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Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Grants
Along with small and medium enterprises, the restaurant industry has also been severely impacted by the pandemic. However, the government is trying to ensure that tax relief is provided to help the restaurant industry. This has been effectively encapsulated in the Restaurant Revitalization Act signed on March 11.
$5 billion of the fund will be available to eligible restaurants with gross receipts during 2019 of $500,000 or less.
In addition, the crux of this particular tax relief regime provides grants to restaurant applicants of up to $10 million. This is mainly to compensate them for the pandemic-related revenue loss. In this aspect, all restaurants are declared as eligible for the program, with some exceptions, like restaurants that are operated by a state or a local government or are owned by a publicly-traded company. However, it is to be noted that the grant that would be awarded to the entity is not supposed to exceed an aggregate of $10 million and should be limited to $5 million per physical location.
The grant amount will be based on the pandemic-related revenue loss. If the entity was in business for 2019, either entirely or partially, the loss is calculated as the 2020 average monthly gross receipts multiplied by 12, subtracted from 2019 average monthly gross receipts multiplied by 12. A different calculation method is to be applied if the business newly opened anytime between January 1, 2020, and the enactment date of the bill, March 11, 2021. The grant will be reduced by the 7(a) SBA loans, including PPP loans received.
Under this particular act, there are certain expenses that are eligible for restaurants. They mainly include payroll costs, paid sick leaves, mortgage, rent and utilities, maintenance, supplies, food and beverage expenses, operational expenses, and any other expenses SBA deemed essential. In the same manner, the grant is supposed to be used for expenses that fall within the covered period between February 15, 2020, and December 31, 2021.
Restaurant Revitalization Grants that are received are not subject to income tax. In the same manner, the exclusion will not result in the denial of a deduction reduction of tax attributes or a denial of increase in basis. This implies that these businesses are not supposed to include the grant amount as a gross income in the tax return.
Tax Problems for Restaurant Owners
Restaurant Revitalization Grant has been a much-needed life support for the troubled industry. Followed by the pandemic, the restaurant industry was perhaps the most impacted by lockdowns, with the ongoing burden of having to remit tax payments. Payroll taxes, for one, continue to be a pressing cause of concern for the restaurant industry.
When their business struggles, restaurant owners are tempted to use these funds to cover the business expenses. The IRS takes late payroll tax payments very seriously because it wasn’t the business owners’ money to begin with. If the IRS thinks that if an individual was responsible for filing or paying taxes but did not, then he or she becomes liable for the unpaid taxes.
Business owners must realize that the IRS has the power to close their business, come after the owner personally by asserting Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, levy bank accounts, or seize income sources and properties in an attempt to collect back taxes. Also, their passport may be revoked or declined to issue or renew by the U.S. Department of State.
Tax Reliefs for the Restaurant Industry
In the case where the business is approached by the IRS for back taxes, the best possible course of action might be to adopt an approach to tactfully deal with the issue, without panicking.
The best course of action is to see if they qualify for any tax relief options. However, this can only be done after delinquent tax returns have been filed and all current income tax and payroll tax deposits have been paid.
Businesses or individuals can settle their taxes for substantially less than they owe through an Offer in Compromise if they qualify. Financial inability to pay is the most common reason an Offer is accepted, but it must be supported by and verified with well-prepared financial documents and statements.
Or, through an Installment Agreement, businesses or individuals may set up an affordable payment plan to pay off the back taxes. If they qualify for a “Partial Payment” Installment, they will not be paying off the full amount, as the balance left at the end of the payment term will be forgiven. Strategizing is crucial when submitting an application in order to maximize the benefit.
Also, they may be able to halt IRS collection actions by declaring a Currently Not Collectible status. To qualify for this status, they must prove they have a dire financial situation and none to very little income. The IRS will put a pause on their attempt to collect payment until the financial situation improves.
The Final Words
The current day and age are quite challenging for almost all business owners. In this regard, it is imperative for businesses to be fully aware of all the taxes that they owe, as well as the options that are available to them. There are numerous tax relief options that are put forth by the government, but business owners should seek a certified tax relief specialist to clearly understand their options and eligibility so that they can strategize, take full advantage, and save considerable sums of money for the taxpayers.
Ace Plus Tax Resolution provides permanent solutions to taxpayers with IRS and state tax problems to individuals and businesses struggling with unmanageable IRS tax problems. If you’re struggling with payroll tax problems, contact their tax professionals for a free consultation.
James Cha is a CPA and Certified Tax Resolution Specialist at Ace Plus Tax Resolution, has been representing his clients and dealing with the IRS for over 30 years. His practice is in Los Angeles, but his clients are across the nation. Contact him at (213) 600-7388 or James@AcePlusTaxResolution.com.
Watch our video about how to resolve your payroll tax problems: https://youtu.be/Xw4mjLKoWKI