On Friday (June 5, 2020), the President signed the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (PPPFA) into law. The PPPFA changes the rules of the PPP program to make it more favorable to small businesses, in most cases.
Background | The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The PPP created a new loan program through the SBA to enable businesses and nonprofit organizations with 500 or fewer employees to obtain federally guaranteed loans to be used for payroll, rent, utilities, and other specified costs.
Why was there a need to pass a second version of the PPP?
The PPPFA was necessary because businesses were not been able to spend PPP funds on payroll while closed, and closures have been broadly required by state and local orders in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To address this issue, the Act now extends the PPP program “covered period” until December 31, 2020, and gives employers 24 weeks, rather than eight weeks (or December 31 if earlier) to spend PPP proceeds. However, a congressional letter was added to the record to clarify that no new PPP loans may be originated after June 30, 2020.
Here are some major changes made to clarify the PPP.
|1. Increased amounts allowed for non-payroll costs
Prior to the passage of the PPPFA, if businesses were required to spend at least 75% of the PPP funds on payroll costs and the remaining 25% on eligible expenses. Only then could the entire amount be eligible for forgiveness.
Under the new law, the 75% threshold has been reduced to 60%. This means businesses can use more of the funds on things like rent and utilities. If 60% (not 75%) or more of the funds are spent on payroll, the funding forgiveness will fulfill the requirements.
(NOTE: The original legislation allowed for the forgiveness portion to be reduced formulaically if less than 75% of the PPP loan was spent on qualified payroll costs. As it currently stands, the PPPFA would appear to create a ‘forgiveness cliff’ so that none of the loans would be forgiven if a business fails to spend 60% of the PPP funds on qualified payroll costs.)
2. Covered period increased to 24 weeks
With the original law, the small business had eight weeks to spend the funds from the PPP loan funds to qualify for loan forgiveness. And the clock started ticking when the loan was funded. You now have 24 weeks to incur costs eligible for forgiveness (or until December 31, 2020 if it comes first).
An alternative plan | Many businesses are nearing the eight-week mark and have been diligent to spend the funds according to the original rules. The eight weeks covered period is still an option and can be selected for use in lieu of the 24 week period. If you qualify for full forgiveness with an eight-week coverage you may want to consider electing the shorter term so that you can apply for forgiveness sooner than if you elected the 24 week coverage period. Talk with your accountant or banker for advice on your specific approach.
3. A longer period to restore wages and/or replace FTEs
Businesses now have until December 31, 2020 to restore wages and full-time equivalents (FTEs) to February 15th levels to avoid a reduction in forgiveness based on those factors. Previously, the deadline for restoration was June 30th.
Additionally, the PPPFA provides two new exceptions for borrowers to qualify for forgiveness even if their workforce isn’t fully restored.
The first exception is for businesses that could not find qualified employees. The other exception is for businesses that are unable to restore operations by the end of 2020 to February 15, 2020 levels due to COVID-19 related restrictions.
4. Longer repayment period
New borrowers will have five years to payback non-forgiven amounts. If you already have a PPP loan, your repayment period can be extended from the original two years to five years if both you and the lender agree on the change. The interest rate under both scenarios is still 1%.
|NOTE |As we often remind our users, each small business can have unique situations that should be reviewed by your trusted accountant, financial, lawyer, legal advisor, or banker. The information you read on this, or any website, can change often. The information found on SmallBusiness.com is not provided by the IRS or SBA unless indicated.|
Puryear & Noonan, CPAs | [email protected] | Nashville
ADP Eye on Washington