to the SBA Office of Inspector General.

While new programs are helping people through difficult times, unfortunately, it comes with new avenues for scams and fraud. If you suspect fraud on an SBA program or want to learn more about known scams and alerts, visit the SBA Office of Inspector General website.

Report fraud, waste or abuse 


From the SBA Pacific Northwest Regional Office

What Tax Documents Should You Keep?

And which ones should you shred?

If your filing cabinet is bursting at the seams, you’re not alone. As a small business owner, you have a lot of paperwork to keep track of – everything from business licenses, employee records, lunch receipts – the list goes on.

Some of the more challenging records to manage are your business’ tax documents and all of their supporting paperwork. Navigating tax document requirements is complicated and is often unchartered territory for a small business.

As a default, many business owners end up unnecessarily saving every last receipt for years and years. Or, they become overwhelmed and throw away important information.

Properly storing tax documents comes down to these four keys to success.

  • Know how long to store your tax documents
  • Understand which ones to store
  • Understand which ones are safe to shred
  • Devise a plan to do things right

How long should you hold onto tax documents?

The IRS can audit your return for up to seven years after you file if they suspect tax filings were made inaccurately or if you claimed a deduction you didn’t deserve. The period of limitations – the period of time you have to amend your tax return – expires three years after a return is filed. So, hang onto your tax returns and all supporting documents for at least seven years.

Which must stay and which can go?

Tax rules pertaining to financial records seem to change every year. The guide below will help you better understand the latest requirements and break down which documents you should store, which you can shred, and which belong under lock and key.

Store paper copies of these six documents.

The following documents are those you’ll want to keep literal tabs on – print, file and store these six tax documents every year.

  1. Form 1040
    Small businesses should store 1040 forms and any other supporting documentation for a minimum of three years.
  2. Schedule K-1
    Small businesses that file as an S-Corp or Partnership need to hold onto schedule K-1 documentation for a minimum of six years to show evidence of partnership shares.
  3. Employee Records
    Store your employee records, payroll reports and other similar employee record documentation for a minimum of seven years to be safe.
  4. Partnership Agreements
    It’s critical to maintain all partnership or LLC partnership agreements, and any amendments to those agreements, in hard copy for life of the partnership.
  1. S-Corp Acceptance Letters and Form 2552
    Maintain a copy of both letters and forms indefinitely if you have an S-Corp.
  2. Required Licenses
    Maintain hard copies of all state and local licenses that are required for you to operate your business.

Store these electronically. 

Not every business record requires you to maintain a physical paper trail. If you’re like many businesses and prefer to maintain your records and documentation electronically, you can keep these documents on a server or on the cloud.

  1. Transaction Statements
    Bank or credit card statements or other similar transaction statements are your back-up documentation to most, if not all, of your payables. Paper or electronic transaction statements should be filed and stored for at least three years after the filing of the transaction’s tax season.
  2. Legal Agreements
    Contracts or legally-binding documents should be stored for the life of the contact, and for years after in the event that those documents need to be revisited.
  3. Federal and State Tax Filings
    Maintain your electronic records for a minimum of three years – more if your business owns property, has employees, or has any inaccurate filings from the past.

If you do decide to store these documents electronically, it’s critical to the safety of your business that you protect your information with trusted, proven data security. A recent SCORE Webinar, ‘What Small Businesses Need to Know About Cybersecurity,’ touches on the back-up and recovery of sensitive documents.

Whatever electronic or cloud-based storage option you choose, it’s worth your time to research that platform’s data security and their process for safeguarding your business, as well as recovering your data should there be a security breach. Check out this list of business cloud storage providers to help you determine the safest way for your business to store sensitive information electronically and keep your tax documents and other business records in order.

These you can shred. 

There are several types of business records that do not need to be physically or electronically stored. In fact, some records containing personal information are many times better shredded than not. This excludes any tax documentation, legal documents, and most of the records listed above.

Always check with your financial advisor and accountant before you begin to shred what may be important documentation for your business to maintain. Typically, though, most businesses can shred non-essential documentation that lists personal information.

If you’re still not sure whether to keep those business records or store them away, even after the period of limitations has expired, hanging onto them for a while longer is never a bad option. And, digitizing your records will make it even easier to store past documents, taking the stress off of your filing cabinet.

Create a system to keep things organized.

Now that you’ve organized your business’ financial records and know which documents to store as physical copies, which ones can be stored electronically and which ones can be shredded, the next step is to come up with a system for filing and storing the right documentation. 

If you have a question about your business records, reach out to a SCORE mentor today!

Should I take on a business partner?

Are two heads always better than one?

When it comes to taking on a partner to start or grow a small business, there’s no right or wrong answer. 

Partners can complement each other’s management skills and bring benefits such as special expertise and client relationships. 

As with any relationship, there are trade-offs that must be carefully considered before deciding whether adding a partner is a wise move, and then you have to find the right person for the role.

If it sounds a bit like marriage, you’re not far off. Having the right partner can be a terrific advantage for a business. Making the partnership successful takes as much energy, effort, and positive feelings for one another as it does to make a marriage work.

There are several important things to consider before choosing a partner and entering into a business partnership.

Define your objectives. From the beginning, the partners need to be certain they share the same personal and financial goals and have comparable expectations for what the partnership will accomplish.

Define your roles. Each partner’s roles and responsibilities should supplement and enhance other’s, but not overlap. In other words, don’t get in each other’s way. Respect each other’s skills and abilities, but do your own job.

Share financial obligations and rewards. Be clear with each other about your financial obligations and how the rewards (i.e., the profit and owners’ equity) from the partnership will be shared. 

Sign a written partnership agreement. This is absolutely essential. Every partnership should be based on a well-written partnership agreement, prepared by an attorney with a great deal of experience in business law. It will be worth every dollar you spend to have it prepared. 

Share decision-making. Partners need to agree on all major decisions affecting the business, particularly those involving large investments of capital, changes in strategic focus, key management hires, and more. Decide in advance how you will make these decisions and know you will benefit by having more than one perspective. 

Understand that unhappiness happens. Any relationship between two people is bound to produce a bit  of friction and sometimes anger. More often than not, they are caused by miscommunication or misunderstanding. The sooner they are brought out in the open and discussed, the less likely they will lead to a major “blow-up.”

Provide an “escape hatch.” Every good partnership agreement contains a “buy/sell” provision in case the partnership doesn’t work out, or one of the partners needs to withdraw from the business for any reason. 

When there are disagreements, knowing the consequences of not reaching an agreement is often all it takes to help partners find a reasonable compromise.

My first business was a 4-way partnership that included an Angel investor. Before the investor wrote his check, and the four of us got down to business, we hired an experienced business attorney to write our partnership agreement. He asked a lot of questions and we talked among ourselves until we had the answers. 

We agreed on our roles, our financial obligations and potential rewards. When the time came to dissolve the partnership, everything we had to do was right there in the agreement. 

If you would like to meet with an experienced business person who has volunteered his or her time to help people like you, reach out to a SCORE mentor today! SCORE’s mentoring services are free.

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers

For the latest COVID-19 information and resources visit coronavirus.wa.gov.

On May 4th, 2020 Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-25.3 and outlined the “Safe Start” plan, a phased approach to re-open Washington’s economy. Under the plan, businesses and activities will re-open in phases with adequate social distancing measures & health standards in place. Businesses may also need to meet additional requirements developed specifically for their industry.

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Startups – April 2020

Infographic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Startups - April 2020

SCORE surveyed pre-startups and startups in early April 2020 about how they think how coronavirus could affect their business, and this infographic highlights the findings.

Data from a SCORE survey conducted from April 3-16, 2020. 492 business owners responded with 125 respondents identified as thinking of starting a business or in their first year of business ownership.

  • 65% of those surveyed are solopreneurs
  • 28% have 2 to 5 employees
  • 5% have 6 to 10 employees
  • 2% have 11 to 20 employees
  • 2% have 21+ employees

The respondents owned businesses in the industries below:

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PPP or Paycheck Protection Program Q&A

The Paycheck Protection Program was established by the CARES Act. The US Treasury website outlines all of the policies on one page and it’s the best resource for getting questions answered. For a quick reference, I’m including all of the topics below including the  Frequently Asked Questions (5/6/2020) which you will find under the program rules.

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How can I keep my business going during and after this pandemic?

by Ken Sethney, Volunteer Business Mentor, SCORE Kitsap

Every business owner I’ve had a conversation with in the last month or so is struggling to answer that question. It doesn’t matter what they sell, products or services, they are struggling to find answers to very difficult questions. Almost everyone in start-up mode has simply stopped. 

So, what should they do? What should you do? My suggestion is to keep moving forward. 

One of my SCORE clients owns a well established business with several employees. She and her team provide therapeutic services, but they don’t qualify as “essential.” 

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