The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has useful guidance in regard to the Paycheck Protection Loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Weighing on most of us is how these loans are going to impact our businesses long term, as the guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) keeps changing.
The SBA was very quick in issuing the note agreements, payment terms and interest rates on the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), also noting that if an advance was given under these loans the advance amount would be deducted from the potential forgiveness of the PPP loan. Yes, an advance under one loan would be an offset to the portion of allowable forgiveness under another! The EIDLs are not forgivable but they have been set up on 30 year terms; seemingly manageable.
One important thing I’ve taken away from this experience is that the PPP loans were issued and managed through the SBA approved private lenders and then backed by the SBA. This meant, after digging around on the internet, calls to our lender and calls to the SBA that the forgiveness application would be handled by the lender. Oddly enough, it didn’t seem like our lender knew that. After much persistence, I found that forgiveness applications were being accepted and processed for those applicants that received funding in excess of $2M. That meant the “small-business” funding recipients, the originally intended recipients of the CARES Act would have to wait for any clarity or solace on how these funds would ultimately be of impact.
I think it’s safe to assume that we all understand the rules as they currently stand and we are admittedly thankful for the CARES Act. The end game goal with the PPP loan is that you needed to keep staff on payroll, if you laid anyone off you needed to rehire them and overall you needed 60% of the funding to go towards payroll with the remaining funding allowed towards mortgage interest, rent and utilities.
Again, that leaves me with the question of what the overall impact to the business will be. This is where it counts! Let’s for a moment consider that we have utilized the funding properly and within the terms of forgiveness at 100% with the EIDL advance that was received also having an impact. We essentially received a pass for a period of time related to our payroll costs, rent, and utilities. The expenses are still sitting on our P&L, we have a note that will be forgiven which will ultimately end up as income, but the IRS will be limiting the deduction of these expenses from our business’ taxable income.
What does this mean? Now is the time to pull your General Ledger and scour through your P&L line items. Understand your normal deductible business expenses and make sure that you have items classified properly for your tax reporting. Don’t leave this for your tax preparer to question; nobody knows your business like you do. Who in your company is responsible for credit card allocations? How many times do you use your corporate credit card and the accounting team inadvertently books those charges to meals & entertainment or distributions, when in actuality it was a corporate team building lunch related to a client account or a client meeting, i.e. business meal, marketing or travel related expenses.? Meals & entertainment are limited at 50%, be cautious as to what is classified here. Marketing, travel and mileage are 100% deductible.
In summation, if the PPP funding was utilized within the forgivable guidelines you should be able to apply for forgiveness at 100% less the EIDL advance you’ve received. These forgiven expenditures will be unallowed deductions on your tax filing for the year so make sure your other business related expenses are classified properly to capture as many deductible expenses as possible to reduce your tax liability. Connect with your lender and identify their protocol for the forgiveness application. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can be immensely helpful in providing canned reporting for both the PPP application process and the allowable payroll costs under the 8 week or 24 week option under the PPP loan needed for the forgiveness application.
If you are unsure as to whether or not a PEO makes sense for your small business, we can help you decide! Libertate Insurance Services has a client first motto and works hard to help transfer risk in your business. So whether you’re looking for a PEO or you are a PEO seeking hard-to-place markets, connect with us today. Visit our website here for more info or check out the rest of the PEO Compass blogs here.
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Research credits: IRS.gov, uschamber.com, sba.gov