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Pennies from Heaven for Tennessee small business?

Jun 15, 2020

We are pleased to share the following summary about the Tennessee Business Relief Program. 

Key takeaways are:

  • The money does not have to be paid back
  • Revenue hopes to start disbursing in early July
  • Unlike PPP and other relief programs, there is no application.

A huge shout-out for the excellent summary to Jim Schmidt and Sharon Michie from the Tennessee’s Brewer’s Guild.

The Tennessee Business Relief Program focuses on relief for small businesses, mainly targeting the retail sector, that were closed by the Governor's executive order in April.

There is not an application process to participate; instead the state will be using a business' NAICS federal code to target relief to the list of certain types of businesses (i.e. gyms, restaurants, bars, etc. Full listing is on the Dept of Revenue's website). They will also consider businesses that may not fit into a category but lost more than 25 percent of sales based on their tax filings. Only businesses with gross sales revenue under $10M will be included in the program (a company that has multiple locations will be considered as one entity). Estimates are that 70% of the eligible businesses are under $500K in annual gross sales and that demonstrates a commitment to helping smaller businesses recover.

Payments will range from $2,500- 30,000 depending on the size of sales for the business. These are not finalized but the payment schedule is likely:

Sales of Business/ Payment- $0-100k = $2,500; $100-500K = $5,000; $500K- 1M = $10,000; $1- 5M = $20,000; $5-10M =$30,000

Payments will be direct-deposited into accounts which have filed and maintain their banking information with TN Dept of Revenue. Many businesses do this already for sales and other tax filings/ payments. The Commissioner recommended checking to make sure your TNTAP account is updated. Businesses can do that at: https://tntap.tn.gov/eservices/_/
If a business is eligible and does not maintain their information online, then they will receive checks in the mail which may delay payments.
They are continuing to work toward a 1st week of July delivery of payments but that is not finalized.
If a business has questions about their eligibility, NAICS codes, or other items, it was recommended that you file a Help Desk request at the DOR website. They will work through questions and try to work with businesses who may not fit neatly in a category. You can do that here: https://www.tn.gov/revenue/tennessee-business-relief-program.html
If a business is designated solely as a manufacturer, they are not eligible for this particular program. But if the manufacturer has several aspects to its business, (i.e. for breweries or distilleries - retail, restaurant, and bar segments), then the business should be eligible as long as the DOR has that information listed as part of its NAICS codes or if it's verified by retail sales tax records. If in doubt, they recommend contacting the Help Desk for a request.
These payments are considered grants, not loans, and are not required to be repaid. If a business is structured as a sole proprietorship, LLC or LLP, the payments should not be considered taxable; for corporations, it will depend upon their classification for federal taxes to determine if they are taxable or not.

We always advise folks to consult with the accountant on tax issues.

If you need further information, Jim and Sharon recommend reaching out to Revenue’s Taxpayer Services Division, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Central time, at (615) 253-0600, or email revenue.support@tn.gov.

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