New PPP guidance issued by SBA, Treasury

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury issued guidance Wednesday night for the reconstituted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The guidance included two interim final rules (IFRs).

In addition, the SBA released a three-page “Guidance on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran and Women-Owned Business Concerns.” That guidance includes a commitment from the SBA to make at least the first two days of the PPP application window open exclusively to applications from community financial institutions that serve minority- and women-owned businesses.

The SBA and Treasury announced Friday that the new PPP will re-open the week of Jan. 11 with community financial institutions exclusively allowed to make first-draw PPP loans on starting Jan. 11 and second-draw PPP loans starting Jan. 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders at an unspecified date shortly thereafter and remain open through March 31.

Erik Asgeirsson, CEO of the AICPA’s business subsidiary, CPA.com, said Wednesday afternoon in an AICPA Town Hall that new forms for PPP are expected to be released this week and that the SBA could start receiving applications as early as Monday.

Congress revived the PPP as part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law on Dec. 27. The original PPP provided $525 billion in forgivable loans over five months before it stopped accepting applications in August. The new PPP has $284.5 billion available, including $35 billion for first-time loans.

The Economic Aid Act rebooted the PPP with many of the same parameters as the first program but also several important differences from the original PPP.

One of the biggest changes with the new PPP is that Congress made funding available to businesses that had previously received a PPP loan. Borrowers are eligible for a second-draw PPP loan of up to $2 million, provided they have:

The Economic Aid Act did not provide a general definition of gross receipts for determining a borrower’s revenue reduction, so the new guidance makes the definition consistent with the definition of receipts in 13 C.F.R. Section 121.104 of SBA’s size regulations. Specifically, the IFR defines gross receipts to include all revenue in whatever form received or accrued (in accordance with the entity’s accounting method) from whatever source, including from the sales of products or services, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, fees, or commissions, reduced by returns and allowances. Forgiven first-draw PPP loans are not included in the 2020 gross receipts.

The Economic Aid Act makes first-draw PPP loans available to borrowers that were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, and come from one of the following groups:

In a change from the original PPP, publicly traded companies and businesses controlled, either directly or indirectly, by the president, vice president, head of executive departments, and members of Congress (or their spouses as defined by applicable common law) are not eligible for PPP loans.

PPP applicants must submit documentation sufficient to establish eligibility and to demonstrate the qualifying payroll amount, which may include, as applicable, payroll records; payroll tax filings; Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income; Form 1040, Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, or Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming; income and expenses from a sole proprietorship; or bank records.

In general, first- and second-time PPP borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs (with a cap per employee of $100,000 annualized) in 2019, 2020, or the year prior to the loan. PPP borrowers with NAICS codes starting with 72 (such as hotels and restaurants) can receive up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs on second-draw loans.

The maximum for a first-draw PPP loan is $10 million, the same as in the original PPP. Applicants must provide a Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, (or other forms with similar information) and state quarterly wage unemployment insurance tax reporting forms from each quarter in 2019 or 2020 (whichever is used to calculate the loan amount), or equivalent payroll processor records, along with evidence of any retirement and health insurance contributions.

PPP borrowers can have their first- and second-draw loans forgiven if the funds are used on eligible costs. As with the first round of the PPP, the costs eligible for loan forgiveness in the revised PPP include payroll, rent, covered mortgage interest, and utilities. In addition, the following costs are now eligible:

To be eligible for full loan forgiveness, PPP borrowers will have to spend no less than 60% of the funds on payroll over a covered period between eight or 24 weeks.

Borrowers that receive a PPP loan of $150,000 or less shall receive forgiveness if the borrower signs and submits to the lender a certification that is not more than one page in length, includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount. The SBA has yet to create the simplified application form but must do so by Jan. 20. The form may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements or satisfy relevant statutory or regulatory requirements. Borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years, as the SBA may review and audit these loans to check for fraud.

The Economic Aid Act provided set-asides for new and smaller borrowers, for borrowers in low- and moderate-income communities, and for community and smaller lenders. The set-asides include:

The SBA announced in its three-page guidance that it would take a number of steps to ensure increased access to the PPP for minority, underserved, veteran, and women-owned business concerns. Most notably, the SBA said it will accept PPP loan applications only from community financial institutions for at least the first two days when the PPP loan portal reopens. In addition, the SBA said it would:

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. 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.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the pandemic, 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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