Note: This post has been updated to reflect the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program on January 11, and regarding tax relief measures announced by the Department of Revenue on December 1.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact daily life for Philadelphians, this year has been one of immense challenges, especially for our local business community. Our local, small businesses have shown incredible resilience, and the City will continue to highlight resources offered by the public and private sectors, as they become available.
Below are the latest programs, relief, and resources for businesses:
Recent Grants and Programs for Small Businesses
- The federal Paycheck Protection Program has reopened for applications as of January 11, 2021. Businesses that did not receive funding from the program last year are given first priority, but all businesses that employ 0-300 people, including sole-proprietors, are eligible to apply; this includes businesses that received PPP loans in 2020.
- The Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) is a new $145 million Statewide fund created by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support businesses in the hard-hit hospitality industry. Details and application period about Philadelphia’s program will be announced soon.
- The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) new Shuttered Venue Operators Grant offers emergency assistance for eligible venues affected by the COVID pandemic.
- New funding has also been made available for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The deadline to apply for the EIDL program for the COVID-19 pandemic disaster declaration has been extended to December 31, 2021. Learn more and apply.
- The Comcast RISE Grant program is now open for applications. The program is geared towards Black-owned businesses. The deadline for the application is May 7, 2021. Additional recipients will be chosen quarterly.
- The non-profit Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund provides forgivable loans for Pennsylvania-based small businesses. The forgivable loan is intended to provide immediate financial assistance to meet payroll and preserve health care coverage for employees.
- The Black Restaurant Accelerator Program, a partnership between the National Urban League and PepsiCo, will boost approximately 500 Black-owned businesses over the next five years. Learn more.
Business Tax Relief from the Philadelphia Department of Revenue
The Department of Revenue has updated filing and payment rules for some (but not all) tax types. Go here for guidance for taxpayers and tax professionals as the City adapts to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.
Philadelphia businesses that were in compliance before the pandemic, but are now struggling to pay taxes, can take advantage of new payment agreements. Watch the Department of Revenue’s video to learn about eligibility and flexible terms.
The City can also help businesses that were in a payment agreement—or that already owed taxes—before COVID-related closures. Go here to find an agreement that best fits your situation.
If your business is requesting a refund for Use & Occupancy (U&O) Tax because of COVID-19 closure orders, it is important to note that businesses must first amend their refund. The Philadelphia Department of Revenue has instructions on how to do this.
On December 1, 2020, the Department of Revenue announced the following three changes aimed at providing Philadelphia businesses with additional relief during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Amending U&O guidance to exempt the portion of restaurants and bars used for indoor dining from Use & Occupancy Tax: This initiative will exempt restaurants and bars from Use & Occupancy tax on the square footage of the business used for indoor dining (dining room space) during the period when indoor dining is prohibited. This exemption is for this most recent “Safer at Home” phase and would be effective from November 20, 2020 through January 1, 2021.
- Businesses can amend BIRT returns and receive a refund: Under this initiative, the Revenue Department will provide guidance and instructions to businesses that if they feel they overestimated their 2020 BIRT estimated payment, they can amend the return and provide a new, more realistic, estimated payment and have the difference refunded. It would take six to eight weeks for businesses to receive refunds.
- Extending Refuse Fee due dates: Under this measure, the full $500 refuse fee is now due by June 30, 2021. Previously, half of the annual fee was due December 31, 2020.
Additional Resources for Businesses
- The U.S. Chamber’s Save Small Business Initiative offers a state-by-state guide outlining the loans, grants, and funds available to small businesses.
- The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Penn State has a list of resources, grants and other assistance available.
- Use the new Business Resource Finder to connect with organizations that offer guidance on starting, running, and growing a business.
- Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) has a list of resources for business owners affected by COVID-19, including a breakdown of funding programs that remain available.
- Entrepreneur Works provides loans to entrepreneurs and existing businesses. They have small business loan options and one-on-one guidance.
- Temple University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is offering many free resources, webinars, and recordings, including virtual consulting
- The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has developed this database of COVID-19 Resources for Businesses, Communities, Local Governments and more.
- Learn about relief options available through the Small Business Administration.
The Office of Business Services at the Department of Commerce stands ready to support businesses. It can be reached via a hotline (215-683-2100) and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.