We know that with each blog post and news development you are likely overwhelmed about what to do next for your practice. What are the best steps to take while your practice is limited to emergency care only? Based on the most up-to-date news, this is what we recommend for your practice and team:
- Apply for an SBA disaster relief loan ASAP, even if you do not think you will need it. With as fast as things have changed, it is better to be set up with a loan from the SBA in case the funds are needed. The sooner you apply, the sooner you will have money available should you need it. The SBA loan has low interest with great terms, and we expect Congress and the President will soon add other advantageous features to the loan. We encourage you to apply for a loan that is large enough to cover all practice overhead, loans, and doctor distributions for up to 6 months. While you will likely not need that much money, we encourage you to include the amount in your application (we can help you determine the appropriate amount, if needed). Here is the link: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
- Contact your banker. Most banks are offering relief to dental clients who have loans. This will be an important help during the coming months.
- Sign the ADA petition to urge Congress to include dentists in COVID-19 relief packages. The ADA is asking Congress to help dentists with loans, student loan debt deferrals, deferring or eliminating payroll taxes, and other business-related relief. Please sign the petition at the following link and urge your colleagues to do the same: https://actioncenter.ada.org/urge-your-members-of-congress-to-include-dentistry-in-relief-packages/
- Contact your landlord, supply company, lab, and other vendors. Ask vendors for payment options during the time the practice has limited operations.
- Contact your health insurance broker. It is very important that you follow the rules regarding how health insurance is handled during a layoff. Since the rules are ever changing given the current landscape, we strongly recommend that you talk with your insurance broker. We also recommend that you continue to pay for health insurance unless your broker advises otherwise.
- Stop all owner payroll and distributions. If you need to pull money from the practice, withdrawal money as a loan. It is easier to get disaster relief if practice owners are not on payroll or receiving distributions.
- Guide your team to file for unemployment, even if they are working reduced hours. The team will qualify for unemployment due to a temporary layoff at the practice. Your employees are still employed by the practice (and that is an important point to reiterate to the team). Keep in mind that you have to offer accrued PTO first prior to someone filing for unemployment. If the employee receives accrued PTO, unemployment benefits start after accrued PTO. For example, if the staff member receives two weeks of accrued PTO, or the equivalent of two weeks of pay, unemployment benefits would not start for two weeks. Employees can also decide not to receive accrued PTO. Please note this is the employee’s choice and not the employer’s choice. Employees working reduced hours will also qualify for unemployment (pay received while working part time will reduce unemployment benefits, but employees working limited hours can still receive unemployment).
- New paid leave does not apply to most practices. Unemployment is the most appropriate path for most team members. We are still waiting on details about the new paid leave act, but it appears that most practices may not be subject to the provisions.
- Even though the tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15th, we still want to file your personal tax returns as soon as possible. If you have a refund coming to you, we want to get you that money as soon as possible. If you owe, you will have until July 15th to pay.
- Do not worry about 2020 first quarter tax estimates. We will not have clients pay first quarter tax estimates for 2020. Instead, we want you to preserve cash. We will figure out tax estimates after practices return to normal operations.
We will continue to update you on the best resources for your practice as information becomes available. Please let us know how we can continue to support you through these challenging times.