How your small business can get loans, grants, and tax breaks from the new stimulus bill

After months of negotiations, Congress struck a $900 billion stimulus deal, including $325 billion for small businesses and a continuation of the Paycheck Protection Program, with revisions from the last round which closed in August.

The deal allocates money for specific kinds of business owners and industries, including $15 billion in grants for entertainment venues and theaters affected by mandated closures during the pandemic. 

Business Insider reviewed the nearly 5,600-page bill and talked with experts to help you navigate how to take full advantage of its benefits for your business. 

Don’t miss: Sign up here for our live event on January 5 to learn how to make the most out of PPP.

What you need to know about PPP loans

This time around, PPP is a little different. The stimulus targets the smallest firms. It’s opened up to nonprofits, put an emphasis on the service sector, and has a focus on low-income communities. Experts say the guidance around PPP loans is clearer this time around, as legislators have worked out many of the kinks of the CARES Act. But with new eligibility and forgiveness requirements added, the language is more complex, so both lenders and borrowers will need to be diligent in understanding how it applies to their businesses.

Read more: PPP is back — and yes, you should apply for a 2nd loan 

Changes in the second round

During the first round of stimulus in April, several large companies and franchises received backlash for taking PPP loans. Many small-business owners were concerned large, revenue-generating companies received aid that was meant for them. In this second stimulus bill, legislators narrowed down who qualifies in an effort to address this issue. Now, employee count has gone from 500 or fewer employees to 300 or fewer. 

Read more: 5 changes to PPP loans that will affect your business’ eligibility

 How restaurant owners can cash in on PPP loans and get up to 3.5 times their monthly payroll

Grants for independent entertainment venues 

The stimulus bill outlines a new $15 billion program, Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators, which gives up to $10 million in aid for live music venues, theaters, producers, performing arts organizations, promoters, museums, and talent representatives. Unlike the PPP loans, these funds are grants that do not require repayment or forgiveness, and they are entirely new from the CARES Act of the spring.

Read more: How live music venues, theaters, and talent managers can get up to $10 million of $15 billion covid relief grants — with no requirement to pay it back

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