Monday, September 24, 2018

More Info: Surviving the Financial Storm after Florence

CPA Adam Shay provided the following excellent advice to help individuals and businesses survive the financial storm after Florence.    

CPA Adam Shay's website with additional info

The last week has been a whirlwind of physical and emotional challenges. Our Wilmington community is strong and we will come through this together. One of the less discussed aspects of the Florence so far is the post-storm financial impact on individuals and business owners. The storm’s impact to the local economy could prevent businesses and individuals from receiving regular income for a while. I have taken some time to compile a list of resources and suggestions that may be relevant to helping people weather the economic storm.
Business Loans
There are several disaster loan options available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other programs.  Some options are:
The Small Business Technology Development Center has a lot of relevant storm recovery loan related information on their website.
Insurance Claims
If your business was damaged, you may want to check if you have business interruption service (or something equivalent).  Whether it’s business or individual property damage, you will want to take time to assess your damage and report claims in a timely manner.  Realize that when it comes to claims, insurance companies want to pay out the minimum.  Stand up for yourself.  You may need some forensic accounting to demonstrate economic impact of the storm and aftermath.  You may also need to get an attorney involved, depending upon what is at stake with your claim.

Mortgage Relief
If your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac you may be eligible to stop making payments for three to twelve months.    You can click these links to determine if your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  If you do not have a mortgage owned by one of these entities, you may still be able to get some sort of deferment or relief from your lender.  Regardless of who owns your loan, call them and ask what they have available and if appropriate proceed to sign up for the appropriate program.

Be careful of scammers during Hurricane cleanup. Make sure you are working with licensed, insured contractors. Don’t pay up front and pay with a credit card if possible. Try to use local providers when you can.
Price gouging is illegal in North Carolina.

For those located in the federal declared disaster zone (as of this writing Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne counties), the IRS has extended the following items until January 31st, 2019:
  • S Corporation, C Corporation, Partnership, and Individual Income tax returns that were previously extended.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments due September 17th, 2018.
  • Quarterly payroll tax or excise tax returns due October 31st, 2018.
Penalties on late payroll taxes due between September 7, 2018 and September 24, 2018 will not be penalized as long as deposits are made by September 24, 2018.   North Carolina is making the same waivers except that they are still assessing interest on later quarterly estimated income tax payments.  Since we are in a federally declared disaster area, you may be able to claim damage or loss of property not covered by insurance on your income tax returns.

Unemployment (Even for Business Owners)
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available from the NC Division of Employment Security (NC ESC) for people in the following counties (as of the time of this writing): Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender.   You may be eligible for DUA if:
  • You are unemployed due to disaster.
  • Self-employed and lost income due to the disaster.
  • Injured due to disaster and unable to work.
  • You became a major income provider due to death from disaster.
  • You can’t reach their job or self-employed business due to travel affected by disaster.
  • You could not start employment during the disaster.
Frequently asked questions on DUA can be found here.  Note that from a timing perspective the NC ESC system will be down from 5PM September 24th through 8 AM Friday September 28th, so try to submit an initial claim starting then.

Adam Shay, CPA (N.C. License Number 35961), MBA, is managing partner of Adam Shay CPA, PLLC.  During the next couple of months we are offering free business roundtables for business owners to discuss things they are and could be doing to survive the economic impacts of Florence.  Anyone interested in learning more should email

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Assistance After Florence; Important Info!


Hurricane Florence is a once-in-a-lifetime storm that has left many facing significant challenges as we begin the recovery process. Please rest assured you are not alone. One of the ways we can help is to make you aware of the wide variety of resources available to you and your family to help you get through this difficult time. If you have been impacted in any way, PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask for help and take advantage of this assistance – your taxes make these programs available and they are meant to assist in times of crisis.

·    File with FEMA and get your FEMA number ASAP! You will need it for everything. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners.
·       You can apply for assistance by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
·       You will  need to provide the following:
o   Social Security number, or the social security number of a child living at the house.
o   Annual household income.
o   Contact information, insurance information and bank account information (FEMA needs  bank account information so agency can directly deposit $$ into your account.)
·       Additional info:
o   Anyone who is denied will be notified and given a chance to appeal.
o   FEMA aid only is available for your primary residence — not vacation homes.
o   FEMA will not duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company, but you may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance.
o   Homeowners and renters can also apply for low-interest home repair loans from the Small Business Administration at  Owner of rental properties can also apply for repair loans through the SBA.

·       File for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). If you can't live in your house or go to work because your office is closed or flooded, this applies to you. The DUA program provides unemployment benefits to individuals who are unemployed as a direct result of a Presidentially declared major disaster. The state has declared that residents in Onslow, New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties are approved for DUA. You must file an application for benefits by October 17, 2018.
·       DUA is funded entirely by the federal government. Individuals need to file first for regular unemployment insurance. If an individual is determined ineligible for regular unemployment insurance, or has exhausted their regular unemployment insurance benefits, a DUA claim can then be filed. Individuals will need their Social Security number, copies of their most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs, or documentation to support they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed.
·       DUA is available beginning September 9, 2018, and may last for up to 26 weeks, as long as the claimant’s unemployment continues to be as a result of Hurricane Florence.
·       Individuals may contact DES by calling 1-866-795-8877 from 8AM to 5PM to apply for DUA benefits. If you have questions, you may email DES at or go to our website at For an updated list of counties that have been approved, please visit the News and Highlights section at

·       SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, homeowners, and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets.
·       You can apply online for all types of SBA disaster assistance loans. The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about your loan eligibility. You have the option of submitting a paper application by mail. For either application, you must submit the completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS Form 4506-T giving permission for the IRS to provide SBA your tax return information.  You may also apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center and receive personal, one-on-one help from an SBA representative. For information or to find a location near you, please contact our Customer Service Center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

·       File for DSNAP-Disaster food stamps. ANYONE in the affected areas can get them; they are not just for economically disadvantaged people. Do not be too proud to use this very important resource -- you can use the money you save on food to replace clothes and other necessities. The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers short-term food assistance benefits to families recovering from a disaster. D-SNAP is designed to help when people return to their homes and have access to electricity and grocery stores. To get emergency SNAP benefits, go to your local DSS office. You will fill out the food stamps application (attached) and meet with a caseworker. If you are getting emergency SNAP benefits, DTA must give you SNAP benefits no later than seven days after they receive your application.
§                             Wilmington – 1650 Greenfield Street, Wilmington 28401
§                             Brunswick County – 60 Government Center Dr. NE, Bolivia 28422
§                             Pender County – 810 S Walker Street, Burgaw, NC 28425
    Onslow County – 612 College Street, Jacksonville, NC 28541

·       The state of North Carolina can help with rebuilding or repairing your home. More information is available at To apply, go to You will be required to provide the following:
·       A photo ID and proof of citizenship or legal residency (U.S. passport or green card).
·       Proof that you lived in the damaged home (like a utility bill from the same month the storm hit).
·       Copies of tax returns or pay stubs for all the adults who live in the home.
·     Copies of any payments from insurance companies or other government agencies for damage to the home.

·       When the storm passes, insurance agents will be out in force to assist homeowners with filing their property insurance claims.

·       The N.C. Department of Insurance will also assist in processing claims and plans to set up Consumer Assistance Centers in shopping centers and other public places. The locations will be listed at
·       File a claim with BOTH your homeowner's and flood insurance. Even though it's a flood, homeowners will cover some wind damage and most of them will give you money for "loss of use" if you can't live in your house.

·       American Red Cross of the Cape Fear Region - More than 1,500 Red Cross disaster workers have been deployed to assist with Hurricane Florence relief efforts.  Call 910-762-2683 to request assistance.

·       The Salvation Army’s national network of disaster staff and volunteers have been activated since Monday, September 10, to mobilize for storm preparation and response. Trained emergency disaster personnel are prepared to provide food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual support to survivors and first responders. 910-762-2070.

·       Call all of your bill collectors and notify them that you are in the affected area and/or that your house flooded. Most will delay your bill due dates for a month or two. This includes your mortgage company, cable, electricity, water, credit card companies, phone etc.

·       Be wary of sales reps who go door-to-door to solicit business.
·       Be sure the contractor you employ is insured and licensed; ask for proof of insurance.
·       Get all estimates in writing, including schedules and materials.
·       Don’t sign blank contracts and don’t pay a contractor in full until the work is completed.

·       Most importantly, allow people to help you! They want to and you need the help!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Real estate thoughts for Grandparents Day

September 9 is National Grandparent’s Day. You’d pretty much figure that boils down to just honoring and spending time with your grandparents…maybe get them a gift, or take them out for dinner.
But, if you check out this Grandparent’s Day “action guide”, they’ve got loftier suggestions…
One of them is for grandparents to discuss financial stability with their grandchildren.
Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it’s not a bad suggestion at all. As a real estate agent, it brings this to mind…
Discussing what grandparents want (or even need) to do with their home as they get older.
It’s a touchy subject. Lots of memories and emotions are tied to their home, in so many different ways. It’s just an awkward subject for many families to get into, depending on the family dynamics.
But, it’s a topic worth touching upon. There are so many questions…
  • How long do they want to live at home?
  • What happens if they need assisted living, pass away, or can’t afford to stay?
  • Are they planning on selling their house? If not, what family member “gets” the house?
These are just a few of the touchy topics I see and hear people struggle with…often once it’s too late to discuss. Unfortunately, not discussing it can lead to poor decisions that hurt the grandparents, and even entire family, financially. And sometimes, real estate related issues become quite a fight within families as grandparents get older.
Obviously I hate seeing that happen.
So, as awkward or tough as it might be, try and have that chat at some point.
But, maybe not today.
For today, just enjoy each other’s company…

....  And, if you do find yourself having a chat along these lines, and need any real estate related thoughts from me, please just ask. I’m glad to help.