SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) FAQs
This series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) provides answers to questions we are hearing from our members about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Check back often as we will update these FAQs as more guidance is released.
This page has been updated as of May 21, 2020.
Video FAQs on the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Stay up to date with the latest on the PPP by listening to these videos. We will provide you the latest information and answer the most frequently asked questions.
- 500 or fewer employees whose principal place of residence is in the US
- A small business concern as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act and are subject to SBA's affiliation rules under 13 CFR 121.301(f) unless specifically waived in the Act, a section 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, 501(c)(19) tax-exempt veterans organization, Tribal business concern, or an individual who operates a sole proprietorship, is an independent contractor or is an eligible self-employed individual
- In operation on February 15, 2020 and had employees or paid independent contractors
- Seasonal businesses will be considered to be in operation as of February 15, 2020 if the business was in operation for any 8-week period between May 1, 2019 and September 15, 2019
- There are other factors in determining eligibility. Review the Program Rules on the US Treasury site for further guidance.
SBA issued Interim Final Rules and FAQs providing further guidance.
Yes, farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers are eligible to apply. They are subject to the same eligibility standards and definition of payroll costs as other businesses.
The lesser of:
- Average monthly payroll costs as defined by the SBA times 2.5
- If there is an outstanding amount of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020 that can be added to the PPP loan amount request.
- $10 million
- In addition, see U.S. Treasury guidance provided on how to calculate the maximum loan amount by business type
The interest rate will be 1%. The maturity of the loan is 2 years. Payments are deferred for 6 months following the disbursement of the loan. Interest will accrue on the loan beginning with disbursement.
The Interim Final Rule stated that lenders must confirm the dollar amount of average monthly payroll costs by reviewing the payroll documentation submitted with the application. Lenders may differ in the payroll documentation that they require. However the AICPA has made recommendations for the documents to be prepared and submitted with the application.
The guidance states that regardless of whether you have filed a 2019 tax return with the IRS, you must provide Form 1040 Schedule C with the loan application.
SBA indicated that additional guidance will be issued related to this issue.
Yes in both cases as long as the lender has not submitted Form 1502 to the SBA. If a partnership received a PPP loan that did not include the self-employment income of active partners (up to $100,000 annualized), the lender can increase the PPP loan amount to include the additional amount. If a seasonal employer is eligible for a higher maximum loan amount under the alternative calculation provided on April 28, the lender can increase the PPP loan. The borrower must provide documentation for the increased amounts.
Borrowers should assess their economic need for a PPP loan under the standards established by the CARES Act and the PPP regulations in effect at the time of the loan application. Borrowers are considered to make this certification in good faith and by taking into account current business activity and also other sources of liquidity currently available.
Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith. Borrowers with loans greater than $2 million will be subject to review by SBA for compliance with the program requirements. These borrowers should continue to assess their economic need as described above. See Q31, Q37 and Q46 in the PPP FAQs for additional guidance.
If a borrower applied for a PPP loan prior to the issuance of the interim final rule posted on April 24 and repaid the loan in full by May 18, 2020 it will be deemed by SBA to have made the required certification in good faith. See Q31 and Q37 in the PPP FAQs for additional guidance.
Calculation of payroll costs
Check out the PPP loan calculators for help with the calculation.
Payroll costs are calculated on a gross basis without regard to federal taxes imposed or withheld including FICA and Medicare. Payroll costs are not reduced by taxes imposed on an employee and are not increased by the employer's share of payroll taxes.
Payroll costs consist of compensation to employees including salary, wages, commissions or similar compensation; cash tips or the equivalent; payment for leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payment for employee benefits including group health care coverage and insurance premiums; retirement contributions, payment of state and local taxes assessed on the compensation of employees.
- The compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside of the U.S.
- The compensation of an individual employee in excess of an annual salary of $100,000
- If the borrower took credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for sick and family leave wages, those costs are also excluded.
The $100,000 cap applies only to cash compensation not to non-cash compensation such as retirement plans or group health care.
- Borrowers can calculate payroll costs using data either from the previous 12 months or from the 2019 calendar year.
- For seasonal businesses, the applicant may use average monthly payroll for the period between February 15 or March 1, 2019 and June 30, 2019 or any consecutive 12-week period between May 1, 2019 and September 15, 2019.
- A business that was not in operation for that period may use the average monthly payroll costs for the period January 1, 2020 to February 29, 2020.
Payroll costs do not include payments to independent contractors. Independent contractors have the opportunity to apply for PPP funding.
All employees paid during the period of time selected are included in payroll costs and to determine head count for eligibility purposes.
In FAQs released by the SBA, they recognize that the payroll for employees in this arrangement will not be reported on Form 941s for the borrower. The employees’ gross salary and benefits would be included as part of payroll costs when calculating the loan amount. For documentation, the SBA suggests providing Schedule R from Form 941 (an allocation schedule for aggregate Form 941 filers) or a statement from the payroll provider or PEO.
Per the interim final rule, payroll costs consist of compensation to employees including salary, wages, commissions or similar compensation. In additional guidance released on April 24, 2020, housing stipends or allowances are specifically included as payroll costs.
Pass-through entities calculation of payroll costs
Businesses should accumulate payroll costs based on the general guidelines as noted above. Specifically, compensation of owners who receive reportable wages (i.e. W-2 wages) should be included as payroll costs up to the $100,000 limit. Specifically, 2019 Form 941 taxable Medicare wages & tips should be added for each quarter plus any pre-tax employee contributions for health insurance or other fringe benefits excluded from taxable Medicare wages & tips should be used to calculate payroll costs. Employer health insurance contributions (portion of Form 1120-S line 18 attributable to health insurance), retirement contributions (Form 1120-S line 17) and employer state and local taxes assessed on employee compensation (from state quarterly wages reporting forms) should be included as payroll costs.
Businesses should accumulate and report payroll costs based on the general guidelines as noted above. Additionally, guidance issued on April 14 states that payroll costs should also include the self-employment income of general active partners (subject to $100,000 compensation cap). This is determined by adding the following:
- Schedule K-1, line 14a – Net earnings from self-employment of individual U.S. based general partners, reduced by Sec. 179 deduction, unreimbursed partnership expenses and depletion claimed on oil and gas properties claimed) multiplied by .9235 (adjusting for self-employment tax), up to $100,000 per partner
- 2019 gross wages and tips paid to the employees whose principal place of residence is in the U.S. (calculated based on guidelines noted above)
- 2019 employer contributions for employee health insurance (portion of Form 1065 line 19 attributable to health insurance)
- 2019 employer contributions to employee retirement plans (Form 1065 line 18)
- 2019 employer state and local taxes assessed on employee compensation (from state quarterly wage reporting forms)
Although partners/members are not treated as employees of the partnership/LLC and may receive guaranteed payments and other self-employment income from the partnership/LLC, the SBA determined that partners/members are not permitted to obtain PPP funds based on their self-employment income from a partnership/LLC.
LLCs should follow the instructions that apply to their tax filing situation. For example, an LLC that is considered a disregarded entity should file an application as a self-employed person. If the LLC is electing to be taxed as a partnership, the guidance regarding partnerships/LLCs would apply in the calculation of payroll costs.
Self-employed individuals and independent contractors
The loan amount will be determined based on 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C line 31 net profit amount, up to $100,000. If the Schedule C shows a net loss, the allowed loan amount is zero.
The loan amount will be determined by the sum of the following:
- 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C line 31 net profit amount, limited to $100,000. If the Schedule C shows a net loss, then this amount is 0
- Payroll costs as calculated above
Based on guidance provided, health insurance premiums and retirement contributions will be added to payroll costs for individuals with employees. For self-employed individuals with no employees, the loan amount is determined based on net profit from Form 1040 Schedule C.
Yes. Self-employed farmers (those reporting their net farm profit on Schedule F) should use Schedule F line 34 net farm profit to be used to determine their loan amount (rather than Schedule C line 31 net profit). Otherwise, the calculation of the loan amount is the determined in the same manner.
Determining number of employees for less than 500 employee limit/affiliate questions
Businesses may use average employment over the previous 12 months or for the calendar year 2019 for the purposes of applying an employee- based size standard. As an alternative, this formula provided by the SBA can be used: average number of employees per pay period in the 12 completed calendar months prior to the loan application (or the average for the periods the business has been operational if less than 12 months).
Yes, all individuals who are considered employees (including those obtained from a temporary employment agency, PEO or leasing concern) are included in the employee count. Per SBA FAQs, you can average employment over the required time period.
The general rules of affiliation rules can be found under 13 C.F.R. 121.301. There are 4 tests:
- based on ownership (control of 50% or more of voting equity)
- based on stock options, convertible securities and agreements to merge (considered to have a present effect on the power to control a concern)
- based on common management (one or more officer/director/managing member or general partner controls the Board of Directors and/or management of another business)
- based on identity of interests, including family members (individuals or firms that have identical business or economic interests)
In determining whether affiliation exists, the SBA may consider other circumstances even if no single factor constitutes affiliation (13 C.F.R. 121.301(f)(5).
Yes, affiliation is waved for the following:
- businesses with fewer than 500 employees that is assigned a NACIS Code starting with 72 (hotels, bars, restaurants)
- businesses operating as a franchise that are assigned a franchise identifier code by the SBA
Forgiveness of loan
The SBA released a loan forgiveness application and instructions on May 15, 2020.
The 8 week period begins on the date the lender makes the first disbursement of the loan. The lender must make the first disbursement of the loan no later than 10 calendar days from the date of the loan approval. The loan forgiveness application released on May 15, 2020 provides for an alternative payroll covered period. Borrowers with a biweekly (or more frequent) payroll schedule may elect to calculate eligible payroll costs using the 8-week period that begins on the first day of their first pay period following their loan disbursement date.
Payroll costs, health care benefits, mortgage interest payments, rent, utility, interest payments on debt incurred prior to February 15, 2020, and/or refinancing an SBA EIDL loan made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020.
The CARES Act defines utilities in Sec.1106(a)(5) as electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone or internet access for service which began prior to February 15, 2020. Further guidance released added gas used when driving a business vehicle. Other common utilities such as garbage collection or security monitoring may also be classified as a utility, but a business should confirm with the lending institution.
The CARES Act uses the standard of “full-time equivalent employees” to determine whether loan forgiveness must be reduced in the measurement period. The loan forgiveness application provides for a calculation of average full-time equivalency which is calculated as the average number of hours paid per week, divided by 40 and rounded to the nearest tenth. The maximum for each employee is capped at 1.0. A simplified method is provided that assigns a 1.0 for employees who work 40 hours or more per week and .5 to employees who work fewer hours.
- Owner compensation replacement (calculated based on 8/52 of 2019 net profit from Form 1040 Schedule C)
- Employee payroll costs (as defined by the interim rule)
- Business mortgage interest payments on real/personal property
- Business rent payments
- Business utility payments
- Interest payments on debt obligations incurred before February 15, 2020
- Refinancing an SBA EIDL loan made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020
Note that the individual must have claimed or be entitled to claim a deduction for the included expenses on 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C.
The amount of the loan forgiveness will depend on the amount spent during the 8 week period on:
- Payroll costs as defined by the interim rule (does not include benefits for owners)
- Owner compensation replacement (limited to 8/52 of 2019 net profit with a maximum of $15,385 for the covered period and excluding any qualified sick or family leave equivalent amount for which a credit was claimed under FFCRA)
- Interest payments on mortgage obligations for real/personal property incurred before February 15, 2020
- Rent payments on lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020
- Utility payments under service agreements dated before February 15, 2020
*Note that for interest, rent and utility payments, the amounts must be deductible on Form 1040 Schedule C.
The employee federal withholding is included in allowable payroll costs for the purposes of determining the amount to be forgiven. The employer federal payroll taxes (i.e. FICA and Medicare taxes) imposed on the gross payroll are not eligible payroll costs for the loan forgiveness calculation.
Eligible nonpayroll costs cannot exceed 25% of the total forgiveness amount. If salaries decrease by more than 25% for any non-owner employee who made less than $100,000 annualized in 2019 OR if the number of FTEs decreases, the forgiveness amount will be reduced unless the safe harbor is met.
For businesses that take this credit, the wages will be excluded from the determination of payroll costs.
An FTE reduction exception (meaning that a reduction of FTE in these circumstances does not reduce loan forgiveness) is available for any of the following:
- Borrower makes a good-faith, written offer to rehire an employee during the covered period of the alternative payroll covered period and the offer was rejected. FAQ #40 addresses this issue.
- Employee was fired for cause
- Employee voluntarily resigned
- Employee requested and received a reduction of their hours
The current guidance does not prevent an increase in pay in the form of a short term pay increase, hazard pay or bonus.
Based on current guidance, the covered 8-week period starts when the loan is funded. For borrowers with a biweekly or more frequent payroll period, an alternative payroll covered period starting on the first day of its first pay period following loan disbursement can be used. If the borrower is not able to operate or is operating at a limited capacity when the PPP loan proceeds are received, the borrower may choose to pay employees who are not able to work. This choice may be made to help the borrower maximize loan forgiveness as current guidance states that not more than 25% of the loan forgiveness amount may be attributable to non-payroll costs.
The actual amount of loan forgiveness will depend, in part, on the total amount of payroll costs and other eligible costs paid during the 8-week covered period. There are reductions in the amount of forgiveness based on the percentage of eligible costs attributable to non-payroll costs, any decrease in FTEs and decreases in salaries/wages per employee. See PPP Loan Forgiveness Steps for additional information.
Borrowers are eligible for forgiveness for the payroll costs paid and incurred during the covered period or alternative payroll covered period. Payroll costs are considered paid on the day that paychecks are distributed or when an ACH credit transaction is originated. Payroll costs are considered incurred on the day that the employee’s pay is earned. Payroll costs incurred but not paid during the last pay period of the selected period are eligible for forgiveness if paid on or before the next regular payroll date. Payroll costs should be determined based on the Interim Final Rule.
Any 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.
To be forgiven, the eligible cost must be incurred during the covered period, so prepaid costs would not qualify. Guidance specifically addresses that prepayments of mortgage payments are not allowed.
IRS Notice 2020-32 was issued on April 30, 2020 to state that no deduction is allowed for an expense that is otherwise deductible if the payment of the expense results in forgiveness of a PPP loan. The AICPA recently submitted a letter of support for legislation that would clarify that the receipt and forgiveness of Coronavirus assistance through the PPP does not affect the deductibility of ordinary business expenses.
No, the forgiveness of the loan does not constitute federal taxable income. States are providing guidance on state taxability that will be included in the AICPA state tax guidance chart.
This has not been specifically addressed in guidance released as of May 21, 2020.
The following documentation is required:
- certification that the documentation provided is true and correct and the amount for which forgiveness is required was used to retain employees, and make interest, rent and utility payments
- If the self-employed individual has employees, Form 941 and state quarterly tax reporting forms or equivalent payroll processor records that correspond to the covered period
- Evidence of business rent, mortgage interest payments or utility payments for loan proceeds used for these purposes
- 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C
Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) audit and accounting resources page to find out more about the financial statement impact of the PPP loan forgiveness.
Relationship between PPP and other SBA loans
Yes, borrowers may apply for the PPP and other SBA financial assistance, including disaster loans and Section 7(a) loans. However, you cannot use the proceeds from the PPP for the same purpose as your other SBA loan(s). Loan proceeds would need to cover payroll for a different period or other qualifying costs. This includes the up to $10,000 grant available with the Section 7(b)(2) loans- Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
The amount of grant received (up to $10,000) will reduce the forgiveness amount of the PPP.
Yes. Employers receiving a PPP loan may defer payment of the employer’s share of Social Security tax for the period beginning March 27, 2020 through the date the lender issues a decision on the forgiveness of the loan. At that time, the employer is no longer eligible to defer payment. The Social Security tax that is deferred from March 27, 2020 until the date of the forgiveness will be due 50% by December 31, 2021 and 50% by December 31, 2022.
CPAs as agents
Please see the AICPA Statement on CPAs as Agents for PPP applications for information.
CPAs should consider the implications of this decision. For more information, please see ethical implications to consider for COVID-19 PPP loan applications as well as impact of accepting PPP agent fees on independence.
Reviewed May 21, 2020