NEW BUSINESS RESOURCE TOOL
To further support the city’s small businesses and entrepreneurial community, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce recently launched a new resource tool that can help connect business owners and entrepreneurs with organizations that offer guidance on starting, running, and growing a business.
On the Business Resource Finder, users can search for free or low-cost services to Philadelphia businesses, including:
- Funding opportunities
- Legal assistance
- Business workshops
The Business Resource Finder can also be found by going to phila.gov/commerce.
WHAT TO DO IF A WORKER TESTS POSITIVE AT YOUR BUSINESS
During the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses and organizations must protect employees’ health and safety and limit the economic impact of the outbreak. Learn more about what you should do if a worker tests positive at your business.
This guidance will assist businesses and organizations in understanding what steps to take if someone at your place of work is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19.
DONATE YOUR TECHNOLOGY
Closing the digital divide is more important than ever. Families need computers during the pandemic to learn, work, and connect. PHLDonateTech is the City of Philadelphia’s latest initiative calling on residents and businesses to donate, recycle, and provide computers to families and people in need across Philadelphia.
The campaign requests donations of laptops and desktops in fair or good condition. Learn more.
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Neighborhood businesses are the heart of communities across Philadelphia, providing jobs and goods and services for residents. While COVID-19 health precautions are in place, there are still many ways to support local businesses throughout the holiday season. Learn more here. Among the things you can do to support businesses:
- Shop direct online
- Shop in-person at neighborhood commercial corridors
- Buy gift cards
- Dine outdoors
- Order food to go
- Share your favorite businesses with friends
The Comcast RISE Grant program is now open for applications. The program is geared towards Black-owned businesses.
The latest grant programs, assistance and other resources for businesses can be found here; the Department of Commerce will update this page as we become aware of other opportunities.
OUTDOOR DINING GUIDELINES FOR WINTER
Earlier this fall, the City announced guidelines—addressing shelter and heating specifications—to support restaurants that continue to offer outdoor dining as the weather gets cooler. Learn more about the specific requirements and regulations here. The guidelines are subject to change at any time.
If businesses do not follow the restrictions for either outdoor or indoor dining, the City may be forced to roll back restaurant dining. Businesses that continually violate the health guidance can be reported to Philly 311 (by calling 3-1-1 or 215-686-8686, using the app, or submitting online). Violations can result in immediate cease operation orders, and ignoring social distancing and face covering rules can result in a $2,000 fine per instance.
Applications for outdoor dining options can be found on this page in the “Entertainment/Travel and Restaurants” section.
If you have questions, contact the Office of Business Services at 215-683-2100 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAKE-OUT DINING SUPPORT
To support restaurants that are offering takeout dining, the City is reviewing requests for temporary loading zones. Restaurants can apply here for a temporary FREE parking space loading zone.
GOOGLE STOREFRONT KIT OPPORTUNITY
The Urban League of Philadelphia is working with Google to provide Black-owned, small and medium sized businesses with free Google Storefront Kits, along with other Google Services.
To meet eligibility requirements for this opportunity, businesses must:
- Be a small business at least 51% owned by a Black/African American individual
- Be operating in the Philadelphia area
- Be operating a storefront, food truck, commercial office space, or customer-accessible home office
- Have been operating the business for a minimum of one year
- Have a 2019 adjusted gross income of less than $250,000
- Have broadband internet connection at the establishment with at least 2 Mbps upload speed
- Agree to completing all pre and post installation surveys
This is a first-come, first-served opportunity. Apply here.
NEW BUSINESS TAX RELIEF
On December 1, the Department of Revenue announced the following three changes aimed at providing Philadelphia businesses with additional relief during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Amending U&O guidance to exempt the portion of restaurants and bars used for indoor dining from Use & Occupancy Tax: This initiative will exempt restaurants and bars from Use & Occupancy tax on the square footage of the business used for indoor dining (dining room space) during the period when indoor dining is prohibited. This exemption is for this most recent “Safer at Home” phase and would be effective from November 20, 2020 through January 1, 2021.
- Businesses can amend BIRT returns and receive a refund: Under this initiative, the Revenue Department will provide guidance and instructions to businesses that if they feel they overestimated their 2020 BIRT estimated payment, they can amend the return and provide a new, more realistic, estimated payment and have the difference refunded. It would take six to eight weeks for businesses to receive refunds.
- Extending Refuse Fee due dates: Under this measure, the full $500 refuse fee is now due by June 30, 2021. Previously, half of the annual fee was due December 31, 2020.
NEW BUSINESS RECOVERY PAYMENT AGREEMENTS
Philadelphia businesses that were in compliance before the pandemic, but are now struggling to pay taxes, can take advantage of new payment agreements. Watch our video to learn about eligibility and flexible terms.
The City can also help businesses that were in a payment agreement – or that already owed taxes – before COVID-related closures. Go here to find an agreement that best fits your situation.
HOW TO FILE FOR A REFUND OF U&O TAXES
If your business is requesting a refund for Use & Occupancy (U&O) Tax because of COVID-19 closure orders, it is important to note that businesses must first amend their refund. The Philadelphia Department of Revenue has instructions on how to do this.
NEW WEBINAR SERIES ON FEDERAL OPPORTUNITY ZONES
Through a virtual event series, the City and partner organizations are seeking to uplift the voices of residents, small businesses, and neighborhood developers on what they see as the way Philadelphia can grow inclusively. Together, we believe we can attract and grow the Philadelphia Opportunity Zone neighborhoods by supporting successful projects and sharing real stories of real people on what they envision for their communities.
Register here for any or all of the following four upcoming events:
- Forum 1: December 10 – Community Members
- Forum 2: December 15 – Developers & Contractors
- Forum 3: January 12 – Business Owners
- Forum 4: January 26 – Key Stakeholders/Leadership
Philadelphia’s new Opportunity Zone online resource explains the basics of the program. It highlights communities ready for revitalization. And it can connect you to the team that is ready to help. Learn more and sign up for the mailing list if you’re interested in more information.
REGISTER AS A LOCAL BUSINESS ENTITY (LBE) TODAY!
To increase opportunities for small businesses, the City streamlined the application process for small contracts. As of September, the threshold requiring formal bids for City contracts rose from $34,000 to $75,000—and to $100,000 for local businesses. However, Philadelphia businesses must be registered as a Local Business Entity (LBE) to take advantage of the local business threshold. Business owners can learn more and register here.
SEARCH OPPORTUNITIES: As part of the Local Business Procurement Initiative (LBPI), the City has also launched a new website called the Contracts Hub, where businesses can easily search an aggregated list of opportunities to do business with the City of Philadelphia.