New Requirements for E-Cigarette Retailers and Distributors
New Law Requires E-Cigarette Retailers and Distributors to Obtain Licensing for Changes Effective July 1
Effective July 1, 2019, electronic cigarette retailers are required to register with the State of Illinois under a new law.  The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is calling on retailers to apprise themselves of the new provisions to ensure compliance with the new registration requirement. Beginning July 1, 2019, electronic cigarette products will be regulated and taxed like other tobacco products in Illinois.
Retailers selling electronic cigarette products must obtain a Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer License for each of their retail locations to continue selling electronic cigarette products on July 1st, 2019, and after. Licenses can be obtained through IDOR's MyTax Illinois web portal, available at Retailers that currently have a valid Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer License are already in compliance.
"The new law's requirements are specific, and retailers and distributors need to ensure that they are properly registered with the state," said IDOR acting Director David Harris. "It is our goal at the Illinois Department of Revenue to keep all taxpayers informed about their obligations and make any interactions with our department as efficient and convenient as possible."  
It is important to note that anyone who sells electronic cigarette products to retailers, or is a retailer buying electronic cigarette products from an unlicensed out-of-state distributor, must register with IDOR as a Tobacco Products Distributor. Tobacco distributors already licensed in Illinois are considered compliant. As with other tobacco products, the distributor is responsible for the tax and will be responsible for filing returns and remitting the tax.
To learn more about the licensing requirements for selling electronic cigarette or other tobacco products, please read IDOR's electronic cigarette Informational Bulletin and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) located on IDOR's website
$1 Million Competition to help Makerspaces Train the Workforce of Tomorrow
The Makerspace Training, Collaboration, and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition - a $1 million Competition to help Makerspaces Train the Workforce of Tomorrow
The SBA believes that existing makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development in U.S. cities. The MaTCH Pilot Competition seeks to address the job skills and placement gap faced by U.S. businesses by providing funding to create or expand programs within existing makerspaces that offer job-specific and soft skills training. 

The SBA challenges individual organizations or teams to use existing makerspaces to create or expand skills training programs, including industry or trade certification when feasible, with a goal to immediately place all program graduates in positions with previously-identified employers that are in need of skilled labor. The SBA will award up to $1 million in total prizes to fund winning program proposals.

To enter, individuals or organizations should submit a business plan detailing their qualifications, experience, and resources; the proposed training curriculum; the nature and length of the training/certification program; and the number of trainees that will be accommodated.

Submission Period: May 21, 2019 to July 8, 2019
Entry Review and Judging Period: July 9, 2019 - August 5, 2019
Winners Announced: August 6, 2019
The Competition will award up to $1 million in total prizes, based on the following tiered approach:
  • Seed: up to $25,000 will be awarded to seed small workforce development programs.
  • Proof of Principle: up to $100,000 will be awarded to grow programs with a proven history of training and/or workforce development.
  • Scale: up to $200,000 will be awarded for capacity building of successful existing programs with a strong history of training and/or workforce development. This winner would also have graduated participants in at least two training cycles.
Each award will be disbursed in a series of four payments, per completion of key milestones. Review the MaTCH competition rules and the FAQs for more detail on how the prizes are disbursed.

Eligibility and competition criteria
To be considered for selection, a proposed solution must leverage an existing Makerspace to provide vocational training programs (including job specific skills and soft skills training) that meet the minimum standards of the specific trade and, to the extent feasible, any required industry or trade certifications, in addition to targeted job placement of all program graduates in local businesses.
This Competition is open only to: (1) citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of entry submission (or teams of such individuals); and (2) private entities, such as corporations or other organizations, both for profit and nonprofit, that are incorporated or organized in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States.

Applicants should review all the MaTCH competition rules and the FAQs before entering the competition.

Available Resources for Farmers to Assist with Flooding
Governor Pritzker Takes Additional Steps to Assist Farmers Hurt By Record Rainfall and Flooding
With near-record flooding and a serious delay in the planting season, Governor JB Pritzker has convened appropriate members of his cabinet to ensure that Illinois farmers can access all available state resources, including pooling efforts and resources between the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. 

Governor Pritzker recently spoke with USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Director, William Graff, to ensure that Illinois is high on the federal authority's agenda. The board can recommend to the Governor that an agriculture disaster declaration be declared, which would allow the Governor to request additional federal assistance for farmers in counties that have been impacted by flooding and excessive rain.

"Farmers need to contact their local county FSA offices and report their planted acres as soon as possible-certainly before July 15th," said John Sullivan, Director IDOA. "The sooner the planted and 'prevent plant' acres are reported, the sooner the federal government can best determine the extent of losses to farmers and producers." 

"This is one of the worst floods to inundate our state in more than a quarter of a century," said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. "The flood of 2019 has impacted more than 40% of state's population, outside of Cook and the collar counties. In the weeks to come, as the water recedes, we will begin to see the damage of this flood. County damage assessments will be a critical tool in qualifying for federal disaster dollars. As we move forward, IEMA will continue to work with county emergency managers as they work to identify the true cost of this great flood."

In addition to taking initial steps to secure federal assistance, IDOA and IEMA are also undertaking several other initiatives:

* IDOA will offer a $400,000 cover crop incentive program for farmers who, due to the lateness of planting, have filed Prevented Planting claims which means those acres will lay fallow this year. Cover crops reduce nutrient runoff, conserve soil and prevent soil erosion, and is an alternative to chemical weed control. Local county soil and water conservation districts will assist to administer the program.
* IDOA's website now has a "Flood Assistance" tab with links to available State and Federal flood assistance resources.
* IEMA has launched a comprehensive flood recovery website ( designed to address the needs of those impacted by severe flooding. From emergency housing assistance to replacing SNAP benefits or agricultural aid, countless state agencies have come together to offer help to those in need.
* IEMA will continue to facilitate coordination between the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and local levee districts to evaluate the health and integrity of levees throughout the state.
* IEMA will work with local governments to identify projects and programs dedicated to local mitigation and remediation.
* IEMA continues to work to enhance communication networks in rural Illinois through the deployment of Starcom technology and IPAWs messaging to alert residents of impending threats to health, safety and property. 
* IEMA, through the State Emergency Operations Center, will facilitate the removal of debris, access to roads/rivers, and availability of necessary resources to address agribusiness logistical concerns.
News from the Small Business Administration

Legal Requirements for Small Business 
As a small business owner, do you know what your federal, state and local legal obligations are? Launch SBA's FREE self-paced online training for an overview of the legal requirements of small business owners.
Launch the course.  

5 Major Reasons to Monitor Your Business Credit Reports   
The accuracy of the data being reported about your business shows your company's ability to meet its financial obligations with vendors, suppliers, lenders and other businesses. Similar to personal credit reports and scores; business credit reports are constantly changing because of a variety of data. Learn more.  

Cybersecurity for Small Businensses
Are you looking for cybersecurity best practices to protect your small business? Launch SBA's FREE self-paced online training for an overview of the types of cyber threats and how to safeguard against them.  Launch the course.  
Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) News
How to Improve Your Past Performance Scores  
"Help!  I'm frustrated, upset, annoyed, and don't understand this Past Performance game, which I never seem to win."

The Contract Performance Assessment Reporting (CPAR) is an assessment of a contractor's performance during a specific period.  This evaluation is based on a myriad of data such as customer comments, quality reviews, performance and contract management data, and technical interchange meetings.  The Contract Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) is a web application that collects and manages the CPAR reports.  CPARS and other government evaluation systems are known to be complicated and full of issues.

One bad failure can keep a contractor from getting another job.  So, what can you do to protect your company?  How can you receive the evaluation you deserve?

Here are some suggestions to help you strengthen your position before the situation falls apart.

1)  Prepare!  Compile objective information and facts and keep track of them so you can resent this information when requested to back up your write up or rebuttal.  For example, "we conducted 34 safety meetings" or "out of 450 submittals, only two were late". 
2)  Don't rely on the government to take care of you.  Take care of yourself by following the contract, identifying actions that require written approval, and putting together a plan for you and your team.
3)  Build a checklist of items to review and track.  This will help you stay organized and flexible.
4)  If an adverse event occurs and is reflected in your performance evaluation, take the time to explain what happened, how you corrected the situation, what you learned, and what action you will take to make sure it doesn't happen again.
5)  Work closely with the government individuals who are filling out your performance evaluation.  Ask what you can do to hep them--what data can you provide to speed the completion of the evaluation?  If you complete the project and leave the worksite, chances are the evaluation will go to the bottom of the pile on someone's desk.  Work with your government team and take an active part in the preparation of your evaluation.
6)  Start early!  Don't wait until the last week or even the last month of your project before you begin to work on your evaluation.  

The Contracting Officer cannot award a contractor with a low CPARS regardless of price.  The contractor must pass the responsibility requirements demonstrating that they pose a low performance risk.  Otherwise, the award will go to other competitors despite the higher price.  

News from the IRS 
New Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) rules for employers and employees 
The IRS, the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services recently issued final rules regarding health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and other account-based group health plans. For more information, see the new page regarding Health Reimbursement Arrangements.

How Would you Like to Pay 20% Less Income Tax or your Business?
The Section 199A deduction, created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, allows certain non-corporate taxpayers to deduct up to 20 percent of their Qualified Business Income (QBI). Find out if you qualify by visiting the TCJA/199A page on

The General Business Credit Aimed at Employers, Employees and the Environment 
The General Business Credit is composed of several credits available to businesses, each calculated under its own set of requirements. The objective of most of the credits is to promote employment, or the development or use of alternative fuels or other sources of energy, or to protect the environment.
For the latest information related to general business credits and how you can apply, go to, About Form 3800, General Business Credit.

Tax Tip for Employees:  Options to Get Your Withholding Right
Employees should use the Withholding Calculator on to do a Paycheck Checkup to see if they're having the correct amount of income tax withheld from their pay. The calculator gives recommendations to help adjust their tax withholding.
The most common method is increasing or decreasing the number of allowances on Form W-4.
Other ways to adjust withholding are:
  • Withhold an extra flat dollar amount per paycheck on Form W-4 .
  • Make estimated tax payments.
What to Do If Your Business Receives a Backup Withholding Notice
The IRS issues Backup Withholding CP2100 or CP2100A Notices to certain types of income payers. These notices let payers know backup withholding may need to begin for some taxpayers receiving the payments. For example, if a taxpayer identification number (TIN) is missing or in the instance of an incorrect name/TIN combination.   For more information, see Publication 1281 .
Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program 

USEPA Proposes Rule Regarding Reclassification of Major Sources to Area Sources Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposed a rule clarifying that a "major source" of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) can reclassify as an "area source" after acting to limit emissions to below the levels that define major sources. This proposal would relieve reclassified facilities from regulatory requirements intended for much larger emitters and encourage other sources to pursue innovations in pollution reduction technologies, engineering, and work practices.
The Agency's action would implement EPA's reading of the Clean Air Act described in a January 2018 guidance memo withdrawing the "once in, always in" policy. Established in 1995, the "once in, always in" policy determined that any facility subject to major source standards would always remain subject to those standards-even if production processes changed or controls were implemented that eliminated or permanently reduced that facility's potential to emit hazardous air pollutants. States, state organizations, and industries frequently noted that the "once in, always in" policy discouraged voluntary pollution abatement and prevention efforts and technological innovations that would reduce hazardous air pollution emissions. EPA's January 2018 memo found EPA had no authority under the Clean Air Act to limit when a facility may be determined to be an area source and that facilities may be reclassified as area sources once their potential to emit hazardous air pollutants falls below the levels that define major sources. 
EPA estimates that this proposal would result in cost savings when compared to the agency's previous "once in, always in" policy. Of the estimated 7,920 sources subject to national emissions standards as a major source, EPA estimates nearly half could become area sources, saving $168.9 million in the first year and $163 million to $183 million annually (in 2014 dollars) in the following years. 
EPA requests comment on all aspects of this proposal, including:
  • EPA's position that the proposed approach is the proper reading of Clean Air Act section 112(a) and is consistent with the act's clear language and structure.
  • Requirements for establishing effective HAP emissions limits.
  • Allowing limitations issued by the state/local/tribal air pollution control agencies to be recognized as effective provided they are legally and practically enforceable.
  • Safeguards that may be appropriate to protect against emissions increases.
EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
For more information on the rulemaking visit the Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program website at:
Upcoming Events
Upcoming EventsChallengeHER
ChallengeHER provides women-owned small businesses the information and tools they need to succeed in the world of federal contracting.  This event will be held Tuesday, August 6, 2019.  Registration will be from 7am - 8am, sessions and matchmaking from 8am to 12:30 pm.   This event will be held at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Student Union East, 3rd Floor, 750 South Halsted, Chicago, IL 60607.   
  • Basic Training for Emerging Federal Contractors
  • High Level Training for Experienced Federal Contractors
  • Networking with Primes, Agencies and other WOSBs
  • Matchmaking with Agencies and Primes. 
To register, click here.  

Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund (ILGIF) Annual Summit
Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs and 50 South Capital Advisors invite you to attend the  ILGIF Annual Summit on Thursday July 11th, 2019 from 9am to 5pm at the Ace Hotel in Chicago.  The event will have a series of panel discussions, fireside chats, and spotlight sessions with founders and management teams of exciting and innovative venture-backed companies as well as with leading venture capitalists that invest in these companies. For more detail on the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund, please visit

Small Business Cyber Training - Cybersecurity Workshop- July 16, 2019 Chicago
Northrop Grumman, In collaboration with the USC Center for Economic Development, if offering free cybersecurity training to small businesses through an Air Force Small Business Office Mentor Protege Program.  This workshop is open to all small businesses.  Advance registration is required.

The workshop will be held July 16, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Springhill Suites (Marriott) Chicago O'hare, 8101 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631.  

For more information and registration details, click here.  
Spotlight on Success
Spotlight on Success-Pearce Passionate
Passionate is a precise adjective to describe the heart of Maggie Butterfield. Hailing from a family of eight children in Brimfield, Illinois, she had a unique background in the farm town. Later discovering a talent in running, Butterfield found herself investing hours on end engaging in cross country and track during her adolescence. That same talent earned her way to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on a cross country and track scholarship where she majored in Kinesiology. The program allowed her to further discover her interests in fitness and perhaps, a way to monetize such interests later in life. Yet, one degree was not enough so she obtained a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling enabling her showcase her passion for helping others and completed the program in 2010.
In June of 2010, just two months following graduation, Butterfield would marry her beloved husband who services the Peoria County as police officer. A short term later, she would go to serve as General Manager at Running Central, a fitness company based in Central Illinois. Working diligently to serve the company and customer's needs, in 2015, she would be awarded one of the 25 Women in Leadership by WEEK 25 News which would mark another step in her journey of many more significant milestones.
Two years and two children later, Butterfield felt an urge and calling to pursue something different in life. In April of 2017, she took a major leap forward and applied for the Executive Director of the Pearce Community Center in Chillicothe, Illinois and received it just a short time later. Her greatest challenges were the "financial means" of the Center such as grant writing and  where to find and write them. Switching business entities from a for-profit at Running Central to a non-profit also proved a worthwhile challenge.
Butterfield gives praise to the Bradley University's Illinois Small Business Development Center for business guidance. Following participation in the Senior Consulting Projects program at Bradley (Spring 2017 and Spring 2018), a new rate structure was conceived for the Center as a result of extensive studies on local comparisons and membership surveys. Such surveys gave members a voice, discovered their wants and needs and made members feel more involved in the process of what their money is being spent on. Membership data proved to be effective in constructing the rate structure.
Today, the Pearce Community Center serves as a "true community center" for local citizens. It entails a full fitness center consisting of a variety of women, group, and senior classes - an area of the Center which the majority of members use their benefits for. However, the Pearce Passion lies strong in serving the community through before and after school programs, summer camps, and sport leagues for the youth, adults and seniors. A partnership with the Central Illinois Agency on Aging also is a major part of the Center as they serve meals for anyone in need three times a week for a three dollar donation. In addition, the multi-use community room is often used for outside events.
With a business that is steadily growing, raising a family, and a life that is constantly moving, Butterfield finds it of significance to maintain "growth and forward thinking while answering what members want." She also finds trends and developments a key component of the business that proves why adjustments are important in the containment of current and potential members. With an excellent team behind her, the Pearce Passion will forever live. Contact info for the Pearce Community Center: 309.274.4209 Ext 102, .
July  2019
Helpful Links
Start a Business - Illinois Small Business Development Center (Illinois SBDC)
Illinois First Stop Business Information Center
Illinois Angel Investment Tax Credit Program
Illinois Secretary of State Business Services
How Can We Help You?

Illinois Small Business Development Centers are located throughout the state and provide information, confidential business guidance, training and other resources and services for start-up and existing small businesses.

Whether your company employs two people or 102, you need a strong network behind you to succeed. And that's where the Illinois Small Business Development Center comes in. SBDC partners with well-respected business development organizations and educational institutions to assist you in maximizing your potential to grow and attract investors. SBDC connects you to the experts, tools and opportunities that translate into endless possibilities!
The Illinois SBDC program is located within the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology at the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. For more information please click here.

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