Updated: Jun 11, 2020
The U.S. Senate passed the House version of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) legislation Wednesday night, tripling the tim
e allotted for small businesses and other PPP loan recipients to spend the funds and still qualify for forgiveness of the loans. President Donald Trump, signed it today.
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. 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 December 31st, a change from the previous deadline of June 30st.
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.
New borrowers now have five years to repay the loan instead of two. Existing PPP loans can be extended up to 5 years if the lender and borrower agree. The interest rate remains at 1%.
The bill allows businesses that took a PPP loan to also delay payment of their payroll taxes, which was prohibited under the CARES Act.