NEW Safe-Harbor for Recipients of PPP Loans under $2 Million and Clarification for Those with over $2 Million in PPP Funds

Alert COVID-19 – Shannon & Associates LLP _ Kent, WA

Great news comes to us this week as the Treasury updated their FAQs on PPP regarding the Good Faith certification concerning the “need” for a PPP Loan. 

This FAQ provided much-needed clarity regarding those that accepted PPP funds and might now be second-guessing themselves with all the recent talk of audits of PPP loan requests, consideration of returning funds, etc.

There is now a Safe-Harbor that 1) those with loans under $2 million will not be audited and 2) those with over $2 million won’t be subject to legal enforcement if they return funds if upon audit it is deemed they didn’t demonstrate they needed the funds.

Everyone who received PPP funds or is still applying should read the specifics on what this Safe-Harbor entails.

Below is the excerpt from the actual FAQs at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf.

As of May 13, 2020

46. Question: How will SBA review borrowers’ required good-faith certification concerning the necessity of their loan request?

Answer: When submitting a PPP application, all borrowers must certify in good faith that “[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has determined that the following safe harbor will apply to SBA’s review of PPP loans with respect to this issue: Any borrower that, together with its affiliates,20 received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.

SBA has determined that this safe harbor is appropriate because borrowers with loans below this threshold are generally less likely to have had access to adequate sources of liquidity in the current economic environment than borrowers that obtained larger loans. This safe harbor will also promote economic certainty as PPP borrowers with more limited resources endeavor to retain and rehire employees. In addition, given the large volume of PPP loans, this approach will enable SBA to conserve its finite audit resources and focus its reviews on larger loans, where the compliance effort may yield higher returns.

Importantly, borrowers with loans greater than $2 million that do not satisfy this safe harbor may still have an adequate basis for making the required good-faith certification, based on their individual circumstances in light of the language of the certification and SBA guidance. SBA has previously stated that all PPP loans in excess of $2 million, and other PPP loans as appropriate, will be subject to review by SBA for compliance with program requirements set forth in the PPP Interim Final Rules and in the Borrower Application Form. If SBA determines in the course of its review that a borrower lacked an adequate basis for the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request, SBA will seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance and will inform the lender that the borrower is not eligible for loan forgiveness. If the borrower repays the loan after receiving notification from SBA, SBA will not pursue administrative enforcement or referrals to other agencies based on its determination with respect to the certification concerning necessity of the loan request. SBA’s determination concerning the certification regarding the necessity of the loan request will not affect SBA’s loan guarantee.21

20 For purposes of this safe harbor, a borrower must include its affiliates to the extent required under the interim final rule on affiliates, 85 FR 20817 (April 15, 2020).

21 Question 46 published May 13, 2020.

As always, feel free to contact us with your questions. We are here to help!

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