In June, Governor Bill Lee announced a new relief program to help Tennessee small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Business Relief Program will direct the use of approximately $200 million of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds through the Tennessee Department of Revenue to assist eligible small businesses. Small businesses in Tennessee will be issued relief payments through this program to use for costs incurred due to mandatory business closures during the COVID-19 crisis.
Which Tennessee Businesses Are Eligible for the TN Small Business Relief Program?
It is expected that roughly 33,000 Tennessee businesses will qualify for relief, and over 73% of those are small businesses that earn $500,000 or less in annual gross sales. The types of small businesses that are eligible to receive relief are:
- Beauty shops
- Nail salons
- Tattoo parlors, spas & other personal care services
- Gyms & fitness centers
- Hotels & other travel accommodations
- Theaters, auditoriums, performing arts centers & similar facilities
- Museums, zoos & similar attractions
- Amusement parks
- Bowling centers & arcades
- Amusement, sports & recreational industries
- Promoters of performing arts, sports & similar events
- Agents and managers of artists, athletes & entertainers
- Independent artists, writers & performers
Other small businesses may be eligible if their sales were reduced by at least 25% (as shown on their April sales tax returns, filed in May) and if they fall into one of the following categories:
- Furniture stores
- Home furnishing stores
- Clothing stores
- Shoe stores
- Jewelry, luggage & leather goods stores
- Sporting goods, hobby & musical instrument stores
- Book stores
- Department stores
- Office supply, stationary & gift stores
- Used merchandise stores
- Other miscellaneous stores
If your business does not belong to any of the categories above but decided to close voluntarily, it will not be eligible to receive relief. Also, your business must already be registered with the Tennessee Department of Revenue in order to qualify for business relief payment.
How Do I Get My Business Relief Payment?
The Tennessee Department of Revenue will determine if your business is eligible based on information available in its tax system. This means no application is required. If your business is eligible, you will be sent a notification either through email or by mail, depending on whether there is an email address associated with your TNTAP account. When you receive notification, you will need to then complete an online pre-award certification form to verify your business’s eligibility and to agree to the program’s payment guidelines. The notification will provide instructions on how to access the certification form. If you do not have online access, you will be asked to fill out a paper certification form. Once you complete the certification form and your business’s eligibility has been confirmed, the Department will issue your business relief payment.
How Much Will the Relief Payment Be, and How Will I Receive It?
The Tennessee Department of Revenue will determine whether your business is eligible to receive relief payment and will then calculate the amount of the business relief payment for your business based on its annual gross sales:
- $1 to $100,000 will receive $2,500 in relief
- $100,001 to $500,000 will receive $5,000 in relief
- $500,001 to $1,000,000 will receive $10,000 in relief
- $1,000,001 to $5,000,000 will receive $20,000 in relief
- $5,000,001 to $10,000,000 will receive $30,000 in relief
If your business qualifies for relief, payment will be made either by direct deposit or by check. The prior will occur if your business has previously provided bank account information to the Department of Revenue and authorized that the information be saved. The Department can only use direct deposit information that it already has saved in its tax system. Otherwise, payment will be made via check.
To make sure your business will receive the check, you can update your mailing address by logging into TNTAP.
Do Payments from the Tennessee Business Relief Program Have to Be Repaid?
Payments made to businesses under the Tennessee Business Relief Program are not loans and therefore do not need to be repaid. This is money given freely to reimburse small businesses for costs incurred due to mandatory closures. Your business’s eligibility is also unaffected by the receipt of other forms of relief. All qualifying businesses will receive business relief payments whether or not they have already received relief benefits from separate programs such as a forgivable loan under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP loan).
Supporting Small Businesses – Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce
The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce supports businesses in our community, and one way we do this is by providing information businesses can use to succeed. If you have a small business that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and is eligible to receive funds, you will receive notification sometime soon and can then expect to receive a business relief payment via check or direct deposit. For additional resources for businesses who have been affected by COVID-19, check out our COVID-19 Resources page on the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce website.