New Interim Final Rule Clarifies Loan Forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program
On May 22, 2020, the Treasury Department and SBA issued a
new Interim Final Rule
applicable to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) related to the forgiveness calculation.
When must payroll costs be incurred and/or paid to be eligible for forgiveness?
In general, payroll costs paid or incurred during the eight consecutive week (56 days) covered period are eligible for forgiveness. Borrowers may seek forgiveness for payroll
costs for the eight weeks beginning on either:
- the date of disbursement of the borrower’s PPP loan proceeds from the Lender (i.e., the start of the covered period); or
- the first day of the first payroll cycle in the covered period (the “alternative payroll covered period”).
Payroll costs are considered paid on the day that paychecks are distributed or the borrower originates an ACH credit transaction. Payroll costs incurred during the borrower’s last pay period of the covered period or the 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) to be eligible for forgiveness. Payroll costs are generally incurred on the day the employee’s pay is earned (i.e., on the day the employee worked). For employees who are not performing work but are still on the borrower’s payroll, payroll costs are incurred based on the schedule established by the borrower (typically, each day that the employee would have performed work).
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration (Administrator), in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary), recognizes that the eight-week covered period will not always align with a borrower’s payroll cycle. For administrative convenience of the borrower, a borrower with a bi-weekly (or more frequent) payroll cycle may elect to use an alternative payroll covered period that begins on the first day of the first payroll cycle in the covered period and continues for the following eight weeks.
The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, determined that this alternative computational method for payroll costs is justified by considerations of administrative feasibility for borrowers, as it will reduce burdens on borrowers and their payroll agents while achieving the paycheck protection purposes manifest throughout the CARES Act, including section 1102. Because this alternative computational method is limited to payroll cycles that are bi-weekly or more frequent, this computational method will yield a calculation that the Administrator does not expect to materially differ from the actual covered period, while avoiding unnecessary administrative burdens and enhancing auditability.
Are there caps on the amount of loan forgiveness available for owner-employees and self-employed individuals’ own payroll compensation?
Yes, the amount of loan forgiveness requested for owner-employees and self employed individuals’ payroll compensation can be no more than the lesser of 8/52 of 2019 compensation (i.e., approximately 15.38 percent of 2019 compensation) or $15,385 per individual in total across all businesses.
In particular, owner-employees are capped by the amount of their 2019 employee cash compensation and employer retirement and health care contributions made on their behalf. Schedule C filers are capped by the amount of their owner compensation replacement, calculated based on 2019 net profit. General partners are capped by the amount of their 2019 net earnings from self-employment (reduced by claimed section 179 expense deduction, unreimbursed partnership expenses, and depletion from oil and gas properties) multiplied by 0.9235. No additional forgiveness is provided for retirement or health insurance contributions for self-employed individuals, including Schedule C filers and general partners, as such expenses are paid out of their net self employment income.
When must nonpayroll costs be incurred and/or paid to be eligible for forgiveness?
A nonpayroll cost is eligible for forgiveness if it was:
- 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.
Example: A borrower’s covered period begins on June 1 and ends on July 26. The borrower pays its May and June electricity bill during the covered period and pays its July electricity bill on August 10, which is the next regular billing date. The borrower may seek loan forgiveness for its May and June electricity bills, because they were paid during the covered period. In addition, the borrower may seek loan forgiveness for the portion of its July electricity bill through July 26 (the end of the covered period), because it was incurred during the covered period and paid on the next regular billing date.
The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, has determined that this interpretation provides an appropriate degree of borrower flexibility while remaining consistent with the text of section 1106(b). The Administrator believes that this simplified approach to calculation of forgivable nonpayroll costs is also supported by considerations of administrative convenience for borrowers, and the Administrator notes that the 25 percent cap on nonpayroll costs will avoid excessive inclusion of nonpayroll costs.