Article originally published June 7, 2021
Last updated April 18, 2022
Update: And just like that, the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) may be alive again. On April 7, 2022, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would provide $42 billion for the replenishment of the RRF. Lawmakers passed the bill mostly along party lines, 223-203. The legislation would also provide $13 billion for a new Hard Hit Industries Award Program for small businesses not eligible for other pandemic aid programs. These programs would be funded through the recovery of funds related to defrauded programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. It is not clear how this bill will succeed in the Senate as 60 votes are needed in order to pass and Republican opposition is widespread.
The Senate has introduced its own bill called the Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 with a bipartisan approach. It is expected this bill will be considered later this month or early May by the Senate. The main area of contention relates to how this replenishment of the RRF will be funded, either through “new” federal dollars or reallocating existing federal dollars.
Should the legislation pass the Senate, those companies who have already applied and did not receive funding would have priority. For a recap of the RRF program, see our previously published article. GBQ will continue to stay abreast of the continuing changes around the RRF and will communicate any significant changes once informed.
Update posted June 16, 2021: Last Friday, the SBA announced it was halting some Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grants to recipients who qualified under the “priority” designation due to a lawsuit and injunction issued by a federal court in Texas. If you recall, the first 21 days of the grant funding process were limited to women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and socially/economically disadvantaged business owners. As a result, those in the priority group that received grant approval but have not received their funding are now in a holding pattern. Until this case is resolved, these priority group applicants cannot be funded. As part of the injunction, it also required that the SBA keep approving funds for non-priority applicants. If you are not part of a priority group, you may be seeing your application approved; however, there still are insufficient funds to grant all applicants what was requested.
However, Congress has introduced a $60 billion replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to replenish the first round of restaurant relief which has bipartisan support. Keep in mind there are many hurdles to jump before this becomes law. GBQ will be keeping abreast of the updates around this and will update you along the way.
If you applied for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grant, you may be in a holding pattern to determine whether you will be approved as the 362,000 applications submitted for $75 billion in funding far exceeded the $28.6 billion funding allocated to the program. The application process was stopped on May 24th as a result.
The next step is lobbying for more funding by the National Restaurant Association (NRA). If you’d like to support the grassroots petition to urge Congress to replenish these funds, click here.
If you were lucky enough to be approved for an RRF grant, the NRA provided a “next steps” guide on how to track and administer your grant to be in compliance with the grant program. The following items are discussed in the guide:
- Records retention related to submitted applications
- Records retention for support not submitted with applications
- Protecting SBA information
- Planning on how to spend on eligible expenses
- Mapping out the covered period timeline
- Learning how the RRF grant may be treated in upcoming tax filings
- Preparing for public reporting by all grant recipients
- Frequently asked questions after receiving the grant
The NRA also provided an RRF expense tracker to help you facilitate how the funds are being spent on eligible expenses as annual reporting is required to evidence overall compliance.
As we learn more about potential new legislation to add funding to the RRF, we will share the details with you. Keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed and it may take many months for this to work its way through Congress. If re-funding takes place, your submitted application will be automatically put in the queue for consideration.
If you have any questions, please contact Dustin Minton.
Article written by:
Dustin Minton, CPA, MBA
Director, Assurance & Business Advisory Services