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If you report your business income and expenses on Schedule C of your Form 1040, your Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness is straightforward, as you see in the four answers below.
1. Paying Myself
Question. I know that I can achieve full forgiveness based solely on my 2019 Schedule C income in 10.8 weeks under the 24-week program. Do I have to pay myself every week for 10.8 weeks?
Answer. No. Let’s say your PPP loan is for $20,000. You could, for example, take $20,000 out of your business account in one lump sum and put that in your personal savings anytime during the 10.8-week period and then apply for forgiveness in week 11.
Because both your loan and forgiveness are based on your 2019 Schedule C net profit (yes, last year), you simply need to use the loan money for personal purposes. This is how you pay yourself and obtain loan forgiveness the easy way.
Sure, you need to use only 60 percent of the proceeds for yourself and could use 40 percent for interest, rent, and utilities. But think about it:
• Pay yourself only: simple paperwork.
• Pay interest, rent, and utilities: more rules and paperwork.
Keep it simple. Don’t make yourself suffer.
2. Waiting to Spend
Question. Can I wait a number of weeks before I spend my loan proceeds?
Let’s say I receive the PPP proceeds on August 1, 2020. Can I use the 24-week period and start on August 17, for 11 weeks? Would that be okay? And would it be eligible for forgiveness?
Answer. Yes, no problem. But let’s be clear:
• For PPP loans made on June 5 or later, the 24-week covered period is the rule (there’s no “can” here—no eight-week possibility).
• There’s no requirement that a Schedule C taxpayer spread out the payments.
• There’s no payroll or other impediment here.
3. Spending in Chunks
I am a Schedule C taxpayer with no employees. My PPP loan amount was deposited into my business checking account on May 19, 2020. I am not electing the eight-week covered period. Instead, I am choosing the 24-week covered period, which ends on November 2, 2020.
I have two questions.
Question 1. Can I write one check for every four weeks of payroll and deposit it in my personal checking account?
Answer 1. Yes—but this is not a payroll check. As a Schedule C taxpayer with no employees, you have no payroll. Your PPP loan was based on your 2019 net profit. And your forgiveness will be based on the same amount. You don’t need to spread out your payments.
Question 2. Does this check have to be cashed within that four-week period, or if it is written within that period, is that sufficient to apply for forgiveness?
Answer 2. In general, your check is a payment on the date it is written. Because you are dealing with yourself, you should ensure that the check is cashed soon after it is written.
Also, we don’t see any wisdom (in fact, just the opposite) in writing the check within the 24 weeks and then cashing it outside the 24 weeks.
4. Got the PPP Money but Had a Loss in 2019
Question. I am a Schedule C filer, ran at a loss in 2019, but withdrew $120,000 from the business as the business increased its debt position.
I used my draw amount to obtain a $120,000 PPP loan before the guidance was issued on how sole proprietors should calculate their pay. If the business now has two employees, can both of those employees be used for the forgiveness application?
Answer. Yes, you can use the two employees on the forgiveness application, and you can use 24 weeks of pay. In addition to payroll, 40 percent of the forgiveness can come from interest, rent, and utilities.
Example. Say the two-employee payroll for the 24 weeks totals $60,000 and the interest, rent, and utilities total $30,000. You would achieve $90,000 of forgiveness.