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SBA Issues IFR on Treatment of Owners and Forgiveness of Certain Nonpayroll Costs

On August 24, the SBA issued an Interim Final Rule on the Paycheck Protection Program.

The following questions are taken word for word from the IFR (emphasis and formatting added). To read the IFR in its entirety click here.

Owners

Are any individuals with an ownership stake in a PPP borrower exempt from application of the PPP owner-employee compensation rule when determining the amount of their compensation that is eligible for loan forgiveness?

Yes, owner-employees with less than a 5 percent ownership stake in a C- or S Corporation are not subject to the owner-employee compensation rule.

The First Loan Forgiveness Rule, as revised by the Revisions to Loan Forgiveness and Loan Review Procedures Interim Final Rules, 85 FR 38304, 38307 (June 26, 2020), caps the amount of loan forgiveness for payroll compensation attributable to an owner-employee. There is no exception in the rule based on the owner-employee’s percentage of ownership.

The Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, has now determined that an owner employee in a C- or S-Corporation who has less than a 5 percent ownership stake will not be subject to the owner-employee compensation rule. This exemption is intended to cover owner-employees who have no meaningful ability to influence decisions over how loan proceeds are allocated.

Eligibility of Certain Nonpayroll Costs for Loan Forgiveness

Are amounts attributable to the business operation of a tenant or sub-tenant of the PPP borrower or, in the context of home-based businesses, household expenses, eligible for forgiveness?

No, the amount of loan forgiveness requested for nonpayroll costs may not include any amount attributable to the business operation of a tenant or sub-tenant of the PPP borrower or, for home-based businesses, household expenses. The examples below illustrate this rule.

Example 1: A borrower rents an office building for $10,000 per month and subleases out a portion of the space to other businesses for $2,500 per month. Only $7,500 per month is eligible for loan forgiveness.

Example 2: A borrower has a mortgage on an office building it operates out of, and it leases out a portion of the space to other businesses. The portion of mortgage interest that is eligible for loan forgiveness is limited to the percent share of the fair market value of the space that is not leased out to other businesses. As an illustration, if the leased space represents 25% of the fair market value of the office building, then the borrower may only claim forgiveness on 75% of the mortgage interest.

Example 3: A borrower shares a rented space with another business. When determining the amount that is eligible for loan forgiveness, the borrower must prorate rent and utility payments in the same manner as on the borrower’s 2019 tax filings, or if a new business, the borrower’s expected 2020 tax filings.

Example 4: A borrower works out of his or her home. When determining the amount of nonpayroll costs that are eligible for loan forgiveness, the borrower may include only the share of covered expenses that were deductible on the borrower’s 2019 tax filings, or if a new business, the borrower’s expected 2020 tax filings.

Are rent payments to a related party eligible for loan forgiveness?

Yes, as long as (1) the amount of loan forgiveness requested for rent or lease payments to a related party is no more than the amount of mortgage interest owed on the property during the Covered Period that is attributable to the space being rented by the business, and (2) the lease and the mortgage were entered into prior to February 15, 2020. (in this context, the related party itself would not also be eligible to request forgiveness for this amount.)

Any ownership in common between the business and the property owner is a related party for these purposes. The borrower must provide its lender with mortgage interest documentation to substantiate these payments. While rent or lease payments to a related party may be eligible for forgiveness, mortgage interest payments to a related party are not eligible for forgiveness.

PPP loans are intended to help businesses cover certain nonpayroll obligations that are owed to third parties, not payments to a business’s owner that occur because of how the business is structured. This will maintain equitable treatment between a business owner that holds property in a separate entity and one that holds the property in the same entity as its business operations.