ARLINGTON, VA. - On March 27, the US House of Representatives was expected to take up a historic $2 trillion stimulus package to aid individuals, businesses and industries rattled by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

On March 25, the US Senate unanimously passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act 96-0. As is, the CARES Act extends $377 billion to small businesses, $500 billion to larger corporations, $339.8 billion to state and local governments, $153.5 billion to public health, an estimated $43.7 billion to education, an estimated $560 billion to individual citizens and includes a $26 billion safety net. 

In its current form the bill gives aid to specific industries—including the agricultural and seafood industries—and offers a change to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (TCJA) that negatively impacted retailers. 

The TCJA includes a provision providing businesses with a 100% bonus depreciation to be used to write off the full costs of short-lived investments. The provision was supposed to help retailers invest in their businesses, but some categories of business investment such as quality improvement property (QIP) were excluded from being fully eligible for bonus depreciation. In turn retailers making improvements to their stories have experienced a more restrictive recovery period that is twice under the prior law.  

Under the CARES Act, that provision in the NCJA would include QIP as eligible for 100% bonus depreciation.  

“NGA applauds the Senate for fixing the retail glitch, a drafting error in the TCJA that has significant impacts for independent retailers serving communities across the country,” said the National Grocers Association.  

“This fix comes at a critical time, as grocers throughout the country are making tremendous sacrifices serving customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Independent grocers are the backbone of the U.S. economy and can now invest in their businesses and continue to serve communities during this challenging time.”