Last year’s Payment Protection loans were a big help to many businesses around the country, helping them stay afloat during the pandemic. But the loans came with a number of catches, including ever-changing and confusing rules about how they could be used, whether they would be forgiven in full, and any tax implications.
A PPP loan can be forgiven if at least 60 percent of it is used for employee payroll costs. The loan forgiveness application is submitted to the lender that granted the loan, which can be a confusing process all by itself.
However, if you made it through the forgiveness process, what next? Is the forgiven PPP loan considered taxable income?
No. When Congress passed the CRRSAA law in December 2020, it classified a forgiven PPP loan as tax-exempt.
Additionally, expenses paid with PPP loans can be claimed as deductions. In other words, the portion of the loan that was used for other, approved expenses under the terms of the loan — things like rent, utilities, mortgage interest, personal protective equipment, and the like — can be written off.
This is a reversal of the original instruction from the IRS and the Treasury Department, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The decision came after some businesses anticipated higher taxable revenue in 2020, due to not being able to write off as many expenses.
As with any other significant financial business matter, consult a tax professional when filing your taxes. Last year was a doozy with more moving parts than usual, and you will want a pro to decipher it.
A dismal start to 2021 leaves supply chains in chaos
A port in Los Angeles is three weeks behind and there’s a traffic jam of ships. So, containers don’t get off the ships. That means an automaker doesn’t get its parts for an SUV and then, an autoworker is laid off in the Midwest.
That is why they call it a chain.
Like a pretty line of dominoes, the global supply chain worldwide is resilient, but also is exposed to danger from weather, accidents, and miscellaneous oddities.
This global supply chain has taken some hits since the beginning of 2021.
In February, freezing weather in Texas disrupted plastic production, so there was a shortage of materials for things like smartphones.
March was especially ugly as a chip factory in Japan was damaged by fire and car production stalled in Asia.
Meanwhile, at the end of March, one of the world’s busiest shipping arteries shut down as MV Ever Given was hit by a sudden wind blast in the Suez Canal. The 1300-foot container vessel was blown sideways to completely block the canal. In just three days, about 240 ships were stalled at the canal entrance, awaiting some solution.
One possibility was rerouting ships around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, adding an estimated 3,800 miles and 12 days to the route. Meanwhile, along the coast of East Africa, pirates gathered with an eye toward targeting more ships traveling the coast, threatening further turmoil.
Oil prices jumped 3 percent in one day, but it wasn’t just oil at issue. According to the Wall Street Journal, the delivery of key materials worldwide was disrupted. Supply chains were already clogged on the U.S. west coast, where ports were jammed with traffic, delaying the flow of inventory for about a month. The ports on the West Coast handle more than a third of U.S. container imports.
This year, businesses struggled to restock following the coronavirus shutdowns, causing a shipping traffic jam.
How to discuss salary expectations in an interview
If you have a job interview coming up, you may be anticipating a question about salary expectations. Here are a few tips to help you avoid underestimating your worth or risking rejection by asking for too much.
Avoid specific figures
Ideally, the question of salary will only be brought up once the recruiter has clearly expressed interest in your candidacy, as this puts you in a better position to negotiate. If the subject comes up early in the process, however, explain that you’d rather wait to discuss salary but that you’re confident you’ll be able to come to an agreement.
That being said, the recruiter may still try
to deduce your expectations by inquiring about your current salary or asking what your minimum rate would be. In this case, you can mention that your current job doesn’t have quite the same responsibilities as the open position and that you’d like to know more about the company’s expectations for the role before you discuss specific numbers.
Despite your best efforts, you may end up in a situation where the recruiter insists on an answer. Therefore, it’s a good idea to research the average for this type of position beforehand and inquire about the company’s salary range to help you determine a fair rate. Be sure to emphasize that you’re open to negotiation.
Finally, keep in mind that you’ll have opportunities to revisit your salary after working with the company for a few months.
3 tips for contacting an employee at a company you’re interested in
If you want to learn more about a company before you apply for an open position, one option is to reach out to a current employee. Here are three tips to ensure the interaction goes smoothly.
1. Talk to the right person. Make sure you contact someone who’s familiar with the role you’re interested in, preferably someone with seniority. If you can’t get a referral through your friends and former colleagues, use the company’s website or LinkedIn to identify the right employee.
2. Avoid being intrusive. Opt to send the person an email or a message on LinkedIn rather than call them. Introduce yourself and briefly explain why you’re reaching out. Conclude with a request to schedule a phone call or meeting. Alternatively, you can use professional events to network.
3. Prepare your questions. Write down what you want to know about the company, so you’re ready if the person agrees to speak with you. Prioritize three or four questions to avoid taking up too much of their time.
Finally, be sure to remain polite and professional at all times.
5 ways to thank administrative staff from a distance
With so many employees working from home, you may be wondering how to ensure your colleagues get the recognition they deserve during Administrative Professionals Week. Here are five ways to express your gratitude this year, from April 18 to 24.
1. Create a compilation video
Ask each of your colleagues to record a personalized message and assemble the clips in a heart-warming video. This will show members of your administrative team that their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
2. Deliver a gift basket
Contact local shops and producers to find out if they can put together an assortment of goodies to send to your colleague’s home. Think artisanal cheeses and chutneys, organic skincare products, craft beer, and spirits or handmade candles and knitwear.
3. Treat them to a night in
Many local restaurants, including some fairly upscale establishments, now offer delivery services. Send your colleague a gift card so they can enjoy a delicious at-home dinner. Consider dropping off a bottle of locally made wine to complete the meal.
4. Find a fun online class
Give your colleague an opportunity to learn a new skill or pursue a hobby from the comfort of their home. Increasingly, local groups are offering virtual courses for activities that range from yoga and fitness to creative writing, cooking, and professional development.
5. Upgrade their home office
Show your colleague how much you value their work by helping to make their home office a more comfortable, functional, and welcoming space. Send them a gift card for a home office supply store in their area, so they can get exactly what they need.
Remember, even if you don’t see them in person every day, administrative professionals work tirelessly to keep your business running smoothly, and they deserve to be recognized for their dedication this week and throughout the year.
How to get a job without work experience or a degree
Are you looking to land your first job or make a career change? Even if you lack experience in a prospective field, it still may be possible to find a position in it. Here are some tips to help you get the job you want.
• Diversify your training. Whether you sign up for online courses, participate in professional workshops or complete a certification program, any attempt to broaden your education will show employers that you’re dedicated and eager to learn.
• Rely on your network. Your friends and family members may have connections that prove invaluable to your job search. Let them know the type of position you’re looking for, and ask if they’d be willing to make a referral or arrange an introduction.
• Expand your knowledge. Spend some time researching the field that interests you. This will allow you to determine what roles you’d be best suited for and familiarize yourself with the industry terms and key players.
• Refine your résumé. Organize your CV to highlight the skills that would make you a good candidate for a particular position. Include relevant volunteer work, passion projects, and hobbies to demonstrate your interest in the field.
If you succeed in getting an interview, don’t let your lack of experience be seen as a flaw. Focus on discussing your strengths, and emphasize your willingness to learn on the job.
No surprise: Pizza shops do well
Heavy regulations on dining have decimated the restaurant industry in the past year, but one player is growing.
Pizza, the cheesy comfort food, is not only budget-friendly, but its delivery systems were in place before the forced shutdown.
Pizza is the bright light in the restaurant sector, with revenues up at major pizza chains Domino’s and Papa John’s, according to the New York Times. Even frozen pizza is up more than a fifth, according to NielsenIQ.
According to the New York Times, Domino’s attributes much of its success to its investments in delivery service and its digital platform.
The news isn’t so good for the rest of the sector, especially for local restaurants. At least 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently, according to Forbes.
In California, the state prohibited indoor and outdoor dining until Jan. 25 of this year. New York City has restricted restaurant capacity to 25 percent, with dine-in service restricted to outdoor tables — even during winter.
According to Forbes, 90 percent of restaurant owners say state restrictions are the biggest threat to their business since they opened, and more than half say that permanent closure is a possibility.
The restaurant industry is a major American employer, with more than 13.5 million employees in 2019. According to Restaurant Dive, the restaurant industry ended in 2020 with 2.5 million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels.