After months of negotiating, Congress has finally agreed to additional COVID-19 relief. The Emergency Coronavirus Response Relief Act, 2021, expected to be incorporated into a larger overall spending bill, contains $900 billion of emergency funds.
The bill includes several provisions providing targeted relief to individuals and smaller businesses through renewed support for the Paycheck Protection Program and extension of unemployment benefits. These provisions, which have bipartisan support, are intended to provide financial relief for individuals and businesses until vaccines are widely available next year and economic activity can begin to return to pre-pandemic normalcy. The bill, which is still being drafted as we go to press but is expected to be signed, contains many provisions, a few of which include:
Business expenses paid for with proceeds from PPP loans are now tax-deductible. With this legislation, Congress confirms their original intent when enacting the CARES Act back in March. Recent guidance issued by the IRS indicating that these expenses are nondeductible is now overridden. Expansion of deductions for business meals.
Small businesses with 300 or fewer employees and a sustained 25% revenue loss in any quarter of 2020 would be eligible to receive a second forgivable PPP loan. Additional information and guidance are needed regarding the application process, the definition of “sustained,” how the reduction is specifically calculated, and whether related businesses are counted on the employee limitation.
The employee retention credit will be extended and expanded.
Additional financial support for live entertainment venue operators, independent movie theaters and museums impacted by the health crisis.
An extension of the six-month SBA program under Section 1112 of the CARES Act that covers the payment of principal, interest and certain fees of qualified borrowers.
An extension (from December 31) of unemployment benefit programs, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs. Federal supplemental insurance benefits are expanded for an additional 11 weeks but are set at a lower level of $300/week (versus $600/week under the CARES Act).
Provides $2 billion in funding for nursing homes and other assisted living facilities to support testing for and tracing of the COVID-19 virus.
Simplified loan forgiveness application process for borrowers with PPP loans less than $150,000.
Additional Economic Stimulus Payments of $600/person (compared to the $1,200 per person payment under the CARES Act).
We will share more information when the final bill becomes executed and as additional details become known. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Schneider Downs professional for additional information.
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