Beginning next week, hospitality operators in Iowa will be able to apply for a financial relief tax deferral and grant program that the association is coordinating through the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Department of Revenue. 

Owners applying for assistance will have the option to check a box that allows for the deferral of Iowa payroll withholding tax and sales tax, which is being granted as a hardship waiver.  

Additionally, establishment owners will be able to apply for state grants with payment distributions that will vary based on an establishment’s business model and size, according to the Iowa Restaurant Association. 

The association is recommending to its members that those businesses whose payments are due March 20 not submit those payments, as the waiver will be retroactive to March 20, provided the business applies online for the deferral. 

The association is getting the information out today ahead of official releases from the state agencies because those taxes are due today, in the hope of helping owners to avoid further financial hardship, said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. 

“Unfortunately, for those who have paid already there is not currently the ability to request a refund. However, those owners should still go online and apply for relief assistance,” she said.  

Dunker said she does not yet have details about the grant portion of the program, which she expects will be released by the agencies next week. 

This extent of public-private collaboration is unprecedented, she said. 

“We have never had a situation before where the entire industry is collapsing,” Dunker said. “With the closures and the way that things are falling, our industry is bearing the brunt of the policies of social distancing and gathering. We certainly have never asked for assistance like this on a statewide basis.”