PPP WTF?

April 7, 2020
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Hi! I’m Kyle. The guy behind the Entrepreneur’s COVID-19 Playbook.

Thanks for downloading, I hope you found it useful. The playbook has already been read by thousands of entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, small business owners and freelancers, just like you, who are trying to understand how to survive this pandemic.

The details of the federal stimulus funding (PPP, EIDL, CARES) are changing day-to-day and sometimes hour-to-hour. My view is that this stimulus will turn into multiple stimuli over the next few months.

The playbook was a great starting point to get up to speed, but some of the information in there is already outdated. It’s clear that a static document isn’t sufficient to keep you in the know.

So, I’m writing The Entrepreneur’s COVID-19 Updates as a sporadic emails to keep you up to speed on all things relevant to entrepreneurs in this moment.

The promise of this email is: to move you from confusion to clarity so you can make smart decisions in this time of crisis.

If you have friends that might find this useful they should go here to get the playbook and automatically subscribe to the updates. 

Questions

This week has been intense. I’ve been swamped by follow up questions from entrepreneurs. I’ve been answering and collecting these questions, but I don’t want you to miss out. So, if you need further clarification on any of the points in the guide – PPP, EIDL, Tax, Legal – do me (and your fellow entrepreneurs) a favor and ask it now. I’m going to compile all the questions and share the answers of the most popular in future emails. Click here to ask your question.

PPP WTF?

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) opened up applications last Friday morning, at which time all small businesses in America stopped and frantically hit refresh on their banks’ websites. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is administering the program through banks, and the rollout was anything but smooth. Most banks required a business to already be a pre-existing client. In an extreme case, Bank of America required businesses to be a client, have a credit card with them and already have a line of credit with them. This punished solid businesses that don’t rely on credit to operate. Wells Fargo shut down new applications and warned that they may not fund all of the existing applications. I’ve been working with a lot of clients on this and fielding a ton of questions from readers of the playbook. Thus far, all applications are being processed, but I haven’t heard of any loans being approved or capital deployed yet. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Tuesday that he and the President will be asking Congress for an additional $250 billion for the PPP. If you’ve applied to PPP, please take a moment to shoot me an email right now and tell me about your experience. Also, Senator Marco Rubio’s tweets are amazing! Fox Business (6 minutes)

Independent Contractors

Under PPP, The total amount you are allowed to borrow is 2.5 your monthly payroll costs. When calculating total payroll costs, can you include amounts you paid to independent contractors? No. You should exclude those costs from your total monthly payroll. For many companies, like mine, this drastically reduces the total monthly payroll. However, the good news for those contractors is that they are individually eligible for a loan under the PPP. U.S. Treasury Dept.

Taxes & Payroll

When calculating total payroll costs, how do you account for federal taxes? Payroll costs are calculated on a gross basis without regard to not including subtractions or additions based on federal taxes imposed or withheld, such as the employee’s and employer’s share of  (FICA) and income taxes required to be withheld from employees. As a result, payroll costs are not reduced by taxes imposed on an employee and required to be withheld by the employer, but payroll costs do not include the employer’s share of payroll tax. For example, an employee who earned $4,000 per month in gross wages, from which $500 in federal taxes was withheld, would count as $4,000 in payroll costs. The employee would receive $3,500, and $500 would be paid to the federal government. However, the employer-side federal payroll taxes imposed on the $4,000 in wages are excluded from payroll costs under the statute. U.S. Treasury Dept.