More good news continues to come this week – and lots of it - including grant programs for shuttered venues, restaurant relief, loan deferrals, tax delays, nonprofit support, and more certainty on unemployment insurance rate relief.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program
Beginning April 8, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will open applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program
to support these struggling businesses. This grant program is part of the federal American Rescue Plan and is designed to provide financial support to live venue operators or promoters; theatrical producers; live performing arts organization operators; certain museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria; motion picture theater operators, and talent representatives.
Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. Applicants must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020. The grants may be used for costs including payroll, rent, utilities, administrative costs such as fees and licensing, lease and mortgage payments, insurance, and certain production costs. Applicants are still eligible even if they have applied for and received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
The PPP application process remains open and applicants interested in applying for a PPP loan as well as the Shuttered Venue Grant program should apply for the PPP prior to the grant. Any funding received through the SVOG program will be reduced by the amount of the PPP loan.
The SBA will hold an informational session to discuss the SVOG application process, eligibility guidelines and required documentation on March 30 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. Pre-registration
Interested businesses may also sign up
for notification when the link to the SVOG grant application becomes available.
PPP Loan and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Changes
The SBA recently made changes to the PPP loan program to allow businesses that file an IRS Form 1040, Schedule C to calculate their maximum loan amount using gross income instead of net profit, which may enable some borrowers to access higher loan amounts. New First Draw PPP
and Second Draw PPP
forms have been revised for these applicants. While the deadline for applying for a First or Second Draw loan is March 31, your Chamber was one of many organizations across the country advocating for an extension, and we are hearing there is momentum on Capitol Hill and a vote may be passed this week which would keep the program open for applications until at least the end of May.
The SBA also announced
that deferment periods for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program have been extended until 2022. The first payment for disaster loans made in 2020 will now be due 24 months from the date of the loan and those disaster loans made in 2021 will have a first payment due 18 months from the date of the loan.
The federal American Rescue Plan also created a new grant program to be administered by the SBA. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund
is designed to provide financial assistance to restaurants as well as food stands, trucks and carts; caterers; bars, brewpubs, taprooms, tasting rooms, and more. Funding through the grant program may be used on costs similar to those covered under the PPP loan program and must be used by year-end. More details about this new program are forthcoming.
New Grant Programs
Two new grant programs are now available through Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC).
The Small Business Resiliency Technical Assistance Grants
will support nonprofit organizations who offer programming to help existing small business recover from COVID-19 and thrive post COVID-19 in underserved communities. The deadline for applications is April 5.
The CDFI and CDC Matching Capital Program
is available to eligible nonprofit community-based lenders to provide matching capital to spur job creation across the Commonwealth, support entrepreneurship and small business recovery, sustainability, resilience and growth by lowering the barriers to capital access faced by small businesses. The deadline for applications is April 19.
On the state legislative front, legislation which will freeze the unemployment insurance rates at Schedule E rates for 2021 and 2022 has finally passed both the Massachusetts House and Senate. Your chamber has been very vocal in its support of this freeze and we are pleased to see progress being made. We expect this bill to land on the Governor’s desk tomorrow and it is expected to be signed.
Lastly, while the federal government extended the tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17, Massachusetts legislation has yet to be passed to conform the state’s tax filing deadline, despite aggressive advocacy by your chamber and its partners across the Commonwealth. However, under federal regulations during a state of emergency, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) has the authority to enact tax changes and, late last week, extended the filing deadline. We are still awaiting guidance from the DOR as to the deadline of paying estimated taxes.
Taken as a collective, this information, grant funding and legislation will not only support our continued recovery, but also provides greater certainty and clarity which ultimately supports economic confidence, investment, and recovery. We can all use a little of that these days.
Stay safe, stay well, and stay confident.