By Raffi Yousefian | Published 03/22/2020; Updated 11/26/2020 12:03:43 AM

Given the constant changes and developments in legislation during this time of uncertainty, we’ve published this post to provide daily updates about changes in small business relief such as grants and loans, tax compliance, and unemployment/paid leave benefits at the federal and state level. We’re hoping these updates will provide you with the information you need to navigate your financial plan over the next unknown period of time.  Feel free to share the link with whomever you think can benefit from having this information. 

Feel free to contact us if you have questions.

Federal

  • Taxes and Registration
    • Individual and corporation 2019 income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Individuals can defer up to $1m in payments, businesses can defer up to $10m in payments. 
    • 2019 990s due between April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, whether originally or pursuant to a valid extension, are required to be filed or extended (if applicable) by July 15, 2020.
    • 2020 Q1 and Q2 estimated tax payments for individuals and corporations have been extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.
    • IRA contribution deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020. 
    • Pursuing new and existing liens and levies will be suspended during this period. However, field officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and other similar activities. 
    • IRS announced that temporary changes to section 125 cafeteria plans will extend the FSA and dependent care assistance programs claims to allow taxpayers to make mid-year changes. Previously provided temporary relief for high-deductible health plans may be applied retroactively to 1/1/20, and the permitted carryover for health FSAs is increased from $500 to $550.
    • 2019 paper return processing was suspended, and as of May 16, has an estimated backlog of 4.7M paper returns. Refunds for these paper returns may be delayed for a long time, as the IRS begins reopening core operations. Taxpayers whose returns were mistakenly flagged by automatic filters, and who have or must still provide substantiation to their claims, are also backlogged.
    • Over 20 million notices were produced but could not be mailed to taxpayers due to the notice production center closure between April 8 and May 31. Recipients will receive these printed notices with old and passed deadlines, and insert explaining the new response deadlines, etc. However, there is concern that some recipients may not read or completely understand the inserts, leading to a rush of upset taxpayers.
    • The IRS issued a notice on August 28, which allows employers to defer withholding on affected employees’ compensation starting from Sep.1 to Dec.31 2020 and then withhold those deferred amounts during the first four months of 2021. This notice places the responsibility on employers for collecting the tax-deferred. It must be paid by April 30, or else penalties, interest, and other taxes will apply. However, the notice also says “If necessary, the Affected Taxpayer may make arrangements to otherwise collect the total Applicable Taxes from the employee” but no further details of requirement is provided. Also, the Notice does not explicitly confirm this tax deferral program is mandatory or optional.
    • During the pandemic, the AICPA has been communicating its concerns to Treasury and the IRS about practitioners’ ability to meet various filing and payment deadlines. Based on discussions with the IRS, the AICPA understands that the Service is willing to work with taxpayers who need relief. Practitioners who have made a good-faith effort to meet the filing deadlines on behalf of their clients, but are unable to do so due to COVID-19, should write “COVID-19” in an attachment to the return briefly describing the reason they cannot meet the deadlines, or, if possible, should write “COVID-19” at the top of the tax return to indicate the need for penalty relief……If an affected taxpayer that had indicated the need for penalty relief due to COVID-19 receives a late-filing or late-payment penalty notice from the IRS, the practitioner should gather the appropriate facts and call the phone number on the notice to resolve the issue. Additionally, practitioners should be aware that under reasonable-cause standards, “[a]ny reason that establishes a taxpayer exercised ordinary business care and prudence but nevertheless failed to comply with the tax law may be considered for penalty relief” (Internal Revenue Manual §20.1.1.3.2.1);
      • Template for requesting penalty abatement available from AICPA – the AICPA is now hearing from members that clients for whom they sought “COVID-19” relief shortly after Sept. 15 are now receiving late-filing notices. The AICPA is in discussions with the IRS about this situation and has requested systemic abatement of late-filing penalties for those affected by the coronavirus. The AICPA has also prepared a template for practitioners to use to request reasonable-cause penalty abatement on behalf of their clients due to COVID-19 difficulties.
    • Congress recognized that for many, the ability to access retirement savings is a necessary lifeline to financially weather the pandemic. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136, early withdrawals taken in 2020 due to COVID-19 hardships will not be subject to the 10% additional tax under Sec. 72(t) or the 25% additional tax on SIMPLE IRAs under Sec. 72(t)(6) if certain conditions are met. In order to avoid the 10% penalty, the distribution must be (1) made to a qualified individual, (2) from an eligible retirement plan, (3) between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, and (4) $100,000 or less in aggregate.
    • 11/3 – IRS announces help with tax debt: The IRS announced a new program, the Taxpayer Relief Initiative, to help taxpayers who are unable to pay their taxes because of the pandemic. Taxpayers who owe taxes and could not pay have always had options such as installment agreements and offers in compromise, but now they have more options. The details are in IR-2020-248. The IRS initiative is also highlighting reasonable-cause relief from penalties for taxpayers with failure-to-file, failure-to-pay, and failure-to-deposit penalties. First-time abatement penalty relief is also available to taxpayers the first time they are subject to the penalty.
  • Relief
    • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was passed by the Senate on 3/27/20. We’ve summarized the key provisions such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as applied to small businesses and nonprofits, of this legislation here
    • The SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help qualified small businesses and private nonprofit organizations overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. You can get the process started here. More information about user experience and requirements can be understood through this article.
    • The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing a Main Street Lending Program (Program) to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lender registration for federal MSLP is now open. Here is some insight about the loan:
      • The amount will range from $250k to $200 million. 
      • Five-year maturity, and principal and interest payments on the loans will be deferred for one year.
      • A term of five years at an interest rate of 3% more than the LIBOR rate.
      • No principal payments for the first two years
      • U.S. businesses may be eligible for loans if they meet either of the following conditions:
        • < 15,000 employees
        • 2019 revenue < $ 5 billion
      • Recipients of the PPP loan are eligible 
    • The National Restaurant Association (NRA) will provide grants to restaurant industry employees who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, financially, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. Each approved grant is $500 per person. Restaurant employees can start applying on April 2, 2020 by clicking here
    • The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund will be awarding $10k for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Round 2 begins mid-April
    • The NASE (National Association for the Self-Employed) accepts applications for grants up to $4,000 each, for NASE members. Grants may be used for financing a particular small business need. NASE page here.
    • The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides direct relief to farmers and ranchers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. Applications are accepted through August 28, 2020. Business for All / Hello Alice is accepting applications for up to $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants of up to $10,000 to help small businesses in crisis.
    • Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program for Black-Owned Businesses – up to $4,000, consisting of $2,500 in cash and $1,500 in optional advertising credits, available to majority black-owned for-profit businesses in the US with 1-50 employees that have been in business for more than one year and have experienced challenges from COVID-19. Applications close on August 31.
    • People Inc. COVID-19 Forgivable Small Business Loans – SBA COVID-19 microloans for $500 – $50,000 available to small businesses affected by the pandemic in the Grater Prince William area. No deadline listed.
    • COVID-19 $10,000 Emergency Grants (Hello Alice Business for All) – provides grants up to $50,000 to support business grown and recovery. Grant applications due September 25, 2020.
    • The SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Borrowers do not need to apply for this assistance. It will be automatically provided, more info here
  • Benefits
    • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which takes effect on April 2, 2020, requires that small business employers (<500 employees) provide sick leave (2 weeks) and family leave (10 weeks) for eligible employees, which the government is willing to cover up to a certain amount. Please read our detailed blog post for more information.

District of Columbia

  • Taxes and Registration
    • Personal, partnership, corporate franchise, and unincorporated franchise tax return filing and payment deadline extended to July 15, 2020. You can still extend to October 15, but payment is due by July 15.  
    • Sales tax payment (but not filing) for periods ending February 29, 2020 and March 31, 2020 has been extended to July 20, 2020. Filing and payment dates for April and May 2020 have not been extended. 
      • As of the week of July 28, OTR has determined that as long as your February and March taxes were FILED AND PAID by July 20th they will waive any interest payments and fees. When you log into your tax portal at mytax.dc.gov, the penalty fees should no longer appear.
    • DC FP-31 Personal Property returns are due July 31. A 90-day extension is available.
    • Corporate Biennial report extended to June 1
    • Due date for the 2020 first quarter and second quarter estimated tax payments currently remain unchanged.
    • ABRA Q1 financial statements extended to June 1. 
    • 09/03 OTR TAX NOTICE – COVID-19 FRANCHISE TAX NEXUS: The Office of Tax and Revenue will not seek to impose corporation franchise tax or unincorporated business franchise tax nexus solely on the basis of employees or property used to allow employees to work from home (e.g., computers, computer equipment, or similar property) temporarily located in the District during the period of the declared public emergency and public health emergency, including any further extensions by the Mayor and for 90 days after the Mayor declares an end to the public emergency. Furthermore, the presence of employees under these conditions will not cause a business to lose the protections of Public Law 86-272.
    • As of October 1, on-premise licensees are permanently allowed to sell alcohol for carry-out and delivery. New provisions include:
      • Permanently allowing on-premises licensees to sell alcohol for carry-out and delivery with prepared food between 6:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m., daily.
      • Allowing on-premises licensees and manufacturers to sell alcohol starting at 6:00 a.m., daily.
      • Increasing the hours of sale and delivery of alcohol for off-premises licensees to 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m., daily.
      • Expanding the District’s Extended Holiday Hour Program by six (6)-days.
      • Expanding Inaugural Week from a seven (7)-day to 16-day period.
      • Permanently implementing a Games of Skill Endorsement and increasing the maximum number of devices per establishment to five (5).
      • Sales tax on to-go alcohol sales has been reduced to 10% for off premise and carry out sales made by bars and restaurants.
    • DC – OTR TAX NOTICE COVID-19 DIGITAL SIGNATURES: In an effort to protect public health and safety, the Office of Tax and Revenue will allow taxpayers and tax professionals to use digital signatures on forms, even those forms that cannot be filed electronically during the declared public health emergency.
  • Relief
    • Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Development (DMPED) committed $25m for offering small business microgrants. The application deadline to apply was March 31, award notifications will be sent out April 29 through May 8. If you don’t hear back by May 8 then you’re not awarded a grant. 
    • DC Health Link is not terminating coverage for non-payment of premium. They are providing a 60 day grace period that begins when the Public Health Emergency ends as determined by the Mayor. There is no need to contact them as the policy will be automatically applied to your account. 
    • Events DC announces $18m hospitality and tourism relief package to provide funding to support restaurants, hotels, and undocumented workers in Washington, DC. More info to be announced soon. 
    • On April 7, DC Council passed emergency legislation creating a mandatory 90-day mortgage deferment program for residential and commercial mortgage holders who request one. No late fees or penalties would accrue, and repayment of the deferred amount could be done via payment plan, not through a required balloon lump payment. This program requires landlords to pass along proportionate savings to their tenants if they receive a deferment.
    • The COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 passed on March 17, 2020 prohibits electric, gas, and water from being disconnected for non-payment for the period of time while the Mayor has declared a public health emergency.
    • DSLBD is working with DC Main Street to activate over $600,000 in grant funding. Reach out to your local neighborhood Main Street for assistance. 
    • Dept of Housing and Comm Development (DHCD) is currently developing a new $1.5M program with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for microgrants to businesses in Wards 7 and 8. Applications are expected to open by early May.
    • For Restaurants – third-party delivery fees are capped at 15% until 5/15; this will likely be extended.
    • Retailers with on-premise licenses may also register with the Board to sell beer/wine/spirits with takeout food items.
    • Landlords must offer rent payment plans allowing for missed and late payments. 
    • DC DMPED issued an RFA for the FY20 Neighborhood Prosperity Fund (NPF) grant program, on Friday, July 24. The program is open to non-residential components of mixed-use projects in underserved portions of DC. The program will provide up to $3M in grants in areas where unemployment is 10% or greater, for only the commercial component of development projects (grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, medical offices, professional offices, etc). The application deadline is Thursday, August 13, 2020. Additional details of the fund can be found here, and the application can be found here.
    • Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the investment of $4 million through the new Streatery Winter Ready Grant program to assist restaurants with grants up to $6,000 as they winterize their outdoor dining areas and maintain outdoor dining operations through the colder months. Businesses can apply starting Monday, September 21, by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-business. The deadline to expend funds awarded has been extended from November 30 to December 12. The expenditure report submission date has also been extended from December 7 to December 14. Expenditure reports for those who have received grant awards from RAMW are to be sent to swrg@ramw.org.
    • Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund will provide $5 million in emergency operational funding to local child care facilities. Funds are intended to cover at least one month of operating expenses for any month during which COVID-19 has impacted the operations of the program. Click here for more information.
    • DC DMPED issued an RFA for the FY21 Great Streets Retail Small Business grant program, on August 28, 2020. The Great Streets Retail Small Business Grant is to support existing small businesses, attract new businesses, increase the District’s tax base, create new job opportunities for District residents, and transform designated emerging commercial corridors into thriving and inviting neighborhood centers. Online submissions only. Deadline to apply is 4:00 pm, September 28, 2020. Please click here for more information.
    • DC Small Business Resiliency Fund – the fund will provide up to $3M in emergency operational funding to small/local DC businesses with 50 or fewer employees, and independently-owned restaurants regardless of employee count. Funds may be used for business model redesign, business continuity, strengthening digital retail, new marketing efforts, and PPE. Applications will be accepted through October 26. Grant amounts will be $10,000.
    • The Legacy Business Supplemental Fund will designate $3.25M from the Small Business Microgrants Program to support DC Legacy businesses. This supplemental microgrant will provide relief to businesses and nonprofits that previously received the Small Business Recovery Microgrant and have served DC residents for at least 20 years at of March 2020. All District legacy businesses that qualify for this grant program have already been contacted.
    • DC has launched the Bridge Fund, a $100M investment in businesses and workers grappling COVID-19 in the hospitality, entertainment, and retail sectors. Applications are expected to open by December 22, 2020. Funds will be allocated at $35M for the Restaurant Bridge Fund, $30M toward the Hotel Bridge Fund, $20M toward the Entertainment Bridge Fund, and $15M toward the Retail Bridge Fund. The Hotel Bridge Fund application is already open.
  • Benefits
    • Unemployment
      • Apply online here.
      • Access FAQ
      • Maximum Weekly Benefit = $444.00 + $600.00 (starting May 1 and ending on or before July 31, 2020)
      • Short-Term Compensation (Work Share) is introduced, through December 31, 2020. This will allow employers to reduce an employee’s hours, rather than lay them off, and have unemployment make up part of the difference. More information to come.
      •  Eligibility
        • The following employees can apply for unemployment benefits as a result of the emergency act passed by DC Council:
          • Employees who have become unemployed or partially unemployed if their employer had to reduce or cease operations due to orders from the Mayor or Department of Health.
          • Employees who have become unemployed or partially unemployed due to a reduction in business revenue resulting from the circumstances giving rise to the public health emergency, as determined by the mayor.
          • Employees who have been quarantined or isolated by the Department of Health or any other applicable District, federal agency, or medical professional.
          • Employees who have self-quarantined or self-isolated in a manner consistent with the recommendations from the Department of Health, or any other applicable District, federal agency, or medical professional.
        • The definition of employee has been expanded to included self-employed individuals, contractors, and those seeking part time work who otherwise would not qualify. 
        • An affected employee can receive benefits even if the employer has provided a return to work date and/or the layoff is temporary.
        • Employers will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
        • 7 day waiting period to start receiving benefits has been removed.
        • Work search requirement has been removed.
        • When employees file a claim, they should put “COVID-19” as the reasoning. 
      • Shared Work is a voluntary program that provides an alternative to layoffs for employers confronted with a temporary decline in business. The principle behind Shared Work is simple: instead of laying off a percentage of the work force to cut costs, an employer could reduce employees’ hours by the same percentage and keep the entire work force on the job. See this guide for more info. 
      • Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DOES announced the approval of the District’s application to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program which will allow the District to offer an additional unemployment compensation benefit of $300 per week to eligible unemployment insurance recipients. To be eligible for this benefit, individuals must have a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 per week from an approved unemployment compensation program and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Payments would be retroactive to August 1, 2020, and the District expects recipients will start receiving payments by the first week of October.
      • UI in DC was only designed to cover 26 weeks, but there is a 13-week extension available to those who apply and fill out an application.
        • for claimants started receiving UI on or after July 1, 2019 and have collected for 26 weeks, they are eligible for the PEUC extension, available here.
        • if a claimant has exhausted both the initial 26 weeks of UI and the 13-week PEUC extension, an additional 13 weeks is available through the Extended Benefits program, available here.
    • Family Medical Leave
      • The DC Paid Leave law was amended to be in line with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Businesses with between 50 and 499 employees must offer 2 weeks of paid leave for reasons outlined in the FFCRA
      • DC has added a new category of leave called Declaration of Emergency (DOE) leave. Unlike with the other types of DCFMLA leave, all employers with employees in the District of Columbia must provide DOE leave. Additionally, all employees who work in the District of Columbia are eligible for DOE leave, regardless of their length of service and number of hours worked during the 12-month period prior to the leave.
      • Employers must provide DOE leave to an employee who is unable to work because:
        • A public health emergency has been declared by the mayor and the Department of Health, any other District or federal agency, or a medical professional has recommended the employee self-quarantine or self-isolate; or
        • The government mandates that the employee be in quarantine or isolation.
      • DOE leave may be unpaid, but employees may be entitled to paid leave under the FFCRA, once it takes effect on April 2. If they aren’t eligible for paid leave under FFCRA, employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
      • The one-year employment requirement and 1,000-hour work requirement shall not apply to an employee who has been ordered or recommended to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19.
        • Schedule of Liabilities, or balance sheet.
      • Department of Housing and Community Development will have community development block grants available that will provide direct economic relief to small businesses in DC neighborhoods. We will provide updates as they come through.

Maryland

  • Taxes and Registration
    • Personal and corporate income tax payment and filing extended to July 15, 2020.
    • Q1 and Q2 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals and corporations is extended to July 15, 2020.
    • Sales tax payment and filing for sales taking place in February, March, April, and May of 2020 are extended to July 15, 2020.
    • Withholding tax payment due for February, March, April, and May is extended to July 15, 2020. 
    • Annual Report Filing and/or Personal Property Return filing extended from April 15 to July 15th for all entities.
    • The Comptroller of Maryland agency has set up a dedicated email address — taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov — to assist businesses with extension-related questions. Business owners can also call the Comptroller’s Ombudsman at 410-260-4020.
    • Taxpayers who are currently on a payment plan for delinquent business and/or income taxes and are unable to make those payments due to the COVID-19 crisis should contact this office at the following to discuss delaying payments:
      • Business taxpayers: cdcollectionbizz@marylandtaxes.gov
      • Individual income tax taxpayer: COV19@marylandtaxes.gov
    • Maryland is automatically decoupled from the CARES Act provisions affecting tax year 2020, but conforms to CARES Act provisions affecting tax years 2018 and 2019.
    • Collections of unpaid tax liabilities are on hold until after COVID State of Emergency is lifted. The office of Mayland Comptroller will be mailing notifications to certain tax filers of unpaid tax liabilities as well as other late payments on certain business taxes that were due July 15. While recipients of these notifications are not required to take any action at this time, please keep in mind that interest and penalties will continue to accrue on any unpaid tax balance until the liability is paid. Click here for more information.
    • Comptroller extends freeze on reporting alcohol retailers to the credit-control list until February 1, 2021. As a result, distributors won’t need to notify the agency when retailers have payment issues, providing businesses additional flexibility as COVID-19 continues to have an impact. Click here for more information.
  • Relief
    • Maryland Department of Commerce will offer the following:
      • A $75 million loan fund (for for-profit businesses only) offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum. Learn more.
      • A $50 million grant program for businesses and non-profits offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Learn more.
      • A $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country. More details are expected to be announced by Friday, March 27, 2020.
      • A $5 million fund to incentivize businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to satisfy the increasing needs of the healthcare industry. For information to be announced.
      • Additional existing financing programs for new businesses and expansion.
    • The governor’s initiative will provide the third installment of funding to the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Fund, which awards grants of up to $10,000 to businesses of 50 or fewer employees. To date, the program has distributed more than 9,600 grants to small businesses across the state. This additional relief will clear the backlog of eligible applications and bring the program’s total funding to $145 million.
    • $50M: Direct Relief for Restaurants: The governor’s initiative will provide direct grant relief to qualifying restaurants across the state. The funding will be allocated through local jurisdictions and must be distributed no later than December 31, 2020. Eligible uses of funds include:
      • Working capital, such as rent and purchase of equipment and services to expand outdoor dining through physical improvements including tents, heaters, warmers, and carts
      • Sanitization services
      • Purchase of PPE
      • Technology to support carryout and delivery
      • Infrastructure improvements, including HVAC system upgrades
    • $5M: Expansion of Small and Minority Business Low-Interest Loans: The governor’s initiative doubles funding to $10 million for low-interest loans to small and minority businesses. Administered through the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA), the program provides financing to businesses owned by economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs. MSBDFA uses include working capital, supplies and materials, machinery and equipment acquisition, land acquisition, or real estate improvements.
    • $20M: Expansion of COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund: The governor’s initiative expands total funding to $30 million for the state’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which has helped small businesses with an average of 20 employees stay open and saved nearly 9,000 Maryland jobs. Grantees have used the average award size of $22,738 per business for such things as purchasing remote access equipment and software to promote teleworking, assisting with employee training and education, purchasing cleaning supplies and services to maintain an onsite workforce, and taking advantage of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program by supplementing employee income.
    • Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that his agency will forego until February 1, 2021, a requirement that alcohol distributors to report any retailer upon their inability to pay for delivered products within prescribed timelines.
    • $3M: Expansion of Arts Organization Funding: The governor’s initiative increases funding to $7 million for the Maryland State Arts Council’s (MSAC) Emergency Grant Program. In response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, MSAC has created special grant opportunities that provide emergency funding to arts organizations and artists for losses sustained because of programming, operations, and events that have been modified or canceled.
    • $2M: Hometown Tourism Program: The governor’s initiative provides $2 million for local Destination Marketing Organizations to support hometown tourism efforts that promote local restaurants, attractions, and shops.
    • $100M: Emergency Rapid Response Fund for Small Businesses: The governor’s initiative sets aside $100 million that can be immediately deployed to areas where there is the greatest need as the pandemic continues to affect various sectors and as state and local governments wait for the federal government to take action on additional stimulus relief.
    • MD announced $11.7M will be provided to the Nonprofit Maryland Legal Services Corporate (MLSC), to provide legal services for eviction cases.
    • MD has allocated $50M to be allocated directly to restaurants, but the funding will go through local jurisdictions.
    • Montgomery County
      • The Public Health Emergency Grant Program will provide up to $75k in funding to small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 100 employees that can demonstrate they’ve suffered financial distress as a result of the critical steps and mandated closures the County and State of Maryland have put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Grant funding must be used for employee wages and benefits, taxes, debt, rent or other operating losses during the public health emergency. This program also includes a microgrant for local businesses and nonprofits up to $2,500 to purchase teleworking equipment and technology, to support teleworking capabilities during the COVID-19 emergency. 
      • Reopen Montgomery Grant Program – the first lottery for grants was conducted August 6, but the lottery is still accepting applications. The Reopen Montgomery Program Grants will reimburse MoCo businesses and NFPs for expenses incurred to comply with State and County reopening requirements.
        • Funds will be awarded up to $5,000 per applicant, under a total of $14M appropriated for the program.
        • Applicants must submit documentation showing that at least 50% of the business’ employees or that 50% of the gross sales come from MoCO; receipts for allowable expenses not covered by other MoCo grants; a copy of the Articles of Incorporation or Organization; and be in good standing with the State of MD.
        • Further details and the link to the application can be found here.
        • Applications are still being accepted as of September 25, 2020.
    • Prince Georges County
      • County-based small businesses are eligible to receive a low interest loan for up to 6 months of verified operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, fixed debt payments and other business critical cash operating costs; not to exceed $100,000. Check detailed requirements and application here
    • Baltimore County
      • Mayor Olszewski announced a series of relief programs, including a $10M in new grant funding for small businesses. Grant applications will be posed on the DEWD website, and they will begin accepting applications beginning May 11. See the Grant Criteria, Application, and Terms, here. Application and further details available here.
    • College Park, MD has COVID-19 City Assistance Programs that appear to still be accepting applications
      • Business Assistance Grants up to $15,000 per business/owner, available to both for-profit and non-profit businesses with a physical presence in College Park
      • Modified Business Assistance & Facade Improvement Program, available to local business and commercial property owners for capital improvements to enhance the appears of the business and commercial district, will reimburse the total cost of exterior improvements up to $15,000 and interior improvements up to $5,000. No grant shall exceed $15k for any one property.
      • Resident Assistance Programs to provide financial assistance to families, senior citizens, and other individuals who have been impacted by the pandemic, to help with expenses such as rent/mortgage, unforeseen funeral costs, utility payments, and other emergency needs as deemed necessary by the City. The program ends funding on 12/1/2020. Eligible family/persons may receive up to $5,000 for indirect payments to the applicable payee or in gift cards for eligible expenses.
      • City Council Discretion Non-Profit Assistance Programs – the City Council may address food and other services at their discretion, such as $20,000 to Meals on Wheels and the College Park Food Bank. Applications are not accepted for these funds.
    • Howard County
      • On September 9, 2020, County Executive Calvin Ball announced nearly $750,000 in grants for Howard County live venues and arts communities that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The HoCo RISE Live Theatre and Artist Relief Funds, funded through the CARES Act, will support Howard County establishments including Merriweather Post Pavilion, Toby’s Dinner Theatre, and the Drama Learning Center in addition to individual artists and non-profit organizations. More info here
      • The Howard County Economic Development Authority has opened the HoCo RISE Grant Round 2. Applications from new applicants and renewals from existing recipients are due at 11:59 PM on November 29, 2020. Grants are available to Storefront Retail and Service businesses, and Restaurants. Round 2 grant values are estimated to be between $10,000 and $17,000 for restaurants; $10,000 for business associations; and between $3,000 and $6,000 for retail storefronts, farms, hotels, and childcare providers.
    • Hartford County
      • Hartford County announced that it will open up existing COVID-19 relief grant programs to businesses that opened since the pandemic began, and expand grants to include $7,500 grants to child care providers. Applications for child care grants and any business grants are due by 5 PM, December 4. Any licensed in-home, nonprofit, or faith-based child care establishments are eligible for the grants on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that with the exception of restaurants, businesses may only receive one type of Harford County grant (Small Business Relief, Home Grown Harford Farm Relief, or Business Owners Assistance).
  • Benefits
    • Unemployment
      • Apply online here.
      • Access FAQ here.
      • Eligibility
        • Employees can apply for unemployment benefits online if their employer had to shut down due to COVID-19.
        • Employees can apply for partial benefits if their hours have been reduced
        • The work search requirement has become more flexible. Claimants are not required to search for work if their employer has temporarily laid off the claimant and has provided a return to work date that is less than 10 weeks in the future.
      • As of now, an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits could impact the future state unemployment tax rate for employers. MD will provide additional information about a waiver process due to any benefits paid as a result of a Covid-19 shut down
      • We highly recommend that every MD employer reads this FAQ page for more detailed and specific info.

Virginia

  • Taxes and Registration
    • Personal, corporate, and fiduciary income tax payment deadline extended to June 1, 2020. Please note that penalties will be waived, but interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so. Although VA has not technically extended the filing deadline, they do offer an automatic extension filing deadline if you are unable to file by the original due date.
    • Q1 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals and corporations is extended to June 1, 2020, Q2 remains June 15, 2020. 
    • VA Sales & Use Tax payments were due March 20. The Tax Commissioner may, for good cause, grant a business an extension for up to thirty days. You must apply for the extension you are able to request an extension by using the Virginia Online Services site or by sending them a fax request. If the commissioner grants an extension beyond thirty days, then interest may be charged.
    • Fairfax County
      • Personal property tax filing and payments extended to at least 6/1
      • Real estate taxes have been extended to August
    • City of Alexandria 
      • Extended the Business Personal Property Tax Return filing date from May 1 to July 1, 2020. 
      • Delayed payment of the 5% meals tax collected between February and June 2020. There is an option for a payment plan that will allow taxpayers to pay these taxes by June 2021. 
    • Arlington County
      • Treasurer of Arlington County, has determined that late payment penalty and interest will not be imposed on local taxes with a payment due date between March 13 and April 30, 2020, if such taxes are paid in full by May 31, 2020. This decision primarily but not exclusively affects Arlington County Meals, Food, and Beverage Taxes and Transient Occupancy Taxes, which would ordinarily be due March 20 and April 20. Taxpayers should still file the required returns even if they are not paying the tax until a later date. Taxpayers are encouraged to pay their taxes on time if they have the financial means to do so. Any taxes previously paid will not be refunded. Taxpayers should direct questions to treasurer@arlingtonva.us
  • Relief
    • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Rapid Response funding to support Northern VA employers to remain open during this emergency. The funds can be used for innovative strategies to maintain business operations. The funding request should not exceed $25k. 
    • The nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund provides forgivable loans for VA-based small businesses, intended to provide immediate assistance (within a max of three days) to meet PR, preserve healthcare coverage, and preserve jobs while waiting for federal funding to come through. Details and Application can be found here. To qualify for assistance, the business must be
      • a small VA bus employing 3-30 people
      • based in VA and have been in operation for at least one year; and
      • owned and operated by VA residents.
    • Rebuild VA, a grant program to help small businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19, is expanding eligibility criteria and increasing the amount of grant money businesses receive. An additional $30M has been directed to the program to increase the max grant award amount from $10k to $100k. Businesses that previously received a Rebuild VA grant will receive a second award correlated with the updated guidelines. Rebuild VA grant program expanded eligibility criteria to include businesses with less than $10M in gross rev or fewer than 250 employees. See Rebuild VA site for additional details or to apply. Rebuild VA funds may be used for:

      • payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to group health care during those period of leave
      • employee salaries
      • mortgage, rent, and utilities
      • principal and interest payments for business loans from national or state-chartered banks, savings and loan institutes, or credit unions that were incurred before or during the State of Emergency
      • eligible PPE, cleaning and disinfecting materials, or working capital needed to address COVID-19 response.
    • VA 30 Day Fund (discussed previously) – The deadline to apply is December 31, 2023. (Yes, 2023.)

    • VA will be providing $4M in funding for the Legal Services Corp of VA, which will support legal attorneys providing anti-eviction services. The $4M is made up of $2M from the IKEA US Community Foundation, matched by a $2M donation from the VA COVID-19 Relief Fund. The full article can be found here, but this is probably only relevant to the blogs in that this is partially where COVID-19 relief is going.
    • Chesapeake Small Business COVID-19 Recovery grant – businesses with 50 or fewer employees are eligible for up to $10,000 in relief, including businesses who have received funding from PPP and EIDL. Funds must be used only on reimbursable expenses dated on or after 3/1/2020. Certain financial info and application must be submitted. Business must have made efforts to remain open and retain employees, must have been a registered Chesapeake Business since 3/1/2019, and must be current on City of Chesapeake taxes and have registered with the Commissioner of Rev for 2020. Applications are accepted 8/3/2020 until 12/30/2020, or until funds are depleted.
    • New allocation of $12M in additional CARES funding for VA’s Rent and Mortgage Relief Program due to high demand for financial assistance. Landlord applications can be found here, and tenant applications can be found here.
    • VA announced $8.4M in Community Development Block Grants for 14 projects across rural VA communities to help with COVID-19 recovery. This funding may be used for shelter construction/rehab, testing and equipment manufacturing, training programs for healthcare or service industry workers transitioning to food or pharmaceutical delivery systems, acquisition costs for telework/telemedicine services, COVID-related business development or job creation, business assistance, or training to adapt to a new environment, small business recovery for rent/mortgage, and PPE. Funds will be distributed according to county, per the announcement guidelines.
    • VA Tourism program announced that more than $1.9M in matching grants will be awarded to 161 local tourism initiatives as part of VA Tourism Corporation’s Recovery Marketing Leverage Program to revitalize VA tourism during the pandemic.
    • VA announced $1.7M in Community Development Block Grants for 3 projects across James City, York counties, and the City of Williamsburg to help with COVID-19 recovery. This funding may be used for shelter construction/rehab, testing and equipment manufacturing, training programs for healthcare or service industry workers transitioning to food or pharmaceutical delivery systems, acquisition costs for telework/telemedicine services, COVID-related business development or job creation, business assistance, or training to adapt to a new environment, small business recovery for rent/mortgage, and PPE. Funds will be distributed according to county, per the announcement guidelines.
    • Fairfax County 
      • Starting April 28, microloans from the Fairfax County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund will be made to eligible businesses in amounts up to $20,000 at 0% interest that can be used for critical operating expenses to offset some of the impacts of the shutdown. More information here
      • Fairfax Co announced that they voted/are creating the Fairfax Relief Initiative to Support Employers (Fairfax RISE)  – a $25M grant program for small businesses and NPs to be distributed based on the number of FTEs:
        • 1-10 employees: $10,000
        • 11-25 employees: $15,000
        • 26-49 employees: $20,000
        • the grant shall be used for similar expenses as PPP proceeds. Applications are expected to open in early June. applicants must be established and have at least one principal lace of business in Fairfax Co, have been in operation for more than one year, and have a valid BPOL.
    • Loudoun County
      • Approved a new COVID-19 Business Interruption program, which authorizes cash grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses.
        • Applications for these grants open at noon on 4/29/2020, and close at noon on 5/2/2020.
        • More information here
        • Loudon County (VA) has increased allocations by $145,000 for the fifth round of COVID-19 Business Interruption Funds to cover all 660 certified eligible businesses with a $5,000 grant. Recipients will be contacted and grant funds disbursed starting 10/26.
      • The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $3 million in additional CARES Act funding for the COVID-19 Business Interruption Fund to support small businesses adversely impacted by the coronavirus. Applications for grants up to $5,000 can be submitted starting at noon on September 23 to noon on September 30, 2020. Previous recipients of the Business Interruption Fund are not eligible to apply. Each incorporated town in Loudoun County also have their own dedicated funds for business relief efforts. Click here for more information on the Business Interruption Fund and the dedicated town funds.  
    • Prince William County
      • Prince William County VA COVID-19 Grant Programs 
        • Capital Investment and Innovation Grant – grants of up to $200,000 for business and building owners that make physical improvements/renovations to continue to serve customers during the pandemic. Awardees will be reimbursed up to 50% fo physical improvement costs; grants may be awarded retroactively to any improvements made since 4/1/2020. Work must be completed by 12/1/2020. The deadline to apply is October 30, 2020. 
      • Prince William Small Business Relief Micro-Grant Program – grants of up to $10,000 to Price William County small businesses and non-profits who have experienced at least a 25% decline in gross revenue (must be able to document decline due to COVID-19). Open until funds are exhausted.
    • City of Manassas
    • City of Alexandria
      • The Council approved an additional $2.4 million of CARES funding to seed a second round of Alexandria Back 2 Business (ALX B2B) grants. Click here for more information.
    • Gloucester County
      • Gloucester County Middle Peninsula  – applications will be accepted through 11/15/2020. Funds can be used for reimbursement of business expenses including outdoor operations and seating, signage, modifications, computer hardware and software, and sanitation/disinfection equipment.
    • Isle of Wight County
      • Isle of Wight County (includes Windsor and Smithfield) – the deadline to apply for round 2 is 10/30/2020. The one-time financial assistance of up to $4,000 is open to for-profit businesses. Businesses that received up to $2,000 in round 1 may still apply and receive an additional $2,000.
    • City of Norfolk
      • City of Norfolk Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant – available to businesses with fewer than 50 employees with limits per category at: microenterprises with up to 5 employees – $5,000; small businesses with 6-25 employees, $15,000; small businesses with 26+ employees – $25,000. Nonprofits that deliver support services to Norfolk residents are eligible to apply for a $15,000 grant, which can be used for employee compensation, working capital, equipment, inventory, rent, or other business-critical operating expenses. Deadline to apply for 3rd round is 10/16/2020. 
    • Portsmouth COVID-19 Business Recovery Grant – grant closes at 5 PM on 9/30/2020. $10,000 grants are open to small businesses, independently-owned franchise locations, and NPs in Portsmouth experiencing challenges as a result of the pandemic, with 50FTE or fewer as of 3/1/2020. Funds can be used for reimbursement related to expenses sustained since 3/24/20, including rent/mortgage, prorated insurance, private utilities, PPE, and marketing efforts.
    • Suffolk Economic Development Authority Small Business Assistance Grants – 2nd round of funding is now open (as of 9/9/2020) to businesses that have experienced reduced operating hours, revenue losses, and/or loss/reduction of staff as a result of pandemic. Grant amounts will not exceed $5,000 per approved application. September Distribution will be limited to a total of $200,000 in grants. Deadline to apply is September 30, 2020 or until funds are extinguished. Applications and Guidelines can be found here.
  • Benefits
    • Unemployment
      • Apply online here.
      • Access FAQ here.
      • Eligibility
        • Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19.
        • If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer, they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
        • In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.
        • For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, Governor Northam is directing the Virginia Employment Commission to give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.
        • If you will be filing because of a reduction in hours, you will not receive benefits unless your gross earnings are less than your weekly benefit amount.
        • Currently the maximum weekly benefit amount in Virginia is $378.
      • 7 day waiting period to start receiving benefits has been removed
      • Employers will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
    • VA is allocating $30M in CARES funding to a new initiative called Re-Employing Virginians (REV), designed to help Virginians whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 pursue workforce training in high-demand fields. The initiative will provide one-time $3,000 scholarships to eligible individuals to enroll in a workforce or community college program in health care, IT, skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education, or $1,500 to register in part-time or short-term non-credit training programs. Of the $30M, $27M is allocated to Virginia Community College System, and $3M is allocated to the two workforce areas Hampton Roads, and Northern Virginia, where nearly 50 percent of VA unemployment claims originate.

New York/New York City

  • Taxes and Registration
    • Individual, partnership, corporate franchise, and unincorporated franchise tax return filing and payment are due July 15, 2020. You can still extend to October 15, but payment is due by July 15.
    • Q1 estimated tax payments for NY/NYC individuals, corporations, and unincorporated businesses are due June 15, 2020.
    • Q2 estimated tax payments for NY/NYC individuals, corporations, and unincorporated businesses are due July 15, 2020.
    • NYS agrees to waive fines for businesses that miss sales tax deadline of 3/20/20.
    • NYC: There will be a waiver of penalties (but not interest) for business and excise taxes due between March 16, 2020 and April 25, 2020. The waiver can be requested through a late filed extension, return, or separate request. The request can be sent via email to Penalty_Abatements@finance.nyc.gov. You must include the letter identification on your notice, or your EIN.
    • NY allows tax preparers to file their client’s NYS tax returns with an electronic signature. Taxpayers and practitioners can permanently submit to NY state tax authorization forms with an electronic signature instead of the traditional wet signature
  • Relief
    • NYC Employee Retention Grant Program offers small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. Businesses, including non-profits, must:
      • Be located within the five boroughs of New York City
      • Demonstrate that the COVID-19 outbreak caused at least a 25% decrease in revenue
      • Employ 1-4 employees in total across all locations
      • Have been in operation for at least 6 months
      • Have no outstanding tax liens or legal judgements
    • NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund offers businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help retain employees and ensure business continuity. Businesses must:
      • Be located within the five boroughs of New York City
      • Demonstrate that the COVID-19 outbreak caused at least a 25% decrease in revenue
      • Employ 99 employees or fewer in total across all locations
      • Demonstrate ability to repay the loan
      • Have no outstanding tax liens or legal judgements
      • CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
    • New York Forward Loan Fund is an economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. NYFLF targets the state’s small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income. Click here for more information.
    • DoorDash has committed $500,000 to new grant programs for NY restaurants, in partnership with the NYC Hospitality Alliance to help defray outdoor heating costs. Restaurants with three or fewer locations and 50 or fewer employees per venue will be able to apply for these $5,000 grants starting October 16, 2020. Applications will remain open through November 6, and disbursed shortly after each application is accepted/approved. Restauranteurs may use grant funds as reimbursement for costs already incurred on heaters. 
    • NY updated their Emergency Grants page to include new COVID-19 resources still available, including the Artist Rescue Trust, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes Emergency Arts Relief Grant, Artist Relief, Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, and more. Some funding sources are outside of NY, but may still of assistance.
    • Erie County
      • Erie County Business Task Force has announced the Erie County Back to business grant program, which will provide grants to businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Priority will be given to businesses that have not yet received COVID-19 assistance, minority and women-owned businesses, those in highly-distressed zip codes, those seeking to hire back laid off or furloughed workers, and those businesses yet to re-open. Applicants must also demonstrate a loss of gross revenue or a reduced level or production/sales due to the pandemic, and have no more than $7.5M in gross total sales for 2019. Of the business’ employees, 90% must live in Erie County, and the business must have been open for at least a year. Funds must be spent by December 30, 2020, but can be used for a variety of expenditures (past and future). Eligible applicants will receive:
        • $10,000 for a sole proprietorship
        • $25,000 for businesses with 2-25 employees
        • $45,000 for businesses with 26-50 employees
  • Benefits
    • Unemployment
      • Apply online here.
      •  Eligibility
        • An employee who has been laid off or whose hours have been reduced is eligible to apply for unemployment insurance from the State, regardless of whether the employer intends to reopen in the future.
        • Individuals will be paid for the first week of unemployment, up to a maximum of 26 weeks over a one- year period. Under certain circumstances, the State may extend the payment of unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks
        • The former employee must (1) prove a recent work history, (2) be out of work through no fault of their own, (3) be ready, willing and able to work, and (4) be actively seeking employment.
        • An individual will receive $104 to $504 per week depending on their prior earnings.
      • $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits will be made available to all New Yorkers; and the period covered by unemployment benefits is being extended for another 13 weeks, for total of 39 weeks.
    • Paid Leave
      • The new COVID-19 quarantine paid leave legislation guarantees job-protected paid leave to workers who are subject to mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation for COVID-19, issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity authorized to issue such order, or whose minor dependent child is under such an order. 
        • The leave available to employees if they are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation depends on the size of your business as of January 1, 2020, and/or whether you are a private or public employer:
          • Small Business: employer with < 11 employees as of 1/1/20 and < $1m in net income last year
            • Employees must be provided with job protection for the duration of the order of quarantine or isolation
            • Employees can access benefits through your Paid Family Leave and disability benefits policy
          • Medium business: employer with 11-99 employees as of 1/1/20; or Small business with >$1m in net income last year
            • Employees must be provided with job protection for the duration of the order of quarantine or isolation
            • Employees must be provided with at least 5 days of sick leave
            • Employees can access benefits through your Paid Family Leave and disability benefits policy
          • Large business: employer with 100 + employees as of 1/1/20
            • Employees must be provided with job protection for the duration of the order of quarantine or isolation
            • Employees must be provided with at least 14 days of sick leave
          • Public Employers: no matter how many employees
            • Employees must be provided with job protection for the duration of the order of quarantine or isolation
            • Employees must be provided with at least 14 days of sick leave
        • The leave available to employees whose minor dependent child is under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19:
          • Employees may be eligible to take Paid Family Leave to care for them under same eligibility requirements as other Paid Family Leave. 
        • Click here for more information and employer responsibilities.