ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)— From purchasing PPE and HVAC equipment to buying cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer—businesses had to adapt during the pandemic to help keep themselves and their customers safe. Now, to help offset some of those COVID-related expenses, small businesses with 100 employees or less can apply for a tax credit.

“The maximum tax credit they can receive is $25,000. We do have a minimum on it that they have to show at least $2,000 worth of eligible expenditures to receive a tax credit of $1,000,” explained Paul Matrose, Director of Economic Incentives for Empire State Development.

$250 million was allocated in the state budget for this program.

Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association, said she thinks this will be helpful for small businesses.

“I think most restaurants will be able to take advantage of this, we had a lot of COVID-related expenses,” said Fleischut. “It could be used for things like if you had to put up a barrier, maybe in between booths or a cash register as a COVID expense. Or if you had to expand outdoor dining and had expenses there.”

For those wanting to apply for the tax credit, a pre-screening process needs to be completed first on Empire State Development’s website.

Qualifying businesses will then be sent an email with an application to fill out and submit. Documentation must also be included to show proof of expenses, such as receipts and credit card statements. Once it’s reviewed, a tax credit certificate will be issued.

“If they want to receive a credit on their 2022 tax returns, they need to receive their tax credit certificate by December 31st,” said Matrose. “So to give us some time to review the applications, we are asking for businesses to submit their applications no later than December 1st to ensure they can get the tax credit certificate issued to them by the end of the month, to get it on their 2022 tax returns.”

The deadline to apply is March of 2023. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis.