AUGUSTA, Maine — Small businesses and nonprofits can begin applying on Friday for a share of $200 million in aid under a new program rolled out by Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday using money from the federal stimulus bill passed in March. Here is a guide to applying.
What kinds of businesses are eligible?
The eligibility is wide, with the Democratic governor’s administration opening the program to most for-profit businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees that are either headquartered or have at least half of their employees in Maine and can prove coronavirus-related losses. Businesses must be in good standing on taxes and cannot have permanently ceased operations or be in bankruptcy. Some entities are barred, including nonprofits that lobby, nursing homes, credit unions, country clubs and adult entertainment businesses.
What are businesses allowed to spend the aid on?
All normal business expenses can be covered using the money, including payroll, rent or mortgage payment, purchase of protective equipment, utilities, long-term investments and operating expenses. Entertainment and depreciation costs cannot be covered and the funds are both taxable and subject to audit.
What information do you need to apply?
Along with basic information about your organization, you need income tax returns and revenue and expenses for the calendar years of 2017, 2018 and 2019. That must be paired with anticipated revenue and expenses in 2020 and a percentage-wise estimate of the losses due to the pandemic. You must also document other federal loans provided — including under the Paycheck Protection Program — and have a prepared W-9 tax form if you are deemed eligible.
How do businesses apply?
The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development will open its online application platform on Friday, Aug. 9 and the application period will close on Sept. 9. It is not first-come, first-served. The agency is hosting webinars on Friday at 10 a.m. and on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 11 a.m. on the program and has a frequently asked questions page on its website.
When will the aid come and how is it awarded?
Organizations that qualify for aid should expect to see a check in the mail in early October, the state says. Awards for individual businesses will be based on need, but they will be given as a share of the total pool of losses reported by qualified businesses. The maximum award is $100,000, but the minimum has not been determined yet.