The Paycheck Protection Program created by CARES has been a key piece of relief for businesses impacted by Covid-19. However, the SBA and Treasury’s 8-week limitation to use the funds and 75% requirement to spend the funds only on “payroll costs” (as defined) has caused unnecessary hardship for businesses already hurting and which are greatly in need of funds.
The U.S. Chamber, the AICPA and others have urged Congress to make changes over the past many weeks, and changes are finally here. The President is expected to soon sign the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act. A collective sigh of relief can probably be heard among business owners across the country because businesses now have a tripled time frame to use the funds and have a reduced threshold for payroll cost spend, among other critical changes.
A summary of the changes compiled by the AICPA and as reported by the Journal of Accountancy is below:
- “Current PPP borrowers can choose to extend the eight-week period to 24 weeks, or they can keep the original eight-week period. New PPP borrowers will have a 24-week covered period, but the covered period can’t extend beyond Dec. 31, 2020. This flexibility is designed to make it easier for more borrowers to reach full, or almost full, forgiveness.
- Under the language in the House bill, the payroll expenditure requirement drops to 60% from 75% but is now a cliff, meaning that borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll or none of the loan will be forgiven. Currently, a borrower is required to reduce the amount eligible for forgiveness if less than 75% of eligible funds are used for payroll costs, but forgiveness isn’t eliminated if the 75% threshold isn’t met. Rep. Chip Roy (Texas), who co-sponsored the bill in the House, said in a House speech that the bill intended the sliding scale to remain in effect at 60%. Senators Marco Rubio and Susan Collins indicated that technical tweaks could be made to the bill to restore the sliding scale. UPDATE June 8, 2020 – Per the Journal of Accountancy, “In a joint statement Monday from SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin clarified that partial loan forgiveness will also be available under the 60% threshold. Specifically, if a borrower uses less than 60% of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, subject to at least 60% of the loan forgiveness amount having been used for payroll costs.”
- Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by Dec. 31, a change from the previous deadline of June 30.
- The legislation includes two new exceptions allowing borrowers to achieve full PPP loan forgiveness even if they don’t fully restore their workforce. Previous guidance already allowed borrowers to exclude from those calculations employees who turned down good faith offers to be rehired at the same hours and wages as before the pandemic. The new bill allows borrowers to adjust because they could not find qualified employees or were unable to restore business operations to Feb. 15, 2020, levels due to COVID-19 related operating restrictions.
- New borrowers now have five years to repay the loan instead of two. Existing PPP loans can be extended up to 5 years if the lender and borrower agree. The interest rate remains at 1%.
- The bill allows businesses that took a PPP loan to also delay payment of their payroll taxes, which was prohibited under the CARES Act.”
Accordingly, look for changes to come on the SBA and Treasury Loan Forgiveness Application that was put out 2 weeks ago.
The deadline to apply for PPP funds is still June 30, and as of writing there are still funds available, so if you haven’t tried and feel you qualify, it is time to apply!
As always, we are here to help with any questions you may have. You are important to us!