PPP LOANS


Making Accounting Sense of SBA PPP Loan Borrowings

A CPA firm that has been a long-term client with Collemi Consulting was advising its clients that received funds under the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

They quickly realized that there was a lack of explicit guidance about the accounting and disclosure for the funds received by the clients;or whether they should even be treated as loans or grants. We advised the CPA firm and offered overall guidance about the accounting treatment, including footnote disclosure in the financial statements, and how the CPA firm should draft the proper representation in the management representation letter.

PPP loans were a lifeline to many businesses, providing them with a cash infusion at a time when many companies had to close or restrict their operations under government edicts. The low-interest loans also came with a bonus — they have the potential of being forgiven under certain circumstances. But CPAs soon realized there was a flip side to the good news: in the absence of concrete guidance, the accounting for the loans was a nightmare.

  • It may be accounted for as a financial liability under ASC Topic 470, Debt; Subtopic 405-20 Liabilities—Extinguishment of Liabilities. Under this treatment, although the debtor is legally released from the obligation, interest will be accrued under FASB ASC Sub-Topic 835-30, Interest – Imputation of Interest. Further, a gain on extinguishment will be recorded on the income statement.

  • Under IAS 20, Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosures of Government Assistance, the loan proceeds may be accounted for as other income, or reduction of related expenses on the income statement — and on the balance sheet as a deferred income liability with no accrued interest if there is reasonable assurance that the forgiveness conditions will be met.
  • Under ASC Topic 958-605, Not-for-Profit Entities—Revenue Recognition, the loan proceeds may be accounted for as a contribution received or a grant on the income statement — and on the balance sheet as a refundable advance. Interest will not be accrued, provided loan conditions will be substantially met or explicitly waived.
  • Under ASC Topic 450-30, Contingencies—Gain Contingencies, the loan proceeds may be accounted for as a gain on the income statement — and on the balance sheet as a deferred income liability with no accrued interest, if all contingencies are met and the gain is realized or realizable.

With respect to nonprofit entities,

  • Under ASC Topic 958-605, Not-for-Profit Entities—Revenue Recognition, the loan proceeds may be accounted for as a contribution received or a grant in the income statement — and on the balance sheet as a refundable advance. Interest will not be accrued, provided loan conditions will be substantially met or explicitly waived.

  • Under ASC Topic 450-30, Contingencies—Gain Contingencies, the loan proceeds may be accounted for as a gain on the income statement — and on the balance sheet as a deferred income liability with no accrued interest, if all contingencies are met and the gain is realized or realizable.

We’ve also advised CPA firms that they will need to evaluate all of their clients’ facts and circumstances to ensure the appropriate accounting for any debt modification. For example, modifications to debt arrangements may include any of the following:

  • Reduction (including contingent reductions) of the stated interest rate for the remaining term of the debt
  • Extension of the maturity date, or dates, at a stated interest rate lower than the current market rate for new debt with similar risk
  • Reduction — including contingent reductions — of the face amount or maturity amount of the debt as stated in the debt arrangement or other agreement
  • Reduction, including contingent reductions, of accrued but unpaid interest
“PPP loans were a lifeline to many businesses...but accounting for them was a nightmare.”

­-Salvatore A. Collemi, CPA, Collemi Consulting & Advisory Services, LLC

Collemi Consulting has examined both FASB and IASB guidance, and we’ve counseled CPAs about determining whether a modification to, or an exchange of a client’s debt arrangement should be accounted for as a troubled debt restructuring (TDR); and whether a nontroubled modification or an exchange of debt with the same creditor is accounted for as an extinguishment of the existing debt and issuance of new debt, or as a modification and continuation of the existing debt.

A TDR generally occurs when a borrower is experiencing financial difficulties and when a lender grants a concession to the borrower that it would not otherwise consider. However, a debt restructuring is not necessarily a TDR — even if the borrower is experiencing financial difficulties. For example, a TDR does not occur if either:

  • The lender reduces the effective interest rate on the debt primarily to reflect a decrease in market interest rates in general, or a decrease in the risk to maintain a relationship with a borrower that can readily obtain funds from other sources at the current market interest rate
  • The borrower issues, in exchange for its debt, new marketable debt having an effective interest rate based on its market price that is at or near the current market interest rates of debt with similar maturity dates and stated interest rates issued by nontroubled borrowers.

At this point in time, our understanding is that a portion of the borrower’s PPP loan (and related interest) will be forgiven — equal to eligible expenses including payroll costs, interest payments on mortgages, and rent and utility payments  — made during the loan’s qualifying period, provided that the borrower met all of the loan’s employee-retention criteria. According to the SBA, a borrower, in order to receive forgiveness, must submit an application to the creditor. The creditor will then issue a recommendation to the SBA within 60 days on whether the borrower is entitled to full, partial, or no forgiveness of the PPP loan; and will request payment from the SBA equivalent to the amount for which it recommends forgiveness, including accrued interest. The SBA then has 90 days to review the request for payment from the creditor. If the SBA agrees with the creditor’s recommendation, the SBA will pay the creditor for the amount forgiven, plus any interest that accrues through the date of payment. The borrower must then remit any amount not forgiven by the SBA to the creditor in accordance with the terms of the PPP loan. If the SBA subsequently determines that the borrower was ineligible for the PPP loan, the borrower must immediately repay the loan to the creditor.

The Takeaway

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many businesses with unprecedented challenges, and external auditors are working diligently to review available guidance and gain an understanding of how their clients will be affected. Auditors should continue to monitor guidance, and make reasoned decisions under the circumstances based upon the transactions. Trusted technical consultants can also offer timely guidance to audit, attestation and advisory professionals, assisting them in providing valuable services to their clients while safeguarding the public interest.

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