NAR has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure the interests of REALTORS® and their clients are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19. Many REALTORS® are small businesses, or work with them as clients. In the first relief package passed into law in April 2020, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or CARES Act, there were significant provisions aimed at assisting small businesses during this difficult time. The CARES Act created two new Small Business Administration (SBA) programs – the 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) advance grants program, which have since had multiple rounds of appropriations, most recently in the December 2020 COVID-19 relief package and the American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021.

Funding for PPP loans is still available, but at this time the application deadline is March 31, 2021. The Biden Administration announced that from February 24 – March 9, 2021, only small businesses with 20 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for PPP loans, to ensure they have equitable access, as well as updated loan calculations for independent contractors, sole proprietors, and self-employed borrowers.

Since its initial creation, there have been several changes and to both PPP and the EIDL advance grants, reflecting the ongoing economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for greater flexibility for the small businesses participating in the
programs. This FAQ provides the most up-to-date information on both programs, their requirements, and how borrowers can achieve forgiveness.

The December 21 COVID-19 relief bill made some major changes to PPP, including a streamlined forgiveness process for borrowers of less than $150,000 in loans; allowing some hardest-hit small businesses access to second-draw PPP loans; giving certain 501(c)(6) organizations access to the program; and correcting an IRS ruling to allow for business expenses paid for with PPP loan money that is later forgiven to be tax-deductible.

In June 2020 the “PPP Flexibility Act” was signed into law, increasing flexibility for borrowers in how they can use their PPP loans. It lowered the amount required for payroll costs from 75% to 60% and lengthened the period to use it from 8 to 24 weeks, through at the latest December 31. It also increased the repayment period from 2 to 5-years for loans made after June 5 (borrowers who received PPP loans before that date can request a longer repayment period from their lenders). The SBA released new guidance and two updated forgiveness forms for PPP reflecting these changes, including an “EZ Application” for businesses with no employees or that meet certain other criteria, which you can read about below. Watch the PPP Extension and New Loan Forgiveness Rules and How to Complete the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ videos to learn more. This document provides a number of Q&As to address frequent questions about what these programs are, who is eligible and how to apply. Also view this info graphic for differences between the two programs.