As the U.S. confronts the coronavirus pandemic with unprecedented school, office and business closings, federal officials must take equally drastic action to help small businesses survive the crisis, 97 organizations representing all types of businesses and economic sectors said in a letter to administration and congressional leaders.
“To minimize the number of businesses closed and workers unemployed, the response from Washington needs to be coordinated, massive, and focused on ensuring that all businesses have the resources necessary to ride out the pandemic,” the groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, wrote to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The groups asked the leaders to take specific steps to help small businesses reduce their costs and increase their cash flow as much as possible in the coming weeks. Among those steps is immediately providing readily accessible, unsecured credit to businesses of all sizes to ensure they have the cash to pay their workers, rent and other costs during this crisis.
On the tax front, the groups called for the suspension of the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic – including taxes owed for 2019, estimated payments for 2020 and all payroll tax obligations.
In addition, the groups detailed how the administration and Congress should amend the law to ensure businesses are not penalized by the tax code if they lose money or increase their debt levels in 2020.