New York's COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Grant: A Guide


Owen Yin


Reviewed by


June 9, 2021

This article is Tax Professional approved


Is your small business based in New York and in need of financial assistance? New York State launched a new Business Pandemic Recovery Initiative on June 10th, 2021. The COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program is part of this initiative. The state has allocated $800 million in funding for this program to help New York-based small businesses recover from the pandemic.

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What is the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program?

This COVID-19 grant provides funding to New York-based small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations. The grant is relatively flexible, though you must use it for COVID-19 related losses or expenses.

The state will prioritize socially and economically disadvantaged business owners in disbursing this grant. If you have a minority or women-owned business enterprise, a service-disabled veteran-owned or veteran-owned businesses, or your business is located in a community that was economically distressed prior to March 1st, 2020, your application will be given priority.

How and where do I apply for the grant program?

The application portal opened for applicants on June 10th, 2021 at 9 am ET.

Visit the State of New York Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program page to begin your application.

Who is distributing the grants?

Empire State Development (ESD) is the state’s main business-aid agency. They’re working with the lender, Lendistry, to process applications, determine eligibility, and distribute grants.

ESD will not be partnering with any other lenders, and Lendistry will not charge a fee when you apply.

No other lenders or organizations are authorized to accept applications for the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program.

Who can apply for funding?

Figuring out if your business is eligible for this latest New York COVID-19 grant will require a clear financial picture of your business, which means you’ll need to know your “gross receipts.”

Gross receipts is the total amount of money your business has received in a given period. It includes sales of products or services, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, fees, or commissions, reduced by returns and allowances.

If you’re up-to-date with your books, your income sources will be easy to review, and you’ll be able to determine your gross receipts.

If all of the following statements apply to your business, you’re eligible to apply for funding:

  • You have a New York-based small or micro business, or a for-profit independent arts organization that has been impacted by the pandemic
  • Your business was operational before March 1st, 2019, and is still open and operational
  • You can show a loss of gross receipts due to the COVID-19 pandemic or compliance with coronavirus health and safety protocols which resulted in business modifications, interruptions, or closures
  • Your 2019 or 2020 gross receipts are between $25,000 and $500,000 per year
  • Your business has a positive net profit on your 2019 Business Return of $1 or more
  • You can show that you’ve had at least a 25% loss in annual gross receipts in a year-to-year revenue comparison as of December 31st, 2020 to the same period in 2019
  • Your total expenses on your 2020 Business Income Return are greater than the grant amounts
  • Your business complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, codes, and requirements
  • You don’t owe any federal, state, or local taxes prior to July 15th, 2020, or have an approved repayment or deferral plan in agreement with appropriate federal, state, and local taxing authorities
  • Your business didn’t qualify for business grant assistance programs under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 or any other available federal COVID-19 economic recovery or business assistance grant programs, including loans forgiven under the federal Paycheck Protection Program, or you are unable to obtain sufficient business assistance from such federal programs

Keep in mind that, because of the limited amount of grant funding and the high volume of requests expected, your business type, geography, and industry may factor into your ability to receive a grant.

Which businesses are ineligible for funding?

  • All non-profits, churches, and other religious institutions
  • Government-owned entities or elected official offices
  • Businesses primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities
  • Businesses that received awards from the SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant Program
  • Landlords and passive real estate income businesses
  • Illegal businesses or enterprises

What if I’ve already received federal assistance?

You may still be able to apply if you’ve received or been awarded the following federal assistance:

How much funding can I get from New York’s COVID grant?

Your business’s annual gross receipts for 2019 will be used to calculate your grant.

For businesses with annual gross receipts between $25,000 – $49,999.99, the grant is $5,000 per business.

For annual gross receipts between $50,000 – $99,999.99, businesses are eligible for awards of $10,000 per business.

For businesses with annual gross receipts between $100,000 – $500,000, awards will be 10% of gross receipts, to a maximum grant of $50,000.

The minimum grant amount available is $5,000 and the maximum amount is $50,000.

Where can I find my gross receipts and net profit amounts?

  • You can find your gross receipt amount on:
  • Line 1A, IRS Form 1120 or 1065
  • Line 1, IRS Form 1040 Schedule C
  • You can find your net profit on:
  • Line 28, IRS Form 1120
  • Line 22, IRS Form 1065
  • Line 31, IRS Form 1040 Schedule C

What do I need to submit with my application?

  • Proof of gross receipts loss or other economic hardship: 2019 and 2020 Business Income Tax returns
  • For corporations and LLCs – include IRS Form 1120
  • For partnerships – include IRS Form 1065 and Schedule K-1
  • For sole proprietors – include IRS Form 1040 Schedule C
  • Completed IRS Form 4506-C
  • Proof of business location and current operation. Include two of the following documents:
  • Current lease
  • Utility bill
  • Current business bank statement
  • Current business mortgage statement
  • Business credit card statement
  • Professional insurance bill
  • Payment processing statement
  • NYS ST-809 or ST-100 sales tax collection documentation
  • Schedule of ownership: Listing of names, addresses, Social Security Numbers or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, phone numbers, e-mails, percentage ownership, and photo ID for any owners with more than 20% ownership of the business
  • Proof of number of employees: Most recently submitted NYS-45 document for employer firms
  • For funds distribution: W-9 and bank account information

How can I spend the grant?

Qualifying businesses must use grants for COVID-19 related financial losses or expenses incurred between March 1st, 2020 and April 1st, 2021.

These include:

  • Payroll costs
  • Commercial rent or mortgage payments for NYS-based property (but not for any rent or mortgage prepayments)
  • Payment of local property or school taxes associated with a small business location in NYS
  • Insurance costs
  • Utility costs
  • Costs of personal protection equipment (PPE) necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) costs
  • Other machinery or equipment costs
  • Supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols
  • Other documented COVID-19/coronavirus-related costs as approved by the ESD

Are any expenses ineligible?

Grants awarded under the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program may not be used to re-pay or pay down any portion of a loan obtained through a federal COVID-19 relief package for business assistance or any New York State business assistance programs.

How Bench can help

New Yorkers, do you need more help navigating the changing landscape of financial relief programs? Having a Bench bookkeeper on your side can help you provide clear financial statements for your next grant application. Whether you plan to grow your business or make important cost-cutting decisions, bookkeeping can help you get a better picture of your business’s financial health.

Additional resources

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.
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