April 21, 2020

Here’s one CFO’s account of applying for the SBA Disaster Relief Loan Program:

 

  1. The waiting game - The earliest date that small businesses were able to start submitting applications for disaster relief was March 12, 2020. Due to the high volume of traffic hitting the site, each page generally takes between 30-45 seconds to load (some took more than a minute). Be prepared for a few error messages for pages that won’t load when you first try to access them. Bottom line, what normally takes about 30-45 minutes to complete at normal browsing speed may take an hour or two.
     
  2. Getting registered - The first step of the application is to register on the SBA Disaster Loan website (https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance). Be sure to first check the eligible areas, as you will not be able to proceed with the application in an area where the COVID-19 disaster relief program has not been approved. Once you’ve confirmed you are in a location eligible for assistance, you need to register your business. This is a very simple process whereby you provide some personal information (such as date of birth and social security number) and your business address. Be sure that the individual registering for the application has proper authority within your organization to sign documents, such as tax transcript authorizations. After registration is complete, you can begin your application.
  3. The application - This application can be submitted by mail, or in person at an SBA office. To complete the application, you will need:
     
    • Completed SBA Form 5 (U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Business Loan Application). This form provides basic information about the business, including address, organizational structure (LLC, LLP, C-Corp, etc.) and ownership structure. Make sure to include all owners on this form, as they will also need to provide a signed tax transcript authorization form as another part of the application. You do not want your application held up unnecessarily because you did not provide all the proper owner authorizations.
       
    • Owner’s personal financial statement. Each owner included on SBA Form 5 will need to provide a personal financial statement. This statement requires owners to fill out personal information regarding their asset holdings (cash, personal property, personal real estate, etc.) and liabilities (accounts payable, mortgage, car note, etc.). Be advised that this form can be time consuming if you have substantial real estate holdings, investments, or complex liabilities.
       
    • Signed IRS form 4506-T (request for transcript of tax return). This form is needed for both the business you are applying for and owners included on the SBA Form 5. It authorizes the SBA to request a transcript of two years of tax returns (2018 and 2017). The individual who is filling out the application on behalf of the business can provide an electronic signature on this form. However, it is important that the individual filling out the application has proper signing authority so this electronic signature is valid. The authorization forms for those owners not filling out the application can be provided via signed PDF.
       
    • Federal income tax return – business. A copy of the most recent business tax return is required for the application. My company provided 2018, as we have not yet prepared 2019. If you do not have a 2018 tax return available, you will need to provide the most recent year that is available and provide an explanation as to why 2018 is not. Keep this in mind if you are a business who has been traditionally less attentive to tax filings.
       
    • Completion of truthful information certification. This is an acknowledgement via e-signature from the individual filling out the application that all information represented is accurate to the best of their knowledge. This form is yet another reason it is important that an individual with proper authority and oversight within your organization is filling out the application. You do not want someone who doesn’t have a full picture of the company or all the relevant information filling out this certification. Keep in mind that you are making legal representations to the federal government. Your company may face consequences and fines related to fraudulent or inaccurate reporting of financial position.
  4. What’s next? - The SBA recommends continual monitoring of your application status online.

SOURCE: accountingtoday.com, 3/23/2020