Friday, April 10th, O’Brien & Bails hosted training via Multi-platform Video Conferencing to educate their core court reporters on the CARES Act, Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), – and unemployment benefits that may be available to independent contractors.
Presenting, was Dwayne Houghton, CPA, Shareholder of Biggs, Hausserman, Thompson & Dickinson, P.C. – whose expertise guided the Court Reporters through never-before available self-employed worker relief programs resulting directly from the impacts of COVID-19 on the industry.
Court Reporters often operate as independent contractors, and this time of uncertainty for our nation provides many challenges to taking depositions amid work from home orders and court closures. O’Brien & Bails values the Court Reporters that make up our entire industry and strives to provide ongoing education and resources to all the Court Reporters in the O’Brien & Bails network.
The recent webinar goes into great depth of each program below, but this provides an overview of the programs currently in place – and the general areas where Dwayne Houghton in partnership with O’Brien & Bails helps Reporters navigate:
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)
Pandemic unemployment benefits are being made available to the self-employed, who are not typically eligible. Now they may be eligible to apply based on normal earnings when work is not available to them and if making less than the state unemployment benefit amount. Reporters are encouraged to consult with their state for actual unemployment amounts.
- Apply as early as your state put a shelter/stay at home order in place.
- If qualified for state unemployment, they will be eligible for Federal government assistance of an additional $600 per week through July 31st.
- 2019 Schedule C, Net Earnings to calculate self-employed weekly benefit.
- While working remotely, you may be eligible to still apply for partial benefits.
- Must take remote work that is offered in order not to be disqualified for benefits.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Self-employed individuals may be eligible to receive a tax credit against regular income tax under the State’s Stay at Home Order or Child Care. Although you cannot qualify fully for both the tax credit and unemployment, it may be possible to claim the tax credit for the first ten business days and on Day 11 begin application for Unemployment benefits.
- Comes in the form of a credit on your 2020 taxes.
- Maximum credit for Emergency Leave is 10 days at a maximum of either $200 or $511 depending on reason for credit.
- Need to provide documentation such as a scheduling calendar.
- Credit is equal to the number of days they are unable to work.
- Up to 50 days for Family Medical Leave Act at the lower of $200 or 67% of your average self-employment income.
- Effective April 1st.
Paycheck Protection Program Loan
This act provides the Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program Loan. A low-interest, potentially forgivable loan designed to be used for payroll costs, rent, utilities, as well as interest on debt incurred before Feb 15. Acceptance of this loan means an individual is no longer eligible for unemployment.