This is normally the time of year when the federal government is collecting taxes due, but the devastating coronavirus now has the U.S. trying to rapidly dole out hundreds of billions of dollars in aid and tax breaks to businesses large and small.

There are different pots of money for different kinds of companies. Banks on Friday began accepting applications for the $350 billion available for small and medium companies under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, established as part of the $2.2 trillion economic rescue package.

The Treasury and the Federal Reserve are still working on how to deploy more than $500 billion to purchase corporate and local government securities and provide aid for airlines, as well as companies like Boeing deemed essential for national security.

So how do you access the cash? Here’s a guide for some of the benefits that are available and how to qualify:

Small Businesses
Benefit: SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. Up to $10 million per small business or nonprofit organization. Almost $350 billion will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Business can get a loan at 1% interest to cover up to 250% of average monthly payroll costs -- including group health insurance premiums, retirement contributions and state and local payroll taxes, even cash tips that the employer recorded. The loan will be forgiven for businesses that retain or rehire workers to restore their Feb. 15 headcount. If a company lays off workers or reduces payroll expenses, the loan forgiveness will be reduced or eliminated.

Who is eligible: Companies with fewer than 500 employees or otherwise meet the SBA’s definition of a small business, small nonprofits including religious organizations and even self-employed people who certify that the loan request is necessary to support ongoing operations given the pandemic’s economic uncertainty. Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location can also be eligible if their individual locations employ less than 500 workers.

How to get it: Apply through a participating bank or lender. A sample two-page application form is available from the SBA website. Be sure to have appropriate documents showing payroll records for the entire previous year and payroll costs for the period including Feb. 15. Also bring records showing the business’s utility costs and rent or mortgage interest costs. If the company doesn’t have an existing relationship with the lender, be prepared to satisfy Bank Secrecy Act requirements to prove the business is legitimate and show the identities of those with a beneficial interest.

Special limitation: The money is capped at an annualized payroll rate of $100,000 per worker.

Bottom line: Get in line fast for this first-come, first-serve program. This is a no-brainer if you qualify, and tens of millions of businesses and nonprofits could be swamping bank offices in the coming weeks. The deadline for getting the loan is June 30, or until money runs out.

Airlines and Related Companies
Benefit: Up to $32 billion in payroll grants for airlines, contractors and cargo carriers, controlled by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Who is eligible: Airlines, contractors like catering companies, and air cargo haulers can get a combined $32 billion in grants to pay their workers.

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