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PPP Loan Forgiveness Reduction When Employee Declines to Return to Work

PPP Loan Forgiveness Reduction When Employee Declines to Return to Work

May 4, 2020
By Tonneson
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On May 3, 2020 the Small Business Administration (SBA) added Questions #40 through #42 to the PPP loan FAQs under the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Question #40 is the first guidance the SBA has issued in weeks on the details of how to calculate reductions of any PPP loan amounts spent on qualifying expenses which may be forgiven. Hopefully this is the beginning of the much needed and overdue guidance in this area. Questions #41 and #42 address seasonal employees and nonprofit hospitals.

Below is a reprint of the SBA’s Questions 40, 41 and 42 for your reference. You may download a PDF of the complete list of PPP FAQs on the SBA website.

#40. Question: Will a borrower’s PPP loan forgiveness amount (pursuant to section 1106 of the CARES Act and SBA’s implementing rules and guidance) be reduced if the borrower laid off an employee, offered to rehire the same employee, but the employee declined the offer?

Answer: No. As an exercise of the Administrator’s and the Secretary’s authority under Section 1106(d)(6) of the CARES Act to prescribe regulations granting de minimis exemptions from the Act’s limits on loan forgiveness, SBA and Treasury intend to issue an interim final rule excluding laid-off employees whom the borrower offered to rehire (for the same salary/wages and same number of hours) from the CARES Act’s loan forgiveness reduction calculation. The interim final rule will specify that, to qualify for this exception, the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire, and the employee’s rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower. Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of re-employment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation.

#41. Question: Can a seasonal employer that elects to use a 12-week period between May 1, 2019 and September 15, 2019 to calculate its maximum PPP loan amount under the interim final rule issued by Treasury on April 27, 2020, make all the required certifications on the Borrower Application Form?

Answer: Yes. The Borrower Application Form requires applicants to certify that “The Applicant is eligible to receive a loan under the rules in effect at the time this application is submitted that have been issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA) implementing the Paycheck Protection Program.” On April 27, 2020, Treasury issued an interim final rule allowing seasonal borrowers to use an alternative base period for purposes of calculating the loan amount for which they are eligible under the PPP. An applicant that is otherwise in compliance with applicable SBA requirements, and that complies with Treasury’s interim final rule on seasonal workers, will be deemed eligible for a PPP loan under SBA rules. Instead of following the instructions on page 3 of the Borrower Application Form for the time period for calculating average monthly payroll for seasonal businesses, an applicant may elect to use the time period in Treasury’s interim final rule on seasonal workers.

#42. Question: Do nonprofit hospitals exempt from taxation under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code qualify as “nonprofit organizations” under section 1102 of the CARES Act?

Answer: Section 1102 of the CARES Act defines the term “nonprofit organization” as “an organization that is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of such Code.” The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, understands that nonprofit hospitals exempt from taxation under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code are unique in that many such hospitals may meet the description set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to qualify for tax exemption under section 501(a), but have not sought to be recognized by the IRS as such because they are otherwise fully tax-exempt under a different provision of the Internal Revenue Code.

Accordingly, the Administrator will treat a nonprofit hospital exempt from taxation under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code as meeting the definition of “nonprofit organization” under section 1102 of the CARES Act if the hospital reasonably determines, in a written record maintained by the hospital, that it is an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is therefore within a category of organization that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a). (Footnote 16) The hospital’s certification of eligibility on the Borrower Application Form cannot be made without this determination. This approach helps accomplish the statutory purpose of ensuring that a broad range of borrowers, including entities that are helping to lead the medical response to the ongoing pandemic, can benefit from the loans provided under the PPP.

Footnote 16: This determination need not account for the ancillary conditions set forth in section 501(r) of the Internal Revenue Code and elsewhere associated with securing the tax exemption under that section. Section 501(r) states that a hospital organization shall not be treated as described in section 501(c)(3) unless it meets certain community health and other requirements. However, section 1102 of the CARES Act defines the term “nonprofit organization” solely by reference to section 501(c)(3), and section 501(r) does not amend section 501(c)(3). Therefore, for purposes of the PPP, the requirements of section 501(r) do not apply to the determination of whether an organization is “described in section 501(c)(3).” As of May 3, 2020

This guidance is solely for purposes of qualification as a “nonprofit organization” under section 1102 of the CARES Act and related purposes of the CARES Act, and does not have any consequences for federal tax law purposes. Nonprofit hospitals should also review all other applicable eligibility criteria, including the Interim Final Rules on Promissory Notes, Authorizations, Affiliation, and Eligibility (April 28, 2020) regarding an important limitation on ownership by state or local governments. 85 FR 23450, 23451.17

Questions 40 – 42 published May 3, 2020.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your tonneson + co representative should you have any questions.