The House of Representatives has released text of a revised COVID-19 pandemic relief bill, expected to be voted on this week before the House recesses for pre-election campaigning.
H.R. 7370, the Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2020, has been introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
S. 4539 has been introduced with COVID-19 liability protection for businesses and healthcare providers, a tax credit for employer COVID-19 testing, and several retirement provisions.
The Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (S.178), did not receive the votes needed to proceed to a final vote on the package.
Senate GOP leadership expected to vote on the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (S. 178).
Legislation is introduced for Health Savings Accounts for All Act of 2020 (S.4367) to expand access and reduce restrictions on HSAs.
Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) has introduced H.R. 7645, legislation that would extend the time period for taxpayers to withdraw coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) from retirement savings arrangements and receive the special tax benefits that CRDs provide. Certain withdrawals could be tax-free under the legislation.
CRDs, as defined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are eligible for the following tax benefits for withdrawn amounts up to $100,000 (currently, only for withdrawals in 2020).
- Three-year taxation on amounts withdrawn
- Exemption from the 10 percent excise tax for early (pre-59½) distributions
- The option to repay such withdrawn amounts within three years
Included in the bill is expected to be a provision that would make CRDs tax-free if the taxpayer qualifies as a first-time home buyer. “Expected,” because neither bill text nor a summary is available at this time. Details of legislative intent are being inferred from the bill’s description at the official congressional web site:
“To extend the time period for making coronavirus-related distributions from retirement plans and to provide an exclusion from gross income of coronavirus-related distributions which are first-time homebuyer distributions.”
H.R. 7645 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
On Tuesday, the United States Senate passed by unanimous consent a bill to extend from June 30, 2020, to August 8, 2020, the deadline for businesses to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan administered by the federal Small Business Administration.
PPP loans were created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, targeted to businesses with no more than 500 employees. The purpose of the program is to assist small employers in retaining employees on their payrolls in a time of financial stress during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More than $130 billion of the $669 billion appropriated for the program had not been applied for as the June 30th deadline approached.
If certain conditions are met, PPP loans can be forgiven and treated as a grant. Among the conditions for full forgiveness is a requirement that 60% of loan proceeds be used for payroll expenses. These expenses can include not only wages and salaries, but also employer contributions to defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans. Expenses can also include providing group health care coverage, including payment of insurance premiums.
As this is reported, the House of Representatives had yet to approve the bill, which is required—in addition to signing by President Trump—for the application deadline to be extended.
Companion bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to provide additional capital to small businesses hardest hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program (P4) Act is sponsored in the Senate by Democrats Chris Coons (DE), Ben Cardin (MD), and Jean Shaheen (NH), and in the House by Democrats Angie Craig (MN), and Antonio Delgado (NY).
The P4 Act would authorize additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to businesses with 100 or fewer employees—including sole proprietorships and other self-employed—that have already expended the proceeds of a prior PPP loan or are on-pace to do so, and that can demonstrate a loss of business revenue of 50 percent or more due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PPP is a Small Business Administration lending program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help small employers meet payroll and other expenses as businesses and the nation deal with the economic effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Importantly, if certain conditions are met, PPP loans can be forgiven and treated as a grant. Payroll expenses can include employer contributions to defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans, as well as providing group health care coverage, including payment of insurance premiums.
Scheduled for publication in next Tuesday’s Federal Register is a Small Business Administration (SBA) interim final rule on the agency’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This guidance is being issued in response to enactment on June 5 of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, legislation that made enhancements to this SBA loan program intended to help small employers meet payroll and other expenses as they deal with the economic effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
If certain conditions are met, PPP loans can be forgiven and treated as a grant. Payroll expenses can include not only wages and salary, but also employer contributions to defined contribution and defined benefit retirement plans, as well as providing group health care coverage, including payment of insurance premiums.
The SBA issued a previous interim final rule in April 2020 to provide guidance in implementing PPP. But with the program changes made by the June 5 legislation, that April rule no longer reflects certain important features of PPP as it now exists, requiring the issuance of a new interim final rule. These important PPP changes include the following.
- Extends from 8 to 24 weeks from a loan’s origination the period in which expenses paid with a PPP loan could be eligible for loan forgiveness (not to extend beyond December 31, 2020)
- Reduces from 75 percent to 60 percent the portion of a loan that must be used for payroll expenses (vs. overhead, etc.) and remain fully eligible for loan forgiveness
- Extends from 2 to 5 years the period for loan repayment for borrowed amounts that are not forgiven (applies to loans made on or after June 5, 2020)
- Allows a borrower who received a PPP loan before enactment of the June 5 legislation to elect that the covered period run for 8 (vs. 24) weeks
The SBA notes that this interim final rule is effective without advance notice and public comment because of its time sensitivity and specific authorization by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the legislation that created the PPP lending program. Nonetheless, comments are invited and must be submitted within 30 days of the guidance’s publication in the Federal Register.