Business

Flood Assistance Information from BRAC

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    The following information was written be BRAC and shared here by the Central Chamber of Commerce. It is intended to assist Baton Rouge Area employers impacted by the recent flooding.
Register with FEMA
    BRAC encourages impacted area employers to register with FEMA online and apply for disaster assistance at https://www.disasterassistance.gov.
Register for the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program
    Small Business Administration loans are available for both economic injury, as well as repairs for physical damage. More information is available here and the application is available here.
Update on business outreach
    Since Monday morning, BRAC has contacted hundreds of businesses around the region. Employers’ greatest concern remains housing for their employees. Employers have also contacted BRAC to seek guidance in registering for assistance programs like those offered through FEMA and the SBA (mentioned above).
Housing assistance
    For a listing of available apartments that did not flood, please visitwww.lahousingsearch.org to both find and list available properties.  You can also view listings at www.MLSbox.com.
    Airbnb created an urgent accommodations site for residential housing. In some instances, people are offering donated space and Airbnb is waiving service fees. Please visit https://www.airbnb.com/disaster/louisianaflooding.
Available commercial and warehouse space
    BRAC is maintaining a listing of commercial and warehouse space available. The list is accessible at http://brac.org/recovery and includes space available for lease that did not sustain water damage.
Company donations/gifts to affected employees
    The Louisiana Department of Revenue offered that for the purpose of disaster recovery, certain types of contributions made by employers to employees are considered tax-exempt:
    Cash donations – Generally, an employer may grant funds to employees that are excluded from the employee’s income. Because the payments are excluded from the employee’s income, the employer should not withhold federal and state income taxes, social security taxes, or Medicare taxes. (Internal Revenue Code Section 139)
    Non-cash donations – An employee may donate accrued leave hours to another employee. The employee donating the leave time is exempt from gift tax provided the donated leave is valued at less than $14,000. The employee receiving the leave time does not recognize income on the receipt of the donated leave.However, as the employee uses the leave, the employer must withhold applicable federal and state taxes regardless of the existence of a disaster situation.
Charitable funds for employees
    The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is establishing charitable funds for companies interested in making grants to help impacted employees. Companies are not taxed on the contributions and employees receiving grants do not pay income tax. For more information or to open a fund, please visit http://www.employees1st.org.
Survey underway
    BRAC encourages those directly impacted by the flooding – either as individuals or employers – to complete the community survey at lafloodsurvey.com. The survey data will be used to assess community needs and to influence responses by federal, state and local governments.
Additional information
    BRAC will continue daily updates of its online Disaster Recovery information available athttp://brac.org/recovery.
    The BRAC team sincerely hopes that as the water recedes, each day gets a little easier for everyone in the Capital Region.
    If we can provide assistance to you and your employees, please do not hesitate to call upon us.
Wishing you well.
Adam Knapp 
President and CEO

The information provided in this communication is not intended to substitute for professional legal or accounting/tax advice.

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