On March 25, 2020, the United States Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) by a vote of 96-0. This federal stimulus bill appropriates $349 billion in loans to small businesses through the newly created Paycheck Protection Program under amendments to Section 7(a) of the Small Business Act (SBA). The House of Representatives passed the CARES Act on Friday, March 27, 2020, and President Trump signed it immediately upon House passage. Fishman Haygood has prepared this helpful summary that focuses primarily on the assistance to small businesses provided by the Paycheck Protection Program and tax relief and incentives under the CARES Act.
Many business owners are asking whether the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 constitute a force majeure event that may provide an excuse from performance of certain contractual obligations. As Charles Landry recently told the Baton Rouge Business Report, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, business owners “have to look at their contracts and the specific force majeure language to see if this event is covered.” Learn more here.
In an effort to curtail the community spread of COVD-19, on March 22, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a “stay-at-home” order, requiring Louisiana residents to shelter in place until April 13, 2020, unless the order is terminated sooner. Many Louisiana business owners have questions as to whether their businesses can stay open while the order remains in effect. Businesses that provide “essential services” may remain open. Businesses that do not provide “essential services” but have not specifically been ordered to close may remain open, but a 10-person limitation on “gathering size” applies. These non-essential businesses may operate with a skeleton crew of fewer than ten people, with minimum contact with the public, and must engage in proper social distancing. Learn more here.
The past two weeks in Louisiana have been filled with constant new developments and news articles related to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the illness the virus causes. In response, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, and other officials in the state have issued proclamations regarding COVID-19 and how it will affect business and government operations, events, taxes, prescriptive periods, and evictions. Read our helpful summary here.
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”, which goes into effect on April 2, 2020 and remains effective until December 31, 2020. The Act attempts to mitigate the financial impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on individuals by requiring employers to provide paid leave to employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (the illness caused by the virus), caring for another person who is quarantined due to the coronavirus, or caring for a child whose school is closed because of the coronavirus. The Act also expands food assistance and unemployment benefits, mandates free coronavirus testing, and provides additional protections for health care workers. For more information, click here.
Fishman Haygood proudly welcomes Tyler Marquette as a partner in the firm. Tyler’s practice focuses on all aspects of commercial real estate, including development, construction, acquisitions and sales, financing, and leasing. Tyler also practices banking, finance, and corporate law. He is a licensed title insurance producer for our firm-owned title insurance agency, Commercial Title Agency, L.L.C.
Tyler’s work on behalf of his clients earned him the recognition of Best Lawyers in America as a leading Commercial Real Estate attorney. Fishman Haygood looks forward to Tyler’s continued commitment to providing our clients with efficient, responsive, and high-quality legal representation. See the official announcement here.
As more investors eye lucrative investment opportunities in Qualified Opportunity Zones, the SEC and state regulators will be monitoring securities activities associated with the program. Maureen Gershanik advises that, at the federal level, careful compliance with these four areas of securities regulations will help avoid costly violations that could delay or even prevent a transaction: Securities Offering Regulation, Broker-Dealer Regulation, Investment Adviser Regulation, and Investment Company Act Regulation. Learn more in Maureen’s article that was recently published by the ABA Probate & Property Magazine.
The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund today announced the opening of the calendar year 2019 allocation round of the federal new markets tax credit (NMTC). Applications are due October 28, 2019. The CDFI Fund anticipates announcing 2019 NMTC awards in summer 2020. The CDFI Fund provides resources including an introduction to the NMTC program, the NMTC program application, the Notice of Allocation Availability (NOAA), an Awards Management Information System navigation guide, an application FAQ and an application roadmap presentation here.
The Opportunity Zones (“OZ”) tax incentive allows taxpayers to defer until 2026 taxes on capital gains if those profits are reinvested in opportunity funds–which are equity funds that invest in businesses in opportunity zones. Read more about Opportunity Zones here. If you have questions about Opportunity Zones, contact Charles Landry.
Real Estate Developers in Louisiana can receive tax dollars to enhance projects through Economic Development Districts (EDDs). EDDS are strictly defined geographic areas that are authorized and created by ordinance of the city or parish where they are located. The vast majority of EDDs generate tax revenues for real estate developments from sales and use taxes and hotel occupancy taxes, though property taxes may also be used. Read more about EDDs here. If you have questions about Opportunity Zones, contact John Werner or Charles Landry.
Fishman Haygood and New Orleans CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women), welcomes CREW delegates from across the country for the 2019 CREW Network Leadership Summit. This multifaceted meeting brings together the top leaders in CREW Network to learn from one another about chapter management, but also to learn from leading experts about the critical leadership skills that give you the business advantage.