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Monthly Archives: May 2020

PPP Loan Forgiveness Update

If you received a PPP loan, please make sure you read the PPP Loan Forgiveness rules, and contact if you need assistance.  We felt the US Chamber of Commerce Guide was well written.  You can view it at https://www.uschamber.com/report/guide-ppp-loan-forgiveness

If you have questions, or need assistance with preparing for the loan forgiveness application, please contact us for assistance.

Haven’t received your stimulus payment? What can you do…

If you haven’t received your CARES Act taxpayer stimulus payment go to “Get My Payment” website at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment and enter your direct deposit information to order to receive an electronic economic impact payment.  This is needed by noon on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

As a reminder, individuals could receive up to $1,200 and married couples could receive up to $2,400.  Parents could also receive $500 for qualifying children.  For more information, you can read IR-2020-92 at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/act-by-wednesday-for-chance-to-get-quicker-economic-impact-payment-timeline-for-payments-continues-to-accelerate

 

The IRS clarifies the deductibility of PPP-funded expenses

The IRS has issued new guidance addressing a question that has lingered since the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — whether expenses paid for with forgiven, tax-free PPP loan proceeds are deductible business expenses under Section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). The guidance in IRS Notice 2020-32 doesn’t provide the answer borrowers hoped for, but that may yet come.

The root of the question

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act created the widely publicized PPP to help some employers cover their payrolls during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. PPP loans are subject to 100% forgiveness if certain criteria are met, and the amounts forgiven are excluded from the borrower’s gross income. This is notable because forgiven debt generally is taxed as cancellation of debt income.

The program is open to U.S. businesses with fewer than 500 employees — including sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, independent contractors and nonprofits — affected by COVID-19. The loans may be used to cover payroll, certain employee healthcare benefits, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on any other existing debt, for eight weeks after receipt of funds. Forgiveness is available for payments for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities.

While the CARES Act explicitly states that forgiven PPP loan amounts aren’t included in the borrower’s gross income, it doesn’t expressly state whether borrowers can claim business expense deductions for the expenditures the forgiven amounts cover. Notice 2020-32 comes in response to requests from the tax community for clarification on this point.

The IRS’s position

Unfortunately, the guidance states that no deduction is allowed for an expense that’s otherwise deductible if the payment of the expense results in forgiveness of a PPP loan. It explains that, to prevent a double tax benefit, IRC Sec. 265 disallows a deduction for any amount otherwise allowable as a deduction that’s allocable to tax-exempt income (other than interest). The IRS asserts that forgiven PPP funds constitute such tax-exempt income.

In other words, the IRS maintains that a business shouldn’t be allowed to avoid taxable cancellation of debt income on forgiven PPP loan amounts and also to deduct the payments made with those loan amounts. The result for borrowers essentially is an offset of the tax benefit — the forgiven amounts are excluded from gross income but the deduction(s) for those amounts are eliminated.

The pushback

The IRS may not have the last word on the deduction issue, though. Members of Congress are signaling that the expenses paid by forgiven PPP loan proceeds should indeed be tax deductible.

For example, both Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, have indicated that the IRS interpretation runs contrary to the goal of the PPP. They’ve said they would like the discrepancy to be remedied legislatively in the near future.

It’s also possible that a borrower will challenge the IRS stance in court. Or the IRS simply could succumb to pressure from the public, Congress and/or the administration and reverse its interpretation.

A juggling act

The tax consequences of obtaining PPP loan forgiveness and other federal relief options can prove complicated, especially with the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department regularly releasing new regulations and guidance. We can help you keep up with the latest developments and tax strategies and what they mean for you.

© 2020

SBA extends the PPP repayment deadline for self-certification

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the repayment deadline for Payroll Protection Program (PPP) borrowers that wish to take advantage of the “good faith” self-certification of eligibility option. The deadline is now automatically extended from May 7, 2020, to May 14, 2020.

Companies that repay their loans by that date preempt the possibility of criminal liability if they’re subsequently found ineligible for PPP loans. The loans are intended to help small businesses with fewer than 500 employees weather the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but some large companies have applied for and received funds.

Extended safe harbor

In April 2020, the U.S. Treasury and the SBA issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) on PPP loans. One question asks whether businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to support their ongoing operations qualify for PPP loans.

The SBA explained that — in addition to reviewing applicable affiliation rules to determine eligibility — all borrowers must evaluate their economic need for a loan under the standards in effect at the time of the loan application. The standards are set by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which established the PPP, as well as subsequent regulations.

Among other things, borrowers must certify that their PPP loan request is necessary. Specifically, they must certify that “current economic uncertainty” makes the loan necessary to support ongoing operations. The certification must be made in good faith, taking into account the borrower’s current business activity and ability to access other sources of liquidity in a way that’s not “significantly detrimental” to the business.

The FAQs originally provided that any borrower that applied for a loan prior to April 24, 2020, and repays the funds in full by May 7, 2020, would be deemed by the SBA to have made the certification in good faith. As of May 5, 2020, though, the FAQs have been revised to reflect an extension of this safe harbor to May 14, 2020. The extension will be automatically implemented, with no need for borrowers to apply for it.

Potential criminal liability

Companies that don’t take advantage of the safe harbor and are later found ineligible for the PPP could face criminal liability, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The loan application notes that making a false statement to obtain a guaranteed loan from the SBA is punishable by imprisonment of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

A borrower that falsely self-certified also could be subject to criminal or civil liability under the False Claims Act (FCA). The FCA permits treble damages, or triple the amount of the government’s actual damages, as well as civil penalties, imprisonment up to five years and a fine up to $250,000 for criminal liability.

A tangled web

Be aware that, according to a recently revised IRS FAQ, companies must repay their PPP loans by May 7, 2020, to qualify for the employee retention credit. We can help you with business consulting and evaluate all of the potential strategies to make the most of the federal COVID-19 relief programs.

© 2020

Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPPL)

Proceeds that are forgiven will generate reduced income tax deductions.

The IRS has just released IRS Notice 2020-32 that informed the public if a taxpayer requests and is approved some or all of the PPPL to be forgiven, then that amount that we used for expenses related to payroll, health care, rent, interest expense and other related qualified costs will not be deductible. This IRS notice is related to Internal Revenue Code Section 265, which stated in summary that expenses related to tax-exempt income are not tax deductible.

Also, consider that GAAP will treat the accounting differently for loan forgiveness. “ASC 405-20 provides accounting guidance relevant to the extinguishment of liabilities. Under ASC 405,when a debtor is legally released from a liability, the debt is considered extinguished via “legal defeasance.” Based on the information available at this time, loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program appears to fit the characteristics of a legal defeasance and could therefore be accounted for as a debt extinguishment.” Please reach out to us if you have any specific questions. We have attached a link for you to read IRS Notice 2020-32 at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-32.pdf