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COVID-19 Relief and Assistance for Small Business

The Controller’s Office has compiled the following resources from various agencies to help you navigate available COVID-related aid. For additional program information, please visit the agency’s website or contact your local government. The Controller’s Office will update these resources as more program information becomes available.  Visit the California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response website for information about the state’s response to the pandemic.

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As of July 23, 2021

Employee Retention Tax Credit (Federal) The 2020 employee retention credit gives eligible businesses a refundable tax credit of 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages paid per employee in 2020. That means eligible businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee for last year.
Employers can access the Employee Retention Credit for the 1st and 2nd calendar quarters of 2021 prior to filing their employment tax returns by reducing employment tax deposits. Small employers (i.e., employers with an average of 500 or fewer full-time employees in 2019) may request advance payment of the credit (subject to certain limits)
For the 2020 credit, businesses must have either experienced a full or partial shutdown of operations during the year because of a government order limiting commerce, travel or meetings due to the pandemic, or have had a more than 50% quarterly decline in gross receipts.

The rules for the 2021 credit were expanded to include businesses that had either experienced a full or partial shutdown or had seen a more than 20% quarterly decline in gross receipts.
Learn more here:
Available through December 31, 2021 (additional guidelines pending)
Commercial Eviction Moratorium
California has suspended any state law that would prevent local governments from protecting commercial tenants from eviction due to a COVID-19 hardship. This moratorium is dependent on local government actions and may not apply to all areas. Commercial tenants should contact their local government to see if they are covered by a local eviction moratorium. September 30, 2021
SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program
Offers grants of $1 million to $5 million to eligible organizations to provide counseling, networking, and to serve as an informal connection to agency resources to help small businesses recover from the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations include state and local governments, economic development organizations, small business development centers, nonprofit colleges and universities and Community Development Financial Institutions, among others. More information and application:
Applications are due by July 23.

This program will run for two years, starting on September 1, 2021, and ending August 31, 2023
U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
These loans provide financial relief for small businesses and nonprofit organizations to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the pandemic not occurred.
Loan amounts:
For loans approved starting the week of April 6, 2021: 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.
For loans approved prior to the week of April 6, 2021, see loan increases.
Applicants must be physically located in the U.S. and have suffered losses due to COVID-19. Eligible applicants include: businesses with 500 or fewer employees or those defined as small per SBA guidelines; cooperatives with 500 or fewer employees; agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees; most private nonprofits; faith-based organizations; sole proprietorships and independent contractors. Apply through the SBA:
Application deadline: December 31, 2021
If an applicant accepted an EIDL loan for less than the full amount originally offered, the applicant will have up to two years after the date of the loan promissory note to request additional funds. Applicants may continue to request additional funds even after the application deadline of December 31, 2021.
Tax Relief and Filing Extensions
California is offering tax relief and filing extensions to many businesses. Visit the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to see if any of these apply to your business. Varies
Small Business Relief Payment Plans for Sales and Use Tax
California currently provides a 12-month, interest-free, payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability. California small businesses with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales may qualify. This relief only applies to sales and use tax on returns with original due dates between December 15, 2020 and April 30, 2021. A business that previously took advantage of the 12-month, interest-free payment plan that must be paid in full by July 31, 2021, may also apply. Apply through the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration:
Payment plans must be paid in full by April 30, 2022, to qualify for zero interest.
Application deadline: August 16, 2021
California Rebuilding Fund
This program provides loans of up to $100,000 or 100 percent of a business’ average monthly revenues for three months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever amount is lower. Businesses that employ 50 or less full-time equivalent employees and had gross revenues of less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 are eligible. Businesses also must have suffered a direct economic hardship as a result of COVID-19 that materially affected operations to be eligible. Begin the pre-application process here:
U.S. Small Business Administration Debt Relief Assistance
This program provides debt relief to existing SBA borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Borrowers of SBA loan programs 7(a), 504, and microloans that were approved through September 27, 2020 are eligible.
Contact your lender for questions about assistance for your SBA loan. TBD
U.S. Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
This program provides grants equal to 45 percent of gross earned revenue for eligible businesses, with a maximum single grant award of $10 million. Qualifying businesses include live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, zoos and aquariums, motion picture theater operators, and talent representatives.
More information and link to application:   TBD
Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee
The Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee Program allows access to capital for small businesses that do not qualify for federal disaster funds, including businesses in low-wealth and immigrant communities. Businesses located in California with 1-750 or fewer employees that have been negatively affected by COVID-19, as well as eligible nonprofit organizations, may qualify. Find a participating lender at, or email the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank’s Small Business Finance Center at TBD
Small Business License Fee Exemptions
California provides two years of fee relief for restaurants and bars licensed through the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), as well as barbering and cosmetology businesses licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs. Review bar and restaurant guidelines:
Barbering and cosmetology FAQs are here:
Restaurants and bars will apply through ABC:
The fee waiver for barbering and cosmetology licensees will be applied automatically.
Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
Provides competitive micro grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible small businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions. Grants are available to California-based businesses operating since at least June 1, 2019 that have been affected by COVID-19.Small businesses with $1,000 to $100,000 in annual gross revenue are eligible for a $5,000 grant. Businesses with revenue between $100,000 and $1 million are eligible for $15,000. Businesses with revenue greater than $1 million up to $2.5 million are eligible for a $25,000 grant. Program information: This program has expired.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. Eligible entities who have experienced pandemic-related revenue loss, including: Restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts; caterers; bars, saloons, lounges, taverns; snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars; bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts); licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products. More information and link to application: Application period has closed.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program provides loans to help businesses retain employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Borrowers may become eligible for loan forgiveness at a later date. Under AB 80, signed into law April 29, businesses whose loans are forgiven won’t have to pay taxes on that money and can deduct qualifying expenses if they can show at least a 25% reduction in profits for at least one quarter as a result of the pandemic. The following entities may qualify: Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and the self-employed; any small business that meets the Small Business Administration (SBA) industry size standard, or the alternative size standard); any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of: 500 employees, or that meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500; any business with a NAICS code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs fewer than 500 people per location. Find a participating lender near you to apply:
This program has ended.