A drawn-out government shutdown could bring many headaches to businesses big and small.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which provides guidance to companies pursuing initial public offerings, was forced to temporarily dismiss nearly all of its more than 4,400 employees when the government partially shut down on December 22. Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft submitted confidential filings to the SEC earlier last month and were expected to go public during the first half of 2019. Because the SEC is no longer processing and approving filings, however, Uber and Lyft’s IPO plans may wind up in limbo.
A prolonged government shutdown could put a drag on small businesses too, however. Here are three potential consequences of the shutdown entrepreneurs should be aware of.
1. Delayed refunds
The Internal Revenue Service is another agency that has been hit by the shutdown and is operating with minimal staff, according to CNN. With tax season fast approaching, it may not have the manpower available to process claims normally, meaning refunds may take longer to arrive this year. It could also potentially affect retailers and other businesses that usually benefit from early-filing customers spending money from their refunds.
2. Halted business loans
The SBA has also been impacted by the shutdown and has ceased its loan program for small business owners (except disaster-related funds). SBA offices across the nation are also shuttered and business owners looking for guidance will have to look elsewhere while the government remains shut.
3. Stalled contract work
Unless you have a fully funded contract, companies offering services to shuttered federal agencies have been asked to cease all work, according to multiple business owners who spoke to Inc. Some impacted employees are using up paid time off to keep paychecks coming, but business owners may have to resort to other alternatives should the shutdown persist.
On Thursday evening, the Democrat-controlled House passed legislation to reopen the government, but President Trump promptly declared his intention to veto it because it lacks his requested $5 billion funding for his proposed border wall. It’s unlikely the legislation would even go that far though, given that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said he will only allow the Senate to vote on legislation that the president supports. Republican senator Richard Shelby suggested the dispute could go on for “months and months.”