By: Alex Pyle
March 23, 2020
In recent days the Governor and other governmental agencies have taken a number of steps to provide support and relief to Massachusetts businesses affected by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the most significant of these small business measures are the following:
SBA Disaster Declaration
On March 19, 2020, the Small Business Administration approved a Massachusetts disaster declaration, covering the whole state. See https://www.mass.gov/news/sba-approves-massachusetts-disaster-declaration As a result, small businesses throughout Massachusetts are eligible to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. For more information about the SBA loan program, see our recent client alert: https://www.sheehan.com/news/client-alert-us-sba-offers-financial-assistance-to-businesses-impacted-by-coronavirus/
Note that, as a result of the availability of SBA funds, as of March 19, 2020 Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation is no longer accepting applications for the previously announced $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund.
Administrative Tax Relief
On March 18, 2020, the Commonwealth announced administrative tax relief measures to assist small local businesses which have been impacted by COVID-19, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. These measures include postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20, 2020. Penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ended February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ended February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
Extension of Professional Licensing Renewal Dates
On March 18, 2020, the Governor issued an emergency order to extend licensing and registration renewal dates for licensed professionals during the COVID-19 emergency. Under this order, occupational or professional licenses of individuals that are in good standing and that would otherwise be up for renewal during the COVID-19 emergency have been extended for 90 days after the end of the public health emergency. See https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-18-2020-extension-of-professional-licensure-order. This action follows an order extending registrations for certain licensed health professionals that was announced on March 17, 2020.