Resources for Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Emergency

Last updated: 1/29/2020

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Mass Growth Capital Corporation Sector-Specific Relief Grant Program 

MGCC APPLICATION NOW CLOSED. Next round will be announced shortly.

Website, application and full details here.

Who should apply: 

  • Restaurants, bars, caterers, and food trucks that collect and remit meals tax
  • Indoor Recreation or Entertainment Establishment
  • Gyms or Fitness Centers
  • Personal Services (nail salons, barber shops, etc)
  • Event Support Companies – primary source (more than 50%) of revenue is event-related
  • Independent Retailers

A full list of eligibility requirements and documentation to be submitted with an application can be found here.

Paycheck Protection Program 

There will be a new round of PPP Loans, funded in the 12/27/2020 stimulus bill at $284 billion. You can apply for a new PPP loan, whether or not you received one before. You cannot get more than two PPP loans. 

First Draw PPP Loans

If you have not yet received a PPP Loan, you can apply for a First Draw Loan with a participating letter from 1/11/21 to 3/31/21. You can find more information at the SBA web page here

Eligibility: 

  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons
  • Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry size standard or the alternative size standard)
  • Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:
  • 500 employees, or
  • That meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500
  • Any business with a NAICS code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location

Eligible Expenses

  • Payroll costs, including benefits
  • Mortgage interest
  • Rent & utilities 
  • Worker protection costs related to COVID-19 
  • Uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020
  • Certain supplier costs and expenses for operations

Second Draw PPP Loans

If you have already received a PPP Loan, you can apply for a Second Draw Loan from 1/11/21 to 3/31/21. You can find more information at the SBA webpage here.

Borrowers are eligible if they:

  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses
  • Have no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020

How much can you get?

  • Most businesses: As in the first round of PPP, you can get up to your average monthly payroll in 2019 times 2.5. In other words, if your total 2019 monthly payroll cost averaged $10,000, you can apply for $25,000. Keep in mind that “payroll” expenses include all costs for W-2 employees (not independent contractors), including wages, commissions, bonuses, health insurance, retirement, state and local taxes.

Accommodation and food service businesses (hotels and restaurants): Recognizing how hard hit these industries have been, Congress upped the amount to 3.5 times average 2019 monthly payroll costs. In other words, if your restaurant’s 2019 monthly payroll averaged $10,000, you can now apply for $35,000.

How much can you get?

  • Most businesses: As in the first round of PPP, you can get up to your average monthly payroll in 2019 times 2.5. In other words, if your total 2019 monthly payroll cost averaged $10,000, you can apply for $25,000. Keep in mind that “payroll” expenses include all costs for W-2 employees (not independent contractors), including wages, commissions, bonuses, health insurance, retirement, state and local taxes.
  • Accommodation and food service businesses (hotels and restaurants): Recognizing how hard hit these industries have been, Congress upped the amount to 3.5 times average 2019 monthly payroll costs. In other words, if your restaurant’s 2019 monthly payroll averaged $10,000, you can now apply for $35,000.

What’s new in this second round?

  • Because the smallest businesses and those located in low- and moderate-income areas were often shut out of the first round of PPP funding, this bill includes set-asides for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, those in low/moderate income areas, and funds for small community banks, credit unions and community-based lenders. 
  • Expenses used for PPP forgiveness are now tax deductible. When Congress passed the CARES Act,  lawmakers indicated that PPP funds should not be taxable. However, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin decided businesses could not deduct expenses used to qualify forgiveness – thus making an equivalent amount to PPP funds taxable. This legislation reverses that decision.
  • While you still need to use at least 60% of PPP funds on payroll expenses, qualifying non-payroll expenses are much broader, now including payment for software, cloud services, accounting and human resources, property damage due to civil unrest, personal protective equipment and COVID-19-prevention equipment and, importantly – supplier costs that were contracted or ordered for before you got the loan or costs of perishable goods ordered before or during the life of the loan.

PPP resources: 

    • The SBA has released the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application, along with detailed instructions. These are the instructions for round one of the PPP; the SBA has not yet announced whether these same or different rules will be applied in the second round. 
  • If your PPP loan was for $150,000 or less, there will be a new, simple, one-page form to apply for forgiveness. Your lender should provide you a link to a form soon in the new year.
  • The SBA has made PPP resources available in seventeen languages. You can find a list here

New grant program for cultural, arts, live events, theaters 

No application or application portal is available as of 12/30/2020; we will update this guide when one is announced. 

Included in the 12/27/2020 stimulus is $15 billion in grants (not loans) for certain live events, movie theaters, museums and other cultural providers.

Who is eligible: Live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operators, or talent representatives who demonstrate at least at 25% reduction in revenues.

  • Smaller providers: $2 billion (of the $15 billion) was set aside for those with 50 full-time employees or fewer, but that set-aside expires after 60 days. 
  • Harder-hit providers: In the initial 14-day period, grants will be awarded to eligible entities that have faced 90% or greater revenue loss. This may include large movie chains. In the 14-day period following the initial 14-day period, grants will be awarded to eligible entities that have faced 70% or greater revenue loss. After these two periods, grants shall be awarded to all other eligible entities.

Qualifying expenses: Grants to be used for specified expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities and personal protective equipment.

Amount: The amount of grant appears to be up to 45% of your 2019 revenue or 85% of 2019 operating expenses. A first grant can be up to $10 million, and a second grant could be up to 50% of the first grant. 

Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG)

No application or application portal is available as of 1/29/2020; we will update this guide when one is announced.

You can read the SBA’s FAQ here

Included in the 12/27/2020 stimulus is $15 billion in grants (not loans) for certain live events, movie theaters, museums and other cultural providers.

Who is eligible

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators 
  • Museum operators
  • Motion picture theater operators 
  • Talent representatives who demonstrate at least at 25% reduction in revenues.

Priority order

First priority–days 1-14 of grant awards  Entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Second priority–days 15-28 of grant awards Entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Third priority–day 28-on Entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.
Supplemental funding–available after 1st and 2nd priority  Recipients of First and Second Priority round who suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of 04-01-21 or later)

Smaller providers: $2 billion (of the $15 billion) was set aside for those with 50 full-time employees or fewer, but that set-aside expires after 60 days. 

Qualifying expenses: 

  • Payroll costs
  • Rent 
  • Utilities
  • Personal protective equipment.

Amount: The amount of grant appears to be up to 45% of your 2019 revenue or 85% of 2019 operating expenses. A first grant can be up to $10 million, and a second grant could be up to 50% of the first grant.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Grants

**EIDL loans & grants also updated in the 12/27/2020 stimulus. 

Note that 12/31/2020 is the last day to apply for the current round of EIDL funding; a new round will begin shortly with the new rules and regulations listed below. We will update this guide when that has been announced. 

What’s new:

When EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) grants were passed by Congress, they allowed for a $10,000 “Advance” to be treated as a grant, not a loan. The SBA unilaterally scaled back that grant to only be $1,000 for each employee, counteracting congressional intent. This addresses that issue.

  • Businesses in low-income communities that received an EIDL can get a grant equal to the difference of what they received and $10,000.   
  • Eligible businesses in low-income communities that did not get EIDL/Advance grants because funds had run out can now get $10,000.

Also, if you previously received both an EIDL Advance grant and a PPP loan, you had to deduct the advance from your PPP forgiveness amount. You now no longer have to deduct that amount from PPP forgiveness.

You can find the application and more information here.

Applicants may call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard?of?hearing may call 1-800-877-8339. 

Employee Retention Tax Credit in the CARES Act

The federal CARES Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, is designed to encourage Eligible Employers to keep employees on their payroll, despite experiencing economic hardship related to COVID-19, with an employee retention tax credit (Employee Retention Credit).

The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to pay sick or family leave wages to employees who are unable to work or telework due to certain circumstances related to COVID-19. Employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit for the required leave paid, up to specified limits. The same wages cannot be counted for both credits.

Here is a comprehensive FAQ on the tax credit. 

Reopening

  • This is the Massachusetts State reopening landing page
  • Click here to access a communication form that:
    • outlines a process for reporting a non-compliant business; and
    • allows for the submission of questions and comments about the reopening plan.
  • Click here for information on protective supplies and sanitation in the workplace.
  • The FDA has published best practices for safe food service and employee health.

 

Personal Protective Equipment Resources

  • Resources for those in need of PPE, as well as an FAQ
  • Guidance for those looking to adapt their business to produce PPE
  • Resources for those looking to sell or donate PPE to Massachusetts response efforts
  • A link to request PPE, for those who need it
  • For nonprofits and human service organizations, this is guidance for requesting PPE through MEMA 

More Helpful Programs

State regulatory & tax relief 

  • Sales and Use Taxes: Due dates for the filing of returns and making payments for sales and use taxes have been changed for some vendors. Review the details of the emergency regulation amendment.
  • Utilities emergency regulation: Department of Public Utilities (DPU) order (March 24) prohibits investor-owned gas and electric companies from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to any customer, including industrial, commercial, and small business customers.
  • Room Occupancy Excise for operators: Due dates for the filing of returns, and making payments, for room occupancy excise have been changed for some operators. This does not apply to intermediaries. Review the details of the emergency regulation amendment.
  • Meals Tax and Room Occupancy Excise: Late File and Late Pay Penalties will be waived for meals vendors, operators, and intermediaries that do not qualify for the relief mentioned above under “Room Occupancy Excise for operators.”  See Technical Information Release 20-2 for details.
  • State income tax filing deadline: Has been pushed back to July 15 (to align with the federal income tax filing deadline).

Unemployment Resources

In general, your weekly base benefit amount is approximately 50% of your previous earnings up to a maximum of $823. You can receive benefits for up to 39 weeks. The typical one-week waiting period and job search requirements have been waived during this emergency.

You can find more information on UI in our office’s dedicated Unemployment Insurance Guide. This guide is also available in a number of languages: 

If you have further questions or need assistance, please contact Senator Lewis at Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov or (617) 722-1206. 

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