New York State launched the $35 million Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit Program. Managed by the NYS Empire State Development (ESD), the Program provides tax credits of $5,000 per new worker hired, up-to $50,000 per business, to qualifying restaurant small businesses that increase their employment by at least one full-time equivalent employee during 2021.
The program is open to all small independently owned and operated restaurants (excludes franchises) with less than 100 employees in New York City or in areas designated by the NYS Department of Health as either an Orange or a Red zone for at least 30 consecutive days. Applicants must be able to demonstrate either a 40% decline in gross receipts or a 40% decline in employment by comparing the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2019 and the same quarter of 2020. Complete the program eligibility questionnaire to determine whether your business is eligible.
Eligible businesses include full-service and limited-service food and beverage establishments that operate predominantly as on-premises in- person dining; bars, taverns and nightclubs; as well as breweries, wineries, cideries, distilleries and meaderies with a tasting room and for which on-site sales constitute at least 33% of gross receipts. Businesses that operate predominantly as take-out or quick service establishments and do not offer on-premises or in-person dining are ineligible, as are caterers, mobile food services, supermarkets and groceries.
Keep in mind that previously receiving COVID-19 small business program assistance through the Federal government (eg. Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Restaurant Revitalization Fund) or through New York State (New York Forward loan or a COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery grant) does not disqualify a business from receiving tax credits for increasing its employment under this program.