Gov. Cuomo announces $35M restaurant return-to-work tax credit program

New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of New York State’s $35 million Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit program.

The program is designed to help expand employment opportunities for workers and provide relief to COVID-impacted restaurants. It offers a tax credit for the rapid hiring of restaurant workers to reduce the restaurant industry’s pandemic-induced economic difficulties.

Qualifying restaurants could receive a $5,000 tax credit per net new hire, totaling up to $50,000 in tax credits per business.   

“New York’s restaurants are not only the best in the world, they are vital to the state’s economy, employing thousands of people and showcasing cuisines that reflect our great diversity. Restaurants also serve as an entrepreneurial outlet and are often families’ gateways to the American Dream,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.

“The restaurant industry was among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, as public health and safety concerns restricted many of its service operations. With the state’s COVID-19 restrictions lifted, restaurants opening to full capacity, and tables filling up, this will support the much-needed hiring of workers by these establishments to meet their increased demand.” 

In his briefing on Wednesday, the governor called on private sector businesses to ask employees to return to their office buildings to help stimulate local spin-off economy’s like restaurants, retail, and services located near business centers.

“To my private sector friends, I want to say to you, ‘you have to be part of this,’” the governor said in his briefing. “Everyone has to be back in the office. I understand remote learning, I understand remote working, I understand trepidation, but the numbers are down, and we know how to do this safely. We need private sector companies to say to their employees ‘I need you back in the office.’

The Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit is available to small, independently-owned restaurants in New York City, or in areas that were designated as an Orange Zone or Red Zone for at least 30 consecutive days by the New York State Department of Health during the state of emergency related to COVID-19. Eligible restaurants will need to demonstrate COVID-related losses and show proof of hiring at least one full-time worker at the restaurant.   

A “Fast Track” option will allow restaurants to claim the tax credit as an advance payment ahead of filing their 2021 tax returns. Under this option, restaurants will be evaluated based on their net new job growth during a truncated period, from April 1 to August 31, 2021.  

More information on the program, including the application and details about the Fast Track option, can be found here.

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