October 23, 2020

Nearly 50 percent of Tennessee’s $283 million in Business Relief Program grants remains unclaimed

(The Center Square) – Nearly half of the $283.5 million in state funding designated to provide COVID-19 economic relief for Tennessee businesses has not been claimed by business owners.

Gov. Bill Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group launched the state’s Business Relief Program in June, allocating $200 million in grants to help qualifying small businesses affected by the response to COVID-19. Lee announced an additional $83.5 million for the program last month to offer relief for businesses in more industries.

More than $150 million of the Business Relief Program funds have been distributed to about 20,000 businesses, but hundreds of businesses that are eligible for relief funds have not certified.

More than 40,000 small businesses across 60 different industries qualify for a relief payment, according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue. The department has sent notices of eligibility to all qualifying businesses. In order to receive a relief payment, businesses must certify with the department by Sept. 25.

“With just a few weeks remaining to certify your business, I strongly encourage all eligible business owners to complete this step as soon as possible,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano told The Center Square. “And if you know a small business owner who could benefit from this program, please help spread the word and awareness. The funding is available, and certifying is simple.”

Lee and the Department of Revenue unveiled a new online tool this week where business owners can check eligibility for a payment. The department will be sending additional reminder letters to businesses that have not certified ahead of the deadline.

Relief payments are based on a business’ annual gross sales and range from $2,500 to $30,000. Funding for the program came from Tennessee’s $2 billion allocation of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an enormous strain on Tennessee’s small businesses, and we’re hopeful these relief payments will help alleviate that burden as businesses get back on their feet,” Lee said.

The article was published at Nearly 50 percent of Tennessee’s $283 million in Business Relief Program grants remains unclaimed.