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Has the deadline been extended for Paycheck Protection Program loan applications?

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Yes. On July 4, 2020, President Trump signed legislation that extends the previous June 30 deadline for applying for the program to August 8, 2020. More information can be found in these CNBC and NPR news articles.

What is the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA)?

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President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) on June 5, 2020. The new law makes some significant changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), providing much flexibility to businesses who have taken a PPP loan. The new law makes five main changes to the PPP: 

  1. Changes amount of loan needed for payroll to 60%. 
  2. Extends time period to use funds from 8 to 24 weeks. 
  3. Pushes back a June 30 deadline to rehire workers to December 31, 2020. 
  4. Eases rehire requirements. 
  5. Extends the repayment term from 2 years to 5. 

This helpful Forbes article provides more information.

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. 

Has the deadline been extended for tax year 2019 HSA contributions?

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Yes. Contributions may be made to HSAs, for a particular year, at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your tax return for that year. Because the due date for filing Federal income tax returns is now July 15, 2020, under this IRS relief, contributions may be made to HSAs for 2019 at any time up to July 15, 2020.

 

Helpful Resources

IRS: Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers (see section on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs))

 

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

How does a business apply for forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan?

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The Paycheck Protection Program created by the CARES Act includes a provision that loans will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities, provided the business maintains their payroll at a level equal to what it was before the Coronavirus impacted the business.

On May 15, 2020, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) released the Loan Forgiveness Application form.

To apply for loan forgiveness, businesses should submit the completed application to the lender that is servicing the loan, along with the required supported documentation, which is detailed in the forgiveness application form.

Businesses should consult with their financial advisor before applying for loan forgiveness.

 

Helpful Resources

The US Chamber of Commerce has created a very helpful guide to help small businesses understand the Paycheck Protection Program, and also a helpful guide to PPP loan forgiveness.

The US Department of the Treasury has a Paycheck Protection Program web page that includes several helpful resources, including a Paycheck Protection Program Factsheet for Borrowers that provides even more detail.

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has a Paycheck Protection Program web page that provides information on the program, who can apply, how to apply, loan details and forgiveness, and more.

 

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

What happens to PPP loan forgiveness when EEs decide not to come back to work?

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The Paycheck Protection Program created by the CARES Act includes a provision that loans will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities, provided the business maintains their payroll at a level equal to what it was before the Coronavirus impacted the business.

But what happens if laid off employees refuse to come back to work? The Small Business Administration (SBA) addresses this question in an updated FAQ released on May 19, 2020. In short, loan forgiveness will not be impacted if the business laid off an employee, and then makes an offer of re-employment to the employee which the employee then refuses, as long as the layoff, offer of re-employment and refusal are all documented.

The full question and answer (#40) can be found in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loans, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

 

Helpful Resources

Small Business Administration:

Paycheck Protection Program Loans, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Updated May 19, 2020.

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Did the CARES Act expand the list of HSA qualified medical expenses?

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Yes. 

The CARES Act repealed the prescription requirement for over-the-counter (OTC) drug and medicines to be considered HSA qualified medical expenses. Now OTC drugs and medicines not prescribed by a physician can be reimbursed pre-tax. 

In addition, menstrual care products now qualify for reimbursement. The CARES Act adds tampons, pads, liners, cups and sponges as qualified medical expenses. 

The addition of OTC medication and menstrual care products became effective 1/1/2020 and has no expiration date. 

Claremont HSA partner Sterling Administration provides this advice to HSA accountholders: 

“We expected merchants to start adopting changes for OTC items around April 15 and menstrual care products around May 15. However, merchants may take up to a month to complete the changes that will allow consumers to purchase these items with a card swipe. 

If consumers try to purchase these items with their benefits card before systems have been updated and the transaction is denied, they can submit a claim for reimbursement.” 

 

Helpful resources 

SHRM: How are HSAs, FSAs and HRAs affected by the CARES Act? 

 

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Are COBRA rules changing in response to COVID-19?

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Yes.  

On May 4, 2020, the US Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly issued new rules that temporarily extend several COBRA deadlines, including the deadlines for eligible employees to elect COBRA continuation coverage and to make COBRA premium payments. 

Effectively, the new rules apply a “time out” from many COBRA deadlines until 60 days after the announced end of the Coronavirus National Emergency. 

This SHRM article provides a good overview of the new COBRA rules.  

Employers subject to COBRA are advised to consult with their advisors in implementing the new rules. 

Claremont partner TASC can help employers seeking COBRA administration assistance. 

 

Helpful resources  

DOL Temporarily Extends COBRA Deadlines, SHRM.

 

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Are independent contractors and sole proprietors eligible for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program?

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The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has published rules on how Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans will be administered for individuals that have self-employment income (such as independent contractors and sole proprietors). These rules apply to many brokers and some of their small group clients. 

See below an abridged summary of the new PPP loan rules.

Those considering applying for a PPP loan (especially in anticipation of loan forgiveness) are recommended to consult with their financial advisor.

(The full PPP rules, along with other helpful information, can be found on the US Department of the Treasury’s webpage: The CARES Act Provides Assistance to Small Businesses.)

 

SBA Paycheck Protection Program Rules, April 14, 2020
Individuals with Self-Employment Income who File a Form 1040, Schedule C
Abridged Summary

 

I have income from self-employment and file a Form 1040, Schedule C. Am I eligible for a PPP Loan?
(Pages 4-6)

Yes. Individuals with self-employment income (such as an independent contractor or a sole proprietor) generally are eligible for Paycheck Protection Loans.

Specific requirements are outlined in the full rules, including for those individuals that are also a partner in a business.

 

How do I calculate the maximum amount I can borrow and what documentation is Required?
(Pages 6-8)

It depends on whether or not you employ other individuals. If you have no employees, the general calculation for the maximum loan amount is:

The net profit amount in your 2019 Schedule C (up to a maximum of $100,000), divided by 4.8.

(Rationale for this calculation: For sole proprietors with no employees, the maximum loan amount is 2.5 times average monthly net profit. See the full rules for more detail.)

There are also further rules if you have employees, or if you have also received an EIDL loan.

 

How can PPP loans be used by individuals with income from self-employment who file a 2019 Form 1040, Schedule C?
(Pages 7-11)

The proceeds of PPP loans can generally be used to replace your income, any employee costs, business mortgage and other debt interest payments, and business rent and utility payments.

At least 75 percent of the PPP loan proceeds must be used for payroll costs (which includes sole proprietor net profit).

 

What amounts shall be eligible for forgiveness?
(Pages 11-13)

Generally, the amount of loan forgiveness can be up to the full principal amount of the loan plus accrued interest. There are a couple of important qualifications:

Firstly, there is a limit for the amount of forgiveness available for owner compensation (sole proprietor net profit). The calculation is:

The net profit amount in your 2019 Schedule C (up to a maximum of $100,000], divided by 6.5.

(Rationale for this calculation: For sole proprietors, the amount of forgiveness available for owner compensation is eight weeks of net profit. See the full rules for more detail.)

Note that this calculation is different than that used to calculate the total amount that can be borrowed. The full rules provide background on the rationale for this calculation.

Secondly, at least 75 percent of the amount forgiven must be attributable to payroll costs (which includes sole proprietor net profit).

 

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

 

In a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application, can the cost of independent contractors (1099s) be included when calculating the loan amount?

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No. The cost of independent contractors (1099s) cannot be included when calculating the loan amount. The total loan amount is based on average monthly payroll. The exact definition can be found in this US Department of the Treasury Paycheck Protection Program Factsheet for Borrowers. The resources below provide more helpful information.

 

Helpful Resources

The US Chamber of Commerce has created a very helpful guide to help small businesses understand the Paycheck Protection Program and help them prepare to file for a loan.

The US Department of the Treasury has a Paycheck Protection Program web page that includes several helpful resources, including a Paycheck Protection Program Factsheet for Borrowers that provides even more detail.

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has a Paycheck Protection Program web page that provides information on the program, who can apply, how to apply, loan details and forgiveness, and more.

 

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Is there any relief for employers from ERISA requirements?

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The CARES Act grants the US Department of Labor (DOL) authority to delay ERISA related filing requirements. The DOL has not yet issued any such rules or guidance.