NYC Restaurants Can Receive $5K Tax Credit Per New Hire: Cuomo

Originally published in Patch

NEW YORK CITY — New York City restaurants that hire additional full-time staff could receive a $5,000 tax credit per new hire thanks to a $35 million program announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday.

The "Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit" is available to independently-owned city eateries with less than 100 employees, the governor announced. To be eligible, restaurants must demonstrate COVID-related losses of at least 40 percent in gross receipts or full-time employees, and must prove they've hired at least one full-time worker.

Eligible restaurants can receive up to $50,000 in total.

"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," Cuomo said in a statement. "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."

A "Fast Track" option will allow restaurants to receive their credit as an advance payment ahead of filing their 2021 tax returns, the governor's office said in a news release. Businesses that use the Fast Track option will be evaluated based on their net job growth from April 1 to Aug. 31 of this year.

New York's restaurants – as well as its bars, night clubs and event venues – were among the most affected businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic: A report from the state comptroller found that city restaurant employment fell from 315,000 in February 2020 to 91,000 in April 2020.

Though numbers have improved since then, many city restaurants are still struggling.

"The pandemic has been devastating to New York's small business community, particularly restaurants that were shut down for extended periods of time in hot-spot areas," Sen. Anna Kaplan, chair of the Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business, said in a statement. "The Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit program, part of the State's Business Pandemic Recovery Initiative, will help small restaurant owners to create new jobs, bring workers back quickly, and help our economy to build back better and stronger."