Help is here for St. Lucie County small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic!

St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant For Home-Based Businesses

 Grants of up to $4,000 to be awarded to eligible Home-Based businesses

St. Lucie Recovers Home-Based Business Assistance Program will focus on businesses that experienced a business disruption whether they were forced to close by government order, curtailed operations or closed voluntarily to promote social distance measures or that were affected by decreased customer demand as a result of COVID-19 public health emergency.  Business Disruption is defined as:

  • Reduction of 20% or greater in annual revenues or customers.
  • Supply chain disruption resulting in increased operational costs greater than the maximum grant award for which the business qualifies.
  • Workforce availability or reduction leading to decreased production capacity by greater than 20-%, for which the impacts are greater than maximum grant award for which the business qualifies
  • Modification of business operations, e.g., changes in production, delivery processes or increased digital capabilities (conversion to online platform for provision of services or products or shifting organization to operate remotely) resulting in disruption expenses greater than the maximum grant award for which the business qualifies.

Grant awards will be approved on a first-come, first-qualified basis (application complete and all documentation provided) and subject to funding availability.

Maximum grant awards will be based on the following table and submission of reimbursement of eligible business expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency:

2019 Annual Revenues Maximum Grant Award
Less than $5,000 $500
$5,000 – $14,999 $1,000
$15,000 – $24,999 $2,000
$25,000 – $34,999 $3,000
$35,000 – $500,000 $4,000

These are grants not loans, so they do not have to be repaid. This grant application period will be open from November 3, 2020 and ends November 30, 2020 (midnight or until funds are depleted).

DEFINITION OF A QUALIFIED HOME-BASED BUSINESS

St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Program for Home-Based Businesses will focus on those who operate their business from their primary residence AND experienced a business disruption whether they were forced to close, curtailed operations or voluntarily closed to promote social distance measures or that were affected by decreased customer demand as a result of COVID-19 public health emergency. Home-Based Business is defined as: A business, profession, occupation, or trade conducted within a residence for gain or support by a resident of the dwelling that is incidental and secondary to the residential use of the building.

In addition to providing requested documentation, business registration details and business history information (see in the ELIGIBILTY SECTION below), the following must be met:

  • A home-based business is subject to the zoning code of the governing jurisdiction and a business use must be allowed or permitted consistent with the zoning district regulations in which the home is located. Business must hold a valid Local Business Tax Receipt for the home based business from St. Lucie County AND the municipality in which the business is located (the City of Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie or the Town of St. Lucie Village).
  • The business’s principal business location must be the home of the business owner.
  • The principal business’s address listed on the Local Business Tax Receipt must be the same as listed on the Florida Driver’s License, Form W-9 and 2019 federal tax returns.
  • Grants cannot be awarded if the owner or renter (or any occupant) of the residence out of which the home-based business operates did not receive any individual or family assistance through the Recover St. Lucie CARES Programs.

Business Use of Your Home. The term “home” includes a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home or similar property which provides basic living accommodations. It also includes accessory structures on the property, such as an unattached garage or studio. A home-based business may claim reimbursement for expenses for the business use of your home.

 GRANT PURPOSE: HOW CAN THE FUNDS BE USED?

Grants funds are to be used to reimburse businesses for operational expenses incurred by Business Disruption as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Funds may only be used to only to reimburse expenses and are not to replace lost revenue.  Eligible Business Expenses include those incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency from March 2020 thru the date of application submission; examples include:

1.Primary mortgage or rent, property insurance (including renter’s insurance), and utilities (electric, water and sewer).  See note* below.

*Note: Reimbursement for these monthly expenses will be based on the calculated percentage use of your home by your business. The applicant will be required to provide the total area (square footage) used regularly and exclusive for your business as well as the total area of your home (including accessory structures if they are being use for your business). Daycare facilities will be required to provide the Form 8829 prepared as part of your taxes that determines the percentage of business use of your home.

2.Commercial Liability Insurance, provided premiums were due and payable between March 2020 and the time of application.

3.Telephone, provided it is a dedicated line for the business.

4.Internet, provided the account is a business account listed in the business’s name.

5.Payroll during a closure in March 2020 thru the date of application submission.

6.Reopening and safety measure costs incurred for the purchase of items meant to protect the public and employees (i.e., masks, sanitizer and other costs to implement safety measures undertaken to reopen the business) in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

7.Communication and marketing expenses in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

8.Training and educational costs related to and in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

9.Expenses related to modifying business operations including a conversion to online platforms for sales, enabling remote operations and/or measures to promote social distancing and safety in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

A business may not claim reimbursement for revenue loss.

A business may not claim reimbursement for mileage or fuel.

The applicant will have to demonstrate business expenses clearly and succinctly to claim them as reimbursement expenses, and the final determination of eligibility is at the sole discretion of St. Lucie County.  However, as with all expenses, grant recipients may not use these funds to cover expense for which the business has been or will be reimbursed by other CARES (Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act program or insurance proceeds.

We know virtually all small businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.  As new grants are made available with different eligibility requirements and/or funding, they will be posted on this website.  If your business does not qualify for this grant, contact us for no cost COVID-19-related consulting services to help your business grow and succeed, or call 772.336.6285.

GRANT RECIPIENTS: WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Program for Home-Based Businesses will focus on those who operate their business from their primary residence. Home-based businesses that experienced a business disruption whether they were forced to close, curtailed operations or voluntarily closed to promote social distance measures or that were affected by decreased customer demand as a result of COVID-19 public health emergency.

Home-Based Business is defined as: A business, profession, occupation, or trade conducted within a residence for gain or support by a resident of the dwelling that is incidental and secondary to the residential use of the building.

  • Note: A home-based business is subject to the zoning code of the governing jurisdiction and a business use must be allowed or permitted consistent with the zoning district regulations in which the home is located. 1) Business must hold a valid Local Business Tax Receipt for the home based business from St. Lucie County AND the municipality in which the business is located (the City of Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie or the Town of St. Lucie Village). 2) The business’s principal business location must be the home of the business owner. 3) The principal business’s address listed on the Local Business Tax Receipt must be the same as listed on the Florida Driver’s License, Form W-9 and 2019 federal tax returns. 4) Grants cannot be awarded if the owner or renter (or any occupant) of the residence out of which the home-based business operates did not receive any individual or family assistance through the Recover St. Lucie CARES Programs. 5) Only one grant may awarded to the same address.

All St. Lucie Home-Based Businesses who have incurred qualified Business Disruption: Business was forced to close, voluntarily closed, curtail operations and/or experienced a business disruption due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Business disruption is generally defined as a reduction in revenue or customers; supply chain disruption; workforce availability or modification of business operations AND meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Experienced economic damages of business interruption caused by COVID-19 exceeding $500 from March 1, 2020 thru the date of application excluding those covered by insurance or reimbursement by any Federal program.
  • Have had total revenue of less than $1 million on 2019 filed tax return.
  • Be physically located within the boundaries of St. Lucie County, Florida.
  • Business meets Home-Based Business definition noted above.
  • Have been established and operating since at least December 31, 2019.
  • Be able to demonstrate ongoing business operations as of February 29, 2020.
  • The owner or renter (or any occupant) of the residence out of which the home-based business operates did not receive any individual or family assistance through the Recover St. Lucie CARES Programs or any state or federal CARES program.
  • Be currently opened for business in some capacity or temporarily closed by a government order.
  • Be registered as a Florida business with Sunbiz.com (Florida Division of Corporations) OR, if not required, otherwise demonstrate the business was operating prior to January 1, 2020. Examples may include license issued from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or certification/licensure from Department of Health.
  • Provide a valid local business tax receipt for St. Lucie County ANDif your business is operated in the City of Port St. Lucie, the City of Fort Pierce or the Town of St. Lucie Village provide a business tax receipt for the applicable municipality (this is commonly known as an occupational license or business license).
  • Be current on all St. Lucie County property tax obligations thru Tax Year 2018.
  • Be expected to be fully operational after local and all state or local emergency guidelines restricting business operations are lifted.
  • Business is for-profit and privately owned.
  • Attest that no owner, officer, partner or principal has been convicted of a financial crime within the last 3 years.
  • Provide copies of bills, invoices, statements (not bank statements), proposals or receipts for eligible reimbursable COVID-19 related business expenses between March 1, 2020 and submission of application totaling a minimum of $500.  (Note:  eligible business expenses are defined above. You must provide a copy of an executed lease, lease statement or mortgage statement if you are seeking reimbursement for rent or mortgage.)

Note:  this is a grant program, no payback is required. These funds may be considered taxable income, so please contact your financial advisor for guidance.  Each applicant will be limited to a single application per company or partnership.  A 1099 may be issued for awarded grant funds.

If your business does not qualify for this grant, contact us for no cost COVID-19-related consulting services to help your business grow and succeed, or call 772.336.6285.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR APPLICATION

You will also need to upload all checked documents with your application. Click on the blue underlines for links to forms or more information as needed.

 D.1. Scanned copy of the front of the business owner or principal’s driver’s license or state identification card. (Required)

   D.2. Completed and signed W-9 form for business.  (W-9 form for business.) Note: the W-9 DBA, Tax ID Number (or Social Security Number for sole proprietor), and Mailing Address for Grant Check must match entries in General Information section of the application. (Required)

   D.3.A. St. Lucie County Direct Deposit Authorization Form (required to enable payment).

   D.3.B. Copy of Voided Check for Business (Required)

   D.4. (Required) Copy of “active” state business registration from Florida Division of Corporations (SunBiz) showing the business was operating prior to December 31, 2019.  Search by “Entity Name” here (use full legal business name as depicted on your Business Tax Receipt or Sunbiz), select listing with “Active” status;

OR

If not required to register with the Florida Division of Corporations, attach documentation showing the business was operating prior to December 31, 2019.  Examples may include certification from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or certification/licensure from Department of Health.

   D.5. Income Tax Return For Your Business Type (Required)

Individual (Sole Proprietors and individual/single-owner LLCs) Corporations (C-Corps, S-Corps, corporate Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs))

Partnerships

 

Complete 2019 Schedule C (Form 1040)

 

For Childcare Business, also include a Form 8829

Complete 2019 Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120 or Form 1120S)

 

Complete 2019 Return of Partnership Income (Form 1065)

   D.6.A Business-related expenses submitted for reimbursement are required to be due to COVID-19 impact. Provide copies of bills, invoices, statements (not bank statements), proposals or receipts for eligible reimbursable COVID-19 related business expenses between March 1st and submission date of application.  Past-due, unpaid bills may be included and proposals from contractors for COVID-19 related safety measures may be applicable. These must exclude expenses covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program. Within the application you will be required to list and document these expenditures. (Required)

You will type in the total square footage of space used for your business

You will type in the total square footage of your entire home

   D.6.B. Lease or mortgage. If seeking reimbursement for rent or mortgage, you must provide a copy of an executed lease or lease statements or mortgage statements for the months for which you are seeking reimbursement.

   D.7.A 2020 – 2021 St. Lucie County Local Business Tax Receipt (Required).

   D.7.B 2020 – 2021 City Local Business Tax Receipt if your business is located if in the City of Fort Pierce, City of Port St. Lucie or the Town of St. Lucie Village. (Required, if applicable)

    ***D.8. For Short-Term Lodging establishments and vacation rental management companies that collect and remit Tourist Development Tax, tourist development tax receipt or cancelled check for last monthly or quarterly payment made. (*** Not required of all applicants)

Note – Business Disruption:  Business must clearly demonstrate business disruption. For example, if a business is claiming $4,000 in financial impacts, as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency due to a reduction in annual revenues or customers you must provide a detailed overview and must be able to produce all necessary and requisite documents to demonstrate the impacts, upon request, of the business disruption.  These requisite documents will need to be retained for seven years.

TIMELINE: WHEN TO APPLY?

While applications will be processed and grants awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, the applications are being accepted from November 3, 2020 to November 30, 2020 (midnight or until funds are depleted).

APPLICATION STEPS

  • Please read through the entire list of information before starting the application.
  • Please read through the entire list of information before starting the application.
  • See if you are eligible. Read “WHO IS ELIGIBLE”.
  • Collect all appropriate documents.To be uploaded at the end of the application. See “DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR APPLICATION. Complete Application including uploading all appropriate documents at the end. Make sure to hit Submit then complete the final survey for additional no-cost business services.

When submitting expenses for reimbursement consideration, start with your largest ones first (rent, payroll, etc.) with the goal of submitting the minimum requirement of $500 and at least up to your maximum allowed grant amount.

2019 Annual Revenues Maximum Grant Award
Less than $5,000 $500
$5,000 – $14,999 $1,000
$15,000 – $24,999 $2,000
$25,000 – $34,999 $3,000
$35,000 – $500,000 $4,000

Application Review. A committee will evaluate your application; all attempts will be made to contact applicants for missing or items needing clarification; however, APPLICATIONS WILL BE ULTIMATELY REJECTED IF ANY REQUIRED DOCUMENTS ARE MISSING, ILLEGIBLE OR FALSIFIED.  Additionally, should your application be selected for proof of Business Disruption documentation, you will be contacted directly prior to funds disbursement. Applicants will receive an email notification whether application has been accepted or denied.

Processing and distribution. Approved applications will be processed and funds distributed via direct deposit.

Apply for CARES now!

St. Lucie Economic Development Council
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