I think we’ve all learned to be a little bit hesitant when we hear the phrase the check is in the mail, but this time it is true. Checks are being delivered to Oklahomans as we speak. These IRS economic impact, or stimulus, payments are meant to help during the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Electronic deposits to tax filers whose bank information is on file with the Internal Revenue Service are being made now. Physical checks will be distributed beginning in May. Payments are being made first to those with lower incomes. There are some income caps, so those with higher incomes may not receive a check. For more information, you can visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

At the same time, there is help for small business owners through the Small Business Administration.

This website contains a lot of helpful information on the various types of small business loans and debt relief that are available: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources.

Small businesses and nonprofits in all 77 counties in the state that have been affected by COVID-19 can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and loan advances. Payment on loans on these and any from previous disasters can be deferred until Dec. 31, 2020. Applications can be found here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.

Small businesses, nonprofits, veterans’ organizations and tribal businesses affected also can and should apply for Paycheck Protection Program 7(a) loans. These loan payments will be deferred for six months, and those businesses that maintain their workforce from Feb. 15 through June 30 will be forgiven the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination. Note these dollars are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Even as the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 – 2,263 as of this writing - and the number of deaths – 123, also as of this writing - continue to climb in Oklahoma, there is still some positive news to report. It was reported on April 14 that the number of new hospitalizations and deaths related to the virus were tracking well below predictions modeled by the Oklahoma Department of Health. Of the more than 29,000 people tested, almost 27,000 of those have tested negative. We are still urged to be cautious, to continue practicing social distancing, to keep washing our hands frequently, wiping down surfaces, etc., but I remain hopeful that we will see a strong recovery.

As always, I’m here for you if you need anything. I can be contacted at Mike.Sanders@okhouse.gov or (405) 557-7407.

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