Financial Assistance, Tax Information, &
Loan Options

BACP Small Business Resource Navigators

Recently the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced the creation of ten Small Business Resource Navigators to provide individualized, 1-on-1 support to businesses. These navigators, which are located in neighborhoods around the city, are equipped with the training and expertise to assist small businesses in navigating the ever-changing resource and funding landscape. In particular, Resource Navigators have been trained by the U.S. Small Business Administration to support businesses as they apply for funding through the SBA.

Find out Navigator locations and learn more here.

Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 of which has been set aside for childcare providers and is funded by the CARES Act. DCEO will make the application for BIG available on Tuesday, June 23rd. Learn more here.


Applications Open for Together Now: Chicago’s Fund to Rebuild our Neighborhoods

Applications are now open for the “Together Now” fund launched this month by Mayor Lightfoot to provide financial relief for Chicago small businesses and non-profits that have experienced economic distress due to COVID-19 or recent property damage. The application deadline is Monday, June 29.

Chicago businesses with property damage will be eligible for infrastructure grants up to $10,000 to help with repair costs. Businesses that have at least a 25 percent revenue loss due to COVID-19 will be eligible for operational grants up to $4,000 to help cover economic losses.

Each business owner is eligible to apply for one infrastructure grant and one operational grant. Select regional or national chain businesses, including franchises, branch banks and payday loan stores, are not eligible. Other restrictions apply. To find out more information and apply, click here.


DCEO Layoff Aversion Funding Available

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is making Statewide Rapid Response funds available to support small businesses facing the financial impacts from COVID‐19. Grant funds are now available to support employers with layoff aversion activities.

The funding range for COVID‐19 Layoff Aversion funding is $5,000 ‐ $50,000 per employer. Funds may be used to support:

  • Cleaning Sanitation Services
  • Computer Software and Hardware
  • Call Center / Remote Work Environments
  • Cross‐Functional and/or Transitional Training
  • Production of Essential Goods and Services Needed to Support COVID‐19 Response
  • Industry Sector Strategy Partnership
  • COVID‐19 Response Activities

Review these FAQs to get more information about the program and click here for the application.


CARES Act Paycheck Protection Loans – PPP Re-Opens

UPDATE: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released an updated Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness. This guide reflects recent substantive changes made by Congress and the administration to the PPP program to provide borrowers with more flexibility. These changes include:

  • Extending the time to spend PPP funds from 8 weeks to 24 weeks;
  • Lowering the amount that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%;
  • Extending the deadline to restore FTEs and payroll from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020; and
  • Setting the repayment term for loans made after June 4, 2020 at five years.

Check out the U.S. Chamber guide here.

The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the CARES Act. The SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities. Click here to download the PPP loan forgiveness application and instructions.

*Check out this blog post offering guidance on filling out the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application.

*The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released this step-by-step guide to calculate your loan forgiveness amount, navigate record-keeping requirements, and determine repayment terms on amounts not forgiven.


A key piece of the CARES Act will be expansion of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Section 7(a) Loan Program to get liquidity to qualifying businesses and, importantly, to encourage such businesses to keep employees on their payroll. Title I of the CARES Act creates a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which increases eligibility for Section 7(a) loans for certain small business and organizations, and provides terms that allow portions of the loans to be forgiven based on the borrower’s retention of employees. While the SBA will have to clarify many provisions in regulations, there are few key elements businesses need to understand now. Learn more here.

Check out the Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist. This document is intended to provide small businesses with a step-by-step guide for obtaining relief under the Paycheck Protection Program. Click here for the checklist.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Treasury recently issued additional guidance regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.  Links to the resources provided by Treasury can be found below:

  • A top-line overview of the program can be found here.
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here.
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here.
  • For a list of FAQ’s from the Small Business Administration, click here.
  • The application for borrowers can be found here.

In addition, use this “How to calculate loan amounts” document on the Treasury website to assist with calculating your PPP loan. It’s a great tool especially for sole proprietors. It offers guidance for those that capture their business income in different forms (Schedule C, Schedule F, K-1, etc.). It can also be used to inform lenders of the various, approved options to document self-employed income.


Guide to Independent Contractors’ CARES Act Relief

If you are an independent contractor or self-employed, you may be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans/grants, SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and/or Unemployment Compensation for losses of income related to the coronavirus pandemic. Check out this guide for more information.


UPDATED FAQs: Employee Retention Credit Under the CARES Act

The Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. Learn more here.


SBA Express Bridge Loans

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. Click here to find out loan details and if you’re eligible.


SBA Debt Relief

As part of our coronavirus debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Learn more about the SBA’s debt relief program by clicking here.


Employee Retention Credit

Many businesses that have been severely impacted by coronavirus will qualify for two new employer tax credits – the Credit for Sick and Family Leave and the Employee Retention Credit. Check out the details about these tax credit on the IRS website.


Cook County Community Recovery Initiative 

Cook County has launched a comprehensive initiative to provide economic relief to small businesses, non-profits, community service organizations and independent contractors (1099 workers) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.


City of Chicago Defers Tax Payment Due Dates to June 1 For Business Community

The City of Chicago has granted an extension of tax payment remittance to provide relief for the business community and those hit hardest by COVID-19. Learn more here.


Assistance for Small Businesses Resource Guide

There were a number of provisions to assist small businesses included in the CARES Act and many of these programs and resources are still in the process of being rolled out, as it is an evolving process. Check out this helpful guide developed by Congressman Mike Quigley’s office.


Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated all states in the Great Lakes Region as eligible for Disaster Assistance Loans. Approved applicants may receive low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program offers up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

Check out this new guide to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

For additional assistance, please review this article about SBA Disaster Loans.


City of Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund – Closes on Friday, April 24 at 5:00 p.m.

The City of Chicago is launching the new Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund in partnership with the Catalyst Fund, chaired by Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, and other private sponsors. This fund will lend up to $50,000 in working capital loans to business owners suffering substantial economic injury due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in order to help support rent and payroll expenses.

The application for these loans is now open and can be completed here.

Who qualifies for a loan?
In order to be considered for a loan under the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund, business owners must meet the following qualifications:

  • Suffer more than 25 percent revenue decrease due to COVID-19
  • Employ fewer than 50 employees
  • Have gross revenues of less than $3 million in 2019
  • Provide a City business address or City business license
  • Have no pre-existing tax liens or legal judgments

What documents will I need to provide?
Applicants should be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Bank statements dating back to October 2019
  • Most recent tax return
  • Photo ID (CityKey will be accepted)

What are the terms of these loans?

  • Repayment Term: Low-interest loans for a term of up to five years.
  • Loan Amount: Up to $50,000 but sized based on revenues before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Loan Proceeds: Proceeds are required to be used for working capital. At least 50 percent of proceeds should be applied toward payroll and commitment to retain the workforce at 50 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels.

Check out this pamphlet for more information about the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund. Click here for the Spanish version.


Cook County COVID-19 Taxes, Fines and Fees Relief Package 

President Toni Preckwinkle has implemented an economic package directed at business owners in the county to help ease some of their financial strain while managing their way through this crisis. Most notably, she is pushing back the due dates for the February and March home rule taxes to May 1st. She is temporarily suspending debt collection and home rule tax assessments. No penalties or interest will accrue during this period. In addition, the Department of Administrative Hearings is delaying hearings until at least April 15th.

Please click here for more information.


CARES Act Employee Retention Tax Credit

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. To learn more about the tax credit, if you’re eligible, and which employees count, check out this new guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Hello Alice – Business for All Grants

Hello Alice, a free, predictive technology, multi-channel platform that guides business owners by providing access to funding, networks and services, has launched a funding and mentorship program for entrepreneurs, which is open to anyone, but has a special focus on women, people of color, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs with disabilities, and those affiliated with the military. Business owners may apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support business growth, including $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants to help small businesses in crisis. In addition to funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing support from the Hello Alice community. General Business for All Grant applications are due by September 25, 2020 at 12:00 am PT. $10,000 COVID-19 Business for All Grants are awarded on a rolling basis.

To learn more and see if your business is eligible, click here.


The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation and GlobalGiving Establish The Red Backpack Fund

Knowing the ripple effect that empowering women can have to strengthen neighborhoods, cities and countries, The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 and teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund. GlobalGiving will be overseeing the fund, making 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of those impacted by this crisis.

To be eligible to apply you must be a majority women-owned business or nonprofit with annual revenues less than $5 million, with at least one additional paid employee and fewer than 50 individuals on staff. Sole proprietors are not currently eligible to apply.

The next application round will open on May 4. Learn more here.


Yelp and GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund

The Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe have pledged to match up to $1 million in total donations from matching grants made possible by the Small Business Relief Fund. The Fund is managed by and will make a $500 matching grant for the first 2,000 eligible businesses that claim or otherwise start their fundraising page on GoFundMe and raise $500. This matching grant will remain open until funds are depleted.

Learn more about the program and if your business is eligible by clicking here.


Arts for Illinois Relief Fund

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor JB Pritzker announced the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, providing financial assistance to artists, artisans and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19. The fund is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the broader philanthropic community.

Grant applications for artists, artisans and cultural organizations are now open and you can apply here. Individual artists and artisans – including stage and production members and part-time cultural workers – experiencing an urgent need will be able to apply for one-time grants of $1,500 distributed by 3Arts. Grants will be awarded through a lottery system and will be disseminated quickly. Additionally, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations of any size will be able to apply for relief through the Arts Work Fund. Based on their demonstrated financial need, organizations will be awarded grants from $6,000 – $30,000.


Facebook Small Business Grant Program

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses during this challenging time. Up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries will be able to receive the grant. To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have between 2 and 50 employees
  • Have been in business for over a year
  • Have experienced challenges from COVID-19
  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

Learn more here.


Additional Financing Opportunities

Listed below are financing opportunities from BACP’s Nonprofit Business Support Partners.


Illinois Income Tax Filing Deadline Extended

Income tax filing deadlines at the State and Federal levels have been extended to July 15. If you are expecting a refund, you can still go ahead and file in the next month as usual. But if you are expecting to have to make a payment and are experiencing financial hardship, you have some extra time to get things in order.

Please note Illinois did NOT extend the 1st quarter 2020 estimated tax payment due date. April 15th is still the due date for 1st quarter estimates.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms to postpone the 2019 tax returns or payments until July 15th. This extension is automatic. However, if additional time is needed to file a return beyond July 15th, an extension form can be filed. This extends the filing deadline but does not extend the July 15th payment deadline.


Cook County Tax Relief

The Cook County Department of Revenue is taking measures to support businesses in Cook County who are experiencing slowdowns or financial operational issues during this time of great uncertainty. They are offering tax relief options by request. If any individual or business needs additional time to file and pay taxes, and request an extension.


Business Invest — Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program

The State Treasurer’s Office is launching a small business loan program in partnership with Illinois financial institutions to assist small businesses and non-profits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an impact investment loan program under which the State Treasurer would make up to $250 million in deposits available to financial institutions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small businesses and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information and details on how to apply, please click here.


City of Chicago Tax Relief for Small Businesses

To further provide relief for businesses over the coming weeks, the City is extending due dates for tax payments until April 30, 2020 for the following City taxes:

  • Bottled Water tax
  • Checkout Bag tax
  • Amusement tax
  • Hotel Accommodation tax
  • Restaurant tax
  • Parking tax


Sales Tax Deferral for Bars and Restaurants

To help alleviate some of the unprecedented challenges facing bars and restaurants due to COVID-19, Gov. Pritzker has directed the Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants. Under the directive, eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or interest on payments due in March, April or May made late. The Department of Revenue estimates this will give relief to nearly 80% of bars and restaurants in Illinois.


Mayor Lightfoot Announces Temporary Suspension of Debt Collection, Ticketing and Towing Practices to Provide Relief in Response to The Covid-19 Outbreak

The City of Chicago will be temporarily suspending debt collection practices and non-safety related citations and impounds, as well as penalties for late payment. This penalty relief package directs a temporary suspension of late fees and defaults on payment plans, including city tickets, utility bills, parking and red-light citations, booting and other non-public safety relates violations. Additionally, there will be no new interest accumulated on current compliance plans.


The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) is soliciting your feedback as they develop resources and measures to support small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.


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