DRDA’s President, Mr. Douglas A. Dickey, CPA, CEPA, was spotlighted this week in Houston’s news publication “Houston Business Journal.” Mr. Dickey covered the current economic crisis that most small businesses in the U.S. have experienced due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and how the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program has currently aided more than 4 million small businesses from closing their doors.
The SBA’s PPP program originally set out for small businesses to utilize loans within an eight week span, the timeframe that the U.S. government officials expected the pandemic t last. However, the pandemic has extended further than anticipated. “This PPP was designed to survive for a 90-day period of time — 60 days of stay-at home, 30 days to ramp back up,” Mr. Dickey said. “That doesn’t seem to be happening, so now what do we do?”
In order to extend economic relief to small business, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act in June. Businesses are now permitted to extend the use of the funds received from extended from eight to 24 weeks, and utilize 40% of the loan to cover non-payroll expenses. This is particularly helpful for business that remain closed. “If your business is completely shut down and you’re not making any money, you’re going to have some rent costs, you’re going to continue to have note payments,” explained Mr. Dickey. “You’ve got ongoing costs, but you’ve got no income coming in.”
Set to expire at midnight on Tuesday, June 30th, the U.S. Senate decided to extend the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses until August 8th. The program was set to close down Tuesday night with $130 billion in funding left over. The bill has passed the House & Senate, and is awaiting the President’s signature. Small business owners have until August 8th to apply for the program.
The Small Business Administration (SBA), which runs the program with the Treasury Department, was set to stop accepting new applications on Tuesday, June 30th, at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time. With over $130 Billion left in funds as of Saturday, June 28, the unused portion was set to return to the U.S. Treasury Department, unless Congress allocated the funds elsewhere. Of the $650 billion allocated to help small businesses, just over $520 Billion in loans were approved and issued to nearly 4.9 million small business by Tuesday night, the SBA said.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., who presented the bill extending the filing deadline, stated “We thought by the end of June that our economy would be on track and we would not need to have additional applications after that date.” The Paycheck Protection Program, referred to as PPP, is designed to offer loans to small businesses to cover expenses, including employee salary during the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic. As Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) points out: “There are millions of small business that are barely open now. With the likelihood of either renewed closures or much slower reopening, we have literally millions of small business nationwide at risk.” With the Covid-19 crisis still looming over most of the country, and with fall and winter around the corner (not to mention a heavily active hurricane season forecast), signs of financial stability rebounding to pre-Coronavirus levels by the end of the year remain bleak.
One of the great benefits of the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program is that the loan amount granted to small business owners to keep their business open and employees from losing their jobs, if utilized according to SBA Guidelines, do not have to be repaid. Hence, the loan converts into a grant. This eases pressure on small business as they struggle to generate revenue to keep afloat. With many small companies struggling to keep open, the government assistance offered via the SBA is a welcomed relief.
For Additional Information, see:
Small Businesses who received Paycheck Protection Program loans can prepare for the process of having the debt reduced or even wiped clean with the forgiveness application released by the Small Business Administration on Friday May 15,2020.
SBA said it planned to release official regulations and guidance soon. But the form might help employers by offering reminders of the rules as well as what appears to be some new guidance on how the government will handle loan forgiveness.
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 (Minor formatting edits.)
“The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration released a loan forgiveness application form for the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which had been urgently sought by CPA firms and their small business clients in recent weeks,” the American Institute of CPAs wrote in a news release Saturday. “The document and related instructions partially address some outstanding issues but leave others unaddressed and, more importantly, still do not provide enough flexibility for those who receive funds, according to the American Institute of CPAs. Download the PPP Forgiveness Loan calculator from the American Institute of CPAs.
The SBA opened the PPP process on April 3. Small Businesses who managed to obtain the PPP loans in the early days of eligibility are coming up on the eight-week (current to 6-7 weeks in) “Covered Period” to have spent the money, which means some might want to get the ball rolling on the forgiveness process for peace of mind. (The deadline to apply for forgiveness is unclear, but the form carries an Oct. 31 expiration date.) Otherwise, the loans carry 1 percent interest and mature in two years.
The eight-week “Covered Period” starts ticking either on the day you received loan dollars, but the feds say they’ll also allow employers to key off of their first pay period after receiving the loan — within limitations. For example, the 25 percent of the loan which can be spent on eligible non-payroll costs like rent must have been spent during the “Covered Period.”
“For administrative convenience, Borrowers with a biweekly (or more frequent) payroll schedule may elect to calculate eligible payroll costs using the eight-week (56-day) period that begins on the first day of their first pay period following their PPP Loan Disbursement Date (the ‘Alternative Payroll Covered Period’). For example, if the Borrower received its PPP loan proceeds on Monday, April 20, and the first day of its first pay period following its PPP loan disbursement is Sunday, April 26, the first day of the Alternative Payroll Covered Period is April 26 and the last day of the Alternative Payroll Covered Period is Saturday, June 20,” the form states. “Borrowers who elect to use the Alternative Payroll Covered Period must apply the Alternative Payroll Covered Period wherever there is a reference in this application to ‘the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period.’ However, Borrowers must apply the Covered Period (not the Alternative Payroll Covered Period) wherever there is a reference in this application to ‘the Covered Period’ only.”
The government will also accept the spending if costs are incurred during the time frame and paid by the first payday or billing date after it.
“Borrowers are generally eligible for forgiveness for the payroll costs paid and payroll costs incurred during the eight-week (56-day) Covered Period (or Alternative Payroll Covered Period) (‘payroll costs’),” the form states. “Payroll costs are considered paid on the day that paychecks are distributed, or the Borrower originates an ACH credit transaction. Payroll costs are considered incurred on the day that the employee’s pay is earned. Payroll costs incurred but not paid during the Borrower’s last pay period of the Covered Period (or Alternative Payroll Covered Period) are eligible for forgiveness if paid on or before the next regular payroll date. Otherwise, payroll costs must be paid during the Covered Period (or Alternative Payroll Covered Period). …
“An eligible nonpayroll cost must be paid during the Covered Period or incurred during the Covered Period and paid on or before the next regular billing date, even if the billing date is after the Covered Period. Eligible nonpayroll costs cannot exceed 25% of the total forgiveness amount. Count nonpayroll costs that were both paid and incurred only once.”
The government will forgive the loan and any interest if at least 75 percent of the money received had been spent on payroll and the remainder spent on rent, utilities or mortgage interest, according to the form. The maximum forgivable amount per employee maxes out at what would work out to $100,000 a year in pay.
The amount forgiven will be decreased proportional to the drop-in workforce and potentially pay. The government will let pay cuts slide if employees made at least 75 percent of what they averaged between Jan. 1 and March 31 or were paid between Feb. 15-April 26, the average salary or hourly wage they were making as of Feb. 15, according to the new form. Borrowers that cut pay more than the government would like can receive a pass if they restore paychecks to Feb. 15 levels by June 30.
The government also will let layoffs slide and forgive the full loan if you laid off people between Feb. 15-April 26 and brought your workforce to Feb. 15 levels by June 30, according to the form. It also grants an exemption to an employer who fired employees for cause or “made a good-faith, written offer” to rehire a worker only to have the employee decline. Exemptions also exist if the employee quit voluntarily or asked for their hours to be reduced. “Any FTE reductions in these cases do not reduce the Borrower’s loan forgiveness,” the form states.
Congress appropriated hundreds of billions for PPP small business loans over the course of two separate bills, resulting in a PPP “Phase One” and “Phase Two.” The forgivable loans were seen as a means of helping small businesses preserve jobs after the national COVID-19 coronavirus response shattered the economy.
PPP “Phase One” saw another more than $342 billion net dispensed in nearly 1.7 million loans made by 4,975 lenders, according to the SBA. The average “Phase One” loan came out to $206,000. Nearly 26,000 loans exceeding $2 million had been issued in Phase One; these represented 1.57 percent of the loan applications approved, but nearly 28 percent of the loan dollars.
After the PPP program ran out of money (lawmakers approved $349 billion), Congress approved more funds for what became “Phase Two.” Generally speaking, you can borrow the equivalent of 10 weeks of payroll.
As of 5 p.m. Saturday May 16,2020, 5,479 “Phase Two” lenders had issued nearly $195.2 billion across nearly 2.8 million loans. The average “Phase Two” loan worked out to $70,622.
Small Business Administration, May 15, 2020
American Institute of CPAs, May 16, 2020
SBA, May 13, 2020
DRDA continues to provide you information as quickly as we can related to any tax law changes, as well as financial aid and loan opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. As you can imagine, this is a rapidly changing environment and we will continue to disseminate information as it is made available to us.
On March 27th 2020, President Trump enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to Help small businesses keep workers employed through a program known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Which allowed banks to issue SBA 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses that can attest to suffering economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Importantly, these PPP loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payroll afterward.
Yesterday April 23, 2020 Congress approved an additional $310 billion in Funding to replenish the PPP Program which has run out of money. Congress had allotted an initial $349 billion in the last relief bill, a $2.2 trillion package enacted on March 27, only to see the funds run dry shortly afterward due to the rush of businesses seeking to tap the benefits.
Banks will start processing application Monday April 27, 2020. We anticipate the money to move very quickly. We suggest to those applying for the PPP, to do so as soon as possible, and be ready to submit their applications immediately as the program becomes available.
Here is a link to a small business guide published yesterday by the U.S Chamber of Commerce. Please take the time to read this memo, and if you believe your business qualifies (if you need help in that determination, please let us know), then you need to contact your banker to start the process. Please keep in mind, these loans are moving very fast and they are being created as a “first come, first served” priority list for applicants. This will typically be a bank process, not an accounting process, so submitting a loan application through your bank will be of the utmost importance.
The last twelve (12) months payroll information will be needed. It is our understanding at this time, that payroll will include wages, employer paid payroll taxes, health insurance premiums and retirement expense (i.e. 401(k) match).
As stated previously, for the PPP loan to be forgiven your business will have to prove that it retained and continued to pay employees. The rules are still evolving regarding the employee retention provision but understand that employee retention is paramount to having this loan forgiven.
The administration’s PPP program guidelines can be found at www.treasury.gov, and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s search tool to find a bank that offers PPP loans can be found at www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find.
We hope that you are well, and please stay safe. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
DRDA’s own Jennifer Lopez, Human Resources and Learning Development Coordinator was spotlighted this week in the University of Houston – Clear Lake news publication “The Signal.”
The article covers her educational path as a student and parent, and now with a full-time career. “I think the most important thing I learned,” said Jennifer, “is how to take a curriculum outside of my classroom and into a board room or training room. Just because its education doesn’t mean it has to be in a K-12 classroom. It can be corporate or anywhere.” She continues to add, “What I learned in my undergraduate classes at UHCL is to be a better instructor across the board, whether it’s a child or an accountant.”
“Her skill sets were amazing,” said Dr. Jana Willis, Professor of Instructional Design and Technology, “she had worked very hard to get to where she was in her educational journey. Her journey took her from NASA aerospace scholar, to computer engineering, to mathematics major, to a master’s degree in instructional technology, and now to a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. It’s all adding to the brilliance I saw in that undergraduate classroom. Jennifer is a role model for all UHCL students.”
Jennifer will be Graduating this May, receiving her Master’s degree in Instructional Technology and Design with a specialization in Human Resources.
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted to address the
financial difficulties that have resulted from the COVID‐19 pandemic. Included in this law were provisions that
provide special coronavirus related distributions (CRD) for qualifying plan participants. Below is a brief summary of the new CRDs available and new loan provisions to qualifying participants.
Coronavirus Related Distribution:
Qualifying participants can request a distribution of up to $100,000 from the retirement plan without incurring a
10% early distribution penalty. There is no age requirement and you can take coronavirus‐related distributions
whether actively employed or not. You can request the entire amount in a one lump sum, or multiple payments, but all must be taken by no later than December 30, 2020.
There is a federal tax withholding requirement of 10%, but you may choose to waive it completely or withhold a
different amount at the time of distribution. The amount of distribution is subject to federal tax, but you will be able to spread the taxes owed on the distribution over three years.
You may repay the entire amount distributed to you within three years. This opportunity allows you to repay
some or all of the distribution to any qualified plan or IRA that accepts rollovers as a way to minimize your income
tax liability. This is different than a loan in that there is no interest and no periodic payment requirement, and the
ability to repay does not require an election at the time of distribution. Repayment can be in a single lump sum or
via installments of different amounts at different times, but the repayment window only runs for three years from
the date you first receive the distribution.
It is important to emphasize that this new CRDs only apply to individual plan participants that meet certain requirements. If you should choose to utilize either of these provisions, you must certify that you meet one or more of the conditions listed below.
You have experienced adverse financial consequences as a result of:
• having been diagnosed with SARS‐CoV‐2 or COVID‐19 by a test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and
• a spouse or other dependent (as defined in section 152 of the internal revenue code) being diagnosed with
SARS‐CoV‐2 or COVID‐19 by a test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
• being quarantined,
• being furloughed,
• being laid off or having work hours reduced,
• being unable to work due to a lack of childcare,
• being an owner of a business who has had to close the business or reduce hours worked in the business due to
the COVID‐19 virus.
Increase of Maximum Loan Amount
Under current rules the maximum loan amount available is the lesser of 50% of vested account balance or $50,000
reduced by the highest outstanding loan amount in the previous 12 months. The new rule increases the maximum
loan amount to the lesser of 100% of vested account balance or $100,000 reduced by the highest outstanding loan
in the previous 12 months. This provision has been incorporated into our plan but will expire on September 23, 2020.
The loan must still meet all other requirements and limitations set forth under the plan.
Loan Payment Suspension
Qualifying participants who currently have loans outstanding or who take new loans can suspend their loan
payments for the remainder of 2020. It is important to know that interest will continue to accrue on any loan where
payments are suspended.
Re‐Amortization of Loans with a Final Payment Date that is Later than 12/31/2020:
If a loan is suspended under
this provision, the loan will be re‐amortized to include the accrued interest and extend the loan duration for 12
months beyond the original final loan payment date. This re‐amortization will result in a new loan payment amount.
Payments, using this new payment amount, will begin as of the first payment due date in 2021.
Example: Loan with an original first payment date of 3/15/2018 with a final payment date of 3/15/2021. Payment
is suspended as of 4/15/2020 for the remainder of 2020. New payment is calculated by including the accrued
interest for the period 4/15/2020 through 12/31/2020 and by extending the final payment date to 3/15/2022.
Payments resume on 1/15/2021, using the new payment amount.
Re‐Amortization of Loans with a Final Payment Date of prior to 12/31/2020:
If a loan is suspended under this
provision, the loan will be re‐amortized to include the accrued interest and extend the loan duration for 12 months
beyond the original final loan payment date. This re‐amortization will result in a new loan payment amount.
Payments, using this new payment amount, will begin 12 months after the date of the suspension.
Example: Loan with an original first payment date of 9/30/2017 with a final payment date of 9/30/2020. Payment
is suspended as of 4/15/2020 for the remainder of 2020. New payment is calculated by including the accrued
interest for the period 4/15/2020 through 3/31/2021 and by extending the final payment date to 9/30/2021.
Payments resume on 4/15/2021, using the new payment amount.
Please note that this document was prepared based on our best interpretation of the law. Additional guidance from regulators is likely. This guidance may result in the information presented in this document being inaccurate.
If we receive information that is conflicting with what we have stated here we will send that information to you and post it on our website www.drdacpa.com. In the interim, please call us if you have any questions or if we may be of any assistance.