In early April, the United States approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) authorizing $349 billion in a small business lending program called the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Depleted within days by the overwhelming response from businesses across the country, Congress authorized an additional $310 billion for this program on April 23. With government money, however, comes government oversight.
Many businesses that the PPP is intended to help may be unfamiliar with the web of government regulations involved in SBA loans and the government enforcement apparatus that polices compliance with these regulations. The rapid deployment of the PPP required by the current economic emergency resulted in multiple questions related to loan eligibility and use of funds. Businesses are faced with several near term deadlines associated with PPP loans including verification of eligibility for the loan and the use of loan proceeds within eight weeks of receiving the loan. Topics covered in this presentation include:
1) Background on the CARES Act and the PPP Loan program;
2) loan eligibility requirements including thorny questions arising from the government’s shifting guidance on whether a loan is “necessary” for a business’s continuing operations;
3) rules for use of funds and forgiveness of PPP loans;
4) potential liability for businesses that violate regulations associated with PPP loan program;
5) pointers for compliance with PPP loan program regulations.
- PPP program funds come with government regulatory strings attached.
- Understand the certifications in the initial application and loan forgiveness application.
- Inaccuracies can be viewed a fraud by government enforcement
- Diligently confirm all information provided to lender and government auditors.
- Record keeping is key:
- Document use necessity of the funds to maintain business operations;
- Keep records clearly demonstrating use of funds for permitted purposes.