COVID-19: Here’s What Rhode Island Businesses Need to Know

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An updated version of this article was posted on March 27, 2020 and can be viewed here >> 

As you are all aware, the spread of COVID-19 has created a period of tremendous uncertainty for all Rhode Islanders both at home and at work. As of Friday afternoon, 54 Rhode Islanders had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health. Around 2,500 residents have been recommended to self-quarantine.

Meanwhile, the state’s public schools are implementing “distant learning” programs for the next two weeks; many businesses have switched to remote-work environments—or temporarily closed altogether; and statewide public health officials are urging all residents to practice “social distancing.”

As the news surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, our team at blumshapiro will stay focused on answering the local business community’s most pressing questions.  

Tax Deadline Extensions

Both the federal and state of Rhode Island tax deadlines have been extended to July 15, 2020. This decision was officially announced on Friday, March 20. When making the announcement, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo urged any individuals or businesses who have the ability to file by April 15 to do so.

The federal tax payment deadline has also been extended to July 15.

Available Resources for Rhode Island Businesses

The COVID-19 situation is, first and foremost, a public health crisis. The health and well-being of our neighbors in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut will always be our top priority, and we hope you are staying safe and healthy during this period.

But this goes without saying: This crisis is also going to have a major economic impact. Businesses across Rhode Island are going to be impacted over the next several weeks, and the state has already rolled out a number of programs to help them recover.

SBA Disaster Loans:

The Small Business Administration approved the state of Rhode Island’s disaster declaration and has activated Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for small businesses in Rhode Island. Eligible businesses can qualify for loans up to $2 million in working capital with interest rates as low as 3.75 percent. You can apply for a loan by clicking here, or learn more by reading an interview Mark Hayward, the deputy director of the U.S. SBA’s Rhode Island District office, gave to the Boston Globe.

Free Office365 Tools:

As more and more businesses across the state send their employees home to wait out the virus, the state of Rhode Island partnered with Microsoft to offer free access to Microsoft’s suite of Office365 products to all Rhode Island businesses. Learn more by clicking here.

How You Can Help

The business community in Rhode Island is already banding together in an effort to navigate this crisis. If you have the resources and are interested in supporting this united cause, here are a few options:

Donate funds:

The United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation formed a partnership to launch the COVID-19 Response Fund earlier this week. This fund will support non-profit organizations with direct service programs impacted by the pandemic. As of Friday, the community fund had raised more than $3 million. Learn more by clicking here.

Donate (or manufacture) goods:

The Rhode Island Department of Health is asking for donations of items such as respirator masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and ventilators. They are also calling on local manufacturers who have the ability and resources to make these products to contact them immediately. Learn more by clicking here.

Next Steps

We will be providing regular updates over the next several weeks as new information is made available. If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you with your tax and business advisory needs.


COVID-19 Business Resources
Disclaimer: Any written tax content, comments, or advice contained in this article is limited to the matters specifically set forth herein. Such content, comments, or advice may be based on tax statutes, regulations, and administrative and judicial interpretations thereof and we have no obligation to update any content, comments or advice for retroactive or prospective changes to such authorities. This communication is not intended to address the potential application of penalties and interest, for which the taxpayer is responsible, that may be imposed for non-compliance with tax law. 

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