As many businesses have been forced to adapt and even close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses are starting to sink.

In order to help them stay afloat, state and federal leaders, as well as other organizations, have put the following programs into place to relieve small businesses during this difficult time:

State Tax Filing Fees Relief

The State of Alabama is offering to waive some tax fees for small businesses who have been severely affected by COVID-19. 

Specifically, they are offering to waive state sales tax late payment penalties for small retail businesses averaging monthly retail sales of $62,500 or less. To qualify for this tax relief, businesses must be registered with the Alabama Department of Revenue as engaging in NAICS Sector 72 business activities, which includes businesses like restaurants. 

Businesses who provide lodging services will have their late penalties for state lodging taxes waived as well. 

The state has also extended their state income tax filing due date from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020.

These measures apply to businesses who are struggling specifically with paying their February, March, and April 2020 sales and lodging tax liabilities.

These relief measures will automatically be applied to small retailers and NAICS Sector 72 businesses upon their taxes being filed. Other businesses who are severely affected and would like to request assistance may call the Alabama Department of Revenue’s Sales and Use Division at 334-242-1490.

See the following link for more information: revenue.alabama.gov/coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak-updates/

Federal Tax Filing and Payment Relief

The U.S. government has extended the federal income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Extensions are available on request by filing Form 4868 or going to irs.gov. Businesses can also request an extension by visiting irs.gov or filing Form 7004.

United Way Emergency Relief Fund

The global charity United Way has launched a COVID-19 fund for U.S. residents in need of assistance paying their bills and buying food. Anyone needing personal assistance in this manner can call United Way by simply dialing 211. 

More information can be found in the following link: unitedway.org/recovery/covid19?utm_source=press&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=covid19&utm_content=learnmore

Tipped Employee Relief in Montgomery, Alabama

Service workers in the Montgomery, Alabama area who are directly affected by COVID-19 can seek assistance from the MGM Service Workers COVID-19 Relief Fund through gofundme.com. The relief fund is gathering donations to provide direct cash assistance to those service workers who are in dire need. The fund can be contacted by filling out the following form: MGM Service Workers COVID-19 Relief Fund Form

Emails can be sent to kathryncasteel@gmail.comor mutualaid.mgm@gmail.com.

One Fair Wage Emergency Fund Service Worker Relief

The One Fair Wage Emergency Fund is raising money to donate to service workers heavily impacted financially by COVID-19. Workers who would like to request funds should fill out the form in the following link: ofwemergencyfund.org/help

CarryoutAL Provides Database of Restaurants with Takeout and Delivery Services

The Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association sponsors carryoutal.com, which allows restaurants to list their business as providing carryout, curbside, or delivery services. Both food and liquor options can be listed. Listings can be added free of charge at the following link: carryoutal.com/add-your-listing/

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The Small Business Administration is providing special low-interest Economic Injury Disaster loans to small businesses who need the capital to pay bills during economic hardship caused by COVID-19. Businesses who can apply include small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and most non-profits. Loans can be for up to $2 million. Small businesses will pay an interest rate of 3.75%, and non-profits will pay 2.75%. The loans have time horizons of up to 30 years. Businesses can apply for a loan with the SBA in the following link: disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1

Birmingham Strong Fund Offers Emergency Funds to Local Small Businesses

The Birmingham Strong Fund is also offering emergency loans to small businesses struggling to pay their bills. They have different sized loans with different interest rates depending on the situation of the business. The loans only apply to for-profit small businesses. Businesses can apply at the following link: bhamstrong.com/bhamstrong-loan-request

The Birmingham Strong Fund also provides assistance to individuals struggling to make ends meet. People who suddenly find themselves unemployed as a result of COVID-19 and urgently need work can apply to be a resiliency worker. Resiliency workers perform services needed as a result of COVID-19, including meal preparation and childcare. Workers can apply to be a resiliency worker im the following link: bhamstrong.com/income 

Facebook Small Business Grant Program

Facebook is offering over $100 million in cash grants in over 30 countries to small businesses in economic distress as a result of COVID-19. Sign up in the following link: facebook.com/business/boost/grant

Main Street Business Lending Program

The Federal Reserve has announced that it will soon roll out a “Main Street Business Lending Program” to complement the Small Business Administration’s efforts by providing lending to small and medium sized businesses experiencing serious downturns as a result of COVID-19. News regarding the program will be updated on the Federal Reserve’s website in the following link: federalreserve.gov/

Main Street Emergency Grant Program

The Main Street Emergency Grant Program is a proposed legislation by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy, Jeff Merkley, and Chris Van Hollen which would provide liquidity to small and medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19. The legislation would provide grants to qualifying businesses through the Treasury Department. Debate about enacting the legislation is ongoing. See more information about the program in the following link: murphy.senate.gov/download/emergency-grant

Fattmerchant and Gift Up! Provide Virtual Gift Cards to Small Businesses

Fattmerchant, the payment tech provider, has partnered with Gift Up! to provide digital gift cards to businesses due to a significantly decreased amount of in-person purchases as a result of COVID-19. Gift Up! is even waving its 3.49% fee for every Fattmerchant customer’s first $5,000 in virtual gift card sales. Virtual gift cards will hopefully stimulate more sales of delivery and carryout products. See Fattmerchant’s website for more information in the following link: fattmerchant.com/

GoFundMe’s Small Business Relief Fund Provides Micro-grants

Gofundme.org has created a Small Business Relief Fund on its website for qualifying small businesses. They are making micro-grants to small businesses in need. Small businesses can see the GoFundMe page for more information in the following link: gofundme.com/f/smallbusinessrelieffund

The James Beard Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund

The James Beard Foundation has announced they will be launching a Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund to support workers in the industry who have been negatively affected. Small businesses can sign up and will be contacted when the fund is fully established. Registration and additional information can be found in the following link: jamesbeard.org/blog/relief-fund?utm_source=social&utm_medium=instagram&utm_campaign=2020-03-19

Kabbage Offers Digital Gift Certificates to Small Businesses

Kabbage offers a service any small business can sign up for which allows them to sell gift certificates online. New and existing Kabbage customers can access this service. Small business owners can sign up in the following link: kabbage.com/helpsmallbusiness

Kangaroo Offers Free Security Service to Small Business Owners

Kangaroo, a security startup, is offering free security camera and monitoring kits for a three month period to small business owners who can’t be present at their businesses due to COVID-19. More details can be found on their website in the following link: joey.heykangaroo.com/smallbusiness

Kiva Offers 0% Interest Loans

Kiva is offering 0% interest loans to small businesses for up to $15,000 to combat COVID-19 hardship. Kiva is unique because it implements crowdfunding to help repay the business loan. Learn more on their website in the following link: kiva.org/borrow

MainVest Offers 0% Interest Loans to Brick and Mortar Businesses

MainVest is offering 0% interest, 120 day loans for $2,000 to businesses who need assistance due to COVID-19. Their crowdfunding capabilities can raise more than $100,000 for the small business in addition to the $2,000 loan. Small businesses can apply in the following link: mainvest.com/for-businesses

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