Withum COVID-19 Bill Update – 5/18/2020

May 18, 2020

PPP Forgiveness Application

On Friday, May 15, new guidance regarding the calculation of forgiveness was issued in the form of a forgiveness application. Withum has provided a detailed analysis of the document in this article. The introduction of this document is significant because it clarifies many questions with respect to how the calculation works. We suspect more guidance will come out but it is fair to assume this is the “bulk” of what we should expect to get. We highly recommend that you read the article summarizing the application, but here are some highlights:

  • “Paid and incurred” clarified:  This appears to be a big win for borrowers. 
    • For payroll, all costs paid during the covered period will qualify. So if your loan was funded on May 1, and on May 2 you paid payroll relating to the pay period of April 15th to April 30th, that can be included. In addition, you can include payroll “incurred” at the end of your covered period even if it was paid outside of your covered period as long as it was paid within the next regularly scheduled pay run. This allows for more than 8 weeks of payroll to be included in the calculation. That said the $15,385 cap is still in place and the certification specifies that “owners” cannot get more than 8 weeks of salary.
    • For non-payroll costs, a similar result, any cost paid during the covered period will be included, and any cost incurred will also be included as long as it is paid by its “next regular due date.” This also opens the door for more than 2 months of rent, interest, etc. to be included. 
  • Introduction of “Alternative Payroll Covered Period”: The application allows for the borrower to elect to use an “alternative” covered period for payroll only. This 8-week period would align with you payroll cycle, starting on the first day of the borrowers normal payroll cycle subsequent to their PPP disbursement. This allows borrowers to cleanly align payroll during the covered period. While this makes sense, it seems that there is now a potential benefit to use a normal covered period given the updated “incurred” rules above, allowing for more than 8 weeks of payroll to be forgiven. 
  • “Expiration date” of forgiveness application: The application appears to include an “expiration date” of October 31st. We cannot be sure, but this seems to indicate that applications are due by no later than that date.
  • FTEs defined: FTEs are defined as 40 hours per week. There are two methods (Base Method and Simplified Method) to calculate an FTE. You can see both methods in the article linked above.
  • FTE reductions: They have expanded exemptions for the FTE reduction calculation, allowing you to ignore employees who were fired for cause, resigned or requested a reduction in hours. Previously you could only ignore reductions for employees who had rejected your offer to return to work.
  • FTE reduction “safe harbor”: This FTE reduction “cure” has been in place since the statute was written but has be a source of confusion. Some have thought it was a drafting error but the application clearly concludes it was not. So what does it mean? Even if the borrower reduces their head count during the covered period, they will be deemed to have restored it fully if:
    • (1) the borrower reduced its FTE employee levels in the period beginning February 15, 2020, and ending April 26, 2020;
    • And (2) the borrower then restored its FTE employee levels by not later than June 30, 2020 to its FTE employee levels in the borrower’s pay period that included February 15, 2020

There is no question it is illogical, but it appears you can lower your headcount during the covered period as much as you want, as long as, on a single day, you have more FTEs than you did during your February 15, 2020 payroll run.

  • “75% rule” appears to be clarified:  As we suspected, the 75% calculation does not appear to be binary (meaning if 75% of the loan is not spent on payroll there is no forgiveness). The application clarifies that non-payroll costs cannot exceed 25% of total forgivable costs. Therefore, you can spend as much or as little of the loan that you wish, however, the amount of non-payroll costs that are forgiven will not exceed 25% of total forgivable expenses (the remaining 75% constituting payroll costs). Example: If a borrower receives a $500k loan, and spends $250k on payroll costs, the max forgivable non-payroll costs are $83.3k ($250k/75% – $250k).
  • Clarifications on how to calculate “wage reductions”:  The application clarifies how the wage reduction calculation will work. It also clarifies that the wage reduction calculation will only be applied to employees who were employed during the covered period. See the article linked above for details. Importantly, the wage reduction calculation will exclude any employee who “during any pay period” made, on an annual basis, more than $100,000 per year. Presumably this would mean that if an employee received a bonus that put them over $1,923 during 1 week of salary, they would be excluded.

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 Sick Pay Bill (passed prior to the CARE Bill).
  • Be in constant communication with your bank (about status of your PPP application).
  • Consider speaking with your bank 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.
Related Articles
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Some individuals may experience side effects, but they are typically short lived. For the most part, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the short duration side effects. With more Americans receiving the vaccines every day it is important to start planning for the post vaccine era. These guidelines are intended to help you do just that, but it is likely that they will change several times over the coming months, so please continuously watch for updates from MCAA. …
The CDC has revised its guidelines regarding cleaning and disinfecting surfaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The virus that causes COVID-19 can land on surfaces, and it's possible for people to become infected if they touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. However, it has been determined that the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The CDC now believes that the most reliable way to prevent infection is to regularly wash hands and use hand sanitizers.…
The purpose of the week is to support the CDC's campaign to raise awareness about the safety, effectiveness, and benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC is providing an Essential Workers COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit to help affected employers educate their workers about COVID-19 vaccines.…
The new administration is putting a lot of pressure on OSHA to perform COVID-19 related inspections and enforce the agency’s guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. OSHA’s new Special Emphasis Program (SEP) on COVID-19 gives the agency the impetus it needs to do just that. Employers should prepare for the possibility of unprogrammed and programmed COVID-19 inspections. …

Don't miss MCAA’s Sponsor Spotlight #19 with MCAA’s CEO, Timothy Brink and @johnsoncontrols' Vice President, Sales, HVAC & Controls, Brandon Jackson. Register today to join Tim and Brandon on Friday, April 23rd at 2 p.m. Eastern. http://ow.ly/KwDJ50Etc7k

MCAA’s 2021 MEP Innovation Conference is proving to be a popular platform for contractors to learn about how new tools, processes, technology and equipment are impacting our operations. This is your last chance to join the more than 700 already registered. http://ow.ly/9KlT50Es57S

COVID-19 has changed the way we work. From implementing new safety protocols to navigating delays, contractors have more processes to learn and more variables to consider. Get tips for using digital technology to maximize efficiency from @RakenApp.

http://ow.ly/nCS250EoIxA

Load More...