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January 10, 2019
NEW YORK — Small business owners are increasingly feeling the impact of the partial government shutdown that's in its 17th day. Agencies including the Small Business Administration and the IRS are not providing information and services, although the SBA's disaster loan operations are at work.
A look at what is and isn't available for businesses:
SBA LOANS AND CERTIFICATIONS
The SBA isn't processing loan applications, which means owners seeking business loans will have to wait until after the government reopens to find out if they've been approved. Owners can still apply for loans, as the process begins by contacting a bank that is an SBA lender.
SBA certifications are also not being processed. Companies hoping to get certification, for example, as a woman-owned business, can't apply, and they also can't find out the status of a previously submitted application. Small businesses use certifications in bidding for government and private contracts and also in marketing themselves.
Companies that are already working for the government won't be paid for their work until after the shutdown ends. Companies that have bid on contracts and want to know if they've won may have to wait — the outcome will depend on whether the agency and contracting officer is working.
In some cases, contractors are not authorized to do government-related work during the shutdown.
Agencies that are operating are publishing bidding opportunities. The Defense, Agriculture and Justice Departments were among those posting opportunities on the government's bidding website, http://www.fedbizopps.gov on Monday. However, the government employees listed as contacts on a specific opportunity might not be available.
Employers are unable to verify that their new hires are eligible to work in the U.S. The government's verification website, http://www.e-verify.gov , is available for information purposes, but is not providing verification services.
All taxpayers including business owners and tax advisers are unable to reach IRS employees to get information or have their questions answered. Phone calls to the IRS, including its phone line for tax professionals, are answered by a recording saying the service is unavailable. The IRS website, http://www.irs.gov , is operating, and taxpayers can make tax payments and view their account information.