Small business leader praises tax deferment deal as 'huge'

Small businesses are "thrilled" with the Trump administration's announcement Tuesday that tax payments can be deferred for up to 90 days, said one small business advocate who had been pushing for the relief.

"People are thrilled with that," Alfredo Ortiz, president of Job Creators Network, told Fox News. "I'm surprised it's actually not on the top of the news everywhere because the impact of that cash flow perspective is just huge."

Ortiz had been in talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on getting relief to struggling small businesses. He said entrepreneurs were cheering Mnuchin's White House annoucement that businesses and individuals will have an extra 90 days to pay money owed to the federal government.

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"Our small business owners we're thrilled with that. They're just looking at a really ugly 90 days and those kinds of things help make the decisions of 'should I keep my doors open' or 'should I just close them now,'" Ortiz said.

The coronavirus dealt a big blow to small businesses with customers staying home, tourism halted and bars and restaurants limiting services due to ever-evolving social distancing guidelines.

Mnuchin said businesses and individuals will still have to file their taxes by the April 15 deadline. If they owe money, however, payments can be deferred without penalty.

“If you owe a payment to the IRS, you can defer up to $1 million as an individual, and $10 million to corporations, interest-free and penalty-free for 90 days,” Mnuchin said at a coronavirus briefing. “File your taxes, you’ll automatically not get charged interests or penalties.”

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But Ortiz and other small business advocates say much more needs to happen in Congress to keep businesses afloat during the global pandemic and they are pitching a Main Street recovery act.

One big issue is a cash flow shortage for businesses, especially if they are paying out new benefits such as paid sick days, but having to wait for reimbursement in terms of a tax credit.

"Let's say you get a tax credit months from now, are you even going to be around in business months from now for that tax credit?" Ortiz said.

Job Creators Network, a small business advocacy group, is pushing for a payroll tax holiday for employers under 100 people through the 2020 calendar year, federally funded unemployment insurance up to 80 percent of salary administered by states and expedited small business loans so businesses can meet payroll and cover bills.

Trump already signed an $8.3 billion coronavirus bill into law to prop up the healthcare system to respond to the virus. The House bill is expected to pass soon in the Senate that would establish 14 paid sick days, free coronavirus testing and expanded emergency leave.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House are now working on a third massive stimulus bill -- that could reach $1 trillion -- to boost the economy and help American workers and businesses. Small businesses advocates are pushing their wish lists to help weather the storm in this package.

"Everybody's going to hurt. I mean there's no doubt about that except probably the toilet paper makers," Ortiz quipped of the home essential that has been flying off the shelves in stores.

"Some of these small businesses may go out of business, but maybe we can give them incentives and opportunities to take some of that creativity and innovation and apply it to other potential businesses that may pop up because of the crisis," he said.