State/Partner/Federal Resources for Financial Assistance and Information

Save Small Business Fund– The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories.  The Save Small Business Fund is an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is made possible by the generosity of their partners.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program – To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is repurposing $20 million in CDBG funds to stand up the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. This Fund will offer small businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. These grants will be offered on a rolling basis.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund – DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) announced the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000. Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. Application will open March 27, 2020.

Illinois State Treasurer’s Small Business Relief Program – The program is an impact investment loan program to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program – Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses.

SBA Disaster Assistance – Low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Payroll Tax Deferral – In August, President Trump signed an Executive Order that would allow businesses to defer the payment of Social Security payroll roll taxes of most employees between September 1 and the end of 2020. This is a complicated issue with a number of open questions that have yet to be clarified by the IRS. Importantly, this is a deferral of payroll taxes. Without Congressional action at some future date, the taxes withheld now will need to be repaid between January and April 2021. The IRS has issued guidance here. Employers should consult with their accountants, auditors and/or attorneys before proceeding. Below is an excellent summary from our partners at the Illinois Manufacturers Association:

The President’s federal payroll tax deferral program created through an Executive Order starts today and ends on December 31, 2020. During this time period, employers may choose to delay the withholding, deposit, and payment of the contribution of Social Security taxes (6.2 percent) from an employee’s paycheck. Here are some key points:
What is the maximum wage limitation: As defined, the maximum wage is $4,000 in bi-weekly wages or compensation on a pre-tax basis or equivalent amounts for other pay periods ($104,000 annualized). Health care and retirement benefits are not included in the definition of compensation.
Are employers mandated to participate: Neither the President’s Executive Order nor the IRS guidance requires participation. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has publicly stated that they “can’t force people to participate.” The IRS guidance does not allow employees to choose and option – the choice appears left to the employer.
When are taxes due: If an employer opts to utilize the deferral between September 1 and December 30, 2020, those taxes must be paid by April 30, 2021. If the taxes are not paid by that date, penalties and interest apply.
What is the impact on an employee’s paycheck: An employee will see increased take home pay between September 1 and December 30, 2020, followed by higher taxes paid in the first four months of 2021.
To defer or not to defer: If the employer does choose to defer withholding the payroll tax during the time period specified in the order (September 1st – December 31st, 2020), then the employer must later withhold the deferred amount “ratably” from wages and compensation paid between January 1 – April 30, 2020, or interest, penalties, and additions to tax will begin to accrue on May 1, 2021.
The Guidance does not discuss what an employer must do if an employee does not have sufficient wages in the first four months of 2021 (i.e. the employee took a leave of absence or terminated employment) to accomplish the required deductions from the previously deferred tax. All the Guidance says is, “If necessary, the [employer] may make arrangements to otherwise collect the total Applicable Taxes from the employee.”
If an employer chooses not to defer withholding the employee portion of the payroll tax, then the employer is required to withhold the tax and deposit it with the Treasury.

Paycheck Protection Program – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide $349 billion in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program to small businesses and non-profits. Portions of these loans will be forgiven to the extent that recipients maintain their existing workforce or rehire. Loans can be up to $10 million and interest rates are maxed at 4% for portions of the loan that do not qualify for loan forgiveness.

Subsidy for Current Loan Payments and Express Bridge Loans – The SBA will cover up to 6 months of principal and interest payments that are owed on most existing SBA loans.

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Covid-19 Emergency Resources for Businesses – PDF of available programs and Resources

Employee Retention Credit – Treasury Encourages Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 to Use Employee Retention Credit.  Press Release

Federal CARES Act -The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now.

U.S. Rural Development Grants – This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small means that the business has fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue.

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund – The City of Chicago recognizes that COVID-19 has put a difficult burden on our business and non-profit community. As a response to this challenge, the City of Chicago has established the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund (the Resiliency Fund), which will provide small businesses and non-profits with emergency cash flow during this health crisis. Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans.

SBA Tools for Rural Businesses – Small businesses in rural areas may lack access to capital and other resources available in more urban areas. SBA’s Rural Strong initiative aims to level the playing field and elevate small businesses by offering loan incentives and training entrepreneurs to access government contracting and export opportunities. Learn more about SBA resources for rural businesses, including:

  • Funding resources
  • Export assistance
  • Opportunity Zones and HUBZones


Business Licenses – Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Licensing (IDFPR) IDFPR is providing relief from professional licensing requirements, including extensions for licenses due March through July and waivers from certain continuing education requirements.

Tax Relief– The Illinois Department of Revenue has provided contact info for taxpayer resources while taxpayer assistance offices and phone lines are shut down.  Penalties and interest for late payment of sales taxes owed from February through April will be waived for eating and drinking establishments that incurred a sales tax responsibility of less than $75,000 in CY2019.

Unemployment Insurance – IDES has assembled FAQs about Unemployment Insurance and the COVID emergency:

  • Workers laid off due to COVID qualify for UI so long as they are prepared to return to work.
  • Workers sent home due to COVID illness or quarantine, or are caring for an affected family member, are also eligible for UI coverage.
  • IDES is waiving the standard 1 week wait to be eligible for UI coverage.

Illinois State Agency Resources

Department of Revenue tax guidance
Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity business guidance and resources
Department of Professional and Financial Regulation licenses and registrations

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