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Information for Businesses

Delayed Fines & Fees

Cook County has delayed a range of fines and fees for businesses. A list is here. Across Illinois, sales taxes for bars and restaurants that have a tax burden of less than $75,000 are able to defer February-April tax payments until May. Full details are available here. As of May 1, the Illinois Department of Revenue has not extended the tax deferral. 

Licenses & Certifications

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is extending licenses that would have expired in March, April, May, or June to July 31, 2020. Details can be found here. In Cook County, certified Minority/Women/Veteran/Service Disabled Veteran/Person with Disability owned businesses will have the option of having their 2020 renewal dates extended automatically by 6 months with recertification fees waived. More information here.

Bars & Restaurants

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is authorizing the return of beer that was sold and delivered on or before March 23rd. Beer must be in the original package or untapped kegs. Beer must have been purchased with the intention of on-premise consumption. Beer may be returned for cash or credit. Details can be found here.

Small Businesses


The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to small businesses that are located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (these areas have not been announced yet).


Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March and may continue to face depressed revenues or closure. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020.

Specifically, the program includes support for:

  • Businesses in DIAs - $20 million for businesses that are located in a subset of DIAs that have recently experienced significant property damage, providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each

  • Bars and Restaurants - $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing 1,000 grants of up to $20,000

  • Barbershops and Salons - $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each

  • Gyms and Fitness Centers - $10 million for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19, providing 500 grants of $20,000 each

DCEO will make the application for BIG available on Monday, June 22nd.


More information on the program is available here.


Under the CARES Act, there are two new resources for businesses or nonprofits with less than 500 employees. First, Paycheck Protection Loans: This program provides cash-flow assistance through federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll. If an employer maintains their payroll, the loans will be forgiven. Loans are available to businesses (including nonprofits) with fewer than 500 employees who have been impacted by COVID-19 between 2/15 and 6/30. Loans are available for up to 250% of your payroll costs. Additional information is here. At the end of April, an additional round of funding was approved for the PPP. 


Second, Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants: Grants for an emergency advance of $10,000 for small business and nonprofits (with fewer than 500 employees) who have also applied for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. First apply for the EIDL and then request the Economic Injury Grant. The grant does not need to be repaid and can be used for payroll costs, production costs, debts, rent, or mortgage payments. More information on the loans and additional grants are here.

The CARES Act also created an Employee Retention Tax Credit, which helps employers retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The Tax Credit is fully refundable for 50 percent of qualified wages (including qualified health plan expenses) paid between March 12, 2020 and January 1, 2021, up to $5,000 per employee. This credit is not available to employers receiving assistance via the Paycheck Protection Program. Information from the IRS on how to apply is available here.

Finally, the CARES Act created the Employer Payroll Tax Deferral that allows employers to defer portions of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020. These deferred amounts will be due in two installments: one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Qualified deferrable taxes include the employer portion of FICA taxes and half of SECA taxes. Deferral is not available to employers receiving assistance via the Paycheck Protection Program. Information from the IRS is available here.  

Nonprofit Organizations

In addition to the grants and loans available to small businesses and nonprofits above, the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund is distributing funds to nonprofits that are providing services to Illinoisans impacted by COVID-19. The fund is not currently taking applications, but they are asking organizations to indicate interest here for future funding. 

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