State offers over $500M in small business grants

Gov. Gavin Newsom announces $500 million in small and micro business grants set to be available in January

SACRAMENTO – Small businesses already struggling to continue throughout the pandemic are surely wringing their hands as the stay-at-home order took effect on Sunday night. Fortunately there is some help available at the state level as Congress continues to debate whether to pass a stimulus package.

Last Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of a $500 million COVID-19 relief grant administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. It is intended to help small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, and health and safety restrictions.

Funds would be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of community development financial institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021. Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants. According to the web site, businesses can sign up to receive updates for when the program will be launched.

The governor’s office also pointed to available tax relief avenues for businesses impacted by the pandemic. In April, Newsom signed an executive order allowing taxpayers to apply for penalty and interest relief for 90 days for any taxpayer reporting less than $1 million in sales on their tax return. Through Nov. 22, 9,287 plans with almost $149 million in tax relief have taken advantage of the program.

According to a press release Newsom is expected to direct the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to provide an automatic three-month extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax on the return and extend the availability existing interest and penalty free payment agreements to companies (with up to $5 million in taxable sales); broaden opportunities for more businesses to enter into interest-free payment arrangements; and expand interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions.

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