small businesses – 4 Walls And A View http://4wallsandaview.com/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 16:05:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://4wallsandaview.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-5.png small businesses – 4 Walls And A View http://4wallsandaview.com/ 32 32 CFPB and Other Federal Regulators Consider Regulations to Reduce Algorithmic Bias in Automated Home Ratings | Jenner and Block https://4wallsandaview.com/cfpb-and-other-federal-regulators-consider-regulations-to-reduce-algorithmic-bias-in-automated-home-ratings-jenner-and-block/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 16:05:08 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/cfpb-and-other-federal-regulators-consider-regulations-to-reduce-algorithmic-bias-in-automated-home-ratings-jenner-and-block/ Automated assessment models AVMs are defined by law as a “computerized model[s] used by mortgage originators and secondary market issuers to determine the collateral value of a mortgage secured by a consumer’s principal residence.[3] According to the CFPB, AVMs are increasingly being used to appraise homes, a trend driven “in part by advances in database […]]]>

Automated assessment models

AVMs are defined by law as a “computerized model[s] used by mortgage originators and secondary market issuers to determine the collateral value of a mortgage secured by a consumer’s principal residence.[3]

According to the CFPB, AVMs are increasingly being used to appraise homes, a trend driven “in part by advances in database and modeling technology and the availability of larger property datasets.”[4] The benefits of better AVM technology and increased data availability are their potential to reduce home appraisal costs and turnaround times. However, like algorithmic systems in general, the use of AVMs also presents risks, including data integrity and accuracy issues.

Additionally, there are concerns that AVMs “may reflect bias in design and function or through the use of biased data[,] [] may introduce potential fair lending risk.[5] Due to the “black box”[6] nature of the algorithms, regulators are concerned that “without proper safeguards, flawed versions of these models could numerically delineate certain neighborhoods and further embed and perpetuate historical disparities in lending, wealth, and home values.”[7] “Overvaluing a home can potentially lead the consumer to take on more debt, increasing the risk to their financial well-being. On the other hand, undervaluing a home can result in a consumer being denied access to credit for which they were otherwise qualified, which could result in a rescinded sale or credit being offered on less favorable.[8]

The proposed rule

On February 23, 2022, the CFPB published a 42-page overview, detailing several possible options for regulation, which provides insight into the agencies’ thinking as to the scope of future regulation.

The proposed rule will be a joint interagency rule, as the CFPB retains enforcement authority over noncustodial institutions, while the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency retain enforcement authority over “insured banks, savings associations, [] credit unions[,] . . . [and] federally regulated subsidiaries owned and controlled by financial institutions.[9]

To address concerns about data integrity, accuracy and reliability, the CFPB is considering two options, one “principled” and the other “prescriptive”. A principles-based approach would require entities to maintain their own “AVM policies, practices, procedures and control systems” to meet the first four quality control standards noted above.[10] The CFPB recognizes that this may be preferable as, in general, stringent requirements may not be able to keep up with changing technology and could be a significant burden on smaller entities. On the other hand, if agencies decide to enact a prescriptive rule, they consider requiring controls related to “fundamental errors” that could produce inaccurate results, “monitoring of availability management, usability, integrity and security of the data used”, a clear separation between the people “who develop, select, validate or monitor an AVM” and the employees involved in the “loan origination and securitization process”, and the ongoing validation of entity MAVs through “random sample testing and examination”.[11]

As part of the same proposed rule, the CFPB and the aforementioned federal regulators are also considering adding a non-discrimination quality check under their authority to “take into account any other such factors.” . . determine[d] be appropriate. »[12] The CFPB recognizes that a stand-alone non-discrimination factor may be unnecessary as non-discrimination may already be encompassed in three of the first four quality controls stipulated by law. Additionally, AVMs are subject to federal non-discrimination laws such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). However, the CFPB argues that “an independent requirement for institutions to establish policies and procedures to mitigate fair lending risk in their use of AVMs. . . . can help ensure the accuracy, reliability and independence of AVMs for all consumers and users. »[13]

To combat discrimination in lending, federal regulators are considering both a flexible, principles-based approach, similar to the approach described above, and a prescriptive non-discrimination rule. A principles-based approach would provide businesses “the flexibility to design policies, practices, procedures and fair lending control systems appropriate to their business model”[14] and “depending on an institution’s risk exposure, size, business activities, and the extent and complexity of its use of AVMs”.[15] In contrast, a prescriptive rule “would specify[] AVM development methods (e.g., data sources, modeling choices) and AVM use cases” to mitigate the “risks that lending decisions based on AVM outputs will generate illegal mismatches”.[16]

Last month’s announcement was prompted by the CFPB’s requirement to convene a small business review panel before releasing a proposed rule that “could have a significant economic impact on a significant number of small entities.”[17] The plan released by the CFPB sought feedback from small businesses, such as mortgage brokers with annual revenues of $8 million or less, building societies with annual revenues of $41 million or less, $5 million, and secondary market finance companies and others. non-custodial financial intermediation companies whose annual revenue is equal to or less than 41.5 million dollars. For these smaller entities, the plan presents more than forty questions and a first opportunity to influence the rule-making process.[18]

Next steps

As the CFPB diagram shows, much remains up in the air as regulators continue to consider their options. Since the CFPB is subject to enhanced regulatory processes for regulations affecting small entities, we have this first look at the agencies’ thinking about the AVM algorithmic bias. Over the next few months, the CFPB will convene the Small Business Review Panel, release the panel’s report, and work with its federal partners to draft a proposed rule that is subject to the standard notice and comment process.


[1] The CFPB shares enforcement authority over AVMs with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

[2] The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires federal regulators to adopt rules ensuring that AVMs meet certain quality control standards designed to: “(1) ensure a high level of confidence in estimates produced by automated valuation models; (2) protect against data manipulation; (3) seek to avoid conflicts of interest; (4) require random sample testing and examination; and (5) take into account any other such factors that the agencies deem appropriate. 12 USC § 3354(a) (2010).

[3] § 3354(d).

[4] End consumer. Prot. Bureau, Overview of Proposals and Alternatives Under Consideration, Small Business Advisory Review Panel For Automated Valuation Model (AVM) Rulemaking, 2 (February 23, 2022) https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_avm_outline-of-proposals_2022-02.pdf.

[5] Identifier. at 24.

[6] Identifier.

[7] Press release, Consumer Fin. Prot. Bureau, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau outlines options to prevent algorithmic bias in home appraisals (February 23, 2022), https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-outlines-options-to-prevent-algorithmic-bias-in-home-valuations/

[8] End consumer. Prot. Bureau, Overview of Proposals and Alternatives Under Consideration, Small Business Advisory Review Panel For Automated Valuation Model (AVM) Rulemaking, at 24.

[9] Identifier. at 2 o’clock.

[10] Identifier. at 21.

[11] Identifier. at 22.

[12] 12 USC § 3354(a) (2010).

[13] End consumer. Prot. Bureau, Overview of Proposals and Alternatives Under Consideration, Small Business Advisory Review Panel For Automated Valuation Model (AVM) Rulemaking, at 25.

[14] Identifier.

[15] Identifier.

[16] Identifier.

[17] Identifier. at 3.

[18] Identifier. at 29 years old.

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Lawmakers to weigh use of federal stimulus to pay off unemployed loans https://4wallsandaview.com/lawmakers-to-weigh-use-of-federal-stimulus-to-pay-off-unemployed-loans/ Mon, 07 Mar 2022 12:01:13 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/lawmakers-to-weigh-use-of-federal-stimulus-to-pay-off-unemployed-loans/ Senate lawmakers will weigh a bill on Monday that would use federal aid dollars to repay loans taken out to support New Jersey’s unemployment trust fund. New Jersey borrowed hundreds of millions from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits when pandemic-related job losses depleted the trust fund, which pays benefits to laid-off workers. The […]]]>

Senate lawmakers will weigh a bill on Monday that would use federal aid dollars to repay loans taken out to support New Jersey’s unemployment trust fund.

New Jersey borrowed hundreds of millions from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits when pandemic-related job losses depleted the trust fund, which pays benefits to laid-off workers. The bill (S733) would require the state to use some of the money it received from the U.S. bailout to make annual trust fund deposits, repay loans, and eliminate millions of debt payments. interests.

New Jersey received more than $6 billion from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. About a third of that money was earmarked during budget negotiations last year, but billions remain unspent.

The Senate Labor Committee is expected to hear the bill Monday morning.

Widespread shutdowns in the early months of the pandemic caused an unprecedented spike in unemployment claims that emptied the trust fund. A business tax pays for state unemployment benefits, its rate being set by the trust fund balance and the number of workers claiming benefits.

With the fund drained, the tax rose, although Murphy signed a bill last year that raised the tax in succession over three fiscal years instead of all at once.

Republicans and some Democrats, including the bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Fred Madden (D-Gloucester), have called on the governor to avoid the tax hike entirely by replenishing the fund using federal aid. Administration officials said that was impossible last year because the funds reached the state after a budget deadline.

The bill before the labor board would allow the unemployment tax rate to be increased in fiscal years 2022 and 2023, but would prevent the third increase from taking effect in fiscal year 2024.

“The overwhelming majority of businesses in New Jersey are small businesses and literally cannot take this hit without us as a state doing something about it,” said Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Burlington ), one of the sponsors of the bill. “That’s what I think is the right approach for us to do, creates a good balance, and I think that’s the right way to use those dollars that we have.”

Republicans would likely prefer the hikes eliminated altogether, but at least one GOP senator has welcomed the legislation’s move. Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Morris) sponsored a similar measure last year that would have avoided tax hikes altogether, though that bill died without being heard in committee.

“Would I rather they moved my bill?” Of course I would. But if that doesn’t happen, then it’s better to give some relief than nothing,” Bucco said. “But we certainly have the wherewithal with the money we received — and the governor is still sitting — to move my bill and stop any tax increase whatsoever.”

It’s unclear how much money Madden’s bill would spend on loan repayment: it doesn’t list an amount, and the Office of Legislative Services has yet to issue a tax memo for the legislation. But the number is probably in the hundreds of millions.

New Jersey owes the US Treasury nearly $582 million for Federal Unemployment Insurance loan advances, including nearly $23 million drawn in the current month. This debt accrues 1.59% interest per year.

“Here we are moving forward and over time things continue to get more difficult for business, and I accept the responsibility as Labor President to listen to business and monitor them,” Madden said.

Despite the move, Bill still faces an uncertain future. A spokesperson for the governor declined to comment on the bill and Cecilia Williams, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), said the House leader is still reviewing the bill and its costs.

Singleton, at least, believes the bill has the blessing of Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari (D-Union).

“I can tell you that if the president of the Senate did not feel that this was something important, it would not be on the legislative agenda for us to move forward,” he said. he declares. “I take that as a good sign.”

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Rye eye doctor sentenced to 96 months in prison for prolific seven-year healthcare fraud scheme and Covid-19 loan fraud | USAO-SDNY https://4wallsandaview.com/rye-eye-doctor-sentenced-to-96-months-in-prison-for-prolific-seven-year-healthcare-fraud-scheme-and-covid-19-loan-fraud-usao-sdny/ Thu, 03 Mar 2022 23:43:16 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/rye-eye-doctor-sentenced-to-96-months-in-prison-for-prolific-seven-year-healthcare-fraud-scheme-and-covid-19-loan-fraud-usao-sdny/ Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that AMEET GOYAL, MD (“GOYAL”), an ophthalmologist in Rye, New York, was sentenced today to 96 months in prison for orchestrating a seven-year health care fraud scheme by falsely charging millions of dollars for upcoded procedures, and also for fraudulently obtaining […]]]>

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that AMEET GOYAL, MD (“GOYAL”), an ophthalmologist in Rye, New York, was sentenced today to 96 months in prison for orchestrating a seven-year health care fraud scheme by falsely charging millions of dollars for upcoded procedures, and also for fraudulently obtaining two government-backed loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 while facing bail charges for the health care fraud scheme. Imposing the sentence today, U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel noted, “The fraud doesn’t fully capture how egregious it was and how unwarranted it was… It wasn’t a matter of need was a matter of greed. GOYAL previously pleaded guilty to all charges in a six-count replacement indictment before Judge Seibel on September 13, 2021.

In addition to the jail sentence, GOYAL was today sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $3.6 million forfeiture and $3.6 million restitution. GOYAL has already paid approximately $1.79 million for these bonds.

US Attorney Damian Williams said: “A prominent ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon who has now given up his medical license, AMEET GOYAL was blinded by greed. Over a period of seven years, he took advantage of the trust placed in him and deceived patients and insurance companies out of $3.6 million in false accusations. To cover his tracks, he created fictitious operative reports, strewn across hundreds of patient records, violating the integrity of patients’ medical records and making it harder for subsequent physicians to assess their care. He sent patients who couldn’t pay the coded bills to a collection agency, decimating their credit. He pressured other doctors to join the program and threatened to take revenge on their livelihoods and careers. Even after being arrested for this scheme, GOYAL committed yet another jaw-dropping fraud and stole $637,200 from the Paycheck Protection Program at the start of a devastating pandemic. For his crimes, GOYAL will serve a heavy prison sentence.

According to the allegations in the indictment, court documents and statements made during the court proceedings:

At all material times, GOYAL owned and operated the ophthalmology practice Ameet Goyal MDPC, doing business as Rye Eye Associates, with offices in Rye, Mt. Kisco and Wappingers Falls, New York, and Greenwich, Connecticut ( office “). Between 2010 and 2017, GOYAL engaged in widespread healthcare fraud by systematically “coding” simpler, lower-paying surgical procedures and exams as complex, higher-paying major operations in bills. fraudulent claims submitted to Medicare, private insurance companies, and patients. As a result, GOYAL fraudulently obtained at least $3.6 million in payments for procedures he did not perform. GOYAL failed to obtain proper consent and, at times, no consent for the coded procedures he falsely claimed to have performed. As part of this scheme, GOYAL systematically falsified patients’ medical records, creating modeled fictitious operative reports that matched the complex operation he billed for rather than the various minor procedures he actually performed. GOYAL also pressured other employees in his firm to participate in the scheme and threatened the livelihoods of employees who refused to comply. GOYAL forced patients to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for fraudulently billed charges and initiated debt collection proceedings against patients who failed to pay the full amount of these incidental charges. Due to his fraudulent billings, GOYAL was the most billed doctor in the tri-state area for several of his fraudulently billed codes, including one he billed seven times more frequently than all doctors in the tri-state area. United States. GOYAL was indicted on the health care fraud charges in November 2019 and was released on bail.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID pandemic. -19. . One of the sources of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of hundreds of billions of dollars in small business forgivable loans to maintain jobs and certain other expenses through the Check Protection Program. payroll (“PPP”) from the SBA. Applicants with pending criminal charges are not eligible for PPP loans. The PPP also limits each eligible borrower to one loan and a maximum loan amount calculated based on a company’s average monthly payroll expenses.

On or about April 2020, GOYAL applied to the SBA and Bank-1, a federally insured institution, for more than $630,000 in government-guaranteed loans through the PPP. Specifically, on or around April 21, 2020, GOYAL requested a loan in the amount of $358,700 for the business “Ameet Goyal”, with his own social security number and email address. On or about April 29, 2020, GOYAL applied for a second loan in the amount of $278,500, with a trade name “Rye eye associates”, using the employer identification number for Ameet Goyal, MDPC and a other email address controlled by GOYAL. However, to substantiate each loan, GOYAL submitted the exact same underlying payroll expense report, showing the same employees and the same payroll costs.

On both requests, GOYAL falsely replied that he had no pending criminal charges and electronically placed his initials “AG” directly below his “No” response. GOYAL also falsely certified, among other things, that his company would not receive another PPP loan until the end of the year. After gaining approval from Bank-1 and the SBA through his fraudulent misrepresentations, GOYAL executed loan memos for two loans. On May 4, 2020, GOYAL received the first loan of $358,700 and on May 11, 2021, GOYAL received the second loan of $278,500. GOYAL used the business checking account into which these funds were deposited to pay for business and personal expenses, including making a payment to a country club in Westchester, New York within days of receiving the first loan, as well as payments to a California winery and golf merchandise website.

* * *

GOYAL, 58, of Rye, New York, pleaded guilty to six alternate counts. Count 1 charged health care fraud; the second count of wire fraud; and the third count charged with misrepresentation relating to health care matters. Counts four, five and six charge the accused, while on bail, with committing the following offences, respectively: bank fraud, misrepresentation in connection with a loan application and misrepresentation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States Government.

Mr. Williams commended the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Inspector General and the SBA Office of Inspector General.

This case is handled by the White Plains Division of the Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vladislav Vainberg, David Felton and Margery Feinzig are charged with the prosecution. A civil fraud lawsuit related to health care fraud under the False Claims Act is being processed by the Bureau’s Civil Fraud Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey K. Powell is in charge of the ongoing civil case.

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Van Hollen meets virtual State of the Union guest Julie Verratti https://4wallsandaview.com/van-hollen-meets-virtual-state-of-the-union-guest-julie-verratti/ Wed, 02 Mar 2022 03:29:39 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/van-hollen-meets-virtual-state-of-the-union-guest-julie-verratti/ March 01, 2022 Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) met via Zoom with virtual State of the Union guest Julie Verratti, co-owner and founder of Denizens Brewing Company. The two discussed his small business which he co-founded with his wife and brother-in-law, how it was impacted by COVID-19 and how the federal pandemic assistance […]]]>

March 01, 2022

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) met via Zoom with virtual State of the Union guest Julie Verratti, co-owner and founder of Denizens Brewing Company. The two discussed his small business which he co-founded with his wife and brother-in-law, how it was impacted by COVID-19 and how the federal pandemic assistance they received supported them during a difficult period. The residents applied for and received a $448,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, which was fully canceled because 100% of it was used to keep employees on the payroll. The PPP was created by the CARES Act which the senator helped sign into law in 2020. Watch their discussion here.

“We were lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program – the PPP as some call it – and it absolutely saved us. If we hadn’t been able to get that $448,000 loan in 2020 – around April/May 2020 – we would have run out of money, and I have no idea what would have happened – not only to our employees at long term but for the long term company. We may have had to close permanently. And so, I’m very grateful to you, senator, for taking over, and I know you’ve been a great leader in helping to develop this program – and not only that, but all the stimulus programs that have been put in place, including the American rescue plan. passed last March, Verratti said during today’s conversation.

Announcing Verratti as his virtual guest yesterday, Senator Van Hollen said“As we mark just over a year since President Biden was sworn in, our nation, our economy, and the American people are on much stronger footing. While we still have much to do, we are on the road to recovery – having delivered lifesaving vaccines to turn the tide of this pandemic; worked to keep our small businesses open; and created millions of new job opportunities across the country. The pandemic has resulted in huge hardship and loss, but throughout so many Marylanders have shown extraordinary resilience, including small business owners like Julie. People like her are the real drivers of our ongoing recovery, and I am proud to highlight her story as a virtual guest at President Biden’s first State of the Union address. I pledge to work together to continue supporting our small businesses, our ers, our families, our seniors and more as we recover from this pandemic.



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Man found guilty of attempted $13 million COVID-19 loan fraud https://4wallsandaview.com/man-found-guilty-of-attempted-13-million-covid-19-loan-fraud/ Mon, 28 Feb 2022 16:21:29 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/man-found-guilty-of-attempted-13-million-covid-19-loan-fraud/ A Massachusetts businessman has been convicted of fraudulently soliciting more than $13 million in federal coronavirus pandemic relief loans, federal prosecutors have said. Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, of Winchester, was found guilty on Thursday of four counts of wire fraud and one count of misrepresentation to a financial institution following a three-day trial in federal […]]]>

A Massachusetts businessman has been convicted of fraudulently soliciting more than $13 million in federal coronavirus pandemic relief loans, federal prosecutors have said.

Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, of Winchester, was found guilty on Thursday of four counts of wire fraud and one count of misrepresentation to a financial institution following a three-day trial in federal court in Boston, according to US attorney from Massachusetts Rachael Rollins. Office.

Prosecutors said Buoi submitted six loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program, but misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses at his startup, Sosuda Tech. He also submitted fraudulent tax forms to the IRS to support his claims, they said.

The loan program was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act which allowed small businesses and other eligible organizations to receive forgivable loans to cover payroll, mortgages, rent and utilities. .

Buoi was able to secure a $2 million loan before he was arrested in June 2020. Rollins’ office said the government recovered almost all of the money.

Buoi’s attorney, Bryan Owens, said Sunday that his client was “misled” by a bank loan officer and made an “honest faith error” in completing tax forms.

He added that Buoi is a “devoted family man” who has “overcome huge obstacles in his life”. Buoi is due to be sentenced in June.

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Names of companies benefiting from huge Covid loans will be secret | Business https://4wallsandaview.com/names-of-companies-benefiting-from-huge-covid-loans-will-be-secret-business/ Sat, 26 Feb 2022 20:36:00 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/names-of-companies-benefiting-from-huge-covid-loans-will-be-secret-business/ The names of thousands of businesses who have received billions of pounds from Covid-19 loan schemes must remain confidential under new government rules to only publish state grants of £500,000 or more. The higher threshold was introduced after Brexit despite warnings that it could hamper the fight against fraudsters believed to have plundered billions from […]]]>

The names of thousands of businesses who have received billions of pounds from Covid-19 loan schemes must remain confidential under new government rules to only publish state grants of £500,000 or more.

The higher threshold was introduced after Brexit despite warnings that it could hamper the fight against fraudsters believed to have plundered billions from such schemes. The loan programs have been dubbed a “bonanza for fraudsters.”

Under EU rules in place until the end of 2020, all pandemic business loans over €100,000 had to be made public with details of the beneficiaries. The new £500,000 threshold for public disclosure of state aid, including pandemic loans, applies from 1 January 2021 and is set out in the Government’s Grant Control Bill which is pending in Parliament.

Disclosure rules mean that the vast majority of companies claiming loans will never be revealed. According to the British Business Bank, the state-owned bank that provided the aid, only 3% of businesses that applied for help under the largest bounce-back loan scheme are expected to be named.

Treasury Secretary Lord Agnew resigned at the Lords dispatch box last month over what he described as a series of ‘schoolboy mistakes’ in the fight against fraud. He said the loans scheme was more vulnerable to fraud due to a mixture of ‘arrogance, indolence and ignorance’.

The government estimated around £4.9billion had been lost in a bounce-back scheme fraud which provided loans of up to £50,000 to small businesses.

Ministers did not release figures on estimated fraud losses for two other schemes, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Loans worth almost £80bn were distributed to businesses across the UK between March 23, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

The government is facing a challenge under freedom of information laws by campaign group Spotlight on Corruption which submitted a request last July for details of all recipients of the loan schemes.

The British Business Bank declined to release details, warning that identifying the companies could negatively impact trade. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) upheld the decision to withhold the information, but the campaign group is appealing.

George Havenhand, of Spotlight on Corruption, said: “Covid loans were a boon for fraudsters. Publication of these names would support the government’s efforts to recover money lost to fraud and increase accountability for this national scandal.

The ICO’s denial decision in December 2021 stated that under a temporary EU framework, all UK loans granted in 2020 had to be made public when they were over €100,000 (or over €10,000 for farming or fishing).

From 1 January 2021, under the UK’s post-Brexit regime, businesses in England, Wales and Scotland are only required to disclose loans equal to or greater than £500,000. Loans in Northern Ireland remain subject to the EU reporting regime under Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The legal challenge has highlighted concerns that the transparency requirements of the new subsidy control bill are inadequate. EU state aid is usually disclosed at a threshold of €500,000, a threshold that has been reduced for pandemic loans.

Campaigners want ministers to introduce tougher rather than weaker transparency requirements for the UK outside the EU and call for all grants over the £500 threshold to be disclosed. The peers backed an amendment to the bill in the Lords to reduce it to that level.

Anna Powell-Smith, director of the Center for Public Data, a data transparency group campaigning for a lower threshold for disclosure, said: “The Subsidy Control Bill reforms the way the UK grants grants and business loans after Brexit, but it also makes grants less transparent, for no clear reason.

“The law should require all grants over £500 to be published. This will help prevent cronyism and fraud and will have support from across the political spectrum. British Business Bank officials say the government’s higher reporting threshold for pandemic support will only affect lending over a three-month period as all three schemes were closed on March 31, 2021.

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There’s an easier way for rideshare and delivery drivers to get into an electric vehicle https://4wallsandaview.com/theres-an-easier-way-for-rideshare-and-delivery-drivers-to-get-into-an-electric-vehicle/ Thu, 24 Feb 2022 23:53:00 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/theres-an-easier-way-for-rideshare-and-delivery-drivers-to-get-into-an-electric-vehicle/ The cost and availability barriers of electric vehicles can limit access for carpool and food delivery drivers, as well as small business owners whose fleets may travel a small number of miles on the road. But at least one fintech company thinks it has the answer. Launch of the Spring Free EV EVInstaFleet this week, […]]]>

The cost and availability barriers of electric vehicles can limit access for carpool and food delivery drivers, as well as small business owners whose fleets may travel a small number of miles on the road. But at least one fintech company thinks it has the answer.

Launch of the Spring Free EV EVInstaFleet this week, a less restrictive funding structure, he says, that will allow more drivers to lease electric vehicles, and without the typical mileage limitations.

Although falling battery costs and government subsidies are closing the sticker gap between electric vehicles and comparable gas-powered cars, and that gap is expected to shrink further — especially if Congress passes the proposed incentives — getting into a vehicle purchased electricity can be more expensive initially.

Electric vehicles have a list price that is 25 to 30% higher on average than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. Ultimately, EV drivers save more of the total cost over the life of the car when they consider maintenance and repairs, fuel costs and depreciation, according to consumer reports.

EVInstaFleet connects drivers to rentals and secures financing in one step. This contrasts with most current financing options which can take up to six months and require personal guarantees. For a small business, that could mean a second mortgage on a home, getting into debt, or asking for help from family and friends. EVInstaFleet uses a pay-per-mile subscription model, charging customers a base monthly fee plus a fee per mile flown.

Most leases limit the number of miles before an additional fee is charged, creating challenges for high mileage drivers at ridesharing, ridesharing, last mile delivery, and rental fleet companies like Turo , Getaround, HyreCar, Uber UBER,
+7.66%,
Gopuff and Lyft LYFT,
+3.58%
to find a suitable financing solution.

“EVInstaFleet is democratizing access to electric vehicles and opening the door for electric vehicle entrepreneurs developing small businesses using electric vehicles as economic assets,” said Sunil Paul, CEO and co-founder of Spring Free EV.

“Most of our clients are immigrants and people of color who have been underserved by traditional auto-funding models,” Paul added.

Read: Want to tip your delivery driver big? ‘Gig’ companies may not allow this

Paul comes to this market with experience in the ridesharing industry. And it has teamed up with Martin Lagod, an early investor in solar, battery materials and the food supply chain, to make the market for electric vehicles fairer, they say.

The launch of EVInstaFleet’ followed a partnership with Cox Automotive, which will supply used cars, and HyreCar, which will help Spring Free EV connect with more electric vehicle drivers operating carpools, carpools, rentals, taxis, on-demand deliveries and public works.

There are already signs that the ridesharing and rental industries have become aware of a growing preference for electric vehicles among drivers and cyclists. Uber announced in 2020 that it would provide $800 million in support to help “hundreds of thousands of drivers” worldwide switch to electric vehicles by 2025. Lyft’s Flexdrive unit is working with select car dealerships premises, initially in Seattle, Atlanta and Denver, to rent vehicles on a weekly or long-term basis. In China, considered the world’s largest electric vehicle market, EVCARD, a Shanghai-based electric car-sharing company, has been operational since 2017.

The Biden administration has said it will put the United States on track to halve emissions from burning gasoline and other fuels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 , a goal consistent with most of the world’s largest nations. Biden and the private sector are bolstering charging infrastructure, and more electric vehicle models are hitting the market all the time.

Market tracker LMC Automotive expects electric vehicles to represent 34.2% of new vehicle sales in the United States by 2030. Electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, accounted for only about 4 % of total US vehicle sales in 2021. Yet that doubled in just one year. earlier.

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The Covid tax breaks are gone. What this means for business tax returns https://4wallsandaview.com/the-covid-tax-breaks-are-gone-what-this-means-for-business-tax-returns/ Sat, 19 Feb 2022 15:33:31 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/the-covid-tax-breaks-are-gone-what-this-means-for-business-tax-returns/ Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images The rules regarding small business taxes have changed significantly over the past two years. This year is no exception, as many of the various pandemic-era deductions and deferrals come to an end. The good news is that even if these benefits end, the impact on the overall tax rate for […]]]>

Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The rules regarding small business taxes have changed significantly over the past two years. This year is no exception, as many of the various pandemic-era deductions and deferrals come to an end.

The good news is that even if these benefits end, the impact on the overall tax rate for most small business owners will not be significant. Accountants and tax planners say the biggest impact would have come from the Build Back Better infrastructure bill, which includes proposals to increase capital gains tax, limit the deduction to 20% for qualifying business income under Section 199A and other factors that would increase taxes, but these did not occur. Again.

“In a lot of ways the tax bill is about the dog that didn’t bark. They didn’t do anything about capital gains, they didn’t do anything about state tax. There’s a lot of good news about things that haven’t barked. It’s not going to happen,” said Dean Zerbe, national managing director of Alliantgroup, a tax consultancy.

Meanwhile, business owners can still apply for certain pandemic-related benefits retroactively. Here are some of the most important changes small business owners need to know about this tax season.

It’s not too late to claim the employee retention credit

Created in 2020 as part of the CARES Act under then-President Donald Trump, the employee retention credit ended in September – a quarter earlier than expected. The ERC is a fully refundable payroll tax credit for employers that can add up to $70,000 per quarter and was created to encourage businesses to keep their employees on their payroll.

The program has undergone three major changes in the past two years, which is a big reason why many business owners were unaware of the program or did not apply for it.

Originally, the program was not open to those who had taken out a PPP loan. That changed when the second iteration arrived. Rules that limited the amount a company could get based on the extent of the pandemic’s impact were also relaxed.

For small businesses that missed the program, it’s not too late to file retroactively. Many business owners are unaware of the program, said Kevin Kuhlman, vice president of federal government relations at the National Federation of Independent Business, but can still apply. Retroactive returns are expected to account for a large portion of this year’s taxes.

“We saw a lot of frustration from business owners about the changes to this program, especially the shortening of it. They kind of felt – especially if they were relying on the tax credit — that they had been kind of overlooked,” Kuhlman said.

The tax treatment of operating losses is less generous

The way business owners can carry forward or defer net operating loss has changed significantly over the past few years. Previously, NOLs could be carried back two years and carried forward 20 years. Then the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed the rules by limiting NOL deductions to 80% of taxable income and not allowing carryovers.

When the pandemic hit, the CARES Act overturned the TCJA rules and allowed business owners to defer net operating losses generated after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2021 for up to five years. In addition, the ceiling on business interest expenses has been raised to 50% of business income, from 30% previously. Net operating losses were significant in the 2020 taxes, and business owners also amended previous tax returns with net operating losses they carried forward.

Now, the rules governing the use of business interest expense and net operating loss have returned to what they were before the pandemic. Limits on net operating losses could mean additional income tax payments. For example, if a business owner had a net operating loss in 2018 and then had taxable income in 2019, they could use the net operating loss to reduce the 2019 taxable income. Under the CARES Act , this could also be carried back if they had taxable income in 2017. This is now coming to an end.

The Covid-19 paid vacation tax credit has expired

Many people have had to take time off over the past two years due to their babysitting responsibilities – caring for a quarantined family member or children who need to be watched all day because the school is closed due to Covid-19. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed in March 2020, required some employers to provide paid sick or medical leave for pandemic-related reasons. Although this expired at the end of 2020, employers who continued to offer such benefits could use payroll tax credits to cover the cost of the benefits. Now the Covid-19 paid vacation tax credit expired in September, making it difficult for small employers to grant additional paid vacation.

Deferred Social Security payments are due

Under the CARES Act, employers could defer filings for the employer portion of Social Security. Now those payments are due. Half was due at the end of 2021, and the other half is due at the end of this year. Since payments have already been deferred, the IRS has warned that there will be penalties for any taxpayers who do not meet the Dec. 31 deadline.

Tax planners say this change is less likely to cause pain for business owners because few have taken advantage of it. Edward Renn, a partner in Withers’ private client and tax team, said he doesn’t see too much of a problem, as many clients carefully put money aside in a bank account so that the money is ready in if needed.

With all the tax rule changes over the past two years, small business owners may need to rely on an accountant or tax planner more than ever. The unresponsiveness of an overburdened IRS, which is dealing with a record backlog of tax returns, adds to the stress that tax returns often bring.

“It just feels like it’s fallen off the rails. There’s 6 million statements that still need to be filed and maybe one in 10 phone calls gets answered,” said Meredith Tucker, director at Kaufman Rossin, accountant and consulting firm. Last year’s tax returns are still being processed. Taxpayers who have an overpayment may want to apply that overpayment to the next period, but previous tax returns have not yet been processed.

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SEN. UTKE: Unemployment Insurance Debt and Employee Benefit Protection – Park Rapids Enterprise https://4wallsandaview.com/sen-utke-unemployment-insurance-debt-and-employee-benefit-protection-park-rapids-enterprise/ Wed, 16 Feb 2022 19:53:04 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/sen-utke-unemployment-insurance-debt-and-employee-benefit-protection-park-rapids-enterprise/ Senate Republicans recently passed a bill that immediately pays off the state’s $1.2 billion Unemployment Insurance (UI) debt to the federal government and replenishes the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Reserve Account. unemployment insurance. The total amount of this bill is $2.73 billion. This debt has been bearing interest for far too long, and it is high […]]]>

Senate Republicans recently passed a bill that immediately pays off the state’s $1.2 billion Unemployment Insurance (UI) debt to the federal government and replenishes the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Reserve Account. unemployment insurance. The total amount of this bill is $2.73 billion. This debt has been bearing interest for far too long, and it is high time we addressed it.

Two years ago, on January 1, 2020 – before the effects of COVID – the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance was $1.7 billion.

Due to the emergence of COVID and subsequent governor-mandated business shutdowns, unemployment insurance claims depleted the fund’s reserve and created a negative $1.2 billion in debt.

Since then, our state has racked up over $8 million in interest debt, all still owed to the federal government. Minnesota is currently paying more than $50,000 a day in interest charges for this loan. It is simply inexcusable, this debt and the interest that is added to it every day should never have happened. Governor Walz had more than enough money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) to pay off that debt last year, and he chose not to. We promised our Main Street businesses that they would not be penalized by increased unemployment insurance premiums because their employees received dollars from the Unemployment Insurance Fund due to the mandatory closures of the ‘administration. Main Street businesses should not be penalized for not causing the layoffs.

This bill to repay our debt to the federal government and replenish the Reserve Account also contains language to keep the Supplemental Assessment Account at a zero percent increase for 2022 and 2023. The Special Assessment Account is also held at a zero percent increase for 2022.

Again, our Main Street businesses should not be hit with a higher assessment rate because the administration forced them to close and their employees filed for unemployment benefits.

Paying off that debt also benefits employees across the state. If we are successful in repaying this debt and replenishing the fund, we ensure that employees continue to have this fund available for future use. This has been a critical employee benefit for the past two years, and we need to preserve and protect it. Employees should not suffer from an invoice left unpaid by our administration.

Ultimately, paying that debt helps businesses on Main Street and helps employees – it’s in everyone’s best interest that this be done.

Until our Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund reaches a level considered “adequate” by the federal government, Minnesota businesses will be penalized with higher premiums to increase funding, with these potential costs being passed on to consumers.

According to the Department of Jobs and Economic Development, it would take more than 10 years of higher additional taxes on businesses to replenish unemployment insurance trust funds. We cannot let our businesses and taxpayers bear the brunt of this cost. It is time to take care of this debt and, in turn, take care of small businesses and their employees.

]]> SME lender finance companies raise $144M led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, plus $150M in debt lines – TechCrunch https://4wallsandaview.com/sme-lender-finance-companies-raise-144m-led-by-softbank-vision-fund-2-plus-150m-in-debt-lines-techcrunch/ Wed, 16 Feb 2022 03:17:28 +0000 https://4wallsandaview.com/sme-lender-finance-companies-raise-144m-led-by-softbank-vision-fund-2-plus-150m-in-debt-lines-techcrunch/ Small businesses are the backbone of Southeast Asia’s economy, but many struggle to get working capital loans because they don’t have a traditional credit history or collateral , say the founders of Finance companies. The fintech, which claims to be the region’s largest SME digital finance platform, uses alternative forms of credit scoring and has […]]]>

Small businesses are the backbone of Southeast Asia’s economy, but many struggle to get working capital loans because they don’t have a traditional credit history or collateral , say the founders of Finance companies. The fintech, which claims to be the region’s largest SME digital finance platform, uses alternative forms of credit scoring and has disbursed over $2 billion in finance to MSMEs since its launch in 2015. Today, the finance companies announced that they have raised $144 million in an oversubscribed Series C+ round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with the participation of new investors like VNG Corporation, Rapyd Ventures, EDBI, Indies Capital, K3 Ventures and Ascend Vietnam.

It has also received $150 million in lines of credit from institutional investors, some of which have been drawn down since last year.

TechCrunch first covered funding companies when it raised its Series A in 2016. The company’s previous round was a $45 million Series C raised between 2020 and 2021. Part of its new funding, or $16 million, will be distributed to former and existing employees through its stock option plan in the form of share buybacks.

The company was founded in 2015 by Kelvin Teo and Reynold Wijaya after they met at Harvard Business School. It is now licensed and registered in Singapore, Indonesia (where it is known as Modalku), Malaysia and Thailand. He recently started operating in Vietnam and will use part of his C+ series to enter the Philippines.

The platform provides online loans ranging from $500 to $1.5 million. Since its launch, it has disbursed over $2 billion in business finance to MSMEs through over 4.9 million loan transactions. Funding company customers range in size from corner stores and e-commerce sellers to mid-sized businesses, such as fast-growing startups and established corporations, who want to access revenue-based funding faster than bank loans, which typically take about two to three months to disburse, Teo tells TechCrunch.

A recent impact study calculated using Asian Development Bank methodology showed that MSMEs supported by finance companies contributed $3.6 billion to GDP and 350,000 jobs.

By covering a wide range of businesses, Teo claims finance companies have better customer acquisition costs and better loan-to-value ratios. It also accumulates data faster to train its data scoring models, which draw on traditional and alternative data sources. Traditional sources include bank statements and credit bureau information, where available, while alternatives may include transaction information, online reviews, and supply chain data feed.

One of the advantages of finance companies is that some of their data sources are proprietary, while they have exclusive rights to others through partnerships. This gives the startup an edge over new players, Teo says, as well as the amount of loan repayment data finance companies have collected since its launch. He added that the default rate of finance companies is between 1% and 2% even during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why she was able to receive lines of credit from so many institutions.

Interest rates from finance companies are usually higher than those from banks, but less than or equal to those from credit cards. In fact, they offer a credit card with a debit line to replace corporate cards. It also partners with companies including e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Bukalapak, accounting app BukuWarung, fintech Alterra and agritech platform Tanihub that provide access to working capital loans to their SME clients. .

Teo and Wijaya argue that the main competitors of finance companies are not banks. Instead, Teo says many of his clients relied on loans from friends or family, savings and personal credit cards to fund their businesses. “The opportunity is huge because it’s a quality financing gap of US$300 billion,” he says.

In a prepared statement, SoftBank Investment Advisers Managing Partner Greg Moon said, “SMEs in Southeast Asia have historically struggled to access institutional funding and instead have been forced to rely primarily on personal financing to support growth. Finance companies are building a bridge for these companies to access more sustainable and cheaper finance by creating unique datasets of their performance and using AI-based technology to assess their creditworthiness more efficiently than traditional models.

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