tax time tips

Tax Time Tips

Tax Time Tips

It’s that time of year when business finances become top-of-mind for everyone as tax season is at our doorsteps. As a reminder, Corporate (C and S) and Partnership returns are due by March 15, 2022 and Individual returns with Schedule C’s are due by Monday April 18, 2022.

Here are some things to note as you head into tax season:

  • If you received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan in either 2020 or 2021, you need to file for forgiveness regardless of the size of your loan. As of this date, all PPP borrowers must apply for forgiveness. You can apply directly through the SBA if your loan is $150,000 or less at https://directforgiveness.sba.gov. If your PPP loan was over $150,000 you need to contact your lender directly. If you got your PPP from Prestamos, you can email us at ppp@cplc.org
  • PPP loans are considered exempt from federal income tax under the CARES Act. Under section 1106(i) of the act, expressly excludes the forgiveness of PPP loans from federal gross income, and thus federal income tax.
  • EIDL loans are considered debt and therefore do not count as income. You can deduct any payment of interest on an EIDL loan as an interest expenses on your tax returns, and you can deduct expenses you paid with the EIDL funds.
  • Grants, other forgivable loans, and certain funds from local or state government are likely to be considered taxable income and need to be reported on your tax return as gross income.
  • If you had employees in 2021, you might be eligible to claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) up to $28,000 per employee. You can learn more about the ERC here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/ERC-COVID-Snapshot-5.7.21_full-text.pdf
  • To learn more about expenses your business can deduct on your tax return, take a look at IRS Publication 535 here: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p535

If you need assistance determining the tax form you should be filing or need support in finding a qualified tax preparer, please feel free to reach out and we will help guide you towards the appropriate resources so that your tax season is low stress!

taking advantage of great resignation

Taking Advantage of the Great Resignation

Over the last 2 years the employee population has created a huge shift in priorities. The pandemic caused many to pause and rethink their priorities. What used to be an aggressive career path and monetary increase focuses has moved to an importance on family time and connecting work to career aspirations and passion areas. This shift has caused a record number of employees to leave their jobs and has left many organizations faced with challenges around getting enough employees to open and operate a facility, as well as the challenges of getting enough materials and product to continue to make a profit.

This is not a boomerang scenario where things will go back to pre-2020 structure. Multiple organizations (large and small) adapted to allow remote work, or created flexible working schedules, but not all organizations can do that. Many organizations need employees to run the physical location or operate in the factories, so what do they do? And to a greater extent the question is how organizations flip this challenge into an opportunity to take market share, grow profits, accelerate towards goals, and be the employer of choice in their industry.

The critical component to success is to take advantage of who you are as an organization, clarify and communicate what you stand for, and ensure everyone knows where you are going. These items build the culture of the organization, and more importantly they help attract and keep the right employees. A strong understanding and foundation in these areas will help organizations take full advantage of the great resignation. Employees are no longer looking for a job, they want a connection, they want to feel they are developing and becoming a better person by the work they do. Your culture will help clarify where you recruit, who you hire, how you develop them, and clarify to your prospected candidates what you can do for them. Going forward, employment needs to be mutually beneficial, and not just monetarily.

Let’s dive into some of the key factors to create an inspiring and sought-after culture. This can be broken out into organizational structure, people development, pay, and flexibility. To succeed going forward organizations need to have a rock-solid structure (vision, mission, business plan, strategic plan, etc.). This establishes who you are as an organization, including what you stand for. Next is people development, look at your organization as a mentor or coach for all employees. Are you providing learning opportunities and experiences that will help them build skill sets for future goals? Do you know their future goals? Do you know the skills they need to learn for future career aspirations. It is important to realize any employee today does not equate to employees of tomorrow, but if the structure is in place and you care about the people to help them get to their next step, they will forever be ambassadors to your business. They will continue to visit and refer new employees because of these two pieces. The next two components (pay and flexibility) prove you mean what you put in place in the first two. If you want to attract the right candidates for you and your culture, then pay in proportion to show you are looking for the best. Reward employees for referrals and work anniversaries. Finally, be as flexible as you can to support the employee. Maybe that means more vacation time, maybe that means giving them the schedule they want 80% of the time, maybe it means allowing them to complete projects on their schedule. Think about what flexibility could mean for your business.

I am sure questions are circling your head, and this is where our business advisors can provide support. Our business advisors help assess where you are, what you need to focus on right now, and support you with key knowledge along the way. Whether you need help building a mission, getting your social media to communicate who you are, or building out talent programs our business advisors are here to help. For more information, please contact our office or register for our webinar on this subject (February 18th, at 10:00am).

Leveraging Free Resources for Small Businesses

Are you a small business in need of financial and technical help? If you are, did you know that there is a multitude of resources available through your City, County, State, and even some Federal programs? The availability of these resources has actually increased substantially throughout the pandemic, further shedding a light on the impact and importance that small businesses and essential services have on our communities.

Below is a list of some of these resources:

Prestamos CDFI

Prestamos CDFI has a variety of no-cost business support services available, including:

  • Program to Invest in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME):
    • Business Advising/Coaching for businesses with under 10 employees in Arizona and Nevada
  • Prestamos Women’s Business Center:
    • Startup and Business support focused on women in Central/Northern Arizona
  • Microlending:
    • Ongoing advising and coaching for Microloan Clients

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has a variety of no, or low, cost programs for small businesses including:

  • Women’s Business Centers: Startup and Business Support focused on women entrepreneurs
  • SCORE: Counselors that provide Business Advising and Workshops
  • Small Business Development Centers: Support with business plans and applications for capital
  • Veterans Business Centers: Startup and Business Support focused on women”

​​Additional Grants and Resources for Businesses:

  • FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab
  • Nav’s Small Business Grant
    • https://www.nav.com/business-grant-contest/
    • Must be a Nav member (memberships are free). Receive up to $10,000 to take your business to the next level. Entries must be submitted between June 30th and August 6th for your chance to receive a grant.
  • iFund Women
  • Business Certifications
    • Are you a minority, women, or veteran-owned business? If so, you can apply to become officially certified as minority-owned which can open up new opportunities for federal, state, local, and corporate contracts.
    • https://nmsdc.org/
  • Look in your community
    • Did you know that your local libraries and co-working spaces also offer a variety of resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs? Check your local library branch or a co-working space near you for more information.
    • https://www.joinhuub.com/

Take advantage of these resources to help elevate your business to the next level. Make sure to check out our website and social media pages to stay up to date on the latest tools, webinars, and other services we offer through Prestamos.

Employer hiring new staff member

Hiring During A Time of Uncertainty

This month, we spoke to Prestamos Business Advisor Pedro Alvarez to get his take on a special topic of interest for the small business and nonprofit community. Pedro discusses how the current landscape, affected by the pandemic, has affected hiring and offers tips when recruiting for your organization. From retention to effective outreach, we chat about the impact your staff have on your company.

Pedro, please give us an overview of how you see the current employment landscape.

We have seen a BIG shift in the employment landscape. Companies are having a hard time finding applicants as more and more people are choosing to stay home temporarily, reconsider the traditional job market, consider starting their own business or work as independent contractors, or are simply waiting to reenter the job market due to continued safety concerns. It really boils down to creating a mutually beneficial opportunity for both parties. I believe that, more than before, the key to successful recruiting will be that both parties must truly feel valued during the process.

How can employers, from small businesses to local nonprofits, focus their recruitment efforts?

Understand what you are offering. When posting a job ad, determine what will drive an applicant to you and keep your recruitment efforts positive. In addition to competitive salaries and health benefits, consider offering and highlighting to applicants:

  • Your company culture (applicants want to relate to your team and business mission!)
  • Your stance on social justice issues
  • Volunteer hour perks and earned time off benefits
  • Work from home options
  • Your location, commute times, and office perks (coffee stations, anyone?)

Additionally, I recommend being transparent about hourly pay/salaries in the job application. More and more applicants are clicking away from job postings if the pay rate is not included. Your transparency will help you and the applicant save time and energy, and will allow you to focus on the applicants who are serious about the job you are hiring for.

Remember – while salary is critical, many applicants care just as much about work/life balance and/or workplace culture when finding a new job.

What should job applicants be doing when looking for new roles?

Put yourself first! Of the many lessons we learned from the pandemic, one critical takeaway was that applicants want to enjoy their work. They need purpose. Belonging. If you are an applicant transitioning into a new role and/or industry, or are waiting to reenter the workforce, make sure you understand what that new job will provide you in the long run. Keep working on your skills, and find a company that will value you for what you bring to the table.

Thank you, Pedro, for your insight! If you are a small business or nonprofit and need help with hiring, retention, employee trainings, and other business services, please contact our team at prestamosloans@cplc.org!

Employer hiring new staff member

Yellow background, happy woman in sunglasses

This Summer Your Business Will Shine

Preliminary economic data from US Federal Government is showing a spectacular recovery with an estimated growth of 6.4% GDP for the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, other sources estimate that consumer spending is skyrocketing at 10.7 in Q1 of 2021.

That is good news for your small business because it means that the average consumer is now spending more money than it was a year ago and the trend is upward.

Here we share some tips with you to make your business shine to the eyes of your prospects and clients and be part of this strong demand for products and services. Please remember the old saying “Locals like to buy from locals.”

Yellow background, happy woman in sunglasses

 

Diversify your offerings to suit the local community during the hot summer months. Summer represents a great opportunity to provide new items in your store that reflect the season. If your business is part of the service industry, offer to meet your clients in local hotspots that that are more convenient so they may avoid the travel. In addition to experiencing and supporting a new local business, you also get to engage your clients in a new way!

Offer “Local Discounts” for the local community to reward them for shopping local. Feel free to unleash your imagination and promote your business with coupons, discounts, and special offers to locals using your traditional channels and your business social media accounts.

Summer is hot and ice cream parlors and similar venues turn into popular spaces during the summer for people trying to refresh with a cold treat during the hot months. Your business can benefit from this trend if you collaborate up with a local ice cream shop to offer coupons per every purchase in your store.

The Summer is here and your business will shine with increased sales and profits!