Many small businesses have inquired about whether they can apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness before their covered period expires. The new Interim Final Rule says that if a borrower applies for loan forgiveness before the end of the covered period and has reduced any employees’ salaries or wages by more than the 25% allowed for full forgiveness, the borrower must account for the excess salary reduction for the full eight-week or 24-week covered period, whichever one applies to its loan.  

Under that guidance, PPP borrowers that apply early for loan forgiveness forfeit a safe-harbor provision allowing them to restore salaries or wages by December 31 and avoid reductions in the loan forgiveness they receive. For example, if a borrower has a 24-week period that ends in November but wants to apply in September, any wage reduction in excess of 25% as of September would be calculated for the entire 24-week period even if the borrower restores salaries by December 31.

Below are two examples provided in the Interim Final Rule that show how the calculations would work:

Example: A borrower is using a 24-week covered period. This borrower reduced a full-time employee’s weekly salary from $1,000 per week during the reference period to $700 per week during the covered period. The employee continued to work on a full-time basis during the covered period, with an FTE of 1.0. In this case, the first $250 (25% of $1,000) is exempted from the loan forgiveness reduction. The borrower seeking forgiveness would list $1,200 as the salary/hourly wage reduction for that employee (the extra $50 weekly reduction multiplied by 24 weeks). If the borrower applies for forgiveness before the end of the covered period, it must account for the salary reduction for the full 24-week covered period (totaling $1,200).  

Example: A borrower that received a PPP loan before June 5, 2020 has elected to use an eight-week covered period. This borrower reduced a full-time employee’s weekly salary from $1,000 per week during the reference period to $700 per week during the covered period. The employee continued to work on a full-time basis during the covered period, with an FTE of 1.0. In this case, the first $250 (25 percent of $1,000) is exempted from the loan forgiveness reduction. The borrower seeking forgiveness would list $400 as the salary/hourly wage reduction for that employee (the extra $50 weekly reduction multiplied by eight weeks). 

Here is the link to the Interim Final Rule that offers an overview of the latest changes.

For additional information about all COVID-19 Tax & Business Implications, visit https://www.isdanerllc.com/covid-19-tax-business-implications/