On June 5, 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act was signed into law, relaxing the original requirements for how businesses could use PPP loans and continue to qualify for forgiveness. Within days of the bill passing, Paychex, Inc., a provider of HR, payroll, benefits, and insurance solutions, introduced a PPP Loan Forgiveness Estimator and Forgiveness Report in its cloud-based HR suite, Paychex Flex, to simplify the application process for customers and provide them the accurate information needed to satisfy the new forgiveness requirements.
In accordance with the PPP Flexibility Act, these new Paychex solutions account for the extension of the timeframe to use funds from eight weeks to up to 24 weeks and an increased allowance of up to 40 percent of the loan to be spent on non-payroll costs such as mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.
“Receiving PPP funding has been essential to reopening for many business owners, but securing loan forgiveness will be critical for both their short-term cashflow and long-term survival,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “We understand that maximizing forgiveness is a critical need for our customers, and we are uniquely positioned to provide them with the information needed to apply for loan forgiveness. Our dedicated compliance staff has been working with the highest levels of government to help inform the development of the regulations, interpret what the rules mean for our customers, and accurately apply them when building the calculations into Paychex Flex.”
According to a Paychex survey, conducted May 15-17, 2020, among a randomly selected group of business owners with two to 500 employees, many businesses lack clarity when it comes to their loan forgiveness. While 68 percent of businesses are very or extremely confident they meet the requirements for PPP forgiveness, 37 percent are unclear how to apply for forgiveness. Another 34 percent are uncertain what their bank or other funding provider will require from them for the forgiveness request.
Paychex customers can now access the required information to maximize loan forgiveness via the PPP Loan Forgiveness Estimator and companion Forgiveness Report in Paychex Flex by the following process:
- After a user selects their covered period, the Forgiveness Estimator automatically populates the customer’s payroll information from each pay period during their covered period, shows both estimated and projected loan forgiveness, and is updated with each payroll run.
- Paychex Flex populates the Forgiveness Estimator with the employer’s state and local taxes and Paychex-administered benefits. Users who do not use Paychex to administer such benefits can manually enter information from their provider.
- Users enter applicable non-payroll costs into the Forgiveness Estimator.
- The Forgiveness Estimator calculates the projected loan forgiveness amount.
- Users can take data from the Forgiveness Estimator to assist them in completing a loan forgiveness application. Users also have access to additional system-generated reports, inclusive of required payroll documentation, which can be submitted to their lender.
The Forgiveness Estimator and associated reports will be available to all Paychex Flex customers as part of their payroll service at no additional charge, as well as those of Paychex subsidiaries SurePayroll and Oasis While customers can directly access the forgiveness tools themselves, Paychex service providers are available to guide clients who may need assistance.
“We built our PPP forgiveness tools to provide customers with a simple, easy-to-use solution that leverages actual payroll data, estimates future payroll and non-payroll costs, and maintains data continuity throughout the process to help ensure borrowers get the most out of their PPP loans,” Mucci added.
In addition to customers, accountants can access the Forgiveness Estimator for each of their clients via the Paychex AccountantHQ dashboard, enabling them to provide more strategic consultation and help their clients optimize PPP loan forgiveness.
“In addition to helping accountants bring more value to their clients with tools like the PPP Forgiveness Estimator, we continue to work closely with the accounting community to provide recommendations to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration on the forgiveness process so that together we can help America’s small- and medium-sized businesses succeed,” Mucci noted.
Accountants and other businesses can find updated resources, including several related to PPP forgiveness, via the Paychex COVID-19 Help Center here.