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Small Business Resource: Washington State and Local Government Financial Resources

April 02, 2020  By HCMP Law Offices

To view the print version, click here.


Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant Program

Summary: Governor Inslee created this program using a portion of the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF). Up to $5 million will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The program is no quite up and running yet.

Eligibility: The Department of Commerce is putting the finishing touches on the program’s guidelines and application.

How to Apply: The state Department of Commerce will coordinate an application process.

For more information, click here.


SharedWork Program

Summary: This program allows employers to reduce the hours of permanent and hourly-paid employees by as much as 50 percent, and the employees can collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. While on the SharedWork program, employees are not required to make an active search for work. You must apply to participate in the program.

Eligibility: Businesses must enroll a minimum of two permanent employees in the SharedWork plan, and must comply with IRS, state, county, and municipal laws, rules, and ordinances.

How to Apply: The SharedWork application is easy and takes only about 10 minutes to complete, depending on the number of employees you want on your plan.

To apply online, click here. 

For more information, click here. 


Unemployment Benefit Emergency Rules

Summary: The ESD has adopted a series of emergency rules to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and quarantine for workers and businesses. Furthermore, the state is waiving the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment insurance. The order is retroactive for claims filed up to March 8.

Eligibility: Anyone not receiving payment from their employer, such as paid sick leave or paid time off, may be eligible for unemployment benefits and may qualify for either partial employment or standby during this time. Eligibility decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Basic eligibility requirements for a claim can be found here

How to Apply: The fastest way to apply for benefits is online. While you can file by phone, you should expect extended wait times. There are no in-person unemployment offices in Washington state. Even if you go to a WorkSource office, you will still be directed to apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone. These steps will help guide you through the process.

For more information, click here.


Department of Revenue Business Relief During COVID-19 Pandemic

Summary: The Department of Revenue is taking measures to provide relief to COVID-19 impacted businesses during the state of emergency (February 29, 2020, through the end of the state of emergency, yet to be determined). These actions address a broad range of taxes and programs: business and occupation tax, real estate excise tax assessments, leasehold excise tax, forest tax, and tax deferrals for biotechnology and medical device manufacturing.

Eligibility: Be a business affected by COVID-19. More specific eligibility requirements may apply depending on what type of relief is sought.

How to Apply: Businesses can request the relief above by sending a secure email in their ‘My DOR’ account or by calling Revenue’s customer service staff at (360) 705-6705, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, click here.


Seattle Business and Occupation Tax Deferral

Summary: Seattle is offering to defer its business and occupation tax for some small businesses.

Eligibility: Eligible businesses include those that have annual taxable income of $5 million or less and currently pay City taxes on a quarterly basis. Businesses will have until late 2020 to pay their B&O under this plan.

How to Apply: Request deferral by sending an email to tax@seattle.gov with your request and customer number or UBI. 

For more information, click here.  


Assistance to Access the Federal Small Business Administration Loan

Summary: Seattle’s Office of Economic Development is offering free accounting and finance consulting services for applicants who are eligible for a federal SBA loan and who need assistance navigating the requirements of the application process.

Eligibility: Businesses must have five or fewer employees, must make less than 80% of the Area Median Income, and must be otherwise eligible for the federal SBA loan.

How to Apply: Contact the Office of Economic Development at (206) 684-8090.

For more information, click here. 


Seattle Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund

Summary: Seattle Foundation has established a COVID-19 Response Fund. The Fund will initially assist nonprofit organizations working with communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and its consequences. The Fund will not initially assist nonprofits based on their loss of revenue, though this may be considered in the future.

Eligibility: The first round of grants is prioritizing organizations that serve communities particularly impacted by this crisis.

How to Apply: To move resources quickly without further burdening organizations providing critical services and support, the Fund is not hosting a formal application process at this time. The Fund is being administered through grants, in partnership with United Way of King County, King County’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group, and Fund partners.

For more information, click here. 


For more information on any of these resources, please contact one of the HCMP attorneys who contributed to this article:

Robert Van Cleve | robert.vancleve@hcmp.com | 206.470.7636

Melody Alvarado Latino | melody.alvaradolatino@hcmp.com | 206.470.7655

Thea Marriott Bratt | thea.marriottbratt@hcmp.com | 206.470.7667


The information contained in this update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not business, legal, accounting, tax, financial, investment or other advice on any matter and may not be relied upon as such. Please contact your attorney to obtain advice regarding any particular legal matter.