Governor announces next round of Economic Recovery Grants

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Governor announces next round of Economic Recovery Grants

Tue, 10/20/2020 - 5:31pm -- tim

From Johns Hopkins University, October 20, 2020. Only green counties are available for non-quarantine travel to Vermont.

Latest round of grants will continue to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced an expansion of the state’s Economic Recovery Grants, utilizing an additional $76 million in funds from the $1.25 billion the state received from the Federal CARES Act. These funds are in addition to the $152 million in economic relief already delivered to Vermont businesses.

Per Act 154, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Scott, these new grants will be administered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), with assistance from the Department of Taxes.

Vermont businesses and nonprofits, including sole proprietors, that have seen a decline in total sales between March and September of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, and who can demonstrate unmet need, may be eligible to receive an Expanded Economic Recovery Grant. Qualifying businesses may now receive up to $300,000 in total economic recovery grants.

The regional and national travel maps indicate there are few places from which people can travel to Vermont without first quarantining. This will put a limit on the hard-hit travel industry until a vaccine can be widely distributed likely sometime next year, the governor said at his press briefing Tuesday.

“We know many businesses and sectors in the state continue to feel the negative impacts of COVID-19 and the steps we’ve had to take to keep Vermonters safe,” said Governor Scott. “With these grants, we are working to support those sectors most impacted by this pandemic and help them survive into the winter months.”

Businesses and nonprofits that collect and remit Meals and Rooms Tax or Sales and Use Tax may apply through the Department of Taxes. All others, including those who have previously received a grant from ACCD, may apply to ACCD. Unlike previous grant programs, the expanded grant program will not be first come, first served. Instead, grants will be distributed in late November after the total unmet need of all qualifying businesses has been ascertained.

“Vermont’s business community has had to endure unique hardships during this crisis and with these additional grant dollars we hope that by first assessing total need we can make these limited dollars reach businesses with the most unmet need,” said Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein.

The Department of Taxes application is open now through the myVTax portal until midnight, October 30. ACCD will open their application in the next week and the window to submit applications will also be two weeks.

Visit the ACCD Recovery Resource Center for full details. In addition, ACCD and the Department of Taxes will host informational webinars on Wednesday, October 21 and Friday, October 23 to review program eligibility, application process, and answer questions from business owners.

What Are the Eligibility Criteria for the Expanded Economic Recovery Grants Administered by ACCD?

Eligible businesses must meet all of the below criteria in order to access Expanded Emergency Economic Recovery Grant funds administered by ACCD. The organization:

  • Is domiciled or has its primary place of business in Vermont
  • Is open at the time of application, or is closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency but can certify to its intention to re-open when able 
  • Had annualized revenues of at least $22,000 in 2019
  • Is not currently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • Is in good standing with the Vermont Department of Taxes [“In good standing” for the purpose of grant application eligibility means: all required tax returns are filed and all taxes are paid, OR if a business owes any taxes that are past due, there is a documented and current payment plan in place.  Any taxpayers who are not in good standing may be deemed ineligible for the grant.]
  • Is in good standing with the Vermont Secretary of State
  • Has a remaining net un-met need (the "Net Un-Met Need") after completing the calculations described in the Award Formula section below
  • New businesses that opened in 2020 are eligible if they opened before March 1, 2020

Where and How Do I Apply?

Applicants for the Expanded Economic Recovery Grants will input their required information into an online application via ACCD and submit the application. Upon time-stamped submission, that application will be put into the “review queue.” Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they were submitted. ACCD will cross check data fields and verify the required documentation to either approve, deny, or return to applicant for more information and/or correction.

How Will Economic Recovery Grant Amounts be Determined?

The below award formula is the same for Expanded Economic Recovery Grants administered by ACCD and the Department of Taxes. The amount of the Applicant’s grant will be derived using the following formula: 

  • The calculation of an organization’s grant award will start with the calculation of the Applicant’s Net Un-Met Need. The Net Un-Met Need calculation begins with a calculation to test if an applicant had a revenue reduction in 2020 as a result of the COVID pandemic (a “Net Revenue Impact”).  Applicants must submit an unmet need calculator worksheet with their application.
  • This Net Revenue Impact test will be determined by calculating the difference between the organization’s revenues for the period from March through September in 2019 less the revenues received in March through September period in 2020. This calculation will provide the amount of net revenue impact for the organization.  If the calculation shows that the applicant did not suffer a Net Revenue Impact decline in 2020 they will not be eligible for assistance. [New Organizations:  If an applicant’s organization opened after March 2019 and does not have the full March – September 2019 revenue history it may submit up to seven consecutive months of revenue in the period between April 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020 starting in the month the business opened.  For example, if the organization opened in August of 2019, it would submit revenue for August 2019 – February 2020.  The applicant’s un-met need will be determined using the seven-months of revenue compared to its March 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020 revenues. There may be organizations that will report less than seven months of revenue.  For example, if they began operations in November 2019 they would have enter their revenues from November 2019 – February 2020 (4 months’ worth of revenue).  Their net revenue impact will be determined by comparing this four-month period to a consecutive four-month period in the March 2020 – September 2020 timeframe.]
  • Applications via the Department of Taxes will consider the difference in March through September 2020 total sales as reported on Sales and Use and Meals and Rooms tax returns compared to the March-September period for 2019. 
  • The applicant’s Un-Met Need is then calculated as the Net Revenue Impact less the sum of the financial assistance that the organization has already received (the “Total Benefits”).
  • Total Benefits will be the sum of; 1) any grants and loans received through the Federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP); 2) grants from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program; 3) grants from the Vermont Sole Proprietor Stabilization Program; 4) business interruption insurance payments; 5) assistance payments from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); 6) previous awards provided by the State of Vermont through its earlier Economic Recovery Grant program; and 7) the amount of other State and Federal CRF awards.   
  • The grant award will be calculated by multiplying the Un-Met Need by a factor that distributes the $76 million appropriation across all of the applicants in both the ACCD and Department of Tax programs. The factor is calculated by taking the total amount available for granting and dividing it by the aggregated unmet need calculated for each applicant and factoring in a maximum grant ceiling amount of $300,000, which shall include any previous grants or funds received from ACCD or the Department of Taxes.

What Should My Business Do in Preparation for the ACCD Application?

Applications will require that eligible businesses include the following information in their grant application:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) 
  • The appropriate NAICS code for the applying company [The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is used by the United States, Canada, and Mexico to classify businesses by industry. Each business determines its six-digit NAICS code number based on the majority of activity at the business. When you file your federal income taxes, you provide a “business code” that is based on the NAICS number and the information for your business tax filing includes a table of those codes.]
  • Monthly financial results for 2019 and 2020
  • Information about any compensation an applying business has already received from insurance, PPP, EIDL grant, or any other federal or state grant program for economic damages incurred as a result of COVID-19
  • Entity type (non-profit, “C” Corp., “S” Corp., etc)
  • 51%, or greater, minority-owned status
  • 51%, or greater, women-owned status
  • New business status (began operations after March 2019)
  • Number of employees

Applying businesses must provide PDF copies of all of the following documents in order for their application to be considered “complete”:

  • 2019 income statement in monthly intervals
  • 2020 income statement in monthly intervals
  • 2019 federal tax return (or Form 990 for organizations exempt from income taxation) 
  • 2019 Vermont state tax return
  • Completed unmet need calculator worksheet [This calculator is provided as a convenience to approximate your unmet need for this program and is not a verified calculation of your unmet need or your grant award. You must apply to the Vermont Department of Taxes or Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development for verification of data and a calculation of your grant award. If you have any questions about the fields on the calculator, please contact the Department of Taxes.]

Applications will not be considered “complete” unless PDF copies of all the required documents are submitted. This format is required because we will not be accepting “photos” of documents.

It is important to enter in all required information correctly upon applying. The business name on your application must match the business name on your federal tax filings. Any improperly submitted applications will be categorized as incomplete. If edits are required (email address, incomplete documents, incorrect business ID information) you will receive an email with instructions for you to make those required edits, and you will need to resubmit your application. Please note that the documents that you upload will be used by ACCD to verify the accuracy of the entries on your application. Any discrepancies may impact your eligibility and/ or the amount of your ultimate award.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read the FAQs for more information about the Expanded Economic Recovery Grants.

Expanded Economic Recovery Grants Overview Webinars

Several Expanded Economic Recovery Grants Overview Webinars will cover eligibility requirements, grant award calculation information, grant application processes, and what documents businesses will want to have prepared and on-hand when applying. Find information about the webinars.

Source: Montpelier, Vt. – Governor 10.20.2020