On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act – a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117th United States Congress. The bill allocates funding into a few key areas:
- Targeted aid for restaurants in the form of grants, additional aid through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)
- $7.25B in new funding for PPP
- Expansion of existing credits such as the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), along with other tax benefits
- Updates to the Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant program
- Direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment benefits and expansion of the Child Tax Credit
- Funding for states and localities, including schools
- Funding for food programs such as Special Supplemental Nutrition Program and meals for seniors
- Funding for public health to help fight the Pandemic and increase vaccine programs
- Rental Assistance
Based on a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Briefing on March 12, here are a few key highlights for businesses to know and prepare for:
- The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) will be a game changer for small independent restauranteurs that account for the nearly $250 billion in lost revenue due to the Pandemic. It is a grant program – not forgivable loans like PPP – with restaurants receiving up to $5 million in funds. To qualify, you must own fewer than 20 restaurants and not be publicly traded; you can be a franchise owner of a publicly traded restaurant. It applies to bars, breweries, food trucks, restaurants, cafes and more. This program will be administered by the SBA and has limited funds. This is a key element…limited funding. To prepare, restaurants need to do the following before SBA opens up the program:
- First, create a login.gov user account
- Sign up for a DUNS number (this typically takes 1-2 days to process)
- Using your login.gov, DUNS number, and standard business info such as your Tax ID Number, register with SAM (it can take up to 2 weeks to get the SAM number)
- Pull together relevant 2019 and 2020 documents including your P&L reports, tax filings and payroll records
- The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is for companies of 500 employees or less and can provide you a 70% tax credit on payroll expenses up to $10,000 per employee if you experienced revenue losses of 20% or more; that’s up to $7,000 per employee per quarter for four quarters. The program is administered through the IRS. Business owners are encouraged to contact their accounts for help.
- It may be weeks or months before applications are open for the Shuttered Venue Grant. Venues are encouraged to apply for PPP funds rather than wait for the application to keep funding options open to them. Funding will be based on 45% of gross receipts and losses, up to $10 million. The SBA does have a checklist to help venue operators prepare.
The Metro Chamber will host a briefing with members in early April in order to provide the details needed on these new funding programs, tax credits and more with representatives from SBA, SBDC and congressional offices. Details to be announced via our enewsletters and social media platforms. Or contact us at our Membership Department at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added.
A reminder that deadlines for PPP funding and applications is March 31, 2021. Congress is taking up legislation to extend this deadline, but businesses are encouraged to apply now if interested. To learn more about PPP and the updated benefits to this forgivable loan, visit SBA.gov or contact us at email@example.com through the Capital Region Small Business Development Center.
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