On Friday, May 15, 2020, the SBA released new details on loan forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan borrowers. Also included in the release was access to the application that PPP borrowers will use to apply for loan forgiveness and detailed instructions on how PPP loan borrowers should fill out the application.
This SBA application form and instructions are designed to simplify the process from borrowers and to minimize compliance burdens. However, there are gaps. And the SBA plans to issue regulations and guidance soon to provide further help to borrowers as they fill out their applications, and to give lenders guidance on their responsibilities.
The forgiveness application form does help address some administrative items such as providing additional clarity around “costs incurred but not paid” during the covered period, which is aligned with a recommendation by the AICPA. However, major issues remain. In particular, small businesses need flexibility on when the 8-week period should start or need to have the covered period extended to more than 8 weeks.
It’s clear the application form and instructions provided yesterday are not enough. Some of the most pressing issues are not addressed and in other areas it appears new questions have arisen.Erik Asgeirsson, President, and CEO of CPA.com, the AICPA’s business and technology arm.
Ultimately this is an important starting point for PPP loan borrowers to know what to expect moving forward.
A Good Start…
The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:
- Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles.
- Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan.
- Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness.
- Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30.
- Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined.
I recommend business owners review the application and the instructions to ensure they understand the criteria for PPP loan forgiveness. Any areas of concern or questions should be addressed with their CPAs, bankers, and financial advisors prior to completing the application.
Additional information, tools, and resources can be found using the following links: