In response to the continuing spread of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, on March 27th the United States Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ("CARES") Act. Under the Act, the Small Business Association ("SBA") is offering loans under the Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") for qualifying small businesses. The loan is intended to cover utilities, payroll, and other recurring business expenses ("Qualifying Business Expenses"), but specifically excludes any payroll amounts over $100k per employee, calculated on an annual basis.
The total eligibility is determined primarily by the value of the average monthly Qualifying Business Expenses multiplied by 2.5x, up to a maximum of $10 million. The SBA has indicated that these loans will have interest rates close to 1% and in most cases, will be forgiven if used exclusively to pay ongoing Qualifying Business Expenses, however further details of forgiveness are currently unknown.
To be eligible for a PPP loan:
the business must be a small business with 500 or less employees, or if not, a qualifying "small business" under SBA standards found here;
the business must be able to make certain disclosures about its and its members'/operators' business activities and their criminal records, if any; and
the business must have been in operation since February 15, 2020 and must have operating expenses dating prior to February 15, 2020.
The SBA has stated that while hemp and hemp-derived product businesses are eligible for assistance, marijuana-related businesses are not. If you believe you qualify for a PPP loan, it is recommended that you apply for assistance. Applications can be found here. More information can be found here. Businesses can apply for PPP loans through June 30th, 2020.
Raffi Garnighian is a published author and Colorado and New York licensed attorney at Wysocki Law Group, P.C. Kieran Edstrom is a third-year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a law clerk for Wysocki Law Group, P.C.
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