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Cooperatives May Qualify for Benefits Under CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT). The CARES Act provided an economic stimulus package of $349 billion dollars for Paycheck Protection Loans and modified the existing provisions for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Disaster Loan program for businesses impacted by COVID-19. In addition, the CARES Act expanded the scope of these programs to also include “any business concern.” The Small Business Administrator, in prior regulations, defined a business concern as one that excluded agricultural cooperatives and was “eligible for assistance from the SBA as a small business [and was] a business entity organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, and which operates primarily within the United States or which makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials, or labor.” As businesses continue to navigate COVID-19 and anticipate the economic consequences thereafter, our cooperative clients may find it advantageous to seek legal opinion about their options, if any, under the CARES Act.