AICPA, 560 Business Groups to Congress: Pass PPP Expense Forgiveness

WASHINGTON – The American Institute of CPAs and a coalition of more than 560 organizations representing millions of employers and American workers sent congressional leaders a letter Thursday urging passage of legislation making it clear that expenses related to a forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loan are tax deductible.

The letter states that without such legislation, there is “…the specter or a surprise tax increase of up to 37% on small businesses when they file their taxes for 2020.” 

“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress responded with speed, cooperation and an eye to preventing the worst potential economic outcomes. We ask that you bring that same spirit of urgency and cooperation during this lame duck session to prevent an avoidable catastrophe for millions of small businesses that, without congressional action, will face a surprising and, in many cases, insurmountable tax bill next year,” states the letter. 

While the Cares Act was designed to provide relief to businesses by allowing the deductibility of expenses related to loan forgiveness, Notice 2020-32, issued by the Internal Revenue Service, directly contradicts this intent, instead transforming tax-free loan forgiveness into taxable income. AICPA has made repeated calls for Congress to fix this problem.

“Notice 2020-32 clearly circumvents the original intent of Congress with regard to the PPP program,” said AICPA vice president of taxation, Edward Karl. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe economic impact on our country and now, more than ever, thousands of businesses need a little extra relief to help them survive. It’s critical that Congress acts on this issue immediately and we strongly encourage them to do so.” 

Karl noted that the PPP loan program enabled companies “to pivot their business, stay open and keep employees hired during the pandemic. PPP loans have helped organizations manage issues such as supply chain interruptions, sick employees and customers’ changing buying habits,” he said. “To burden businesses with additional, potentially significant taxes at this time does not reflect congressional intent.” 

A separate letter cosigned by CPA societies from all 50 states and four territories as well as the AICPA has also been sent to congressional leadership urging immediate action on this issue. 

AICPA, founded in 1887, is the world’s largest member association. It has more than 431,000 members in the United States and worldwide. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.