States Offer Programs to Assist with COVID-19 Pandemic; A Closer Look at Illinois– April 29, 2020 by Hannah Prengler

As states continue to offer tax return filing, payment deferrals and other assistance measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we take a closer look at Illinois.
 
>> Learn more about relief efforts identified in other states in which our firm is located in our easy-to-use spreadsheet tracker

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund

Relief: Chicago has established the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. It will provide $100 million to the city’s eligible businesses as low-interest loans.

Who this Impacts: Small businesses and nonprofits in the city of Chicago

Qualified businesses must:

  • Employ fewer than 50 people (at least half of whom reside within the city)
  • Realize gross revenues in 2019 of $3 million or LESS
  • See a decrease in revenue, due to COVID-19, in excess of 25%
  • Be located in the city of Chicago and have been in business for at least one year prior to the date of the application

Small businesses that meet the criteria above may be eligible for a loan of up to $50,000. Loan proceeds are required to be used for working capital, and at least 50% must be applied to payroll costs. The borrower must also commit to retaining or rehiring a workforce of at least 50% of its pre-COVID-19 level for at least six months following the loan disbursement.

The application process for the Resiliency Fund program is now open. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis; interested businesses should apply as soon as possible at http://www.chicagoresiliencyfund.com/.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

Relief: Illinois has established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses in the state low interest loans of up to $50,000.

Who this Impacts: Small businesses in Illinois outside the City of Chicago.

Qualified businesses must:

  • Employ fewer than 50 people
  • Realize gross revenues in 2019 of $3 million or LESS
  • See a decrease in revenue, due to COVID-19, in excess of 25%
  • Be located in Illinois and provide proof of an Illinois business address and valid business license from an Illinois jurisdiction
  • Have been in business in Illinois for at least one year as of the application date
  • Non-profits and farm businesses that would traditionally qualify under the USDA’s farm loan program are not eligible for the Emergency Loan Fund at this time

Small businesses that meet the criteria above may be eligible for a loan of up to $50,000. Loan proceeds are required to be used for working capital, and at least 50% must be applied to payroll costs or other eligible compensation, including salaries, wages, tips, paid leave and group healthcare benefits. The borrower must also commit to retaining or rehiring a workforce of at least 50% of its pre-COVID-19 level for at least six months following the loan disbursement.

The application process for the Emergency Loan Fund program is now open. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is partnering with Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana to facilitate lending. Applications should be submitted with Accion as soon as possible at https://us.accion.org/get-a-loan/chicago-prequal/.

Business Invest - Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program

Relief: The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office has partnered with approved financial institutions to provide loans to small businesses struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic through the Business Invest – Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program. The program is an impact investment loan program through which the state treasurer has made up to $250 million in deposits available to financial institutions for customer loans at favorable rates.

Who this Impacts: Businesses and nonprofits that may not otherwise have qualified for comparably priced loans.

Qualified financial institutions that receive state funds will facilitate affordable lending to small businesses and nonprofits. Interest rates charged to small businesses through the Relief Program are not to exceed 4.75%. Funds obtained by small businesses can be used to provide bridge funding, pay fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable and other similar bills.

Small businesses interested in obtaining funds through the program must:

  • Have been shut down or limited due to COVID-19.
  • Have liquid assets that do not exceed $1 million or average annual receipts (per SBA standards) that do not exceed $8 million.
  • Must either be headquartered in the state of Illinois or agree to use the funds in Illinois.

Small businesses who wish to obtain funding via the program should apply directly with an Approved Program Depository. Find a list of participating financial institutions who currently qualify for the Relief Program.

Financial institutions interested in participating in the Relief Program are required to be an Approved Program Depository with the Illinois Treasurer’s Office. Apply to become an Approved Program Depository.

Additional Illinois Relief

  • The Illinois Department of Revenue is waiving penalties and interest on late sales tax payments by eating and drinking establishments that incurred a total sales tax liability of less than $75,000 in calendar year 2019. The deadline for sales tax liabilities due in March, April and May 2020 have been pushed back to four dates beginning in May 2020. Qualifying taxpayers are still required to file Form ST-1 for each reporting period by their original due dates, even if they are unable to make a payment. Learn more.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans in all 102 counties in Illinois. Eligible small businesses can apply for $2 million in low-interest loans.
  • The filing and payment deadline for Illinois income tax returns due April 15, 2020, has been extended to July 15, 2020, to align with the federal deadline. However, quarterly estimate payments for the 2020 tax year have not been extended. Because of the inherent difficulty of estimating 2020 quarterly payments using the 2019 tax liability if the 2019 tax liability is unknown as of April 15 (the deadline for first quarterly 2020 estimate payment), the Illinois Department of Revenue is allowing taxpayers to base their 2020 estimated tax payments on any of the following:
    • 90% of their estimated liability for tax year 2020,
    • 100% of their actual liability for tax year 2019 or
    • 100% of their actual liability for tax year 2018.
  • The City of Chicago extended deadlines for February and March payments of the following taxes to Thursday, April 30 2020:
    • Amusement tax,
    • Bottled water tax,
    • Checkout bag tax,
    • Ground transportation tax,
    • Hotel accommodations tax,
    • Parking tax and
    • Restaurant tax.

Additionally, interest accruals on unpaid liabilities of the previously mentioned taxes are being halted through April 30, 2020. Learn more.

Contact Hannah Prengler at hprengler@cohencpa.com or a member of your service team to discuss this topic further.


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Cohen & Company is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. Information contained in this post is considered accurate as of the date of publishing. Any action taken based on information in this blog should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts, circumstances and current law.