Client Alert: What to Expect from the CARES Act – The Paycheck Protection Program

Posted on April 1st, 2020

While we are facing a global crisis in connection with the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic, life as we know it has been significantly disrupted. Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, especially those that have been made to work remotely, close their doors entirely, or substantially limit their business operations by order of state and local governments.

There may be help on the horizon, however. Congress has passed the $2 trillion dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in an attempt to minimize the inevitable impact that COVID-19 has and will have on small businesses.

While the Act is very in-depth, there is one section that may be particularly useful to small business owners. The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) has set aside $349 billion for loans that will allow small businesses, which were in operation on February 15, 2020, to retain their employees by covering the cost of payroll amongst other permitted costs.

What costs are permitted under the PPP?
Subject to certain exclusions, costs permitted under the PPP include employee payroll; commissions and cash tips; vacation, parental, family, medical or sick leave; health care premiums; interest on mortgage or other debt obligations; rent under lease agreements; and utilities.

When should I apply?
Loans are only available at this time until June 30, 2020, so prompt application is advisable.

Who do I apply to for a PPP loan?
Loans will be made by lenders who currently provide SBA 7(a) loans, as well as new lenders (both public and private) that the SBA is working quickly to qualify. Forgiveness will also be applied for through the lender.

Who is eligible for a PPP loan?
In order to qualify for a PPP loan, the business (including standard businesses, non-profits, veterans organizations and tribal businesses) has to have fewer than 500 employees, or, according to the SBA, the “applicable size standard in number of employees for the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry as provided by SBA, if higher.” Also, any business that employs 500 or less people per location and has an NAICS code beginning with 72 is eligible. Independent contractors and certain self-employed individuals may qualify for PPP loans, as well.

What are the terms of a PPP loan?
Under the PPP, the maximum loan amount is 250% of the average monthly payroll costs, not to exceed $10,000,000. The goal is to provide businesses with eight weeks’ worth of permissible expenses. For those amounts not otherwise forgiven, the loan term can be up to ten years with an interest rate no higher than 4%. Principal, interest and loan fees will all be deferred for a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months. No collateral or personal guaranties may be required in connection with a PPP loan.

What makes a PPP Loan eligible for forgiveness?
PPP Loans are eligible for forgiveness if all employees are retained (or rehired by June 30, 2020). Loan forgiveness will be reduced by the amount that payroll decreases for employees with salaries less than $100,000 per year, if that decrease exceeds 25%. The lender must render and notify the business applicant of a decision within 60 days of the forgiveness application submission.

For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program and to determine your company’s eligibility, please contact us at Ansell Grimm & Aaron, PC at covid19taskforce@ansellgrimm.com.

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The information provided in this alert was up-to-date at the time of publication, is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, and the transmission and receipt of this information does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship.