We tested It: Tips for businesses applying for the Alachua County CARES Act funds

CARES Act
CARES Act

 
Alachua County small and medium businesses that are in compliance with the county COVID-19 Emergency Order can start applying for $15 million in CARES Act funds starting on August 10th.
Qualified businesses must have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and be able to prove a loss of income due to partial closure and lack of customers. They must also be in compliance with Alachua County’s Emergency Order which includes mandating customers to wear face masks.
A total of $7.5 million will be distributed as Small Business Grants and $7.5 million will be distributed as Medium Business Grants. Up to $10,000 per small business (up to 25 employees) is available and up to $15,000 per medium business (26-50 people) is available in the first round of applications.
Only complete applications will be considered on a first-come and first-served basis.
Getting your documents organized is key to filling out the application in one sitting as you cannot stop mid application or you lose the data.
Set up a folder on your desktop, collect your business license info, your Sunbiz.org annual statement, tax return, fill out a W-9 form, have payroll documentation ready to upload, gather bank statements, profit and loss statements and be prepared to explain and prove what you have financially lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
Remember to REDACT your social security number on any tax documents you upload as the documents uploaded become public record except for your W-9 form.
To watch an instructional Zoom session explaining how to navigate the application process that was aired by the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 7th on Facebook click here:
 
https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=685005015562015&ref=watch_permalink
 
According to the Alachua County website, here are the detailed instructions:
1. My business is headquartered in Alachua County, Florida. Only check this box if your business is headquartered in Alachua County, Florida. If your business headquarters are in another FL county or another state, your business is not eligible for this program.
2. My business filed one of the eligible tax forms for 2019, or form 990 for Not-for-profits, or Schedule C or Schedule F attached to Form 1040 for sole proprietorships or LLCs, form 1065 for Partnerships, form 1120S for S Corporations, and form 1120 for C Corporations.
3. The business cannot be a home-based business (i.e. it has a physical address outside of my home). If your business does not have a physical address other than the owner’s home, then it is considered a home-based business and is therefore not eligible for assistance under this grant program. However, you may be eligible to qualify under the Alachua County CAREs Act Individual Assistance program. Please see eligibility qualifications here. 
4. Attest that your business is compliant with all required city business taxes and/or state, professional licenses and all other applicable laws and regulations, including Alachua County’s public health regulations.
5. Attest that your business has met all business tax, professional licensure, and other regulatory requirements.
6. Attest that your business had 50 or fewer employees on March 1, 2020.
7. Attest that your business incurred a net loss related to COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020. This net loss should be calculated monthly during the time period when the business was affected by COVID-19 through July 31, 2020. The net loss is calculated as the revenue received less business expenses incurred during that period.
8. Agree to this statement: I understand that this is a taxable grant and a Form 1099G will be filed with the IRS reporting it as such. According to the IRS, this grant is taxable income for businesses. Therefore, a Form 1099G will be issued to the business entity at the end of the year and will be filed with the IRS.
Filling out the form:
1. Business Legal Name. This is the legal name of the business when it was set up. It should match your Employer Identification Number (“EIN”) application, state registration, and tax return. EIN, if applicable, most business entities, with the exception of some sole proprietorships or LLCs, should have an EIN. Your EIN should be included on your state registration and/or tax return.
2. Physical Business Address: This should be the physical location where your business is headquartered. If you solely conduct your business out of your home, you are not eligible for the grant, but may be eligible for the Alachua County CARES Act individual assistance grant.
3. Contact person’s name, phone number, and email address: Provide the person’s name and contact information who can answer questions about the application and/or about the COVID-19 impact on the business.
4. 2019 tax return form filed: Please choose the form from the dropdown that your business filed in 2019. If your business did not file one of the forms listed in the dropdown for 2019, your business is not eligible to apply. 
5. Upload 2019 tax return: Attach a copy of the 2019 tax return that was filed for your company. The form number should match the form chosen in the question above.
6. Upload business tax receipt(s) and current professional license(s), if required: Upload your required professional license(s) and/or business tax receipt(s) for the current period, if applicable to your locale and business type.
7. Upload Form W-9: Upload a completed and signed Form W-9. You can find a blank Form W-9 on the IRS website.
 
8. List name and ownership percentage of each owner of the company.
9. Enter the number of employees paid during the pay period that includes March 1, 2020:  Count each employee paid during the pay period that includes March 1, 2020 as 1 employee, whether they are part time or full time. For example, if you run your payroll every week on Wednesday for the previous Sunday to Saturday, your paychecks paid on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 would have been for the pay period March 1, 2020 to March 7, 2020, which includes March 1, 2020. The number of employees paid on that pay run is the number of employees to enter on the application. For more details, please see the  FAQ.
10. Upload payroll report, showing detail by employee that includes March 1, 2020 with social security numbers (SSNs) redacted so that they are illegible: Upload the payroll report used to calculate the number of employees in the previous question. This payroll report should include the date March 1, 2020 during the pay period and should show a list of the employees paid. Please redact (black out so they can no longer be seen) any SSNs on the report for privacy purposes.
11. Describe the circumstances and impact COVID-19 had on your business: Please provide any impact that COVID-19 had on your business. This could include mandatory closures, reason for voluntary closures, decreases in revenue, and/or additional expenses. Provide a detailed description, including dates of closures or reasons for change.
12. Estimated net loss from the date of COVID-19 impact (no earlier than March 1) through July 31, 2020: First, calculate the business’s monthly net income or loss, using the company’s normal method of accounting, from March 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020. The monthly income or loss is calculated by taking the revenue received less the business expenses incurred. The revenue should include any insurance proceeds received, or expected to be received, due to business interruption losses or casualty losses. Do not include any PPP funds or other grants specific to COVID-19 received. Combine the net income or loss for the period when you started noticing the impact of COVID-19 to your business through July 31, 2020. If your cumulative answer is a net income position, you are not eligible for the grant. If you have a cumulative net loss position, enter the amount in this field.
13. Estimated net loss from August 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020: If you anticipate that you will continue to incur losses in the future months in 2020, please estimate the net loss you expect to have for the remainder of the calendar year. While these losses are not currently eligible for grant funds, the Board of County Commissioners may choose to extend this program to cover future losses, depending on availability of funding. Providing this information may simplify any future application processes in that event.
14. If your forecasted net loss is significantly different from actual documented monthly net loss to date, please describe why: It is anticipated that your future losses would be consistent with the losses seen during March 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020. If there is a reason why the losses will be significantly different in the future, please explain the reasons for the differences here.
15. Please upload monthly income statements or profit and loss statements for March through July 2020: Upload the monthly statements used to calculate the cumulative loss. The expenses should be broken down into categories similar to what can be found on the tax return expense categories. Each month can be a separate document or you can provide one document, which includes all months.
16. Has the business received PPP funds? If yes, provide the amount of PPP funds received and attach supporting documentation: The amount of PPP funds will reduce the amount of the cumulative net loss that is eligible for this grant. For example, if you are an eligible small business and your net loss related to COVID-19 is a total of $100,000 but you received $95,000 in PPP funds, your net loss eligible for the grant is $5,000 ($100,000 – $95,000 = $5,000). The $5,000 net loss is compared to the $10,000 maximum grant and your business would receive a $5,000 small business grant.
17. Has the business received any other federal, state, or local grants or assistance specific to COVID-19? If yes, provide the amount received and attach supporting documentation. The amount of other grants will reduce the cumulative net loss eligible for this grant. For example, if you are a medium business and your net loss related to COVID-19 is a total of $100,000 but you received $15,000 in other state grants, your net loss eligible for the grant is $85,000 ($100,000 – $15,000 = $85,000). The $85,000 net loss is compared to the $15,000 maximum grant and your business would receive a $15,000 medium business grant.
18. Funding distribution format requested: Please choose one of the following methods for receiving your grant – EFT or check. The electronic transfer will be deposited directly into the business’s bank account information provided. If you choose the check option, the check will be mailed to the business address provided on the application.
19. Attestations and certifications: Please read each attestation and only check the box next to each statement that is true. If any of the statements are not true, your business is not eligible to receive funding. Sign by typing your full name attesting that you agree with all of the above statements. This signature should be by an individual who has legal authority to request financial assistance.
20. Signature Authority Resolution: Please upload a signature authority resolution that documents who may sign on behalf of your business entity. If you are a corporation (LLC, S corporation, or C corporation) and do not have a current signature authority resolution, please complete one of the attached resolutions. If you are a sole proprietorship doing business under your individual SSN, the owner must sign the application. If the business is a partnership, one of the partners must sign the application, unless you have a signature authority resolution documenting someone else can sign.
21. Submit: You will not be able to submit the application unless all required fields are completed. If you are unable to submit, please go back through the application to determine what information is missing.

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