Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Maine Economic Recovery Grant application and program. Application deadline extended to October 29, 2020.

What is the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program?

This program provides grants for businesses and non-profit organizations that demonstrate a need for financial relief based on lost revenues or expenses related to the disruption of business operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be distributed based on a business/organization’s demonstrated losses as a pro-rated percentage of the total losses reported by qualified applicants. The grants are intended to assist in sustaining the viability of Maine businesses and non-profits. The program is not intended to replace lost profits. This program hopes to assist in the stabilization of Maine’s economy and accelerate the transition from short-term relief to regaining our state’s focus on Maine’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy, anchored in talent and innovation.

What is different in Phase Two from Phase One?

In response to feedback received from impacted businesses, we have broadened eligibility in Phase Two to include businesses less than a year old and businesses with up to 250 full time equivalent employees or contractors. Find updated eligibility information here. We have also identified additional technical assistance resources that can be found at the bottom of this webpage.

Phase One decisions

My enterprise was determined to be ineligible during Phase One and I believe it is in error, what should I do?

There is no appeals process in Phase One, so your best option is to reapply in Phase Two. Because Phase Two includes financial information through two more months of 2020, if you were declined because you did not show a 20% loss but you have continued to have losses, the additional information may push you into the eligible loss percentage. Similarly, Phase Two eligibility is opened in a few other additional ways that may push your company into eligibility. Finally, if you think you answered a question inaccurately and that led to you being ineligible, Phase Two gives the opportunity to correct that.


While you are welcome to contact us for further clarification, Phase One decisions are final and the outcome will not change based on an email or phone conversation.

My ineligible letter indicated my 3-year financial history was insufficient, but I was told it was ok if I didn’t have 2017 and 2018 financials?

The eligibility criteria is for a 20% operating loss for 2020 compared to past financials, so the ineligible reason is not that the information provided was insufficient, but that the information provided did not indicate a large enough operating loss to qualify.

My notice that my enterprise was found ineligible indicated “the consideration of received, forgivable federal funds and your three-year financial history did not satisfy the requirements to receive a grant as part of this program”.  Should I reapply?

Yes, you should reapply. The eligibility criteria is for a 20% operating loss for 2020. In addition, Federal requirements are that these funds cannot be used for the same loss as other federal funds. When past financial performance and forgivable federal funds are used in the calculation of 20% operating loss for 2020, your loss was likely not high enough to qualify. You are welcome to reapply, particularly if you believe you completed the form incorrectly or if the additional months of 2020 included in Phase Two calculations will move you into the 20% loss category.

I received an award letter that asks me to certify that “I have and/or will not benefit from other federal, state or local funding for the same loss" and I did receive a PPP or EIDL loan. Does this mean I can’t accept the grant?

The grant acceptance letter refers to monies that were not disclosed in the grant application. If you included these funds in your grant application, they have been disclosed and you are eligible to accept the grant.

Phase Two Information

When is the Application due?

Applications will be accepted from September 23st through 11:59 PM EST October 29, 2020. We strongly urge applicants to begin the application process as soon as possible. Do not wait until the last day before the deadline to begin the application. Applicants sometimes have questions or technical issues and need time to resolve these issues in advance of the deadline. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.

Who is eligible for the program?

To qualify for a Maine Economic Recovery Grant your business/organization must:

  • Demonstrate a need for financial relief based on lost revenues or expenses incurred since March 1, 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts or related public health response;
  • Demonstrate an expected 20% loss in revenue minus expenses for 2020 due to COVID-19 when compared to the business’s/organization’s last tax filing;
  • Be a for-profit business or non-profit organization, except:
    • Professional Services (NAIC Codes starting with 54)
      • Professional Services with NAIC codes starting in 5413-5419 are eligible to apply
    • 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6)
    • K-12 schools, including charter, public and private
    • Municipalities, municipal subdivisions, and other government agencies
    • Foundations and charitable trusts
    • Trade associations
    • Credit unions
    • Insurance trusts
    • Scholarship funds and programs
    • Gambling
    • Adult Entertainment
    • Country clubs, golf clubs, other private clubs
    • Cemetery trusts and associations
    • Fraternal orders
    • Hospitals (Alternate funding available through the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services for hospitals, nursing facilities, and institutions of higher education.)
  • Have significant operations in Maine (business/organization headquartered in Maine or have a minimum of 50% of employees and contract employees based in Maine);
  • Be current and in good standing with all Maine State payroll taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes (as applicable) through July 31, 2020;
  • New Businesses/Organizations Incorporated or Purchased before March 31, 2020 are eligible to apply.
  • Be in good standing with the Maine Department of Labor;
  • Not be in bankruptcy;
  • Not have permanently ceased all operations;
  • Be in consistent compliance and not be under any current or past enforcement action with COVID-19 Prevention Checklist Requirements (https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists); and
  • Employ a combined total of 250 or fewer employees and contract employees throughout 2020.
    • If, for a period greater than two weeks within 2020, your business/organization exceeded 250 employees and contract employees then your business/organization is not eligible. For the purposes of this calculation, count 1 employee or contract employee if they are employed, on average, at least 30 hours of service per week or 130 hours of service per month. Count 0.5 for each part-time employee who is employed, on average, less than this).
  • If awarded funds as part of Phase 1 of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program, your business/organization is ineligible for Phase 2.  

How will the funds be distributed to the qualified applicants?

Maine Economic Recovery Grants will be distributed based on a business’s/organization’s demonstrated January – August 2020 losses due to COVID-19 as a pro-rated percentage of the total losses due to COVID-19 reported by all qualified applicants for the same time period. All grant amounts are subject to review and adjustment pending applicant volume and magnitude of reported losses.

How much will be awarded to the grant program?

The Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program is funded with $200 million made available to Maine under the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide economic relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The maximum grant awarded to a business or non-profit organization is $100,000.

If I receive a grant, what can the funds be spent on?

The Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program is intended to assist in covering losses incurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health response. Businesses/organizations will be liable for any misuse of funds. The grants are subject to audit.

  • Suggested business/organization expenses may include but are not limited to:
    • Payroll costs and expenses;
    • Rent or mortgage payments for business facilities (unless otherwise waived by lessor/lender);
    • Utilities payments;
    • Purchase of personal protective equipment required by the business;
    • Business related equipment; 
    • Investments that will support your organization’s long-term sustainment;
    • Expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary re-opening expenses; and
    • Necessary operating expenses
  • Examples of unallowable expenses include (list is not all-inclusive):
    • Depreciation expense
    • Entertainment
    • Lobbying
    • Goods and Services for Personal Use
    • Fines, Penalties, Damages and other Settlements
  • Funds must be spent on operations that are strictly within Maine.

What is a qualified business interruption?

The business or nonprofit must have suffered business interruption due to COVID-19 required closures, which may include but is not limited to:

  • Reduced sales or suspended operations
  • Increased costs related to COVID-19 prevention measures
  • Disrupted supply network leading to shortage of critical inventory or materials

Where can I find additional information on the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program?

Information regarding the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program and all relief funding opportunities that are available through the CARES Act grant to the State of Maine can be found at https://www.maine.gov/decd/economic-recovery-grants.

I applied in the first round and haven’t heard anything, can I apply this round?

All applications are under review. You will receive notification through the mail about the outcome of phase 1. Disbursement will begin in the first weeks of October. If you receive funds through Phase 1, you are not eligible to receive funds in Phase 2.

Is the information I provide protected?

The security of your sensitive information is important to us which is why all information is stored securely and only accessible by personnel designated by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. All sensitive information, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is encrypted at-rest and in-transit throughout the process. Information collected by this system will not be shared or used for any other purposes besides grant selection and distribution except as may be required by Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, 1 M.R.S Section 401 et seq. It is likely that some of the information provided will be accessible under Maine's Freedom of Access Act (1 M.R.S. Section 401 et seq.); however, proprietary information, tax or financial information, and PII will not be disclosed. After submitting your application, a confirmation email shall be sent with a copy of the submitted application excluding all sensitive PII.

When will grants be awarded and when can I expect to receive awarded funds

If your business/organization is determined to be eligible and selected for a grant, notice of grant amount will be sent out via e-mail by December 2020.  Awards will be distributed by the seven regional Economic Development Districts (EDDs) by mid-December 2020 and will be sent to eligible recipients via mail to the address provided in your application.

Early stage business additional review process

How will early stage companies be assessed, given their lack of past financial data for calculation of operating loss?

As with the rest of the program, the overall goal is not to fully replace lost revenues but to assist with business viability that has been impacted by COVID-19 and/or the related public health response to bridge to 2021 and beyond. For early stage companies, the assessment will be a forwarding looking assessment. DECD is partnering with MTI (Maine Technology Institute) for assessing the eligibility of early stage companies in Phase Two. MTI will reach out to companies established between January 1, 2019 and March 30, 2020 to request additional application information and will connect directly with each applicant.


An early stage company could hear from MTI, their own Economic Development District, or DECD during the review process. MTI will make the awards to enterprises within their seven technology sectors and local EDD will make the awards to enterprises who are early stage but not within MTI’s sectors (by NAICS code)

How will grants be distributed?

Grants will be distributed by the seven regional Economic Development Districts (EDDs) through a check sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

If my business operates in multiple states, how do I know if my principal place of business is in Maine?

Your principal place of business is identified on your annual report filings with the Maine Secretary of State's Office.

If my business/organization receives a grant, is the amount received taxable?

This grant is considered reportable income; therefore, funding received from this grant must be included with reportable income at tax time. For applicable businesses, a Form 1099 will accompany any awarded grant monies.

Can I save my application as I work on it, or do I have to complete it in one sitting?

Applicants should complete the application in one sitting but a PDF version is available on the website so you can preview and prepare your questions ahead of time.

What tax lines must I prepare, prior to filling out the application?

2017, 2018, and 2019 Gross Receipts/Revenue:

  • C Corporations: Line 11 on Form 1120
  • S Corporations: Line 6 on Form 1120-S
  • Partnerships: Line 8 on Form 1065
  • Sole Proprietorships: Line 7 on Form 1040 Schedule C or Line 9 on Form 1040 Schedule F
  • Non-Profits: Line 12 on Form 990 or Line 9 on Form 990EZ

2017, 2018, and 2019 Expenses:

  • C Corporations: Line 27 on Form 1120
  • S Corporations: Line 20 on Form 1120-S
  • Partnerships: Line 21 on Form 1065
  • Sole Proprietorships: Line 28 on Form 1040 Schedule C or Line 33 on Form 1040 Schedule F
  • Non-Profits: Form 990 Line 18, Form 990EZ Line 17

2017, 2018, and 2019 Depreciation:

  • C Corporations: Line 20 on Form 1120
  • S Corporations: Line 14 on Form 1120-S
  • Partnerships: Line 16c on Form 1065
  • Sole Proprietorships: Line 13 on Form 1040 Schedule C or Line 14 on Form 1040 Schedule F
  • Non-Profits: Form 990 Line 22 (Part IX), Form 990EZ Line 16 (Schedule O)

I am a for profit Business and have questions about how to enter my 2020 Revenue:

The Federal filing forms that will provide your receipts/revenue data for the years 2017 to 2019 generally require a taxpayer to add gross amounts of certain types of income (such as interest, rents, royalties and others) to gross profit from sales or service revenues. “Gross profit” is calculated as gross sales or receipts, less returns and allowances, less cost of goods sold. Your 2020 receipts/revenue should be calculated in a similar fashion to insure consistency. See the following example:

  • Gross sales or receipts  $50,000
  • Less: Customer returns    -2,000
  • Balance $48,000
  • Cost of goods sold (e.g. materials purchased for resale)  -15,000
  • Gross profit   $33,000
  • Rents, royalties, interest, dividends, gains, other    2,000
  • Total income (“receipts/revenue”)   $35,000

What if I have not filed my 2019 Tax Returns, am I eligible?

If you have not yet filed for Tax Year 2019 you may still apply. For application questions that request 2019 revenue, expenses, and depreciation, you would leave it blank.

What professional services are eligible to apply?

Professional services are services with NAIC codes starting with the 54 prefix. Professional services starting with 5413-5419 are eligible to apply.

I have several businesses in Maine. Can I file more than one Application?

Each business or group of affiliated entities should only submit one application. For purposes of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant, your business/organization is considered affiliated with any other business/organization that:

  1. has the same Federal Taxpayer Identification Number (including Social Security Number)
  2. has the same corporate parent or grandparent
  3. is majority owned (more than 50%) by the same owner or group of owners
  • (For example, if John and Jane each own 30% of business A and business B, those businesses are considered affiliated because John and Jane would be considered an ownership group owning more than 50% of more than 1 business.)

When you submit one application for several affiliated businesses together, be sure that you’ve first calculated all of the employees for the businesses and you don’t exceed the eligibility limits listed above. For a combine application, please combine the financial information.

If you have submitted more than one application, you should notify the State of Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program at BizAwards.DECD@maine.gov Only your most recent submission will be considered.

What is a DUNS number?

The Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) Number is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses.

If you don’t have a DUNS number, you can get one here or by calling this number: 1-(800)-700-2733.

  • Step 1: After clicking link, under How to Register for a DUNS Number select the Visit the Dun & Bradstreet (DE&B) Website
  • Step 2: Select Click Here to request for D-U-N-S Number Via the Web
  • Step 3: Select United States of America from drop down menu.  This is the first selection available. Click Continue.
  • Step 4: Enter Business Name, Address and State.  Enter Code shown to prove you are not a robot.  This is NOT case sensitive, so all lower case is fine.
  • Step 5: This will pull up search results, if you don’t have a DUNS you will not find your business.  Under Search Results select Request a New D-U-N-S Number.
  • Step 6: The following page will provide a list of acceptable documents you may provide in order to register for a DUNS Number.  You will need TWO of these documents.  The documents you submit must match the business name and address.  If you do not have two of these documents, please call customer service to see if other acceptable documents can be provided.  The two documents must be stored on your computer for upload.  Once you have these documents available hit Continue.
  • Step 7: Select “Federal Government Contractors or Grantees DUNS Number Support”
  • Step 8: Select Create a New DUNS Number
  • Step 9: Select For Entities Within the United States
  • Step 10: Select Proceed
  • Step 11: Enter Company Information
  • Step 12: Upload acceptable documents

Once completed, this will create a case code showing you the submission has been accepted.  If information is correct, you will receive an email typically within several days with your DUNS Number

I didn’t receive a confirmation email after I submitted my application?

Please check spam/junk email folder and your settings. Confirmation email will be from noreply@maine.gov with subject line “Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program Application Submission”

If after doing so, you feel as though application was not submitted, please resubmit application. If we receive multiple submissions from same application, only most recent submission will be considered.

For the question on the application: “Amount of any grants or forgiven loans (or expected to be forgiven) that were not expended or accounted for in your revenue and expense lines from Jan - Aug 2020” what amount should be entered?

The amount that the application is looking for is: the amount of any grants or forgiven loans (or expected to be forgiven) that has not yet been spent or not accounted for in your revenue and expense lines prior to August 31, 2020. Please consult an accounting professional if you have specific questions about how you accounted for the funds.

I am seeing an error of “Grid view must contain rows,” how do I fix this?

In order to prevent receiving the error, “Grid view must contain rows,” please ensure that you have clicked “Add ____” in the amplifying information section in which you are working. The sections where this may appear are, “Individual Owners,” “Affiliated Businesses,” and the Maine Revenue Service Section. By clicking “Add _____,” it ensures your information was recorded.

My EIN/SSN is not being displayed in the review section and isn’t being saved in the form. Is this an issue?

The software is designed not to replicate your EIN/SSN for security reasons. If you entered it where asked and moved on to the next page, it was successfully recorded in your application.

If I am having trouble or concerns, who can I reach out to for assistance?

Please call: 1-800-872-3838 and press 3

Or email: BizAwards.DECD@maine.gov

  • Please allow up to three business days for someone to get back to you as DECD is experiencing a high volume of calls and emails.

For Maine State Tax questions please contact the Maine Revenue Service Taxpayer Contact Center:

  • Email: taxpayerassist@maine.gov
  • Phone: 207-624-9784
  • For Federal Tax questions please contact the Internal Revenue Service:

Individuals

800-829-1040
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time

Businesses

800-829-4933
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time

Non-profit taxes

877-829-5500
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time

Or please reach out to your local economic development or non-profit support organization for assistance

      Additional Application Data that will be requested of early stage applicants

Criteria

Data Required

Reason/Comments

Included in initial application?

Needed for additional due diligence

Planned Growth or operations impacted by COVID

Performance vs plan (revenue) 2020; 2019, 2020 P&L

Growth slowed or off plan; Operations Plan off due to COVID

No

Yes

Hires/layoffs/ furloughs

FTEs YE 2018, 2019, Aug 31 2020

Would expect hiring

No

Yes

Revenue & FTE projection 2021 with assistance from this program

Current projections. 2021 projections on Rev and FTE

Quantify impact of assistance

No

Yes

Summarize amount of funding needed to remain viable through 2020 and planned use of funds (hiring, capital, other expenses)

Text 1-2 paragraphs

Ensure compliance and reasonable impact for funds received

No

Yes

DECD’s Business Answers program provides the Maine Resource Compass to connect businesses with available resources – you can find that living data base available on the Business Answers page and search for technical assistance resources.

DECD also maintains a searchable database of COVID-19 Resources found here: https://startupspace.app/maine-resource-compass/recovery

The SBA provides free business advice and counseling through three partner organizations in Maine.  There is no wrong option and you connect with any and all of them at no cost to you.

Maine SBDC – Counselors are available statewide and you can request advising on the SBDC website. The website also has a wealth of information on starting a business.

SCORE – SCORE has chapters around the State, with the nation’s best chapter for two years running located in Portland - https://portlandme.score.org/. SCORE is a free, volunteer-led service and has both general business mentors and subject area experts.

Maine Women’s Business Center – WBC is also statewide and both WBC and SBDC are hosted by CEI - https://www.ceimaine.org/advising/ - you can request a business advisor from CEI through their website and also access events and programs specific to women business owners.