Lots of information out there about the new CARES Act and what it purports to do. It’s a huge document and has a lot of moving parts. In an attempt to pull out useful information for the average consumer and small business owner, we are working on a series of blog posts to help answer some questions.
One of the most interesting sections discusses a new loan program for small businesses that has an element of forgiveness involved. A chief complaint of SBA loans is that businesses were already saddled with debt and adding more debt may not make sense or even be feasible in the long-term. Enter the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
The PPP is different than the disaster recovery loan that many have already tried to apply for in the past week or two. Applications are not available yet and documents, procedures, and communication with banks are still being established. The program offers cash flow assistance to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
The amount available is equal to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs or $10 million, whichever is less, and the average monthly payroll is based on 2019 payroll figures. Monthly payroll costs not only includes wages for employees, but also paid sick leave, health insurance premiums, payroll taxes, and other benefits. The loans are intended to cover payroll costs, business disruption, health insurance premiums, lease or rent expenses, and utilities.
A very important detail is that the loans will not be personally guaranteed or require collateral, which is very different than most SBA products previously on the market.
Now, the forgiveness part, which we should all be looking at to figure out the terms and conditions. Loans under the PPP may be fully or partially forgiven. Loan proceeds used to make payroll, pay utilities, rent, mortgage, and existing business debt may be forgiven, dollar for dollar. However, in order to receive the dollar for dollar forgiveness, employees need to remain employed and paid through the end of June.
Keeping complete and accurate records will be key to the forgiveness of these loans. You have to be able to show what the funds were used for, that those uses qualify under the program, and that you kept payroll going through the end of June. The better your records, the easier it will be to have the loan reduced on a dollar for dollar basis.
The PPP loans will be offered through local banks, not directly from the SBA. If you need connections to a bank offering these programs, please feel free to email me.
This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about your rights when it comes to debt and credit, you should speak with an attorney in your area for legal advice. If you live in California or North Dakota and would like to speak with Jen Lee Law regarding your situation, please schedule an appointment.