Washington, D.C.—The Natural Products Association (NPA) announced that it has joined a coalition representing millions of workers and customers to push Congress to include a tax credit in the stimulus package to help businesses with steep reopening costs related to COVID-19. The coalition, which also includes FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Grocers Association, and National Small Business Association, penned an open letter to House and Senate leaders, Treasury Secretary Steve Munuchin, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, asking for the tax credits.
“As Americans have turned to nutritional supplements to support their health and immune systems in this crisis, natural products businesses have truly been a lifeline,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA, in a press release. “The downside is that this has come at great cost. It is vital that Congress include targeted tax credits for businesses so they can continue to serve the American people and keep their doors open. We checked with our members on what they need most from the next stimulus package and this was the #1 priority.”
As WholeFoods Magazine previously reported, NPA members anticipate spending an annual average of $13,595 on COVID-19-related priorities including testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and workplace changes to accommodate social distancing, according to a new survey. Some companies expect to spend up to $200,000, and others are bracing for significant costs but were unable to give a figure yet due to the uncertainties of state-level government decisions on reopening.
To support businesses, NPA reported that it has activated its grassroots network and is urging its members to contact Congress to support the Healthy Workplace Tax Credit. This proposal, introduced by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), is designed to help businesses continue to safely reopen and acquire necessary safety measures. According to a press release from Senator Portman’s office, the act will help ensure the safety of employees and consumers through a refundable tax credit against payroll taxes for 50% of the costs incurred by a business for increased testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfecting, extra cleaning, and reconfiguring work spaces to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
NPA has explained that the Healthy Workplace Tax Credit will limit this benefit to a maximum of $1,000 per employee for a business’s first 500 employees, $750 per employee for the next 500 employees, and $500 for each employee thereafter, thereby recognizing the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on small- and medium-sized businesses.
NPA’s grassroots network stresses, “Unemployment is above 11% and we must do everything we can to ensure folks get back to work safely and consumers can return to Main Street with confidence.” Find more information here.