HURRICANE IAN: Small Business Recovery and Links

Date: October 13, 2022

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Oct. 13 signed an executive order to ensure access to the polls in the counties hit hardest by the Category 4 storm. 

The order authorizes election supervisors in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties to:

  • Extend the number of days for early voting and designate additional early voting locations. The early voting period may begin as early as Monday, Oct. 24, and can extend through Election Day, Nov. 8. 
  • Allow voters in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties to request by phone that their vote-by-mail (VBM) ballot be mailed to an address other than their address of record. Voters must still provide an appropriate form of identification in the same manner as absent uniform service and overseas voters.
  • Designate and provide notice of the locations for secure ballot intake stations and relocate and consolidate polling locations as necessary.
  • Increase the pool of eligible poll workers who may serve within Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties by making eligible any poll workers previously trained for the 2020 election cycle and thereafter and by encouraging state employees to serve as poll workers in these counties.
Click here to learn more.

Tax extension

The Florida Department of Revenue announced on Oct. 5 that it has extended due dates for corporate income tax filers impacted by Hurricane Ian following the recent declaration from the Internal Revenue Service.

Eligible taxpayers that file Florida corporate income tax returns, as well as Florida corporate income tax installment payments, with original due dates or extended due dates falling on or after Sept. 23, 2022, and before March 2, 2023, will now have a due date of March 2, 2023. This tax relief is applicable to affected businesses anywhere in Florida.

Additional information is available on the Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Ian webpage on IRS.gov. Taxpayers outside Florida who require assistance with corporate tax filing may contact the Department’s taxpayer services at 850-488-6800 or GTAHurricaneHelp@floridarevenue.com.

Small Business Bridge Loan
 
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Governor DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, making $50 million available.
 
Of that, at least $10 million must go to small businesses that are agricultural producers impacted by Hurricane Ian in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia counties.
 
Small businesses in the most impacted counties — Charlotte, Collier, Lee, and Sarasota — will be escalated and prioritized as they are received.
 
The program, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provides short-term, zero-interest loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury or physical damage due to Hurricane Ian. Interested applicants can apply now through December 2, 2022, or until all available funds are expended.
 
Loans made under this program are short-term, zero-interest, personal loans using State of Florida funds. They are not grants and loans must be repaid by the approved applicant.
 
Visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL to learn more about the program, as well as to view the lending guidelines and required documentation and to complete an application by the Dec. 2 dead. Business owners who need further program information may call 833-832-4494 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Business license renewals

The state Department of Business and Professional Regulation has issued an emergency order extending the review deadline for several licenses from Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 to Oct. 31. The list of licenses concerns real estate; alcoholic beverages; drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics; and hotels and restaurants. Click here to read the order for additional details.

Visit the department’s website for more emergency orders related to Ian.

Tax relief

Individuals and households affected by the storm who reside or have a business anywhere in the state of Florida qualify for tax relief, the IRS said on Sept. 29.

The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 23, 2022, and before Feb. 15, 2023, are postponed through Feb. 15.

This means individuals who had a valid extension to file their 2021 return due to run out on Oct. 17, 2022, will now have until Feb. 15 to file. The IRS said that because tax payments related to these 2021 returns were due on April 18, 2022, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

Click here to learn more.

Disaster declaration

On Thursday, Sept. 29, President Biden approved Gov. Ron DeSantis’s request and declared a federal emergency in the region affected by the deadly storm.

Today’s action makes federal funds available to affected individuals in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. The assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
 
Federal funds are also available to help local governments and nonprofits clear debris in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties and to provide emergency protective measures statewide.  

Residents and business owners in the designated areas can begin applying for assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App

Useful links

Sen. Rick Scott emailed constituents on Sept. 29 with a list of useful links for business owners and individuals:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration: Following a presidential disaster declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.
  • Florida Department of Economic Opportunity: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website floridadisaster.biz provides information about preparing, responding to and recovering from a disaster. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Ian. Survey responses will allow the state to expedite Hurricane Ian recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses.
  • National Flood Insurance Program: Following a disaster declaration, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders are encouraged to apply for FEMA disaster assistance in addition to their flood insurance claim. Policyholders impacted by Hurricane Ian are encouraged to contact their insurance agents as soon as possible for more information about filing a claim. Get more details about filing a claim here, or reach NFIP assistance directly here, or by calling 1-877-336-2627.
  • Citizens Property Insurance: Citizens Property Insurance is urging policyholders to contact them as soon as possible in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Citizens representatives can be reached online here, or by calling 1-866-411-2742. Additionally, Citizens is warning policyholders to be wary of unlicensed contractors and “deals that sound too good to be true.” Policyholders are discouraged from signing anything before consulting with an insurance agent. Citizens policyholders can report suspected fraud online here, or by calling 1-855-748-9596. U.S. Housing and Urban Development: Hud also offers disaster recovery assistance following Presidentially-declared disasters. Read more from HUD here

Other links

  • The Florida Channel is posting videos of the latest post-hurricane updates from Governor DeSantis and other officials.

  • FloridaDisaster.org has the latest official updates from the governor’s office and other agencies.

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