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A lot has been happening recently on the COVID-19 front. Here are some developments we think you should know that just happened in the last couple of days.

1. SBA loan deadline extended to May 14
The Small Business Administration is extending the deadline to repay loans received under the Paycheck Protection Program by seven days. Borrowers who applied for PPP loans prior to April 24 now have under May 14, 2020 to repay their loans in full. There is no need to apply for this extension. For details, see Question No. 43 in this list of PPP frequently asked questions, which includes 45 other issues you have been asking about.

2. Positive signs for Maryland reopening
Gov. Larry Hogan is seeing some positive trends in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care admissions, and if those numbers continue to move in the right direction, he believes Maryland may be able to move into Stage One of a three-stage reopening strategy for the state’s economy as soon as late next week.

Stage One calls for lifting the stay-at-home order and involves business, community, religious, and quality of life improvements. Examples of changes that could be implemented in this stage include the following:

  • Reopening of small shops and certain small businesses
  • Curbside pickup and drop-off for businesses
  • Elective medical and dental procedures at ambulatory, outpatient, and medical offices
  • Limited attendance for outdoor religious gatherings
  • Recreational boating, fishing, golf, tennis, hiking, and hunting
  • Reopening of car washes
  • Limited outdoor gym and fitness classes
  • Outdoor work with appropriate distancing measures
  • Some personal services

In the meantime, Gov. Hogan has announced the resumption of elective medical procedures and some low-risk outdoor activities, including individual and small-group sports such as golf and tennis, outdoor fitness instruction, horseback riding, and fishing, hunting, and boating.

3. MACPA releases guidance on returning to work

We have compiled official back-to-work guidance from federal, state and local sources and curated it into a collection of best practices for organizations that want to reopen their businesses in a safe and socially responsible manner.

Our document, titled “Reopening the Profession: An Accounting and Finance Professional’s Guide to Safe Work in a COVID-19 World,” is available for free here.

4. Legislative advocacy
We are actively working with Maryland’s congressional delegation, the Treasury Department, and the Small Business Administration for continued clarification around COVID legislation. We are requesting support for S. 3612, “The Small Business Expense Protection Act of 2020,” to reverse IRS Notice 2020-32 that disallowed deductibility of expenses related to PPP loans. We are joining the AICPA in requesting clarification of the major PPP questions and guidance that continue to arise. We are also requesting limited liability for employers to be included in the next CARES legislation, along with the inclusion of 501c(6) organizations.

5. MACPA joins AICPA in urging clarification on PPP loans
To ensure small businesses and eligible non-profit organizations can qualify for loan forgiveness as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, we need a consistent and efficient approach to loan forgiveness that aligns with borrower operations and PPP intent. Our recommendations suggest that:

  • The eight-week covered period under PPP should align with the beginning of a pay period, not the date loan proceeds are received.
  • The eight-week period should commence when restrictions are lifted and the borrower is allowed to operate, not when loan proceeds are received, so small businesses have adequate funds to ramp up operations.
  • Full-time job equivalents can be calculated using a simple wage-based proxy when hours worked are not tracked by the employer.
  • Payroll reduction calculations should be based on average payroll per employee per week, not total compensation per employee.

Without this guidance, small business, non-profit PPP borrowers and the CPAs who support them will face great difficulty with the forgiveness component of these loans.

6. Strategic insights on COVID-19
We wanted to share with you a recorded version of a conversation that MACPA CEO Tom Hood had yesterday with world-renowned futurist and New York Times best-selling author Daniel Burrus. Titled “Strategic Insights on COVID-19,” this webinar gave MACPA members an opportunity to learn future-focused strategies directly from one of the world’s most anticipatory thinkers. As Daniel says, “Our post-pandemic success will be determined by what we do now, not by what we do post-pandemic,” so there’s no better time to start building a future-ready mindset. Watch the webinar here:

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