If you’re a marine dealer based in the United States, you’re likely one of the 90 percent of dealerships that have applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The question on many dealers’ minds is: So, what now?
Many of you who have applied and received these funds may be wondering how your business can use them in a way that helps your business stay afloat, and gets as much of the amount forgiven as possible.
That’s no surprise. The SBA had provided limited answers to those questions up until now, but has been promising more guidance would be coming.
Well, today we received some of that promised guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department’s release of some frequently asked questions around the Paycheck Protection Program. You can find the SBA document here.
The PPP is one of several Coronavirus Relief Options offered by the U.S. Small
Business Administration that many marine dealers have applied for and are now
putting to use; however, several questions remain about how to apply for
forgiveness of these loans.
This week, MRAA also received some guidance from Eric Craig of USA Specialty Lending, which is approved by SBA to originate and process PPP loans.
As a longtime friend of MRAA and someone who has spent much of his career in the marine industry, we asked Eric some questions to help dealers navigate these difficult times and PPP loans in particular.
QUESTION: Eric, you said that there are still a lot of funds available through the PPP, and recommended dealerships that have not yet taken advantage of the program consider it. Can you explain why you recommend that? I know a lot of dealers have concerns about applying for the loans because there have been so many unanswered questions about the program – and specifically about loan forgiveness.
ANSWER: I’m sure every dealership has been affected by this pandemic. The funds are meant to give temporary relief for specifically these types of small businesses. The ability to have the loan forgiven, should the funds be used appropriately, offers very little downside. If a dealership can apply, and hasn’t already, they should do so soon. The second round of funds are estimated at over $100 Billion, giving qualified businesses and business owners the ability to obtain some relief.
QUESTION: For those dealers who have already applied for the PPP and received their funds, what advice do you have?
ANSWER: First, try to be patient. Lenders, just like dealerships, are awaiting further guidance from the SBA as to what documentation to collect and how the process for forgiveness will be implemented. Second, if you haven’t started already, collect payroll documentation, utility bills, lease payments or mortgage statements and bank statements for the 8-week period following the initial disbursements of funds. More detailed information from the SBA and your lender will follow, but it’s helpful if you start putting some of this together now.
QUESTION: We have heard that you have eight weeks from the date the PPP funds are deposited that it can be forgiven, if you use the funds to pay for approved costs. Is that right? Does that mean you have eight weeks to use any funds you want forgiven or eight weeks to apply for forgiveness for the funds you plan to use for approved costs?
ANSWER: Based on guidance thus far, the funds utilized during the eight weeks following initial disbursement are eligible for forgiveness. Keep in mind, 75% of the funds eligible for forgiveness must be utilized toward payroll costs.
QUESTION: After the eight weeks, you can either return what you didn’t use or any amount that has not been forgiven by the SBA (either because you used the funds on unapproved costs or because you didn’t apply for forgiveness in time) becomes a loan at 1% interest. Do we understand that correctly? Is that the same interest rate no matter what bank you went through?
ANSWER: This is a loan that happens to have the ability to be forgiven. If funds aren’t utilized appropriately or in their entirety, the borrower will have a six-month deferment and then a repayment period of 18 months. The interest rate, no matter the lender, is 1%. The funds can be repaid at any time, in full, if you so choose. However, I would read your loan agreement thoroughly as to the lender’s guidelines on prepayment.
QUESTION: What do you need to do within the eight weeks to get the PPP money forgiven? Do you send in something that shows how you have spent that money? Is that done on a portal or hard copy? Through your bank or directly with SBA?
ANSWER: As previously mentioned, start collecting payroll, rent, mortgage and/or utility documentation. While the documents vary per entity type. I’d like to think every lender will send instructions on what documentations is needed and how to submit. This documentation will go directly to your lender. It is your lender’s responsibility to apply for forgiveness. It seems there will also be a final certification the borrower’s representative must make regarding the documents provided and how the funds were utilized. This might be an SBA form or something your lender may provide. Further guidance has yet to be relayed on this topic.
QUESTION: If I understand correctly, an IRS rule published late last month suggests that companies that use PPP dollars toward their payroll and other covered expenses can't then deduct those amounts from their taxes. Is that right? I think it’s important dealers understand this and plan for it, as it could potentially offset some of the loan's benefits.
ANSWER: While this detail is important, I am not a tax advisor and any discussion of tax implications should be had with the dealership’s accountant.
QUESTION: What else should dealers know about participating in this program?
ANSWER: It’s a very simple application process if you already have a commercial banking relationship and they offer the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. There is also a finite window to apply. Once funds run out the program is over. There doesn’t seem to be any more funding going before Congress at this time.
Got more questions? Here are four places to turn: