Category: Coronavirus

8/17 Alston & Bird Coronavirus Flash Update

Alston & Bird have released their August 17 COVID-19 update, including the latest news on emergency funding, administrative and regulatory actions, workplace and home issues, and many other topics, as well as to links to all their past updates.

Withum COVID-19 Bill Update – 8/13/2020

Final PPP Statistics:  As many of you know the PPP loan program is officially closed, it is certainly possible that it can be extended via the next stimulus bill, however that has been delayed and it is unclear what changes to the PPP (if any) will come as a result of the bill and when. The SBA has been consistently publishing PPP loan statistics, and this link provides what is effectively the “final” results as we know them. Some general observations:

  • $133 billion of funds allocated to the program went unused.
  • NY, CA and TX were the largest recipients of loans.
  • Over 87% of the total loans issued were below $150k.
  • Chase, BOA and PNC were the top three lenders (by dollars).
  • Healthcare, professional services and tech were the top three beneficiaries (by dollars).

New Clarifications/FAQs on How to Calculate Forgiveness: The SBA released new FAQs recently, Withum has written an in-depth analysis on each one within this article. The FAQs do not present major shifts in how we view the mechanics of forgiveness but do help provide further detail and clarity on topics such as how to calculate the maximum forgivable salary for owner/employees based on entity type (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp and how to account for benefits paid within and outside of the covered period among other topics. As borrowers begin working on their applications, understanding these nuances is important. 

PPP and M&A: Withum often gets questions regarding how the sale or a business or the acquisition of another entity may impact a borrowers PPP loan and ability to obtain forgiveness. Withum has put together an article addressing some of the complexity that may arise from these transactions, as well as how they impact the employee retention tax credit.

Reminder Section:  (what should I be doing):

  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the employer payroll tax deferral and employee retention credits (ERC) that were made available in the CARES Act.
  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the qualified sick/family leave refundable tax credits (from FFCRA, passed prior to the CARES Act).
  • Consider speaking with your lender to discuss changes to terms of existing debt facilities.
  • If you have already received a PPP loan, start forecasting how you intend to spend the funds and how you can qualify for the highest amount of loan forgiveness possible. If you are not forecasting 100% loan forgiveness, then most likely you should seek assistance regarding your particular situation. Withum believes the vast majority of borrowers should expect and plan to receive 100% loan forgiveness.

Withum Update – SBA Releases New FAQs on Loan Forgiveness

On August 4, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA), in conjunction with the Treasury Department, released 23 frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The FAQs, released approximately one week ahead of the SBA’s opening its loan forgiveness application portal, covers general questions surrounding the process and the type and amount of costs that can be included in the loan forgiveness application. Some of the FAQs confirm previously-stated positions and represent logical extensions of prior guidance, and others contradict prior guidance.

This article focuses on the most salient points of the FAQs and highlights the departures from prior SBA guidance or prevailing interpretations.

General Loan Forgiveness FAQs

  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals with no employees can use the EZ loan application.
  • Borrowers are not required to make loan payments prior to their receipt of a decision on their loan forgiveness application, provided they the application is filed within 10 months of receipt of the loan. Interest accrues from the date of receipt of the loan, but only on the part of the loan that is not forgiven.

Payroll Cost FAQs

  • There is no change to the paid or incurred rule as applied to payroll costs.
    • Paid – payroll costs that are incurred prior to a borrower’s covered period (CP) but paid during the CP are includable.
    • Incurred – payroll costs that are incurred during the CP but paid on or before the next regular payroll date after the end of the CP are includable.
  • Cash compensation is determined using gross payroll amounts. For purposes of the $100,000 annualized limitation on cash compensation, all forms of cash compensation should be considered, including wages, tips, commissions, bonuses and hazard pay.
  • Employee group health care costs are includible to the extent paid by the employer during the CP for coverage during the CP, but not for coverage outside the CP. This narrowing of the “paid” rule contradicts prior SBA guidance and creates a difference in the treatment between cash compensation and employee group health care costs.
  • No forgiveness will be provided for retirement benefits accelerated from periods outside the CP. This too represents a narrowing of the “paid” rule and contradicts prior SBA guidance.
  • The FAQs confirmed prior guidance that the maximum owner compensation amount for a 24-week CP is $20,833 in total across all businesses, but it added that borrowers are free to choose how to allocate such amount among their businesses.
  • Changes were made to the calculation of the owner compensation limits by business type. Below are the new rules.
    • C Corporations: cash compensation relating to a C corporation’s shareholder/employees is limited to 2.5 months of their 2019 cash compensation (for a 24-week CP), subject to a cap of $20,833. The corporation also is eligible for forgiveness on its group health care costs, state/local employment taxes, and retirement contributions capped at 2.5 months of the 2019 retirement contribution amounts.
    • S Corporations: cash compensation relating to an S corporation’s shareholders/employees is limited to 2.5 months of their 2019 cash compensation (for a 24-week CP), subject to a cap of $20,833. The corporation also is eligible for forgiveness on its state/local employment taxes, retirement contributions capped at 2.5 months of the 2019 retirement contribution amount, and health care contributions for owners owning less than 2% of the stock of the S corporation (or family members of such owners). Group health care costs are not eligible for forgiveness for owners or for family members of owners holding at least 2% of the S corporation’s stock.
    • Self-Employed Schedule C (or Schedule F) Filers: forgiveness is capped at 2.5 months of 2019 net profit as reported on Schedule C, line 31. No forgiveness may be obtained for group health care costs, retirement contributions, or state/local employment taxes.
    • General Partners: forgiveness is capped at 2.5 months of 2019 net earnings from self-employment (on Schedule K-1, box 14a) multiplied by .9235, and payment of this amount must be made during the CP. No forgiveness may be obtained for group health care costs, retirement contributions, or state/local employment taxes. The partners’ 2019 Schedules K-1 must be submitted along with the partnership’s loan forgiveness application.

If you have any questions regarding the loan forgiveness process, please contact a member of Withum’s SBA Financial Assistance Services Group.

Nonpayroll Cost FAQs

  • There is no change to the paid or incurred rule as applied to nonpayroll (i.e., overhead) costs.
  • No change to the definition of a covered mortgage in the CARES Act, but the FAQs state that interest on an unsecured line of credit is not eligible for forgiveness because the loan is not secured by real or personal property.
  • The renewal of a lease that was in place prior to February 15, 2020, will not affect loan forgiveness for the rental payments on such renewed lease.
  • Additional color is provided to the previous guidance that “transportation” expenses include gasoline for a borrower’s vehicle. The FAQs provide that “transportation” expenses include transportation utility fees assessed by state and local government.

Headcount and Wage Reduction FAQs

  • The SBA previously announced a safe harbor with regard to headcount reductions where the employer made an offer of reemployment that was rejected by an employee. The FAQs add that borrowers must demonstrate both an inability to hire similarly-qualified individuals on or before December 31, 2020, and that they informed the relevant state unemployment office of the offer within 30 days of the employee’s rejection of the offer.
  • With regard to salary/wage reductions, the FAQs reiterate that the borrower should only take into consideration decreases in salaries and wages, and not additional compensation such as bonuses, commissions, etc.

The FAQs provide additional guidance for borrowers, but hopefully Congress acts to further limit the loan forgiveness process either by eliminating the requirement to apply for certain loan sizes or by further streamlining the application process. Unless it does, the SBA plans to open its loan forgiveness application portal in the next few days. To the extent borrowers are left to make reasonable assumptions about the operative rules, we continue to encourage full disclosure as part of the loan forgiveness application process.

8/10 Alston & Bird Coronavirus Flash Update

Alston & Bird have released their August 10 COVID-19 update, including the latest news on emergency funding, administrative and regulatory actions, workplace and home issues, and many other topics, as well as to links to all their past updates.

Withum COVID-19 Bill Update – 7/29/2020

Second Round of PPP Loans:  There has been a lot of news swirling online that new legislation will open the door for borrowers to get a second PPP loan.  Also there is more chatter that automatic forgiveness for certain loans is on the horizon. It appears as though early August may be the target for new legislation if it comes. Details on this are fluid to say the least, but it looks like both Republicans and Democrats are on the same page that the PPP is an effective tool that they want to use as part of upcoming stimulus programs.

SBA Issues Procedural Notice on Forgiveness Process:  The SBA released a notice that provides clarification to lenders on how they should submit applications to the SBA for “final approval” after the lender has reviewed and approved a borrower’s forgiveness application. The highlight in this document is that the SBA indicated it will be using a third party software vendor to develop its portal, which will not be up and running until August 10th, so lenders will need to hold any applications until that time.  

The SBA further clarified that it may delay the opening of its portal further if any new legislation impacts the forgiveness process.  Withum has long believed Congress or the SBA would choose a loan threshold (e.g., loans of $250,000 or less) and grant “automatic” forgiveness to those borrowers, requiring only a signed certification that the funds were used properly. This would drastically reduce the amount of applications that the SBA and lenders would need to review. 

Withum does not have any official guidance or information on the legislative proposals reported in the press in past day or two (as noted above), but they think it may be prudent to wait to submit your application to your lender until a legislative consensus emerges. As a reminder, lenders have 60 days to process your loan forgiveness application and submit their decision to the SBA, and the SBA has 90 days to authorize the forgiveness amount.

PPP and M&A:  Withum often gets questions regarding how the sale of a business or the acquisition of another entity may impact a borrowers PPP loan and ability to obtain forgiveness. Withum put together an article addressing some of the complexity that may arise from these transactions, as well as how they impact the employee retention tax credit.

Reminder Section:  (what should I be doing):

  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the employer payroll tax deferral and employee retention credits (ERC) that were made available in the CARES Act.
  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the qualified sick/family leave refundable tax credits (from FFCRA, passed prior to the CARES Act).
  • Consider speaking with your lender to discuss changes to terms of existing debt facilities.
  • If you have already received a PPP loan, start forecasting how you intend to spend the funds and how you can qualify for the highest amount of loan forgiveness possible.  If you are not forecasting 100% loan forgiveness, then most likely you should seek assistance regarding your particular situation.  Withum believes the vast majority of borrowers should expect and plan to receive 100% loan forgiveness.

Joint Response to Critique of Groom Law Group’s Paper on Composite Plans

In a joint letter to the Congress, the national labor/management coalition responded to the Western Council of Teamsters rebuttal of the Groom Law Group paper of Composite Plans. Coalition partners include the Associated General Contractors of America, FCA International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!), Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, The Association of Union Constructors, The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, The Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, United Association of Plumbers and Fitters, and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. This July 31, 2020 version of the letter contains update analysis of the 5500 filings of the median critical and declining status plans.

7/27 Alston & Bird Coronavirus Flash Update

Alston & Bird have released their July 27 COVID-19 update, including the latest news on emergency funding, administrative and regulatory actions, workplace and home issues, and many other topics, as well as to links to all their past updates.

Withum COVID-19 Bill Update – 7/20/2020

Automatic Forgiveness?: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin recently suggested publicly that the SBA should consider forgiving all PPP loans and forgoing the process of the forgiveness application. This would, of course, be a stunning change in direction with respect to the mechanics of loan forgiveness. There has been chatter for a while that the SBA may seek to forgo applications on “small” loans as a vast majority of the loans issued were below $150k. This would substantially reduce the workload of the lenders and SBA when it comes to processing applications, and is appearing more and more likely as the days roll on, though the actual dollar threshold is a moving target. 

EIDL Loans: As we all know, the EIDL loan program was funded and gained a lot of traction/interest at the same time as the PPP roll out. Many companies clamored to gain access to the loan product as a result of its favorable terms (30 year repayment, 4% max rate, no personal guarantee for small loans). Withum is starting to see clients identify onerous covenants and reporting requirements (e.g., quarterly financial reports and year-end reviewed financials). There does not appear to be uniformity among all EIDL loan agreements, if you received an EIDL loan, it is important to review your agreement to ensure you have clearly identified all reporting requirements that are connected with the loan.

Reminder Section:  (what should I be doing):

  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the employer payroll tax deferral and employee retention credits (ERC) that were made available in the CARES Act.
  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the qualified sick/family leave refundable tax credits (from FFCRA, passed prior to the CARES Act).
  • Consider speaking with your lender to discuss changes to terms of existing debt facilities.
  • If you have already received a PPP loan, start forecasting how you intend to spend the funds and how you can qualify for the highest amount of loan forgiveness possible.  If you are not forecasting 100% loan forgiveness, then most likely you should seek assistance regarding your particular situation.  Withum believes the vast majority of borrowers should expect and plan to receive 100% loan forgiveness.

U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Additional Guidance on Wage And Hour Rules, Family and Medical Leave As Workplaces Reopen

WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, July 20, the U.S. Department of Labor published additional guidance for workers and employers on how the protections and requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) affect the workplace as workplaces reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance from the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) includes commonly asked questions and answers that address critical issues in all three laws. 

“The U.S. Department of Labor understands how critically American workers and employers need this information as they return to work. Continuing to provide it remains a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “With so many workers and employers committed to the greatest comeback the American workforce has ever seen, we are providing ongoing guidance to help them better understand their rights and responsibilities to protect workers and help ensure a level playing field for employers as our economy recovers.” 

Today’s guidance is the latest addition to compliance assistance materials the WHD has published. These materials include a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers resource about paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. WHD has also produced two guidance posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees of their FFCRA rights; Questions and Answers about posting requirements; and simple Quick Benefits Tips to determine how much paid leave the FFCRA allows workers to take.

FFCRA will help the U.S. combat and defeat the coronavirus by reimbursing, through tax credits, American businesses with fewer than 500 employees for the cost of providing employees with paid leave taken for specified reasons related to the coronavirus. The legislation enables employers to provide such paid leave, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

For more information about the laws enforced by the WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd

7/20 Alston & Bird Coronavirus Flash Update

Alston & Bird have released their July 20 COVID-19 update, including the latest news on emergency funding, administrative and regulatory actions, workplace and home issues, and many other topics, as well as to links to all their past updates.

DeWALT COVID Tool Cleaning Guides

The way DeWALT works is changing, but their commitment to service isn’t. DeWALT is here to support MCAA members through evolving situations, rules, and safety requirements. They have you covered with the informative materials that will guide you through the proper way to clean and sanitize tools on the jobsite. Watch this short tutorial and review the guidelines below for the proper way to sanitize your tools.

DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS

WATCH TUTORIAL

7/13 Alston & Bird Coronavirus Flash Update

Alston & Bird have released their July 13 COVID-19 update, including the latest news on emergency funding, administrative and regulatory actions, workplace and home issues, and many other topics, as well as to links to all their past updates.

A PAC Update from MCAA Government Affairs Committee Chairman, Jim Gaffney

In March, as a majority of the country slowed down, the MCAA Government Affairs Committee continued to work tirelessly meeting with countless Congressional and Senate office’s remotely to push our agenda forward. The committee has been working on COVID-19 cost increases on Federal projects, change orders in the NDAA, pension issues, and the PBGC just to mention a few.

What has helped the committee through this period has been PAC donations. The reality we face during today’s political time is the need for donations. MCAA’s PAC fund has been hit hard as many political fundraisers have been cancelled and political leaders have requested help.

Today, we ask for your help.

I, Jim Gaffney, am making a donation to the MCAA PAC fund, and have asked the M&SCA of Eastern PA to match my donation. If each association and member contractor could make a donation to the PAC we can continue to fight for the political needs of our association. I know times are hard for many, but please realize the organizations against our issues are not letting up and many have deep pockets. For those who have and continue to support the PAC, I want to personally thank you for your help. The PAC makes a difference for all of us and our industry.

MCAA’s 2020 advocacy efforts need your help. Donate to the MCAA PAC, a critical factor to our success in moving forward legislation that positively affects your business.

(Note: In order to comply with campaign finance laws, you will need to complete a solicitation authorization form before making a contribution. Find additional details and both the solicitation authorization and contribution forms via the button below.)

Contribute

7/6 Alston & Bird Coronavirus Flash Update

Alston & Bird have released their July 6 COVID-19 update, including the latest news on emergency funding, administrative and regulatory actions, workplace and home issues, and many other topics, as well as to links to all their past updates.

Withum COVID-19 Bill Update – 7/2/2020

New PPP Bill Passed by House and Senate:  The Bill that was introduced and passed by the Senate on Tuesday, June 30 has now been passed by the House and is headed to the President’s desk for signature.  This Bill extends the application deadline for the PPP an additional 5 weeks (recall that the deadline was June 30, 2020 and they still had about $130 billion in available funds).  It is unclear how valuable this additional time will be since most businesses that wanted funds have already received them.

New Stimulus Package in the Works:  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a House panel that the administration would support a new stimulus package if it was put forward. He also indicated that he is in discussions with the Senate about revising the PPP to provide additional support to hard hit industries such as restaurants, hotels, etc.  We are not sure yet how the P4 Bill that was passed by the House (which allows businesses to obtain a second PPP loan under certain circumstances) will fare if the Senate decides to take it up, but there appears to be bipartisan support to find a solution.

Reminder Section:  (what should I be doing):

  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the payroll tax deferrals and employee retention credits that were made available in the CARES Act.
  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the qualified sick/family leave refundable tax credits (from FFCRA, passed prior to the CAREs Act).
  • Consider speaking with your lender to discuss changes to terms of existing debt facilities.
  • If you have already received a PPP loan, start forecasting how you intend to spend the funds and how you can qualify for the highest amount of loan forgiveness possible. If you are not forecasting 100% loan forgiveness, then most likely you should seek assistance regarding your particular situation. Withum believes the vast majority of borrowers should expect and plan to receive 100% loan forgiveness.

Withum COVID-19 Bill Update – 7/1/2020

New PPP Bill Introduced in the Senate:  On Tuesday, June 30th, the Senate passed a bill which extends the application deadline for the PPP an additional 5 weeks (recall that the deadline was June 30th and they still had about $130 billion in available funds).  The bill still needs to go through the House and would need to be signed by the President to be passed into law.  It is unclear how valuable this additional time will be as most believe that those businesses who wanted funds have already received them.

When Will Banks Accept Applications?:  Many have inquired regarding when they can apply for forgiveness and when banks will accept applications.  Withum has heard that one bank has reached out to its clients to inform them that if they received their PPP loan in April, the bank will accept a forgiveness application in August.  If the loan was received after April, the date the bank will accept the application is TBD.  This is of course just one bank, but they have generally seen that banks are not in a position to accept applications currently and few have been explicit in how they will manage the process.  They also have not seen any mechanism for a borrower to “declare” that they want to keep their eight-week covered period if they want to.  At this point, borrowers will just have to be patient, they do not believe that there are any proactive steps required on the borrowers side right now other than being in consistent contact with their lender on the process.

Status of the P4 Bill:  The P4 bill that was introduced by the House two weeks ago has not moved since it first came into play.  This bill would allow certain borrowers to obtain a second PPP loan if they meet certain criteria (less than 100 employees, 50%+ reduction in revenue).  There is not much information on the probability of this passing or how it will interplay with the PPP extension bill noted above. 

Main Street Lending Programs:  Withum reported on the general parameters of the MSLPs previously, at this point the program is still not available to the public.  Anecdotally there have been mixed reviews from banks, many of which have indicated that they do not intend to participate in the program. 

New FAQs:  It has been rumored for several weeks that a multitude of new FAQs are coming out in the near future to cover current open questions and to provide clarification.  Withum believes this is correct but do not have insight as to when they are coming, it could be as soon as this week. 

Reminder Section:  (what should I be doing):

  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the payroll tax deferrals and employee retention credits that were made available in the CARES Act.
  • Talk to your payroll company about claiming the qualified sick/family leave refundable tax credits (from FFCRA, passed prior to the CAREs Act).
  • Consider speaking with your lender to discuss changes to terms of existing debt facilities.
  • If you have already received a PPP loan, start forecasting how you intend to spend the funds and how you can qualify for the highest amount of loan forgiveness possible. If you are not forecasting 100% loan forgiveness, then most likely you should seek assistance regarding your particular situation. Withum believes the vast majority of borrowers should expect and plan to receive 100% loan forgiveness.

IRS Announces Additional Guidance for Coronavirus-Related Distributions and Loans

The IRS has released Notice 2020-50, which offers added guidance and relief for retirement plan participants taking pandemic-related distributions and loans under the CARES Act. Notice 2020-50 expands the definition of qualified individuals under the Act and provides guidance regarding coronavirus-related distributions and loans. Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C. have prepared a summary outlining the details, including the criteria for eligibility.

6/29 Alston & Bird Coronavirus Flash Update

Alston & Bird have released their June 29 COVID-19 update, including the latest news on emergency funding, administrative and regulatory actions, workplace and home issues, and many other topics, as well as to links to all their past updates.

Withum COVID-19 Bill Update – 6/25/2020

New Safe Harbor from the FTE Reduction Rule:  In the latest IFR, the SBA discussed the new safe harbors to the FTE reduction rule in a manner that appears to be very borrower friendly.  As you know, PPP loan forgiveness is reduced if you reduce your FTE count during your covered period (when compared to your reference period).  The second of the two new safe harbors allows companies to ignore any FTE reductions after February 15, 2020 if they relate to an “inability to return to the same level of business activity” before February 15, 2020 as a result of guidance issued by a variety of agencies (including state and local government) that inhibits such business activity. Examples are closing non-essential businesses and reductions in businesses volume due to social distancing or sanitation guidelines, but the safe harbor can apply to a much broader set of circumstances. 

Withum has included below both an excerpt from the IFR as well as an example provided in the IFR.  This safe harbor does not require the business interruption to cover the entire covered period, meaning that borrowers just need to establish that a disruption occurred for some meaningful period of time during the covered period.  It also does not narrowly define a disruption, allowing borrowers to potentially rely on a broad variety of different “disruptions” caused by the requirements established by these agencies. Therefore Withum believes this new safe harbor has broad applicability, including in the auto, restaurant and hospitality industries, for example, as well as in a variety of professional service industries like law and medicine.

Withum believes the safe harbor is extremely broad, and unless it is pared back by the SBA, a large number of borrowers should be able to avail themselves of it.  If you have an FTE reduction during your covered period, Withum recommends that you closely review this safe harbor from the PPP Flexibility Act, as interpreted by the new IFR, to see if you can fall within it.  The forgiveness application requires that you maintain documentation of the business disruption that took place and what requirement or guidance created it.

Excerpt from IFR:

Borrowers are also exempted from the loan forgiveness reduction arising from a reduction in the number of FTE employees during the covered period if the borrower is able to document in good faith an inability to return to the same level of business activity as the borrower was operating at before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements established or guidance issued between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration related to the maintenance of standards for sanitation, social distancing, or any other worker or customer safety requirement related to COVID-19 (COVID Requirements or Guidance). 

The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, is interpreting the above statutory exemption to include both direct and indirect compliance with COVID Requirements or Guidance, because a significant amount of the reduction in business activity stemming from COVID Requirements or Guidance is the result of state and local government shutdown orders that are based in part on guidance from the three federal agencies. 

Example provided in the IFR:

A PPP borrower is in the business of selling beauty products both online and at its physical store. During the covered period, the local government where the borrower’s store is located orders all non-essential businesses, including the borrower’s business, to shut down their stores, based in part on COVID-19 guidance issued by the CDC in March 2020. Because the borrower’s business activity during the covered period was reduced compared to its activity before February 15, 2020 due to compliance with COVID Requirements or Guidance, the borrower satisfies the Flexibility Act’s exemption and will not have its forgiveness amount reduced because of a reduction in FTEs during the covered period, if the borrower in good faith maintains records regarding the reduction in business activity and the local government’s shutdown orders that reference a COVID Requirement or Guidance as described above.

Reminder Section:  (what should I be doing):

  • Call your payroll company about claiming the payroll tax deferrals and employee retention credits that were made available in the CARES Act.
  • Talk to your payroll company about the qualified sick/family leave legislation (FFCRA, passed prior to the CAREs Act).
  • Consider speaking with your lender to discuss changes to terms of existing debt facilities. The banking system remains strong.
  • If you have already applied for the PPP, start forecasting how you intend to spend the funds and how to qualify for the highest amount of forgiveness possible.