Guidance on Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness
April 20, 2020
As of April 16, 2020, the funds allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had been exhausted, with an estimated 1.6 million loans extended. The businesses that applied for and obtained the loans now have to turn their attention towards ensuring they are meeting all the conditions of their loan if they hope to have the amount they borrowed forgiven.
Conditions for full loan forgiveness
One of the most attractive aspects of the PPP is the promise of up to 100% of loan forgiveness, with that forgiveness being tax free. To qualify, the following criteria from the Small Business Administration (SBA) must be met for the 8 weeks from the date the borrower receives its SBA loan funding:
As outlined above, 75% of the PPP loan must go towards payroll costs for the loan to be fully forgiven. These costs include:
Many companies may own the real estate their business occupies, often in a separate affiliated entity. It has not yet been established whether the qualifying expense discussed above will be the rent paid to the affiliate or the interest on the mortgage the affiliate pays, which is likely a smaller amount. We anticipate that the SBA will provide clearer instructions when they issue their final guidance, expected in the next week.
Reduction in loan forgiveness
The PPP was written to ensure that businesses maintain their full workforce even if the business does not function during the pandemic, so that employees are ready to return to work once operations resume. If employers do not meet all the conditions of the loan, the amount of the loan that is forgiven will be reduced. The factors that are taken into consideration:
If the business does not meet all conditions and a portion of the loan is not forgiven, payment will have to be made on the remaining amount of the loan within 2 years, accruing interest at 1% per annum. Interest and principal payments will be deferred for 6 months from the date of the loan. However, interest will accrue during that 6-month deferment period.
Applying for loan forgiveness
Businesses are encouraged to deposit their PPP loans in a separate account to make it easier to track the use of the money and fulfil the requirements needed to qualify for loan forgiveness. A business is likely required to submit the following in order to obtain loan forgiveness, although these requirements may vary depending upon the lender:
It is recommended that businesses examine their loan documentation closely for any required timeline under which they must file for loan forgiveness with their PPP lender. In some cases, this may be as soon as 30 days after the 8-week period terminates.
The SBA has until April 27, 2020 to issue final guidelines on loan forgiveness, so as clarifications and/or changes to these requirements are issued, we will keep you updated.
Please contact Smith and Howard by filling out the form below if you have any questions related to tracking expenses and other items in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.
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