Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act: Congress Cuts PPP Borrowers Some Slack
Late Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed the House version of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which President Trump is expected to sign into law. Among other things, the legislation extends the period during which PPP loans may be spent from eight to 24 weeks, and decreases the percentage of the loan that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%. This excerpt from a Journal of Accountancy article highlights some of the law’s key provisions:
– Current PPP borrowers can choose to extend the eight-week period to 24 weeks, or they can keep the original eight-week period. New PPP borrowers will have a 24-week covered period, but the covered period can’t extend beyond Dec. 31, 2020. This flexibility is designed to make it easier for more borrowers to reach full, or almost full, forgiveness.
– Under the language in the House bill, the payroll expenditure requirement drops to 60% from 75% but is now a cliff, meaning that borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll or none of the loan will be forgiven. Currently, a borrower is required to reduce the amount eligible for forgiveness if less than 75% of eligible funds are used for payroll costs, but forgiveness isn’t eliminated if the 75% threshold isn’t met. Rep. Chip Roy (Texas), who co-sponsored the bill in the House, said in a House speech that the bill intended the sliding scale to remain in effect at 60%. Senators Marco Rubio and Susan Collins indicated that technical tweaks could be made to the bill to restore the sliding scale.
– Borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by Dec. 31, a change from the previous deadline of June 30.
– The legislation includes two new exceptions allowing borrowers to achieve full PPP loan forgiveness even if they don’t fully restore their workforce. Previous guidance already allowed borrowers to exclude from those calculations employees who turned down good faith offers to be rehired at the same hours and wages as before the pandemic. The new bill allows borrowers to adjust because they could not find qualified employees or were unable to restore business operations to Feb. 15, 2020, levels due to COVID-19 related operating restrictions.
In addition, existing PPP loans — which originally had two year terms — may be extended to five years if the lender and borrower agree, and new PPP borrowers will have five years to repay their loans. The interest rate on PPP loans remains at 1%. PPP borrowers may also delay payment of their payroll taxes, which the CARES Act prohibited. The deadline to apply for PPP loans remains June 30th.
-John Jenkins, TheCorporateCounsel.net June 5, 2020
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