CORONAVIRUS | News, Updates & Financial Relief For Your Business

COVID-19 (coronavirus) with red balls

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing the way we live and work across the globe. As the world responds to this disease and takes precautions to slow its spread, you and your business will likely feel the impact. We’re paying attention to key legislative updates and financial relief programs. You’ll find the latest in all things COVID-19 pandemic relief here.

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CORONAVIRUS GRANT, LOANS & OTHER FINANCIAL RELIEF

Biden administration makes PPP changes to help small businesses

Date issued: 2/22/2021

On Feb. 22, 2021, President Biden announced changes to the federal PPP to reach more small, minority-owned businesses with forgivable loans to offset COVID-19 losses. Effective Wednesday, Feb. 24, the SBA will offer an exclusive, 14-day PPP loan application period for organizations with fewer than 20 employees. The SBA also announced four additional changes that will allow those previously deemed ineligible to apply.

Read our blog post to learn more.

$60M in relief grants available to Michigan small businesses in January 2021

Date issued: 1/14/2021

On Dec. 29, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed legislation that will provide $106 million in coronavirus relief. This supplemental spending bill includes a total of $58.5 million for small business grants through the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF). On Jan. 14, 2021, the MSF approved two new grant programs. The Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program will provide grants of up to $20,000 for small businesses. Live event venues can apply for grants of up to $40,000 through the Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program.

Applications for the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program open on Jan. 19 at 9 a.m., and Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program applications open on Jan. 21 at 9 a.m.

Michigan Announces Relief Grant For Michigan Workers

Date issued: 1/13/2021

Governor Whitmer announced the release of employee assistance grants that will support those working in industries impacted by the MDHHS Gathering and Face Mask Order of November 2020. The grants will be available to employees working in restaurants, lodging facilities, bars, theaters, nightclubs, golf courses, casinos, bowling alleys, banquet halls, and more. Eligible recipients who complete an accurate application will receive assistance up to $1,650. Applications open on Jan. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 25. Click here to apply.

West Michigan Hispanic Chamber receives $100,000 grant to support local businesses

Date issued: 12/15/2020

Bank of America awarded the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce a $100,000 grant to support the expansion of its Transformando West Michigan (TSM) initiative. With the grant, TSM will launch the Latinx Business Restart Program. This program will help local Hispanic businesses restart and improve operations through COVID-19 coaching and training.

Learn more about Transformando West Michigan and grant opportunities for small businesses here.

 

Small businesses can apply for $15,000 in relief through the Michigan Strategic Fund

Date issued: 11/30/2020

The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $10 million relief grant program available to small businesses affected by the coronavirus. Businesses eligible for relief will be awarded up to $15,000 on a “first-in” basis. The businesses eligible to apply include restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, movie theatres, conference and meeting facilities, and more. You can begin applying on Dec. 15, 2020.

Eligibility criteria and application details are available via the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Grant open to businesses in Michigan

Date issued: 11/12/2020

Flagstar Bank has given $75,000 to Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses and $75,000 to the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce through its Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Grant. Each organization will manage the funds and distribute grants of $5,000 to small businesses in West Michigan. Grant recipients can use the funds to pay daily operating expenses or implement creative solutions to increase revenue. Applications are due Nov. 20, 2020.

View eligibility details and apply via the West Michigan Chamber of Commerce or GRABB.

 

Financial assistance available to Black-owned businesses in Grand Rapids

Date issued: 11/10/2020

Comcast Corp. donated $25,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses’ (GRABB) Relief and Resilience Fund. Businesses can apply for this financial assistance, and GRABB will distribute the funds to 15 qualified Black-owned businesses. View GRABB resources here.

Apply for the Relief and Resilience Fund here. Applications are due Nov. 22, 2020.

 

Kent County offers $5 million in grants to closed businesses

Date issued: 9/24/2020

The Kent County Small Business Recovery Program allocates $5 million to businesses required to close according to the governor’s executive order. You can qualify for a grant if your organization is a private, for-profit, or nonprofit business that’s located and registered in Kent County. And, your business must have been closed due to executive orders as of Aug. 1, 2020. Examples include indoor theaters, gyms, and performance venues. If you qualify, you’ll be eligible to receive a grant ranging from $10,000 to $40,000. Apply here.

November 2020 update: Businesses affected by the latest Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) public health order can also apply for a grant. The order places restrictions on businesses, schools, and gatherings for three weeks – Wednesday, Nov. 18 to Tuesday, Dec. 8. If you’re affected by this order, you may qualify for a grant up to $20,000. Apply here.

 

State of Michigan launches Michigan COVID-19 Safety Grant Program

Date issued: 7/23/2020

The Michigan COVID-19 Safety Grant Program leverages $8.55 million to help businesses provide protective equipment to their employees. The program, created by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and MIOSHA, is open to businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Applications are available here from July 27 to Aug. 7, 2020.

 

$1.25M in CARES Act funding is now available for small farms in Michigan

Date issued: 7/20/2020

Farms in Michigan with fewer than 10 employees can now receive a grant through the MEDC Small Farm Safety Grant Program. This program allocates $1.25 million in CARES Act funding toward COVID-19 mitigation costs. Grants are also available for farms with more than 10 employees through the Agriculture Safety Grant Program. You can learn more about both types of grants here.

 

MEDC launches $100M Michigan Small Business Restart Program

Date issued: 7/7/2020

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently announced the creation of the Michigan Small Business Restart Program, which will offer $100 million in grant funding to businesses. The funds are available to the state of Michigan by the CARES Act. $9.5 million was allocated to The Right Place for businesses in the West Michigan region. Applications will be accepted through the MEDC website starting July 15, 2020. You can learn more about the program here.

 

Recovery loans available for businesses in Muskegon County

Date issued: 6/18/2020

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County and Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women have partnered to create a COVID-19 relief fund. Loans ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 are now available for businesses in Muskegon County. Learn more about the fund and apply here.

 

$25M in relief funding is now available for Kent County small businesses

Date issued: 6/17/2020

Kent County and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce are partnering to launch a new relief fund for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The fund, called the Kent County Small Business Recovery Program, awards grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 to businesses that haven’t been able to access, or have been declined local, state, or federal relief funds, or need additional support to weather the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund focuses on using coronavirus relief funds provided under the CARES Act to for-profit businesses with 0-50 full-time equivalent employees located in Kent County. View eligibility requirements and apply here.

 

Kent County Back to Work helps businesses in West Michigan create re-opening plans

Date issued: 5/19/2020

Kent County Back to Work launched on May 19 to help local businesses create a re-opening plan. The program’s website provides resources, safety guidelines, and best practices for opening while keeping employees and customers safe.  The program is a collaboration between the Kent County Health Department, MSU College of Human Medicine, Spectrum Health, City of Grand Rapids, and Meijer.

 

Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund provides microloans and grants to small businesses

Date issued: 5/12/2020

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Women Forward announced a $1.5 million relief fund on May 12, 2020. The fund provides grants and microloans to small businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19. The fund specifically strives to support individuals that are demographically or geographically challenged. Applications are available now. Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

 

COVID-19 relief loans are now available for Grand Haven businesses

Date issued: 5/11/2020

Applications are now available for a COVID-19 relief loan program offered through the City of Grand Haven and the Economic Development Corporation/Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. The program leverages the existing Revolving Loan Fund to provide loans of up to $5,000 to businesses impacted by COVID-19 that are located in Grand Haven and have five or fewer employees. Find out more about this program and access the application here.

 

Michigan West Coast Chamber creates relief fund

Date issued: 5/8/2020

The Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced the creation of the Downtown Relief Fund to support small businesses in the Holland and Zeeland community. The fund was created in partnership with the Now for the Next Fund of the Community Foundation of the Holland Zeeland Area. There is currently $150,000 available for restaurants and retailers in the area. Applications are due Monday, May 18, 2020. Learn more here.

 

Battle Creek Unlimited expands emergency microgrant fund

Date issued: 5/6/2020

On April 16, 2020, Battle Creek Unlimited announced the creation of an emergency microgrant fund to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. And, on May 6, 2020, BCU shared that the fund grew to $600,000. Businesses must have fewer than 15 employees, annual revenue of $1 million or less, and operate within the corporate limits of the city of Battle Creek to qualify. Round 2 applications are due May 11, 2020. Click here to learn more about the fund.

 

Rapid Response Fund supports small businesses in Kent County

Date issued: 4/22/2020

The Greater Grand Rapids Chamber Foundation recently launched the Rapid Response Fund to support small businesses in Kent County that can’t receive state or federal funding. The fund will award economic relief grants of $5,000 to $10,000 for qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19. Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launches Save Small Business Fund

Date issued: 4/20/2020

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched a fund to provide supplemental grants to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. These businesses can receive up to $5,000 in funding. To qualify, your business must employ between 3 and 20 employees and be located in an economically vulnerable community. Applications are available starting Monday, April 20, 2020. Find out more about the fund here.

 

MEDC launches Tech Startup Stabilization Fund

Date issued: 4/16/2020

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has created a fund for technology startup companies that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The $3 million Tech Startup Stabilization Fund is administered by ID Ventures. Companies can receive investments ranging from $20,000 to $200,000. Learn more about the fund, or click here to apply.

 

MSF Awardee Relief Initiative offers relief to Michigan Strategic Fund borrowers

Date issued: 4/14/2020

If your business received a grant, loan, or another form of economic assistance from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), you can now receive emergency relief from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The MEDC created the MSF Awardee Relief Initiative to give businesses impacted by COVID-19 the ability to delay payments, refinance authorizations, and more. Find out more about this initiative here.

 

Up to $1 million in retooling grants available for Michigan businesses 

Pure Michigan Business Connect, a program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, will offer grants to companies that temporarily shift their operations to produce medical supplies. The grants are meant to assist with retooling and manufacturing costs for items, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, ventilators, and more. Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

 

Low-interest loans are now available for Kalamazoo small businesses

The City of Kalamazoo and United Way of the Battle Creek & Kalamazoo Region have partnered to offer loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19 in the Kalamazoo area. Supported by the Foundation for Excellence, low-interest loans are available in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. Click here to learn more about these loans and how to apply.

 

$1 million in grant funding available for Michigan small businesses

The Right Place was awarded $1 million through the Michigan Small Business Relief Grant to support small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. Eligible businesses can receive up to $10,000 to support expenses such as payroll, rent, and utilities. Businesses must have fewer than 50 employees and be able to demonstrate income loss caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Right Place estimates funds will be available by April 12, 2020. Applications for Kent, Ionia, Montcalm, Newaygo, Lake, Oceana, Barry, Mason, Mecosta, Muskegon, and Osceola Counties businesses are now CLOSED.

Loans also are available for businesses in Allegan and Ottawa counties through Lakeshore Advantage. Click here for more information.

The State of Michigan has two COVID-19 relief programs – a grant program and loan program – that total $20 million in funds for small businesses. Funds are distributed through economic development organizations (EDOs). Visit the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s website to find your local EDO and apply.

 

Small businesses in Michigan can now qualify for federal disaster loans

Date issued: 3/19/2020

Low-interest federal disaster loans are now available for small businesses in Michigan. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) officially approved an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration on March 19, 2020, after a request from Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and small agricultural cooperatives are eligible to apply for loans of up to $2 million. Click here to apply.

FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL LEGISLATION

Governor Whitmer approves $106 million for coronavirus relief

Date issued: 12/29/2020

On Dec. 29, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed legislation, effectively approving $106 million in COVID-19 relief. The bill will fund grants to entertainment venues and small businesses, and payments to individuals who were laid off or furloughed because of pandemic closures. Governor Whitmer also signed a separate bill that extends unemployment benefits to those affected by the pandemic.

President Trump signs $900 billion pandemic relief bill

Date issued: 12/28/2020

On Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, President Trump signed legislation that provides the U.S. with $900 billion in coronavirus relief. This bill will revive federal unemployment benefits at $300 a week for 11 weeks, issue $600 stimulus payments to millions of Americans, and provide billions in funding for small businesses, schools, and the distribution of a vaccine. The bill will also revive the Paycheck Protection Program, and allow businesses to receive a second loan, and expand eligibility for certain businesses. Learn more.

 

Michigan unemployment benefits extended to 26 weeks

Date issued: 10/20/2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bills that extend unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks through the end of 2020. Unemployment benefits are available to Michiganders who lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The PPP application deadline is extended to Aug. 8

Date issued: 7/4/2020

The application period for the Paycheck Protection Program ended June 30, 2020, but the president recently signed a bill granting an extension. The bill extends the deadline by five weeks, giving small businesses until Aug. 8, 2o2o, to apply for a PPP loan. The Senate and House of Representatives both voted to approve the measure earlier in the week.

 

Governor Whitmer signs bill appropriating $880 million in relief funds

Date issued: 7/1/2020

On July 1, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed a bill appropriating $880 million in federal funding to aid with the state’s COVID-19 relief. The bill will support schools, direct care workers, small businesses, and more.

 

President signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

Date issued: 6/5/2020

President Trump recently signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which makes several changes to the program. The Act extends the loan forgiveness period from eight to 24 weeks and extends the application period to June 30, 2020. Learn more.

 

New bill replenishes small business loans

Date issued: 4/24/2020

On Friday, April 24, 2020, President Trump signed legislation that provides the U.S. with another $484 billion in coronavirus relief. The bill adds more than $300 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program and $10 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The bill also includes funding to increase coronavirus testing and support hospitals.

 

Michigan will expand access to state unemployment benefits

Date issued: 3/30/2020

Governor Whitmer recently announced plans to expand access to unemployment benefits for self-employed and low wage workers in Michigan. An agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor and the state of Michigan allows individuals who wouldn’t normally be eligible for unemployment to access Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs. For more information, including an unemployment filing schedule, click here.

 

$2 trillion stimulus bill passes in the House and Senate, signed by President Trump

Date issued: 3/27/2020

President Trump signed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020. This economic stimulus package promises stimulus checks for individuals, loans for businesses, and an expansion of unemployment benefits. The House of Representatives approved the bill Friday morning, while the Senate approved the package earlier in the week on March 25.

A significant piece of the CARES Act is dedicated to supporting business operations and encouraging organizations to keep their employees employed by establishing $349 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

And, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce dives deeper into this package. Visit their website here to learn more.

 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act passes in House and Senate, signed into law by President Trump

Date issued: 3/19/2020

The Act guarantees free coronavirus testing, establishes paid sick leave, enhances unemployment insurance, and more. Key highlights of this Act include the expansion of the Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA), paid sick leave, and tax credits for employers who pay qualifying wages.

According to the Act, employers must provide paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work because they’re experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus and/or are quarantined. Under these conditions, employees can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at their standard rate of pay.

Employers must also offer paid sick leave to employees unable to work because they’re caring for an individual who’s quarantined or caring for a child whose school or child care provider is closed due to COVID-19. Employees can receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at two-thirds of their regular pay.

If employees are unable to work because they’re caring for a child whose school or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19, they’re eligible for extended paid family and medical leave. Employers must offer an additional 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate. Any employees who have been employed for at least 30 days are eligible to receive this benefit.

Which employers are required to provide these paid leave benefits?

Certain public employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide paid leave. There is one exception. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption to provide paid family and medical leave if doing so would jeopardize the business.

These paid leave requirements are effective from April 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Full-time and part-time employees are eligible for paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave.

Finally, employers qualify for tax credits for the qualifying wages they pay to employees under this Act. If you have questions about how long employees can take leave under specific conditions or how to calculate their pay while on leave, please visit the Department of Labor’s website.

Have questions about the tax implications of this Act? We can help. Contact us.

TAX UPDATES

Michigan postpones sales, use, and withholding tax payments for small businesses

Date issued: 1/14/2021

On Jan. 14, 2021, the Michigan Department of Treasury announced it’s waiving interest and penalties for late reporting or late payments of sales, use, and withholding tax for small businesses affected by the latest COVID-19 orders. Entertainment venues, recreational facilities, and restaurants that depend on indoor dining can take advantage of this postponement. The waiver is effective for 33 days. Any payments due on Jan. 20 may be reported and submitted without penalty through Feb. 22.

 

Treasury Department waives penalty and interest for 31 days for certain taxpayers

Date issued: 12/8/2020

The Michigan Department of Treasury is waiving penalty and interest for the late reporting or late payment of sales, use, and withholding tax for any non-accelerated return or payment due on Dec. 20, 2020. The waiver of penalty and interest applies only to filers whose business is subject to the Dec. 7 MDHHS order which includes entertainment venues, recreational facilities, places of public amusement, and food service establishments with indoor dining.

Sales, use, and withholding taxpayers have an additional 31 days to submit payments and returns. The new due date is Jan. 20, 2021. This extension doesn’t apply to accelerated sales, use, or withholding tax filers. Click here to learn more.

 

President Trump issued an executive order delaying payroll taxes

Date issued: 8/4/2020

On Aug. 8, 2020, President Trump issued the Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster. This executive order would suspend payroll taxes for certain individuals. Read our blog post to learn more.

 

IRS issues more extensions for tax filing deadlines

Date issued: 4/14/2020

The IRS has issued multiple taxpayer deadlines following the extension of the April 15 Tax Day. Notice 2020-23 extends the deadline for like-kind exchanges, Qualified Opportunity Zone investments, and Form 990-series returns to July 15, 2020. The Treasury has announced businesses can delay the filing and payment of sales, use, and withholding tax payments until May 20, 2020. Learn more here.

 

State of Michigan extends city and state income tax filing deadlines

Date issued: 3/27/2020

Governor Whitmer signed an executive order extending the state of Michigan’s city and state income tax filing deadlines on Friday, March 27, 2020. Income taxes originally due on April 15, including state income taxes and estimated payments for calendar-year taxpayers, are now due July 15, 2020. Cities with an April 30 filing deadline will now have a deadline of July 31, 2020.

 

Treasury Department gives taxpayers an additional 90 days to file taxes and make tax payments

Date issued: 3/21/2020

In an effort to provide relief to taxpayers, the IRS and the Treasury Department have extended the April 15 Tax Day by 90 days. The new deadline to file your federal income taxes and make payments is July 15, 2020. This applies to all taxpayers, regardless of the amount they owe. You don’t need to file for an extension to observe this new deadline. However, if you can’t meet the July 15 deadline, you can extend your returns to Oct. 15, 2020.

Filing dates other than April 15 haven’t been extended at this time. Second-quarter estimates are still due on June 15, 2020. Click here to learn more.

 

States extend tax payment and filing deadlines

Following the IRS’s lead, individual states have begun extending their deadlines to file state income taxes and make tax payments. Click here to view a complete list of state tax filing updates from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

 

City of Grand Rapids extends income tax filing deadline

Date issued: 3/20/2020

The City of Grand Rapids announced they will delay their income tax filing deadline to July 31, 2020, for all individuals and businesses. Payments made up until this date will not receive penalties or interest. This deferment doesn’t apply to withholding taxes.

Additionally, the city’s online Tax Return Upload is now available to everyone.

 

Michigan Department of Treasury waives penalty and interest for 30 days

Date issued: 3/17/2020

The state of Michigan is waiving penalty and interest for late tax payments or late filing of tax returns due March 20, 2020. This waiver affects taxpayers who pay and file returns on the 20th of each month.

Now, sales, use, and withholding taxpayers have an additional 30 days to make payments and file returns. The new due date is April 20, 2020. This extension doesn’t apply to accelerated sales, use, or withholding tax filers.

What we're watching

Governor Whitmer announces $5.6 billion Michigan COVID Recovery Plan 

On Jan. 19, 2021, Governor Whitmer announced a $5.6 billion pandemic recovery spending plan to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and provide additional support to businesses. This package includes funding three new grant programs through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Whitmer’s plan also includes support to waive penalties and interest for businesses that deferred summer 2020 property tax payments.

Have questions about how the coronavirus may affect your business? Let’s talk!