Opinion

What are Iowa small business relief grants?

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

 

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that additional funding was allocated for the Iowa Small Business Relief Grant program through the CARES Act. Additional grant notifications went out recently and will continue daily until all funds are exhausted.

Iowa Economic Development Authority is working through the current applicant pool and businesses with the greatest loss in revenue will be given priority. The list of new grant recipients that were notified this afternoon is available at iowabusinessrecovery.com and the list will be updated daily with additional grant recipients.

Governor Reynolds launched the Iowa small business relief program to provide financial assistance to small businesses that have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers eligible small businesses grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000 in addition to offering Iowa businesses a deferral of sales and use or withholding taxes due and waiver of penalty and interest. In the first phase of the program, $24 million was appropriated and disbursed to awardees between April 7-10.

There will be no new application period. Awards will be made from the pool of eligible applicants who submitted by the March 31 deadline.

When are taxes due?

 

Recently, several tax filing deadlines were extended by Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Revenue. However, not all tax filing deadlines were changed. The Department is reminding taxpayers that many tax deadlines are approaching soon and taxpayers should meet those deadlines to avoid interest, penalties, or loss of other tax benefits. Unless a deadline has specifically been extended, the regular deadline still applies. This is not necessarily a comprehensive list of upcoming tax deadlines, but these important deadlines still exist:

 

• Estimated income tax payments: The department has not extended the due date for estimated income tax payments. The first quarter installment of tax year 2020 estimated income tax for taxpayers filing on a calendar year basis is due April 30.

• Solar energy system tax credit and geothermal heat pump tax credit applications:  Taxpayers who installed solar or geothermal energy property in calendar year 2019 in Iowa that qualifies for the Iowa solar energy system tax credit or the Iowa geothermal heat pump tax credit must have submitted a complete application no later than May 1 in order to be eligible to receive a tax credit.

• Sales tax returns and payments:  Upcoming sales tax returns and payments are due as normal unless they have been deferred under the Iowa small business relief program. Applications for deferral under that program were still being accepted through April 30.

• Income withholding returns and payments: Upcoming income withholding returns and payments are due as normal unless they have been deferred under the Iowa small business relief program. Applications for deferral under that program were still being accepted through April 30.

Those wishing to apply to defer certain taxes can do so on the department's website. 

 

How do I know if I will be disqualified from Unemployment Benefits?

 

Iowans who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 but refuse to return to work when recalled by their employer will lose unemployment benefits, except for certain circumstances including:

• If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms; 

• If you have recovered but it caused medical complications rendering you unable to perform essential job duties; 

• If a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19; 

• If you are providing care for a member of your household who was diagnosed with COVID-19; 

• If you do not have childcare due to COVID-19 reasons; or 

• If you do not have transportation to your place of work because of COVID-19.  

 

Employees in any of these positions are strongly encouraged to work with their employer in the best way to handle the situation to return to work.  

Refusing to return to work when recalled for any other reason, or in an attempt to continue to draw unemployment benefits will be considered a "voluntary quit" which would disqualify a claimant from receiving benefits, including the federal pandemic unemployment compensation benefit of $600/weekly. An employee who is recalled on a part-time basis may continue to be eligible for benefits depending on the amount of wages they earn. They should continue filing their weekly claims and report the gross wages they earned each week. Additionally, the self-employed should continue to report their weekly gross income as part of their continuing claims as they return to work.

"The additional unemployment benefits that are provided under the CARES Act are meant to be temporary in nature and bridge the gap between the outbreak and a return to normal," said Beth Townsend, Director, Iowa Workforce Development. "For Iowans whose employment may be permanently affected by the outbreak, we have many training opportunities under Future Ready Iowa to help them obtain training and begin a new career in a high-demand, high-paying job."