Tennessee Announces Small Business Relief Program
Updated: Sep 4, 2020
If you are located in Tennessee and you were forced to close your business due to COVID-19 you may be eligible for the Small Business Relief Program.
On June 2, 2020, Governor Bill Lee announced the use of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to assist Tennessee small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Tennessee Department of Revenue will be issuing business relief payments through the Tennessee Business Relief Program to small businesses for costs incurred as a result of mandatory business closures.
The department will determine a business’ eligibility for the Tennessee Business Relief Program based on information available in its tax system. Eligibility notifications will be sent to businesses beginning the last week of June via TNTAP. Once notified, businesses will be prompted to complete an online pre-award certification form in order to verify their eligibility criteria and agree to the program’s payment guidelines. Businesses owners who do not have online access will be asked to complete a paper certification form.
Once the certification form has been completed and a business’ eligibility is confirmed, the department will issue a business relief payment. Payments for eligible businesses will be issued beginning the first week of July.
The Department estimates that more than 28,000 small businesses in Tennessee will qualify. The Department expects to distribute approximately $200,000,000 in funds. Unlike some of the federal relief programs, these funds are not required to be repaid and are not a loan. It is unclear, but I would make the assumption they will be taxable income on your federal tax return so prepare accordingly.
So who is eligible for the Tennessee Small Business Relief Program?
The following types of small businesses are eligible:
Spas and other close contact personal care services
Gyms and fitness centers
Amusement, sports and recreational industries
Promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events
Agents and managers of artists, athletes, and entertainers
Hotels and other travel accommodations
Independent artists, writers, and performers
Theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers and similar facilities
In addition, the following small businesses are eligible if their sales were reduced by at least 25%, as shown on their April sales tax returns (filed in May):
Book stores Home furnishing stores
Office supply, stationery and gift stores
Used merchandise stores
Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
Other miscellaneous stores
Sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores
All eligible businesses must have gross sales of $10 million or less.
Businesses that are not registered with the Department to file either sales tax or business tax returns are not eligible for a business relief payment. If you need to register with the Tennessee Department of Revenue you can do that here.
Late August the Tennessee Department of Revenue expanded the relief program to include the following industries:
Caterers, mobile food services, and food service contractors
Wedding and event planners
Convention and trade show organizers
Wedding and banquet hall and similar property rental
Linen supply services
Travel agencies and travel arrangement Services
Car, truck, trailer, and RV rental
Sightseeing and tour operators
Taxi, limousine, bus, and other transportation services
Recreational vehicle and vacation camps
Sports and recreation instruction
Fine arts instruction, exam prep, driving schools, and other similar instruction
Motion picture and video production and distribution services
Music production, distribution, and publishing services
Sound recording studios
In addition, the following small businesses are now eligible if their sales were reduced by at least 25%, as shown on their April sales tax returns (filed in May):
Party and banquet equipment and other supply rental
Formal wear and costume rental
Consumer electronics and appliances rental
Home centers, hardware stores, and paint stores
Household appliance and electronics stores
Nurseries, garden centers, and outdoor power equipment stores
Pharmacies and drug stores
Optical goods stores
Cosmetics, beauty supply, and perfume stores
Supermarkets and other grocery stores
Baked goods and other specialty food stores
General rental centers and other consumer goods rental
Gasoline stations and convenience stores
Warehouse clubs and general merchandise stores
Beer, wine, and liquor stores
Food supplement stores
Vending machine operators
New and used car dealers
Recreational vehicle, boat, and other vehicle dealers
Automotive parts and accessories stores
Automotive repair services
Online stores (selling from a Tennessee location)
Other direct selling establishments
If you previously submitted a certification form and received notification that your business was ineligible, there is no need to resubmit your information. If the department is able to confirm your eligibility under the expanded Tennessee Business Relief Program, you will automatically receive a relief payment as well as notice of this determination. It is important that you certify before the deadline of September 25th to secure the funds from this program.
The amount of the business relief payment will be based on the annual gross sales of the business.
Annual Gross Sales Payment Amount
$1 - $100,000 $2,500
$100,001 - $500,000 $5,000
$500,001 - $1,000,000 $10,000
$1,000,001 - $5,000,000 $20,000
$5,000,001 - $10,000,000 $30,000
Businesses that have been open for less than 12 months will be included in the Tennessee Business Relief Program. The department is currently finalizing a method of measuring annual gross sales and any reduction in sales by these businesses. If you have multiple locations, the department will calculate gross sales for the business as a whole, rather than by individual location. A single payment will be issued to a qualified business, even if its return includes multiple locations.
Payments will be made by direct deposit if the business has previously provided bank account information and authorized the Department to save that information. Otherwise, payments will be made by check.
Payments for eligible businesses will be issued beginning the first week of July.
If you have questions about this program you can call the Tennessee Department of Revenue Taxpayer Services Division, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Central time, at (615) 253-0600, or email them at email@example.com