New PPP changes attempt to ease smallest businesses’ access

The administration of President Joe Biden announced Monday that it would institute a two-week period starting Wednesday during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees will be able to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

The exclusive application window is one of several moves the White House said it is making to further target the PPP to the smallest businesses. The administration also will:

The administration said the 14-day exclusive application period is designed to help the 98% of small businesses that have fewer than 20 employees. Noting that these businesses often struggle more than larger businesses to collect the necessary paperwork and secure a PPP loan through a lender, the statement said that the targeted application window will free up lenders to focus on serving these smallest businesses.

The White House statement also said that the administration would continue to work with lenders and other stakeholders to address PPP processing delays caused by anti-fraud validation checks that must be completed before loan guaranty approval is granted. The statement said the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) would continue to work with lenders to create streamlined processes to resolve issues as quickly as possible while still working to ensure taxpayer funds are spent wisely.

The administration also will make the following moves:

The SBA reported Monday that it approved more than 1.9 million PPP loans for a total of $140 billion from Jan. 11 through Feb. 21. The application window for the current, $284 billion iteration of PPP is scheduled to close March 31.

AICPA experts discuss the latest on the PPP and other small business aid programs during a biweekly virtual town hall. The webcasts, which provide CPE credit, are free to AICPA members and $39.99 for nonmembers. Go to the AICPA Town Hall Series webpage for more information and to register.

The AICPA’s Paycheck Protection Program Resources page houses resources and tools produced by the AICPA to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Accounting firms can prepare and process applications for the PPP on the CPA Business Funding Portal, created by the AICPA, CPA.com, and fintech partner Biz2Credit.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page or subscribe to our email alerts for breaking PPP news.

— Jeff Drew (Jeff.Drew@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.

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