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COVID-19

Some businesses now have an easier way to apply for PPP loan forgiveness

Justin Ho Jun 18, 2020
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A restaurant owner waits for customers in Key West, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
COVID-19

Some businesses now have an easier way to apply for PPP loan forgiveness

Justin Ho Jun 18, 2020
Heard on:
A restaurant owner waits for customers in Key West, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Businesses across the country are in the process of applying for forgiveness for the over $500 billion worth of Paycheck Protection Program loans made so far. This week, the Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, released a streamlined application form meant to cut down on the red tape surrounding the forgiveness process.

The forgiveness process seemed like it’d be pretty involved at first, said Natasha Crosby, who owns a realty company in Virginia. So when the Treasury’s three-page “EZ” form came out this week, Crosby was hopeful.

“It’s like a handful of questions here — seven lines, eight lines,” Crosby said. “It definitely looks a lot easier.”

The SBA said borrowers can use the shorter form if they are self-employed or if their businesses didn’t reduce employees’ wages by more than 25%.

Matt Hetrick of the accounting firm Harmony Group said such businesses are likely to get their loans fully forgiven.

“Anybody who’s using the EZ is saying, hey listen, I spent some money and there’s nothing that I did that will cause a reduction in how much of that money you’re going to forgive,” Hetrick said.

But the EZ application doesn’t address many concerns of small businesses, said Jackie Laundon, who runs a public health consultancy. She isn’t sure whether she can use the form if she spent her loan on health insurance premiums or certain utilities.

“I’m on websites and accounting blogs every other day, trying to figure out what am I exactly going to be eligible for,” she said.

And even to submit any PPP application, borrowers have to go through their banks. Laundon said her lender hasn’t started accepting applications.

“What they have on their website is that they are working internally to process SBA guidance, so that it’ll eventually make it easier for all of their applicants to apply for forgiveness,” Laundon said. She wants to apply as soon as she can, she added, so she doesn’t have to worry about the loan anymore.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.

U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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