Get Your Creative Business Discovered With These Promotional Ideas

Your creativity speaks for itself, but your prospective customers need to find you before they can become raving fans. Getting your creative works discovered can help you generate enough income to turn your creative passion into a full-time income. Use these tips from business expert Thomas W Tramaglini to promote and grow your creative business, whether you’re an artist, fashion designer, cake decorator, or other type of creative business owner.

By Julie Morris, Guest Contributor and Author

Read more of Julie’s work here.

Write a Business Plan

Promoting a business without a clear plan won’t do much good. Write a business plan that provides a business overview, what you do or sell, your planned business structure, funding and financial plans, and your marketing plan. This makes it easier to grow and guides your decisions on promoting your business.

Craft a Marketing Plan

Any business, whether small or large, needs a marketing plan. This is essential to map out a clear strategy for how you will reach your target market and achieve your desired sales goals. Without a marketing plan, it is all too easy to waste time and money on inefficient or ineffective marketing campaigns. Instead, a good marketing plan will help you focus your resources and make the most of your budget. It will also give you a roadmap to track your progress and measure your success over time.

Don’t Underestimate Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is an effective way to reach out to potential customers on the world’s largest social media platform. By targeting a specific audience and using carefully crafted ad copy, you can create ads that are both eye-catching and informative. Facebook Ads can be used to promote special offers, drive traffic to your website, or simply raise awareness about your brand. Opt for free online templates with a library of design features to create Facebook Ads quickly and easily. Once you’re done, simply upload it for viewing.

Use Video

Video marketing is an important strategy with 86% of businesses incorporating it into their marketing strategy. They’re also effective; 86% of consumers decided to buy something after seeing a video from the company, and 73% of people prefer short videos over text-based articles and other content types. Videos work well with creative businesses because they show off your product. You can also create behind-the-scenes videos, such as the process for making your item, which helps you connect to customers. Post the videos on your social media channels where people can share them and help you reach new customers.

Partner With Other Businesses

Reach out to established businesses to see if they’ll display or sell your products. For example, a local coffee shop might display your paintings and offer them for sale, or a retail shop might let you set up a small display of your crafts. You can also promote each other’s businesses on social media to make it mutually beneficial.

Be Charitable

Supporting a community cause or donating some of your items can get your designs in front of more people. You might donate one of your creative pieces to a silent auction for a charity fundraiser. Another option is sponsoring a community project or a kids’ sports team to get your name on their marketing materials. You can also donate your services to nonprofits. You might design graphics for a charity if you’re a graphic designer, for example.

Promote Your Creativity

Getting your work in front of more people can help you grow your business income significantly. It takes time, but it’s worth the effort if it generates customers and helps you realize your dreams of success. Have a clear business and marketing plan, and make sure social media is a key component of your advertising. Partnering with other businesses and being charitable to the community can also make a difference. Every little bit will help put your business on the path to grow and flourish.

23 Reason Why Business Loans Get Declined

Why did my deal get declined? This is a common question that we get from our clients. While the economy seems to be tightening, there are common ways that borrowers can understand what lenders are looking for and avoid being declined for small business financing. In this article we review thousands of declined lending applications and narrowed 23 specific reasons for why small business owners get declined for small business financing.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

More Loans Are Declined Than Approved

While small business owners apply for financing for their small businesses, more deals are declined than won. From 2019 – 2021, over 60% of small business owners who applied for financing through our platform were denied for one of several reasons. From over 3,000 deals submitted we pulled together a list of common reasons for why lenders decline small business owners for business financing.

The Goal

The goal that any lender has is to get paid back on time. What reasons for decline really amount to is the risk of whether or not the lender believes that they will be paid back on time, in full. The greater the instability in the bank statements or financials, the greater the risk.

Simply put – when the lender gets paid back, they make money.

1. Judgements, Defaults, and Negative Payment History

When a lender sees that the borrower has had a negative payment history, defaulted on a loan or advance, or received a judgement its usually an automatic decline. We have written extensively on this in the past and more information can be found here.

When a lender finds any type of negative payment history in the past it is usually an automatic decline.

Lenders have become smarter than in the past with finding negative payment history through data clearing houses like CLEAR, LexisNexis, and Chex Systems. The alternative lending industry also has Data Merch which helps share between lenders who has had negative payment histories in the past.

2. Decline in Revenue

Most lenders use your previous 3 to 6 months of revenue to evaluate the financial health of your business. If your decline in revenue declines by 10% or more lenders can suggest that revenue is not stable, and you may not be able to pay back what you owe. Some industries are seasonal, and the lender may ask for more bank statements to gauge lendability. Some lenders will customize payments so that seasonal businesses can pay based on the average revenue of the season which they are in. Some lenders will also cut the amount they will lend if there is a decline in revenue.

3. Business Owner Has a Cash Business

We see many small business owners have some or most of their revenue in cash. This can be done to minimize tax exposure or just because its easier to not go the bank. Yet, when revenue is not in statements, lenders see that as risky behavior and if a default occurs then they may not get paid back. The moral of the story is to make deposits and stay away from having a cash business if your intention is to borrow money.

4. The Owner is Not the Owner

Most lenders who fund small businesses make sure that the businesses are owned by who is requesting the financing. Most lenders ask for things like the small business’s EIN letter or K-1 to show proof of ownership. When the owner cannot demonstrate proof of ownership, it demonstrates risk or in some cases fraud. They important thing is that most lenders want a majority owner to be responsible for the loan or advance, so they are paid back.

5. Business is Not in Good Standing

Many lenders want to ensure that they are dealing with a business that is in good standing with their state of registration. That is, have they fulfilled their reporting requirements of their state, paid their fees, and done what is needed to ensure that their business can legally operate in their state. If a business is either not in good standing or forfeited, most lenders will allow businesses to rectify the issue. However, in some cases the borrow has not maintained their business for too long which can cause a decline or in some instances the business to not be in business (or authorized to do so) causing a decline.

6. More Money Out than In

When lenders review bank statements they can easily see that when more money is going out than coming in, the company is losing money. Unless the company has great balances on the bank statements, it is likely that the deal will be seen as weak and declined.

7. Behind on Mortgage

Some lenders ask for a recent mortgage statement from the borrower. When a borrower is late on their mortgage, it demonstrates risk to the lender and could mean doom for the deal. Lenders want to see small business owners being able to pay their bills.

8. Borrower Fails to Say that He or She Took One or More Advances in the Past 30 Days

When one applies for a loan or advance from a lender, the lender wants to ensure that the borrower is going to be able to afford the obligation. When a borrower presents bank statements to a lender, approvals are based on the average revenue of expenditures and spending patterns therein. When an approval is made and then a month to date or during bank login its demonstrated that the borrower took another advance (or more than one) the deal is likely to get killed. No lender wants to give an approval and then see that the borrower has taken money. This suggests risk and likely becomes an instant decline. Some lenders will allow an advance but not knowing about it is a reason for decline.

9. Borrower Took One or More Advances in the Past 30 Days

Most lenders have rules where they will not fund a borrower if they have taken on funding in the past 30 days. Unless the withhold is in the range of affordability, that is the amount that a merchant pays cumulatively is within the allowable range by the borrower, most deals showing funding taken in the past 30 days will be killed. Lenders see this as risk and an indicator of future decline.

10. Amount Borrow Owes is Too High

If a borrower already has 20 -40% of their monthly expenditures going out to pay debt, especially on advances or loans the lender is likely to decline the deal. Owing too much is an indication that the business may fail, or money borrowed may not be paid back. This may be indicated by the lender saying there is no room, or the borrower is over the withhold limits.

11. Borrower is in a Reverse Consolidation Program

Some small business owners who have multiple loans or advances may be in a reverse consolidation program. When they are in a reverse consolidation program, the lender provides weekly deposits into the small business’s bank account so the borrower can make its payments. As payments fall off when paid off, the amount paid daily to the reverse consolidation lender does not decrease. When most lenders see a reverse consolidation in the borrowers’ statements they run. When a borrower in a reverse is funded, the reverse lender usually automatically stops their deposits, still requires to be paid back, and in most cases provides penalties for breaking their contract. Without the influx of funds the borrower will have a hard time making their payments and in many instances defaults. So, when lenders see reverse consolidations, they decline.

12. Previous Stacking

When a lender sees a borrower take two or more advances or loans at the same time its is called stacking. When underwriters gauge risk and the lender makes an offer, it’s based on the information in the statements that were provided. When a borrower is seen stacking or taking more than one offer at the same time lenders will not want that to happen to them so they will decline the deal. The lender also sees that even if the borrower is not stacking on the lender now, they may take another advance later on which would bring on more risk to the lender and suggest a decline is in order.

13. Too Many Insufficient Funds of Negative Days

When bank statements are presented and they show some or lots of negative days, it suggests that lenders may not be paid back. Most lenders have rules for how many NSFs or negative days they will allow. However, make no mistake – if there are NSFs in statements it is going to be a killer.

14. Negative Trade or Landlord References

One thing that we saw was that after a deal was approved, it was killed because lenders will check references from time to time. Landlords and trade references are asked about their experiences with the client. If the client is difficult to work with or has a negative history with the trade reference or landlord, the lender may kill the deal.

15. Non-Business-Related Expenditures

Many of the upper tier lenders will scrutinize the expenditures on business bank statements. If business bank statements demonstrate there to be expenditures which are not business related it can suggest risk to the lender. Here are some expenditures that brought on declines over the past year from lenders to our clients:

  • Too many trips to restaurants – meals are not typically what lender want to see in business bank statements so too many expenditures for fast food or lavish restaurants can bring about a decline.
  • Visits to stores for personal purchases.
  • Trips to adult entertainment establishments. Just a no-no. However, about 4% of our applications
  • Payments for things like personal mortgages and cars can bring a decline. For instance, if you are a trucking company and you have a BMW payment in your statement it can draw attention.

16. No Financials Available When Lender Asks for Financial Statements

For deals that are larger, most lenders will require financials. That is, a current profit and loss statement, a well as a balance sheet. When small business owners cannot produce financials, it is a sign of weakness to lenders. Financials provide the business owner a level of granular attention to operations and when larger deals are in the works, the lender would want to 1) know that the business has a grasp on its financials and 2) has positive balance sheets showing cash on hand and the business’s ability to service the debt.

17. Tax Liens

Although tax liens are not a deal killer two instances have caused deals to be declined. The first is that the borrower has liens which are excessive. For instance, if a lien is over $200,000 or whatever the threshold is for the lender it will bring an automatic decline. Also, an automatic decline may occur if the lender finds that the borrower has a lien but there is no payment plan intact.

18. Settlement in Statements

Sometimes, borrowers who have had difficulty on previous loans or advances and chose to use settlement companies to settle their debt. Not that this is the end of the world, but when a lender sees that they borrower has payments coming out on their statements to a settlement company it raises a red flag, and an automatic decline. If a company uses a settlement company, it demonstrates that the borrower could not make its commitment to the lender.

If a borrower cannot or could not make its payments previously then why would a lender lend any funds to the borrower?

19. Recent Bankruptcy

While some lenders will allow borrowers to fund if they have had bankruptcy, most borrowers require the bankruptcies to be discharged or closed before funding. Some lenders have time requirements such as funding after 2 years following discharge. If a borrower has a bankruptcy which is very recent, it indicates that they may not pay back their financing.

20. Failure to Allow for Decision Logic or Bank Login (authentication)

Part of what most lenders do before funding is they authenticate a borrower’s bank account. Such a process ensures that the borrower is not negative in their bank account, that they have not taken another advance, that their statements provided to the underwriter can be confirmed, as well as the account and routing numbers are correct. One would not want funds to be sent to the wrong place.

When a borrower refuses to comply with the authentication process, most lenders will automatically decline the deal. There are a few lenders like Wide Merchant Group who does not require decision logic or bank login, but most companies want to do authentication because it makes their transaction safer.

21. Failure to Pass the Merchant Interview

Most lenders conduct one or a series of calls with a borrower before their funding occurs. The content of these interviews can range from purpose of using the funds to specific questions about businesses. When deals get killed during the interview, the main reason is that the borrower has not been honest about something from the past, what his or her intention is for using the funds or demonstrating the want to pay back the funds.

22. Criminal History

Most lenders will shy away from borrowers who have a negative criminal history. Some lenders will specify infractions not allowed in their review as well. For instance, borrowers who commit burglary or fraud are going to get declined by just about every lender. Some lenders will fund those who had a drug charge 7 years earlier. All capital crimes are a decline. The safe thing to say is that if a small business owner has a negative criminal history, he or she will have their deal declined.

22. Fraudulent Bank Statements

With photoshop (and other software) and the ability for borrowers to doctor bank statements, we see fraudulent bank statements regularly. Few fraudulent statements get to funding. With good underwriting, as well as bank authentication, lenders can smell fraud in statements relatively easy. Few people who try to provide fraudulent statements have the skill and ability to provide statements which look authentic and can pass meta-data checks.

Obviously, when fraudulent statements are found, lenders decline. There are times lenders may report this fraud to the authorities.

Need Financing and Having Trouble Getting Approved?

Have you had issues in the past getting funding because of one of the reasons below? We can help. Please contact us immediately and one of our advisors will call you within minutes.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

The Blacklist.

While small business owners continue to need financing to support and grow their businesses, as the economy continues to tighten so are lending options. If You Have Had an Issue Paying Back Your Term Loan, Line of Credit, or Merchant Cash Advance, You Are Probably on a Blacklist. In recent years internet and alternative lenders have become more organized and sophisticated in their quest of protecting themselves from borrowers who have had payback issues in the past. This article explores the different ways lenders protect themselves from those who have had payment issues before.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta

info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

Small Business Owners Need Money

From growing their businesses with new equipment to general working capital, small business owners are constantly in the hunt for financing for a multitude of reasons. In fact, nearly 1 in 2 business owners will seek financing of some type this year (I previously provided an overview of the statistics of how many small businesses are looking to borrow money for their business and for what purposes). Furthermore, when the economy hits bumps lenders like banks tend to tighten their parameters for lending. During the Pandemic, many months went by when lenders had $0 in total lending.

One simple statistic stands out – in 2021 nearly 32 million small businesses were in existence. Banks delivered only 12,000 or so SBA 7(a) loans during the same year.

Can The Past Haunt Small Business Owners When They Need Money?

The simple answer is YES.

In the olden days of the Merchant Cash Advance and term loans (2008-2020), there were always lenders who did not have the tools to do enough background on companies or small business owners and lenders would fund those who had bad payment performances in the past.

Today, internet and alternative lenders use several different tools that prevent funding those who have had issues paying back loans, lines of credit, and merchant cash advances.

One Strike and You Are Out

All in all, most lenders use one or more of the tools listed below to protect themselves. What this means is that if you have any issues with any payback, you will not get funded again. Period.

Harsher Than Bankruptcy

Small business owners who default or settle on loans, lines of credit, and merchant cash advances find themselves on a blacklist. Most lenders do not want to lend to those who have had issues with borrowing. In fact, the small business owner is permanently rejected by most lenders. If lenders decide to take a chance on the small business, the factor rates or interest can go as high as 60%.

On the other hand, filing for bankruptcy puts you in a bind for a bit. However, in most cases internet and alternative lenders will fund the small business owner if they do not have liens that are excessive. Some lenders have waiting time of up to 2 years before they will lend to the business.

Overall, this demonstrates that being on a borrowing blacklist is worse than having a bankruptcy.

What are the tools?

DataMerch.com

Founded in 2015, DataMerch.com is a popular tool for online and alternative lenders. Lenders who belong to DataMerch.com upload their lending experiences ultimately painting a picture of many small businesses who have taken loans and merchant cash advances with their companies. Recently, DataMerch.com reported that they now have over 50,000 records on file.

Why is this important? DataMerch.com provides lenders a robust database so they can better inform their approval process. These records provide categorical data such as suspicious activity, slow payers, split payers, and COVID-19 Hardships. Lenders can also find out if small businesses have taken on recent or defaulted funding that might not appear in a business’ bank statements. Regardless, small business owners should know that lenders are not stupid and if you have had issues with your MCAs or loans, you will probably have some issues taking another loan or MCA.

From our knowledge, here are the lenders who use DataMerch:

4 Pillar Funding | 501 Advance | 60 Day Capital | Ace Funding | Advantage Capital Funding | AJ Equity | Alternative Funding Group | American Stimulus Funding Group | Arsenal Funding | Avanza Capital | Balboa Capital | Bank of Cardiff | Biz2Credit | BlueSky Advance | Breakout Capital Finance | Business Capital Providers | Business Fund Corp | ByzFunder | CAN Capital | Capital Stack / E-Prodigy | Capybara Capital | CashFund | Cashium | Central Diligence Group | CFG Merchant Solutions | Channel Partners | Circadian Funding | CMS Funding | Coast Funding | Cooper Asset | Corporate Development Group | Credibly | Diamond Advances | Dynamic Capital | Edge Capital | E Financial tree | Elevation Capital | Eminent Funding |Enova ( OnDeck – The Business Backers – Headway Capital ) | Everest Business Funding | Expansion Capital Group | Express Capital Funding | Family Business Funding | FAVO Funding | First Down Funding | Flexibility Capital | Fora Financial | Formula Funding | Forward Financing | Fox Business Funding | Fundamental Capital | Funders App(24 Capital) | Fund GGC | Fundfi Merchant Funding | FundKite | Fund So Fast | GCap Holding LLC | Gemini Funding Group | General Merchant Funding | Backd | Global Funding Experts | Go Cap Advance | Good Funding LLC | Greenbox Capital | Green Note Capital Partners | Greenwich Capital Management | GRP Funding | Harper Advance | Highland Hill Capital | IBEX Funding Group | Imperial Advance | In Advance Capital | IOU Financial | Ironwood Finance | Irwin Funding | JRG Funding | Kalamata Capital Group | Kodiak Funding | Legend Advance Funding | Lendbug | Lendflow | Lendora | Lendr | LG Funding | Libertas Funding | Liberty Capital Management | Liberty Funding | Liquidbee | Mckenzie Capital | MD Capital | Meged Funding Group | Merchant Advance | Merchant Cash Group | Merchant Refi | Millstone Funding | Monera Capital Group | Mulligan Funding | National Funding | Novac Equities | PAC Western Financial | Parkview Advance | Paz Funding Source | PIRS Capital | Premium Merchant Funding | Progressive Equity Partners | Quicksilver Capital | Radium² Capital Inc | RBR Global | RDM Capital Funding | Reliable Fast Cash | Reliant Funding | Savent Financial | SCA Funding Solutions | Select Funding | Silverline Funding | Skyfi Capital Partners | Small Business Funding | SOS Capital | Spartan Capital Group | Specialty Capital | Sprout Funding | Super Fast Capital | The Fundworks | The LCF Group | Thor Capital Group | Torro | Unlimited Bucks | Velocity Group USA | Vertex Funding Group | VitalCap Fund | Vivian Capital Group | Vox Funding | Wellen Capital | Westfair Holdings Group | Westwood Funding | Wide Merchant Group | World Global | Wynwood Capital Group | Yarrow Financial | Yes Lender | YM Ventures | Zahav Asset Management

NYS Court System

One place that online and alternative lenders check for issues with loans, MCAs or just other issues which might be a red flag for borrowers is the New York State Unified Court System (New York State Courts Electronic Filing). This website yields a host of legal cases from New York State but importantly, most alternative lenders are in New York so anytime there is a default, and a lender files a Judgement, that Judgement is listed.

If you are a small business owner and default on a loan or merchant cash advance and you are served with a lawsuit or received a judgement, it will likely be listed here because most lenders are located in NY. The good news is that you can satisfy your Judgement which will be listed on the site after doing so. The bad news is that once you have a Judgement listed on this website it becomes very difficult to ever get funding for your business ever again. In some ways, have a Judgement posted on this site can be worse than a bankruptcy.

Would you like to see if you have anything listed? https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/ is the link that used to access the files.

Clearinghouses

Online and alternative lenders use different clearinghouses who curate a multitude of data. From publicly reported data to credit records, these datasets provide a robust amount of information about potential borrowers and businesses. There are a few clearinghouses our there (others like Chex Systems) but here are a few that we know are commonly used.

LexisNexis

LexisNexis provides business research and risk management services to various industries. These include lenders, insurance companies, vendors and more. These companies use LexisNexis to verify personal and business credit history (PayNet does this too), public records (PACER), and application history. And they use LexisNexis to assess risk on applicants. Inaccurate information, data which doesn’t match your application, or negative items in your LexisNexis report can have a drastic negative impact on your business. This is especially true during the application process.

Business owners can request a copy of their LexisNexis report and decrease the probability of surprises during the application process. Click Here to Request Your Report

What to do if you have a negative payment history and you need financing?

If you have negative payment history and cannot get small business funding, there are a few options that might work.

Personal Loans

One way that small businesses can get financing is through personal loans or credit cards. While this can be a barrier, in many cases because the small business has been blacklisted so personal loans may still be available. Plenty of companies out there exist who supply personal loans to people such as Sofi and Best Egg. While you may burden your personal credit, this may be your only option.

Collateralized Loan

Simply, when lenders see you have a negative history from lenders, they may balk at lending your business money. However, some lenders may ask for collateral. That is, by putting a lien on a piece of real estate or equipment, the business may receive the funding they are looking for.

To see some of the options for collateralized loans, click here.

Business Credit Funding

In a previous article, I covered what business credit is. Business credit is the establishment, building, and maintaining of a successful borrowing and payment of credit on goods and services. Business credit is established under the business’ Employee Identification Number (EIN) and is not associated with the business owner’s social security number.

As long as you have good credit and have established business credit, you can get business funding on your EIN number. There are term loans, lines of credit, and credit cards that can be used when small business lenders refuse to loan money to your business because you had an issue at one time.

Sign Up for Our Secret Sauce Newsletter which shares information on trends, lending and grants for Small Businesses and receive the link to 1 Tradeline Who Gives Business Credit for Free Click Here

Not sure if you can get funded?

Over the years, we have seen just about everything small business owners have done to get funded. Specifically, we could write a book about some of the shenanigans some business owners who have negative payment histories have pulled to get funded.

When our clients or small business owners get declined for loans or merchant cash advances and ask why? Notwithstanding that many times the clients do not tell us they had issues with paying a loan or merchant cash advance, they should understand there are tools that lenders use, and it is very possible they are blacklisted.

So, if you are a small business owner who has had issues with paying back a lender, lenders are getting more informed, and they should be aware of this. Lenders are not stupid and if you had issues paying back a loan or merchant cash advance, rightfully so you will probably not be able to access more capital for your business. In fact, you will probably not find an easy road finding capital for another business as well.

Read Other Blog Posts at www.backofficedepot.com/blog or www.tomtramaglini.com

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Who is to Blame for The Biggest Fraud in American History?

Over the last year, we have written extensively at the breadth of fraud associated with the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In recent weeks, the US Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a scathing report of the performance of the US SBA during the COVID-19 Pandemic and its attention to fraud during the PPP program. Not only are some small business owners and some lenders to blame for fraud, so is the US Small Business Administration. Clearly, they failed to adequately do their part in preventing fraud, ultimately leading to what some have called the biggest fraud in the history of the United States.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

How bad was the fraud?

Bad. In past articles we have highlighted the many FRONTLINE ZEROES OF THE PANDEMIC. That is, the countless losers who have defrauded the people of the United States by using a host of strategies to collectively secure millions of dollars and in most cases misappropriately use the funds which were to keep America’s businesses open. In a previous article, we underscored this from a report made by Ken Dilanian and Laura Strickler of NBC.

They called it the largest fraud in the history of the United Stated:

“Even if the highest estimates are inflated, the total fraud in all Covid relief funds amounts to a mind-boggling sum of taxpayer money that could rival the $579 billion in federal funds included in President Joe Biden’s massive 10-year infrastructure spending plan, according to prosecutors, government watchdogs and private experts who are trying to plug the leaks.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” said Matthew Schneider, a former U.S. attorney from Michigan who is now with Honigman LLP. “It is the biggest fraud in a generation.”

Most of the losses are considered unrecoverable, but there is still a chance to stanch the bleeding, because federal officials say $600 billion is still waiting to go out the door. The Biden administration imposed new verification rules last year that administration officials say appear to have made a difference in curbing fraud. But they acknowledge that programs in 2020 sacrificed security for speed, needlessly.”1

What the cases of COVID-19 Loan Fraud demonstrated

While there are a bunch of cases which have different ways in which PPP or EIDL fraud were conducted, the justice department has already brought criminal charges against hundreds of small business owners for fraud since 2020. The Biden Administration currently has implemented tougher oversight and investigation since Biden took office which has shown hundreds of millions in fraud were committed – More is to come.

What have been the lenses of COVID-19 fraud which have been prosecuted?

A nice overview of the Justice Department’s investigations have been made by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). They have kept a great database on their website here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Z8p-hj2E_VgM3-lRo4eG2CI__iKpiu4UK_SRPqRI7sU/edit#gid=0. A review of their database suggests the following were the main cases of COVID-19 fraud:

  • Accused individuals allegedly falsified payroll documentation to justify either getting a loan or getting a bigger loan than they were eligible for;
  • Accused individuals allegedly created fake tax documents used for verifying details in loan applications;
  • Accused individuals allegedly created bogus companies to get loans;
  • Accused individuals allegedly used defunct companies to get loans;
  • Accused individuals used stolen identities or aliases while applying for loans;
  • Accused individuals allegedly falsified ownership of existing legitimate businesses;
  • Accused individuals also obtained Economic Injury Disaster loans (some of these individuals have been accused of fraudulently obtaining these loans as well).

More of the article can be found here

Who is to blame for the fraud?

This is an interesting question: But there is plenty of blame to go around. While we could explore this topic on many angles, we have selected three main areas: small business owners, lenders, and the US SBA.

Small Business Owners

Small business owners have extensively been prosecuted for fraud in the aforementioned areas and others. What is clear, many small business owners tried to take advantage of the Federal Government. What is not understood is how these people thought they were not going to be cross-checked from the IRS on data such as 940/941.

If there is thing, small business owners were eager to get help that was needed. However, some small business owner clearly saw opportunity to score some easy and free money.

We have underscores other things small business owners did which regard the level of stupidly or ineptitude.

Articles

Maseratis, Jaguars, Mercedes, Investments, Swimming Pools…. Getting Caught for PPP/EIDL Fraud.

Getting Caught: Small Business Owners Committing EIDL and PPP Fraud.

Fake 940/941s, More Lamborghinis, Rolexes and Real Estate Oh My.

The Frontline Zeroes of the Pandemic.

Lenders

Without a doubt, many lenders were to blame for much of the PPP fraud. Banks, who generally oversee SBA loans make the process to acquire loans very difficult continued tough oversight during the Pandemic. However, other lenders like FINTECH companies have been blamed for poor oversight, and at a minimum have been investigated for allowing PPP loans to be fraudulently received.

Bloomberg reported about a University of Texas at Austin study in 2021 that Fintechs were found to be five times more likely to ok suspicious PPP loans.

As a company who sent many of its client’s applications to lenders including FINTECHs, we could clearly see the level of oversight differences. For instance, PNC Bank required much more back up for their loans and reviewed documentation with a fine-tooth comb. Other lenders like Cross River Bank prided themselves in using technology to speed up the review process. Clearly, one can see how many more SBA loans would be provided if banks did “technologically driven automation” to underwrite and review loan applications.

Clearly, there is much blame to go around, but there clearly was poor oversight with many of the SBA providers. Congress has recently held hearings and brought to light these issues.

Small Business Administration

While policy makers in Congress were quick to point fingers at the lenders and further call for going after fraudulent business owners, The United States Small Business Administration is one who many have suggested to share the blame.

In May the SBA Inspector General issued a report which reviewed PPP loans and how the SBA contributed to what is considered one of the best and worst government programs ever.

Among the findings, the Office of the Inspector General found:

  • There were no established procedures for PPP which could track and address potentially fraudulent applications. Therefore, lenders, many of who were not equipped with trained underwriting staff were left to look for fraud or accuracy.
  • There were no fraud risk frameworks established before the program was released.
  • The SBA was unable to handle the speed of which the program was delivered and employed.
  • Lenders had little guidance for how to handle certain situations, such as finding multiple processes to handle cautionary reviews or uncommon questions.
  • There were few steps established which checked for the accuracy of information, such as if someone had created a false 940 or 941 form.

The full report, which can be found here, describes the COVID-19 fraud and how the SBA contributed to the fraud in the report. In the report, the Office of the Inspector General said:

“The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the Small Business Administration (SBA) did not have an organizational structure with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and processes to manage and handle potentially fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans across the program. In addition, the agency did not establish a centralized entity to design, lead, and manage fraud risk. This problem occurred because the agency did not establish a sufficient fraud risk framework at the start of and throughout PPP implementation. Management stated this was partly due to the speed of the delivery of PPP and the continuous and rapid discovery of different kinds of fraud schemes. Lenders also were not always clear on how to handle PPP fraud or recover funds obtained fraudulently from the PPP that remained in the borrower’s account. SBA did not provide lenders sufficient specific guidance to effectively identify, track, address, and resolve potentially fraudulent PPP loans.

In the end of the report, the OIG recommended that the SBA establish clearly defined and detained roles, procedures and adopt procedures for finding fraudulent loans.

References

1 – https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/biggest-fraud-generation-looting-covid-relief-program-known-ppp-n1279664

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

How to Handle Late Payments Without Losing Customers

Whether you’re a young, aspiring entrepreneur or a successful leader in academia, you depend on your customers and clients to pay on time, every time, and you need straightforward policies and processes to make that happen. If your customers are late with their payments, your business has to handle the situation with kid gloves because the last thing you want to do is lose a customer. Here are some tips for how to tackle late payments without offending your clients.

By Julie Morris, Guest Contributor and Author

Attempt to Avoid Late Payments in the First Place

In a dream world, your customers will always pay on time and you’ll never have an issue, but that is not reality. However, you can get as close to that as possible by creating a clear and concise payment policy and placing it on your website and your invoices. Yonyx points out that this policy should list all acceptable payment methods and spell out your terms, such as when a payment will be considered late and penalties if a late payment does occur.

Your payment policy should also be clearly stated in all documents that your client or customers receive when they first start working with your company. If the amount of money in question is significant, you may want to work with an attorney to write up a contract. Be sure to work with the business partner during this process so that the document is fair to both parties.

The point is that you want something to point to if a customer is late with the hope that they will understand their obligation and complete the payment ASAP. When customers or clients are late with payments, make sure you’ve sent the invoice to the right person, coordinate your invoicing with the customer’s billing cycles, and/or offer a discount for quick payment. You can also spruce up your invoices to make them more memorable by using a free invoice generator to create a branded invoice that leaves a more professional impression.

It is also a smart idea to invest in payroll software that can properly process and organize payments so you know which clients have paid and which have not. The last thing you want to do is accuse a customer of being late when you actually have received their payment and it slipped through the cracks.

Another way to ensure timely payments is to make it easier for your clients and customers to pay you. When you accept payments through your app, you’ll simplify the payment process, but you need to ensure that your customers’ sensitive financial information is protected. Fortunately, you can use a tool to authenticate bank account information for secure payments.

Polite Follow-Ups

Once you realize that a payment is late, it is time to send a follow-up, but remember you do not want to be overly demanding or threaten litigation at this point. Start by sending an email that reminds the customer of the item you sold or service you completed and the cost for that work, and remind them that they have a past due payment.

If you do not get a response, this may be a good time to call the client’s company and inquire with a different employee about how to be paid. In some cases, the person who requested the service is not the same individual that handles invoices, so ask for the billing department just in case.

If a phone call is required for the follow-up, Practice Ignition suggests keeping it nice and polite. Phrases like “this is a friendly reminder” and “I’d appreciate it if…” are a good way to start. If the customer states that they don’t have the funds to pay the bill in full, you might consider allowing a partial payment or creating an alternative arrangement that fits both of your needs.

Make the Payment Process Easier

Organizations that are finding that they have payments arriving late on a constant basis may want to look at their payment processes and make them simpler to use for the customers. Give your clients multiple avenues to make their payments, be it over the phone, through a web portal, or by mail.

You may also consider sending out automated reminders to your customers. These can be sent out a few days prior to a due date, on that day, and a week after the due date if payment is not made. By receiving automated messages that are sent by a computer, your customers will know that this isn’t a personal attack. Another benefit of setting automated reminders is that you will never forget to ask for a payment, and sometimes, that can be half of the battle.

If you are looking to keep your organization running on full steam, get the payments you’ve earned through the tips above.

About Julie Morris

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.

Read her articles here

Improve your company’s performance and decision making with services from BRP Onesta. Find out how our customized solutions can help your business!

7 Things That Lenders Look for When Small Businesses Apply for a Loan

A recent survey demonstrated that nearly 2 in 3 small business owners sought loans for their businesses in 2021. However, small business owners should have advance notice of what lenders are looking for from potential borrowers in 2022. This article gets at some of the characteristics lenders will ask borrowers who wish to secure financing for their businesses.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

1. Business Credit

Business Credit should never be ignored – that is, generating business credit can be a difference maker when accessing secured or unsecured financing. Simply, business credit is how successful a business is in paying its bills which are linked to the business’s Employee Identification Number, not the owners Social Security Number.

If you are not sure if you have business credit, you can use a tool like NAV.com for free to see if you have any current business credit.

Some companies have programs where you can build your business credit. BRP Onesta has an affordable program where business owners can access and build their business credit with hundreds of different tradelines (Click Here to Access).

2. Time in Business

Time is business is very important for small business owners as lenders traditionally want to lend to businesses that have history versus a startup. The longer the time in business, the likelier it is that the business will continue to be in business therefore increasing the changes the loan will be paid back.

Lenders prefer a track record of successfully servicing previous loans and history of running a business. This makes it more difficult for new businesses to get funding as lenders are less likely to take the risk of lending to new businesses, especially those in business less than 2 years.

3. Business Borrowing History

Many lenders will check previous loan or borrowing history, including how the small business owner paid his or her bills in other business transactions. Lenders want to see positive payment histories, as well as few inquiries, late payments, collections, or mass UCC filings. Further, if a small business has had previous poor history with alternative lenders those lenders may have filed a lawsuit or judgement against the business ultimately blacklisting the small business from subsequent borrowing.

This article lays out several ways that your small business may be blacklisted by alternative or internet lenders.

4. Personal Credit Scores

Lenders will almost always do a soft or hard pull on the business owners’ personal credit, as their credit score is an indicator of their credit worthiness. Newer businesses will tend to be evaluated more from the owner’s personal credit than other factors, such as revenue or number of deposits. Further, many times credit score weighs into risk, which drives interest or factor tiers for total payback. Naturally, the better the credit history, the better the loan options will be for the borrower.

So, before applying for financing, it is important for small business owners to grasp their personal credit history and understand how it will impact their borrowing.

5. Cash Flow

Cash flow is a very important part of what the underwriters look at when reviewing a loan request. The lenders want to ensure that the business owner can service the debt that they are accruing. That is, the lenders want to know that the business owner can make the payments, with some form of reasonable cushion.

Some of the components of cash flow include the number of deposits that are made each month, the average daily balance of the business bank account(s), the number of NSFs and negative days, and the amount of revenue versus the expenditures made by the business. Further, it is not uncommon for lenders to review the types of expenditures made. For instance, if a business owner is continually making non-business-related expenditures using the business account, it can be a red flag to lenders that spending routines are not routine.

6. Collateral

Some banks, as well as credit unions will secure some of the loans that they made. Most SBA loans can carry some sort of guarantee with collateral, but banks cannot decline the SBA application just because the small business owners do not have collateral. In many cases, loans that are secured with collateral have longer terms and lower interest rates. However, this is only in retrospect of what other conditions that the lenders have in reviewing their loans.

7. Industry

Some lenders look at some industries different that other industries. For instance, industries like restaurants are less risks than residential construction companies that have only a few deposits a month. The team at BRP Onesta has a list of restricted or risky industries by NAICS code on its website.

Finding loans that suit your needs

As you can see, there are several different aspects of a small business that lenders look at. We highly suggest you have one of our experts review your financing needs before you apply. Doing so can help you protect your company from unnecessary credit pulls or countless unsolicited phone calls. You can contact one of our advisors by clicking here or calling (888) 743-7856

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada.

8 Affordable Small Business Financing Options for The Post Pandemic Era

While the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Payroll Protection Programs (PPP) were beneficial for small business owners, as they say, “all good things must come to an end.” What it does not mean is that there are not great options out there for small business owners to take advantage of. We know that traditional bank loans and lines of credit are rarely out there but that does not mean access to financing has to be hard or expensive.

In this article, we will share a list of 8 different financing products which are easy to attain, and in some cases will cost you nothing.

By Thomas W. Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

What’s out there for small business owners?

In the post EIDL/PPP era, what is out there for small businesses? We get that question a lot from clients to we put together a list of 8 options for small business owners. Also, you can apply through our platform as we do not charge clients broker fees or add on extra origination charges, ultimately making the product more affordable than going through loan brokers or directly through a website for business funding.

Small Business Grants

Small business grants are free money for small businesses which are provided by government, non-public, and for-profit entities. Most small business grants provide business owners an avenue to apply for a bigger goal. For instance, the US Department of Labor has hosted grants to small businesses in places of high poverty for the development of careers and creation of new jobs.

While it takes time and effort to research and apply for grants, the end game can be worth it as small business grants are funds which do not need to be paid back.

To help you get started, we always keep and refresh small business grants which are available to small business owners (https://www.backofficedepot.com/smallbusinessgrants).

Term loans

Term loans are easy to apply for and usually provide small business owners terms from 1 year out to 5 years. Approvals are based on underwriting guidelines specific to the industry, amount of loan, monthly revenue, credit score, business credit score, and time in business.

Small business term loans usually have set fixed interest rates and payments can be daily,

weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. For most term loans under $150K the only documentation needed tends to be an application, business bank statements, as well as proof of business. Some lenders ask for taxes if your funding request is for more than $150,000 or on a case-by-case basis.

Average Range for Borrowing: $1,500 to $550,000

Rate(s): 7% – 38% APR

Credit Score Requirement: 600

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a Small Business Term Loan Click Here.

Equipment Term Loans with Rebate

Some equipment loans carry rebates which can be advantageous for small business owners. That is, a lender will lease to the small business a piece of equipment and provide a rebate at an amount which is parallel to the costs of the equipment loan. For instance, if it is determined that the equipment loan is for $25,000, the equipment is then amortized with interest over 60 monthly payments, without origination or fees. Then, upon receipt of equipment, a rebate is provided for the business owner for the equipment at the amount the equipment costs.

What is beneficial about the loan is that to an extent, equipment is tax deductible under Chapter 179 of the IRS Tax Code so what you are paying back is tax deductible. Also beneficial is that this loan is not one that counts as an MCA position and having a longer term make the payments more affordable than traditional term loans.

Average Range for Borrowing: $20,000 to $100,000

Rate(s): 15% – 20% APR

Term(s): 5 years

Credit Score Requirement: 680

Business Credit Score: Paydex Score of 80

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a 5 Year loan click here.

Line of Credit

Lines of credit have the most flexibility. For instance, the beauty of a line of credit is that you only draw what you need when you need to. Applications for lines of credit are fast and have

flexible terms.

Range for Borrowing: $1,500 to $250,000

Rate(s): 7% – 28% APR

Term(s): Variable

Credit Score Requirement: 680

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a line of credit, click here.

Short Term Loan

Short term loans are those which go from 6 months to 5 years. Most short-term loans have

weekly payments and little underwriting requirements. Further, credit is less important and while rates tend to be higher for small business owners, there is minimal paperwork needed and funds can be disbursed in as fast as 1 hour.

Average Range for Borrowing: $2,500 to $500,000

Rate(s): 8.99% – 34% APR

Credit Score Requirement: 450

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a line of credit, click here.

Consolidation Loan

Consolidation loans present a host of different options for small business owners who already have debt or would like to combine working capital already taken. There are

different consolidation programs available which small business owners can use to ensure that they have the maximum economic performance they can have.

For originators, loan consolidation is an art. There are virtually dozens of ways to consolidate loans which can be helpful. Once you apply, our team will craft an option which provides you a simple, affordable road map for consolidation and beyond.

Average Range for Borrowing: $25,000 to $500,000

Rate(s): 9.0% – 39% APR

Term(s): Up to 3 years

Credit Score Requirement: 500 and up

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for a consolidation loan, click here.

Equipment or Vehicle Loans

Perhaps one of the best loans small business owners can take is for equipment or vehicles. With relatively low rates, equipment or vehicle loans can be efficient and lower in cost than working capital loans or merchant cash advances. Plus, the benefits are that the loan does not usually go on the business owner’s personal credit and has a longer term, up to 6 years.

Further, many lenders do not count an equipment loan towards working capital loans or merchant cash advances, so small business owners may be able to acquire more capital. Some equipment and vehicle lenders may also provide additional working capital as well.

Average Range for Borrowing: $25,000 to $150,000

Rate(s): 6.0% – 21% APR

Term(s): Up to 6 Years

Credit Score Requirement: 600

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for an equipment or vehicle financing, click here.

Asset-Based Loans

Asset-based loans are loans that are collateralized with either equipment or real estate. Loans that have collateral attached to it are usually cheaper than regular term loans and less risks for lenders to provide funds.

Asset-based loans for small business owners can be a great way to access lower-cost working

capital and the terms can be beneficial as well. Also, asset-based loans usually carry simple monthly interest, which means you pay interest by the month, not the term. If the borrower pays the loan back earlier, they can save on the interest as they do not pay the months that they do not have the loan. This is a similar loan product to a line of credit.

Average Range for Borrowing: $10,000 to $500,000

Rate(s): Simple Monthly Interest (starting at 1.5% per month)

Term(s): Up to 5 Years

Credit Score Requirement: None

To apply for pre-qualification (no credit pull) for an asset-based loan, click here.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

What Do Small Business Owners Need to Know About Filing Their Taxes for 2021?

Did you receive EIDL or PPP proceeds in 2021 and you do not know how that is handled with regards to your taxes? What are the new requirements for the submission of taxes for small businesses in 2021? Indeed, for Small Business Owners Tax season brings on a layer of anxiety and additional work. While some small business owners use accountants, many small business owners file their taxes on their own. In this article, we provide an overview of some of the changes which small business owners should be aware of when preparing to submit their taxes either through an accountant or on their own.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta
info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

Introduction

Tax season is in full swing. In most cases, corporate taxes are due to the Internal Revenue Service on April 15th. If you have an S-Corporation, your corporate taxes were due on March

15th (unless your fiscal year is not operating on a calendar year). There have been some changes that have been made by government changes or additions to legislation (much in COVID Relief legislation), so here is a short recap of some of the changes.

Small Business Tax Changes for FY 2021

American Rescue Plan

Credits for Paid Leave Because of COVID Vaccines

The American Rescue Plan of 2021 provides guidance on allowing small business owners to claim refundable tax credits for their employees. This is to reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to employees due to COVID-19. This includes leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations. ARP tax credits are available to eligible employers who paid sick and family leave from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.

Employee Retention Credit: The American Rescue Plan extended the ERC until December 31, 2021.

PPP and EIDL

If you received Economic Injury Disaster Loan proceeds in 2021 the funds do not count as taxable business income for 2021. However, it is important to retain detailed records for an audit that can be ordered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) or Department of Justice.

You can use EIDL funds to pay taxes to lower your accrued liabilities.

Did your small business receive a PPP loan in 2021? Like EIDL, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan (forgiven or unforgiven) does not count as business income and you are eligible to write off allowable business expenses, even if the PPP loan was used to pay those expenses. Learn more about allowable uses of EIDL and PPP here.

Digital Payment Services (PayPal, Venmo)

If customers pay for services or goods through a digital pay service such as PayPal or Venmo and the amount is above $600 it should be counted as income. Beginning in 2022 those digital services are required to report those metrics to the IRS, and this can be an easy place for an audit.

Sick and Family Leave Credits

Sick and family leave credits: Eligible employers can claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing qualified sick and family leave wages for employees on leave between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members.

401(k) Contributions to One Participant or Solo 401(k)

Business owners with no employees can contribute up to $58,000 in tax year 2021. In 2022, they can contribute up to $61,000 to a one-participant or solo 401(k), with an additional $6,500 catchup if the owner is over 50.

Meals

Do you claim business meals? Business meals at restaurants are 100% deductible for tax years 2021 and 2022 (up from 50%).

Other Tax Stuff

The standard mileage rate for business use of a vehicle is 56 cents per mile for the 2021 tax year. In the 2022 tax year, the rate increases to 58.5 cents per mile.

Charitable Gift Deductions increased: C Corporations are still allowed to raise the limit for cash donations from 10% to 25% for the 2021 tax year.

Get Help if Needed

If you are unsure about your tax needs, need to file taxes from previous years, or just have

questions, please contact our team of advisors today.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

BRP Onesta is not an accountancy and does not give advice on tax decisions which would be better answered by a CPA or tax professional. In other words, if you have a question, as your accountant.

Nearly Every State Requires Annual Corporate Filings: It Is Probably Time for You To File Yours.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs must balance the grind of their work each day with the compliance requirements to run their businesses effectively and legally. One compliance attribute which our clients and others deal with each year is the filing of their annual report. In this article we tackle what an annual report is and provide resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs to complete their reports.

You can also scroll down to see your state’s annual filing requirement(s)

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta

info@BRPOnesta.com
www.backofficedepot.com
www.thomastramaglini.com
About Thomas Tramaglini

Corporate Filings are Important

Are you a small business owner? Did you file your annual report for 2021? Failing to file your business or corporation annual compliance documents can lead to a business being suspended or in some cases forfeited without small business owners knowing it.

In 2021, BRP Onesta surveyed over 1,000 (1,292) small business owners. 35.1% of the small business owners who responded said that they had no idea of whether they needed to file corporate filings for the year. We also audited 2,400 of our clients and nearly 20% of our clients had deficiencies in their corporate filings.

What is an Annual Report?

An annual report is a document filed by non-profit and for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships must file with their state which the business is filed in, usually each year. The content of the annual report usually outlines the status of an organization.

Annual Reports Differ from State to State

State governments very in how they require small businesses to file annual reports. Some state Secretary of State offices (or similar agencies) require Annual Reports to be files on different timelines (like biennial or decennial).

Our team is regularly asked about when and what to do from clients regarding these filings, so we decided to put together a chart for our clients and others to review.

Critical Things Associated with Annual Reports

There are some critical things that are associated with annual filings, so we have compiled a list of things to remember when you are considering corporate filings:

  • While nearly every state requires an annual filing of some sort, not every state requires the same information. For instance, Maryland requires different reporting (taxes and operation) and New Jersey requires less information.
  • States that require corporate filings usually require a payment to keep the business in good standing.
  • Those business owners who fail to pay their fees can have penalties added.
  • States process filings at different rates of speed. Some are online only, some mail in only.
  • Small business owners jeopardize their Certificate in Good Standing Status if they fail to file their annual report. This can have a detrimental effect in areas such as funding, grants, or acquiring new licenses.

What Are Your State’s Requirements for Filing?

Considering each state has different requirements, we try to keep a running list on our website. For our list, we break down both LLC and Corporation requirements.

See your state’s filing requirements

Ensure Your Corporate Filings Are Done on Time and Accurately

If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, we highly suggest using our company to prepare your corporate filings for you. It is inexpensive and will allow you to focus on your typical everyday work.

At BRP Onesta, we have a team of experts who prepare and file small business filings such as annual reports in all 50 States.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.

Increased PPP/EIDL Oversight: Three Things Small Business Owners Should Do Now.

In the State of the Union Speech this past week, President Biden called for increased oversight into COVID-19 Relief fraud. This article provides some details of what the government is doing to find EIDL and PPP fraud. We include several easy steps that every business owner should take to be ready for if and when they are investigated or audited.

By Thomas Tramaglini, Managing Director at BRP Onesta info@BRPOnesta.com www.backofficedepot.com www.thomastramaglini.com About Thomas Tramaglini

Joe Biden wants to be the new ‘Sheriff” in town when it comes to Pandemic Program Fraud

In last week’s State of the Union Address, President Joe Biden announced increased investigation of fraud in the Pandemic’s Relief Programs. Both borrowers and lenders need to be aware that the federal government will continue to work with the Department of Justice to find those who abused the system.

However, it should be expected that there will be more and more investigations coming.

Politically, with the government doling over $1.2 Trillion in EIDL and PPP funding it would make sense that the Biden Administration might try to score some easy points against greedy small business owners by showing that the Administration is tough and protects the American people from fraud.

Practically, as demonstrated by the Department of Justice and other organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission, some small business owners committed fraud. However, it is my guess is that there is plenty of fraud to be found as the government does not usually go after small business owners unless they know that they can find the fraud.

How bad was the Fraud?

The purpose of this article not to describe how inherent the fraud was but from what some watchdogs are showing, it was pretty bad. However, Yahoo Finance writer Dani Romero’s post on March 4 was pretty telling:

“Data from Accountable.US, a watchdog group, found that individuals with no employees, and making over six-figures annually – but received $20,833 in PPP funding, which was the maximum by the legislation.

Separately, a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that was used accordingly. Of the $510 billion of PPP loans distributed in 2020, $115 billion to $175 billion went toward supporting jobs that would have otherwise have been lost, while about $335 billion to $395 billion ended up with business owners and corporate stakeholders, the paper found.”

The Department of Justice Coming Down Hard on Pandemic Relief Abusers

The government is promising to find those who cheated the government during the pandemic. I have written other articles on the schemes that some heroes of the pandemic have utilized. For instance, some business owners used fraudulent 940/941 forms which they submitted to banks and received funds. Other small business owners changed their business’ documents and were able to get funding (Several Examples Here).

Last week, the Department of Justice charged the CEO of an alternative lender MBE Capital with both fraudulent loan and lender applications. According to the docket, “Martinez [the CEO] used false representations and documents to fraudulently obtain the approval of the SBA for his company, MBE Capital Partners, LLC (“MBE”), to be a non-bank lender through the PPP. Martinez then used that approval to obtain approximately $932 million in capital to issue PPP loans and earn over approximately $71 million in lender fees. In addition, Martinez engaged in a scheme to obtain a PPP loan for MBE in the amount of approximately $283,764 through false statements regarding the number of employees of MBE and the wages paid to MBE employees and using the forged signature of MBE’s tax preparer. Martinez was arrested yesterday and will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker.”

BEWARE! The DOJ is Showing Their Cards – They Are Using Data Analytics and Collaborative Tools Across Agencies to Find Those Worthy of Investigation

In several of the dockets and press releases that are available, the Department of Justice has indicated that it is using data analytics using collaboration between government agencies to find those who might have committed fraud.

I think that this is likely easy considering all they need to do is match data across databases. For instance, it cannot be very hard for the DOJ to match application data or funding data from the SBA to the information in the IRS. In fact, one of the reasons why so many EIDL expansion loans have been declined after approved for the original funding is because many of the applications could verify what the business owners reported on their original application to their taxes.

Could you be next?

Most small business owners who received their PPP or EIDL funds submitted correct and accurate data. Some did not.

It is surely plausible that small business owners did not try to defraud the federal government of Pandemic Relief Funds but made a mistake.

However, those who know that they used fraudulent documents or hired someone to submit the documents should understand that if the DOJ finds discrepancies that are blaring, expect an audit at a minimum.

“They are only going after the big fish” – NOT!

While the President in his State of the Union speech said he would be going after the most egregious cases, the database of fraud by Arnold & Porter suggests that there have been convictions with small business owners receiving as little as $10,000 in funding.

What does this mean for most business owners?

Most small business owners have nothing to worry about. However, with the announcement of more oversight and investigation, as well as the commissioning of a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force and appointment of a Chief Prosecutor for Pandemic Fraud small business owners can expect that the government will be looking at two possible probes in their review:

  1. Were Pandemic Relief Program funds received legally?
  2. How were Pandemic Relief funds used?

Three things that small business owners can do to ensure they are ready for an audit or investigation.

  • Small business owners should review their loan application and forgiveness application to make sure that the proper loan amounts were applied for, received, and forgiven.
  • Some small business owners used a service or someone to apply on their behalf for their funding. Those who did this should know who did the application, what documents they provided, as well as have contact information for an auditor to contact.
  • Maintain a list with back-up of all expenditures which were made using the Pandemic Relief Funds.

Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.