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

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant Program?

The current St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Program focuses 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.  There is an application for Businesses that occupy a commercial space and one for those operating a home-based business in St. Lucie County.

 What businesses qualify for the Home-Based business funding?

Home-Based Small businesses in St. Lucie County directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please keep reading for specific eligibility criteria.  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.

 What can these funds be used for?

Grants may be used to reimburse for qualified COVID-19 related expenses from March 1, 2020 through the date of application.  Grant funds will not be approved to replace lost revenue.  Grant funding may be used for business expenses, such as employees’ wages, mortgage, rent, vendor invoices, utility bills, payroll and other costs, so long as these expenses are not paid for by insurance or another federal assistance program.

 If I’m approved, how quickly will I receive assistance?

Complete applications with all required documentation will be reviewed on a first-come, first-qualified basis.  Depending on the number of applicants, it may take several weeks from the date of application submission for eligible business owners and individuals to be contacted, as eligibility must be validated. Validation of applications will not occur until all documentation is received.

All funds are expected to be disbursed by December 31, 2020. St. Lucie County is committed to helping our small businesses in need of aid as quickly as possible. Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic to our local community, we anticipate a high volume of requests.

 What is the application deadline? 

St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant program – will begin accepting applications on November 3, 2020. The application period will close on November 30, 2020 (midnight) or when grant funds are depleted.

Which businesses qualify for the St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant?

Home-Based Businesses are eligible for up to $4,000 if it meets ALL of the following criteria: 

  • Grant Maximums are as follows:

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

  • Business is physically located within the boundaries of St. Lucie County, Florida.
  • Business has been operating since at least December 31, 2019.
  • Business can demonstrate ongoing business operations as of February 29, 2020.
  • Business is expected to return to full operations after local and state emergency guidelines during COVID-19 are rescinded.
  • Business is not a publicly traded company.
  • Business suffered business disruption from the COVID-19 public health emergency and is Home-Based as 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.
  • Business suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 exceeding $500 from March 1, 2020 through the date of application submission, excluding those covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program.
  • No owner, officer, partner or principal has been convicted of a financial crime within the last three years.
  • Business is not operating in violation of any state, federal or local laws

 

Am I eligible if I meet some, but not all, of the eligibility requirements?

No, a business must meet ALL eligibility requirements to be eligible.

 How do I know if my business suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 exceeding $500 since March 1, 2020, excluding those covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program?

Your business needs to be able to attest it suffered at least $500 in business expenses due to COVID-19 related closures from March 1 through the application submission date, and provide invoices, paid receipts, past due bills or contractor proposals to support the damages. You may also want to consider whether you had new or increased expenses due to COVID-19 such as cleaning supplies, building or equipment modifications, and/or personal protective equipment. Remember, if insurance and/or reimbursement from any federal program will cover revenue losses or additional expenses, these amounts must be deducted when calculating “economic damages.”  Grant funds will not be approved to replace lost revenue.

 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 through 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.

  1. Commercial Liability Insurance, provided premiums were due and payable between March 2020 and the time of application.
  2. Telephone, provided it is a dedicated line for the business.
  3. Internet, provided the account is a business account listed in the business’s name.
  4. Payroll during a closure in March 2020 thru the date of application submission.
  5. 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.
  6. Communication and marketing expenses in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  7. Training and educational costs related to and in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  8. 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.

Can the grant funds be used to pay for business losses that are paid by insurance or another federal program?

No.

 What are the eligible reimbursement expenses I can use?

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.

  1. Commercial Liability Insurance, provided premiums were due and payable between March 2020 and the time of application.
  2. Telephone, provided it is a dedicated line for the business.
  3. Internet, provided the account is a business account listed in the business’s name.
  4. Payroll during a closure in March 2020 thru the date of application submission.
  5. 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.
  6. Communication and marketing expenses in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  7. Training and educational costs related to and in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  8. 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.

What types of businesses qualify? 

This St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Program focuses on businesses that maintain a home based location and 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.

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. 

Can an owner with a short-term rental property apply for this grant?

Yes, short-term rental property businesses meeting all other grant eligibility conditions and collect and remit Tourist Development Tax are eligible.

 I receive compensation from 1099s.  Do I qualify? 

Yes if the1099 is paid to your business at the home address and the payee matches your local Business Tax Receipts.

 What if I own my own business, but have no employees?  Do sole proprietors and partnerships qualify?

Yes

Do contractors, plumbers and carpenters qualify for the St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant?

Yes

 Can I apply if my business was deemed non-essential?

Yes

 Which essential businesses qualify for the St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant?

All Businesses that qualify as home-based and meet the eligibility requirements can apply for this grant regardless of essential/non-essential business classification.

 Do non-profits qualify?

No.  Eligible businesses must be operated for-profit and be privately owned.  Non-profits and faith-based businesses are encouraged to apply for assistance through the County St. Lucie Cares program at https://recoverstlucie.org

 Are realtors registered as S-Corps eligible?

Yes, assuming to your business at home address and the payee matches your local Business Tax Receipts.

 The Application

What documentation do I need to provide? 

Applications must include all documentation listed below. The application may be delayed or denied if all required information is not provided in a legible form.  Uploaded documents must be in .jpg or .pdf format. Pictures of a document open on a computer screen will not be accepted, you must download the document and upload in the application system at the appropriate location.

Depending your business type, you will also need to upload the following completed documents with your application (there are a total of 10 categories). D.1. thru D.7. are REQUIRED for all applications.  D.8. may or may not apply to your business.  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)

Important NOTE for business applicants regarding the information on your W-9 form.

Review your W-9 form closely.  For your application to be approved, the form must be completed correctly and each field you enter on your application must match the information on your W-9 exactly.

  1. Form 1040, Schedule C (or if short-term lodging, a Schedule E)
  2. Then, you are an individual, a sole proprietor or a single member LLC and you should check that box in section 3 of the W-9 and B.13. on the application.
  3. Put your personal given name (as shown on the Schedule C or E) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  4. Include your “Doing Business As” name (if you have one) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  5. The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  6. Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your personal social security number (SSN), and this same SSN should be entered on line B.5. of your application.
  7. Form 1065
  8. Then, you are a partnership or a “Limited Liability Company – P.”
    • If you are an LLC, you should check that box on the second line in section 3 of the W-9 and type the letter “P” in the blank to the right. Also, you should check the “Partnership” box on B.13 of the application.
    • Otherwise, you should check the “Partnership” box on the first line of section 3 of the W-9 and on line b.13 of the application
  9. Put the legal name of your partnership (as it appears on Form 1065) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  10. Include your “Doing Business As” name (if different from the partnership name) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  11. The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  12. Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your Employer Identification Number (EIN) as it appears on Form 1065, and this same EIN should be entered on line B.5. of your application. Do not use your Social Security Number.
  13. Form 1120
  14. Then, you are a C Corporation or a “Limited Liability Company – C.”
    • If you are an LLC, you should check that box on the second line in section 3 of the W-9 and type the letter “C” in the blank to the right.  Also, you should check the “Corporation” box on B.13. of the application.
    • Otherwise, you should check the “C Corporation” box on the first line of section 3 of the W-9 and the “Corporation” box on line b.13. of the application.
  15. Put the legal name of your corporation (as it appears on Form 1120) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  16. Include your “Doing Business As” name (if different from the corporation name) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  17. The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  18. Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your Employer Identification Number (EIN) as it appears on Form 1120, and this same EIN should be entered on line B.5. of your application. Do not use your Social Security Number.
  19. Form 1120S
  20. Then, you are an S Corporation or a “Limited Liability Company – S.”
    • If you are an LLC, you should check that box on the second line in section 3 of the W-9 and type the letter “S” in the blank to the right.  Also, you should check the “Corporation” box on B.13. of the application.
    • Otherwise, you should check the “S Corporation” box on the first line of section 3 of the W-9 and the “Corporation” box on line b.13. of the application.
  21. Put the legal name of your corporation (as it appears on Form 1120S) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  22. Include your “Doing Business As” name (if different from the corporation name) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  23. The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  24. Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your Employer Identification Number (EIN) as it appears on Form 1120S, and this same EIN should be entered on line B.5. of your application. Do not use your Social Security Number. 

There are multiple businesses registered to my residential address. Can I apply for more than one grant? 

No. Only one grant can be awarded to any given home address.  As a reminder, if anyone at this address received St. Lucie Recovers Individual or Family CARES funding, your home address is not eligible to submit a grant application.

I received PPP for my home-based business.  Can I still apply for this grant?

Yes, however any submitted expenses covered by CARES ACT funds and insurance cannot be submitted for reimbursement.  As a reminder, if anyone at this address received St. Lucie Recovers Individual or Family CARES funding, your home address is not eligible to submit a grant application. 

How does the application and approval process work?

The software and staff will communicate directly with the applicant regarding any problems with the application or to confirm the application is eligible, denied or if it needs revisions to be approved. Once an application is approved and processed for payment, the business owner will receive a direct deposit from St. Lucie County for the amount approved.

How do I apply?

St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant applicants must submit an online form with financial documentation and payroll records www.recoverstlucie.org.

How quickly will I receive my grant once approved?

Depending on the number of applicants and the completeness of your application, it may take several weeks from the start of application review until eligible business applicants will receive the approved funding.  We will be processing the grants as fast as possible.  The best thing you can do to speed up the process is to submit a complete, well thought out and well documented grant application and reply ASAP if contacted for clarifications or missing documentation. 

Will my business be required to report how I spent funds that are awarded?

St. Lucie County reserves the right to request such information.  Please note, your business is required to provide access to such records as may be necessary to prevent fraud or ensure compliance with federal requirements.

Can I apply for this loan through a local lending institution?

Local banks are not involved in this grant program.  Please apply directly through the St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant portal at www.recoverstlucie.org. 

Tips For Applicants

If you are applying for the St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do not rush to submit – the fastest way to get approved is to make sure your application and all documents are accurate and complete.
  2. Double-check that your current year documents are SIGNED, scanned & ready to upload.  Note – common errors that delay processing are:  incorrect W-9 forms, no voided check or incomplete Direct Deposit Form, inactive or missing Sun Biz registration, partial tax return submitted, full and current executed lease for rent reimbursement, missing required CURRENT local business tax receipts (St. Lucie County AND/OR municipality) and providing expenses from March 1stthrough date of application submission (start with highest first up to your maximum grant award).
  3. Submit your largest reimbursement receipts dated from March 1, 2020 to date of application submission. Use eligible receipts with the largest values to maximize your grant amount.  Note: not all expenses are reimbursed at face value.
  4. Make sure you have reviewed each screen before you select, “Complete and Continue.”
  5. You will be contacted if your application needs additional information or corrections.
  6. Once you submit your application it is locked. So, please make sure you have included all of your documentation before you submit.
  7. Don’t worry. A member of our staff will be in touch to discuss any issues they identify with your application. Thank you for your patience.

Where did this funding come from?

St. Lucie County received $13.8 million from the State of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds are being used to assist residents as well as businesses, with almost $4 million allocated specifically for small business assistance grants. The application process is being administered by St. Lucie County in partnership with the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County.

Questions and Help with the St. Lucie Recovers Small Business Assistance Grant Program

What if I have questions about the application or whether my business qualifies?

St. Lucie County is here to help. For more detailed small business assistance grant information, including eligibility requirements and the online application, go to www.recoverstlucie.org or call 772.336.6285.

Apply for CARES now!

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