SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions

Important updates on the Paycheck Protection Program

New legislation signed into law on July 4 has authorized the Small Business Administration1 (SBA) to approve Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications through August 8, 2020. This is an extension from the SBA’s original deadline of June 30, 2020.

With this extension, Bank of America began to accept new PPP loan applications at 5 p.m. ET on July 6.

In order to provide the necessary time for processing prior to the SBA’s updated August 8 deadline:

• We will accept new PPP loan applications until 5 p.m. ET on July 24

• Applicants must provide all required supporting documentation (this does not include promissory notes) by 5 p.m. ET on July 31 in order for their application to proceed

• We will discontinue all application processing at 5 p.m. ET on August 7. Clients who applied for, but who have not received an SBA loan number by the time of the SBA’s August 8 cutoff will be notified their application will not be processed and has been cancelled.

For clients who received a PPP loan from the SBA through Bank of America, we look forward to supporting you as you begin the loan forgiveness phase of the program. We will begin opening our online loan forgiveness application in early August and will be emailing you with additional instructions on how and when to apply.

For up-to-date rules for the SBA’s PPP loan forgiveness process, including your covered period, the type of costs that are eligible for forgiveness and what documentation you will need to submit as part of your application, please visit the SBA website.

Our call center and Financial Center specialists have no further information to provide at this time. If we learn of any new developments, we'll provide updates here, on this site.

These FAQs are provided for your convenience. Please be sure to understand and comply with the guidance issued by the SBA.

General questions

What is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a federal relief program established by Congress and implemented by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) with rules, requirements, protocols and processes that all participating lenders, including Bank of America, must follow.

The eligibility requirements are outlined for applicants on the U.S. Treasury and SBA websites.

How can I apply?

At Bank of America, the Paycheck Protection Program will be administered online only. We are accepting applications from those clients who, as of February 15, 2020:

  • Had a Small Business checking and Small Business credit relationship with Bank of America (including commercial or corporate credit cards, conventional business loans or leases, business lines of credit, business auto loans, practice solutions loans and trade- and asset-based loans)

or

  • Had a Small Business checking relationship with us and do not have a business credit or borrowing relationship with another bank

If you’re an eligible client who plans to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, you should take the following steps:

  1. You must sign in with your Small Business Online Banking username and password or sign into the CashPro®2 service. If you do not currently have a Business Online Banking username and password, or use our CashPro service, you must enroll in Small Business Online Banking as soon as possible.
  2. After completing the application process, you will receive online confirmation of the submission
  3. We will contact you with next steps and to collect any required documents. Do not proactively deliver or send documents to our Financial Centers or banking teams.
  4. You will be notified of the status of your loan application through email communications
  5. Information about the application status will NOT be available through our Financial Centers or Contact Centers due to the nature of this loan process and the steps involved.

Is Bank of America taking new PPP loan applications?

Yes. We opened our online PPP loan application to eligible clients at 5 p.m. ET on July 6. In order to provide the necessary time for processing:

  • We will continue to accept new PPP loan applications until 5 p.m. ET on July 24
  • Applicants must provide all required supporting documentation (does not include promissory notes) by 5 p.m. ET on July 31 in order for their application to proceed
  • We will end all application processing at 5 p.m. ET on August 7. Clients who applied for, but who have not received an SBA loan number by the time of the SBA’s August 8 cutoff will be notified their application will not be processed and has been cancelled.

What can I use these loans for?

As of June 5, 2020, the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, and SBA rules and regulations state that loan proceeds can be used only for the following:

  • Payroll costs (as defined in the CARES Act and Section 2.f of the Small Business Administration's Interim Final Rule Docket No. SBA-2020-0015)
  • Costs related to the continuation of group healthcare benefits during periods of paid sick, medical or family leave and insurance premiums
  • Mortgage interest payments (but not mortgage prepayments or principal payments); rent payments; utility payments
  • Interest payments on any other debt obligations that were incurred before February 15, 2020
  • Refinancing an SBA EIDL loan made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020. If you received an SBA EIDL loan from January 31, 2020 through April 3, 2020, you can apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. If your EIDL loan was not used for payroll costs, it does not affect your eligibility for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. If your EIDL loan was used for payroll costs, your Paycheck Protection Program loan must be used to refinance your EIDL loan. Proceeds from any advance up to $10,000 on the EIDL loan will be deducted from the loan forgiveness amount on the Paycheck Protection Program loan.

The SBA has further stated that if you use Paycheck Protection Program funds for unauthorized purposes:

The SBA will direct you to repay those amounts. If you knowingly use the funds for unauthorized purposes, you will be subject to additional liability, such as charges for fraud. If one of your shareholders, members or partners uses Paycheck Protection Program funds for unauthorized purposes, the SBA will have recourse against the shareholder, member or partner for the unauthorized use.

For complete details, visit the SBA, U.S. Treasury Assistance for Small Business and U.S. Treasury FAQ websites.

What counts as payroll costs?

As of April 2, 2020, in an Interim Final Rule (IFR), the SBA has stated that payroll costs include:

  • Salary, wages, commissions or similar compensation (capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee)
  • Cash tips or the equivalent
  • Payment for vacation, parental, family, medical or sick leave
  • Allowance for separation or dismissal
  • Payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance premiums and retirement
  • Payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees
  • For an independent contractor or sole proprietor: wages, commissions, income or net earnings from self-employment or similar compensation, capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis
  • Payroll costs must be paid to employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States

Will Bank of America pay fees to third-party agents who have assisted clients with the preparation of Paycheck Protection Program loan applications?

In the absence of a preloan approval written agreement between the agent and Bank of America, Bank of America does not pay fees or other compensation to agents who represent or assist borrowers through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Does Bank of America disclose the names of PPP recipients? Was my name disclosed by the SBA – or will it be in the future?

Bank of America does not publicly disclose the names of clients who receive PPP loans. However, in June, the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, announced that it would release data regarding the loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). On July 6, the SBA released information on 4.9 million PPP loans, including loans provided through Bank of America. The disclosure includes loan-level data, including business names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, business type, demographic data, non-profit information, name of lender, jobs supported and loan amount ranges as follows: $150,000-$350,000, $350,000-$1 million, $1 million-$2 million, $2 million-$5 million and $5 million-$10 million. For loans below $150,000, SBA released all of the above information except for business names and addresses. For more information, please visit the SBA website.

I already received a PPP loan from Bank of America OR another bank. Can I receive another PPP loan now that the window has been reopened?

No. According to the rules of the PPP, businesses can only receive one PPP loan per tax identification number.

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Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements under the provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program?

The eligibility requirements are outlined for applicants on the U.S. Treasury and SBA websites.

All borrowers should review carefully the required certification that "[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant." Borrowers must make this certification in good faith, taking into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business.

Does Bank of America have requirements to apply?

To serve small businesses most efficiently, we are accepting applications from those that, as of February 15, 2020:

  • Had a Small Business checking and Small Business credit relationship with Bank of America (including commercial or corporate credit cards, conventional business loans or leases, business lines of credit, business auto loans, practice solutions loans and trade- and asset-based loans). Clients with these existing relationships have the established accounts and underwriting verifications in place to allow Bank of America to help provide faster access to the relief funds.

or

  • Had a Small Business checking relationship with us and do not have a business credit or borrowing relationship with another bank

At Bank of America, the Paycheck Protection Program will be administered online only.

You must have either a Small Business Online Banking username and password or use CashPro®. If you do not currently have a Small Business Online Banking username and password, or use our CashPro service, you must enroll in Small Business Online Banking as soon as possible.

All applications, information and correspondence about the Paycheck Protection Program through Bank of America will occur online and through email, including the application process, submission of required documents and follow-up correspondence.

What happens if there are multiple business owners or there are several authorized signers associated with my eligible Bank of America Small Business checking relationship?

We anticipate that in most cases an individual submitting an application on behalf of a business for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program will also be an individual with an ownership interest in, or who has the signature authority on, a Small Business checking account associated with that business.

I have a Working Capital Management Account (WCMA).  Does that meet the Small Business checking relationship eligibility criteria for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Please sign into MyMerrill.com to access the most current information about the submission process for WCMA clients.

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Preparing to apply

What documentation do I need to provide?

To prepare for the application process, you should review requirements listed on the U.S. Treasury and SBA websites. Among other documentation, the following may be needed:

  1. 2019 Payroll – total payroll for full year 2019, by employee, as reported to the IRS
  2. 2019 Independent Contractor Costs – Listing of 1099s - MISC for 2019 independent contractors, by person, as reported to the IRS (Note: Do NOT include 1099s for services)
  3. Payroll report as of February 15, 2020, or closest date after that date, by employee

If I have a Small Business Online Banking username and password and use CashPro®, where should I submit my application?

If you have access to CashPro, you should submit your application through CashPro. If you have already submitted your application in Small Business Online Banking, please leave it in Small Business Online Banking.

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Post-application - confirmed submission

Did you receive my application?

You will receive a welcome email from customerservice@ecomm.bankofamerica.com with subject line "Your Paycheck Protection Program Loan Application has been received" within approximately 24 hours of submitting your application.

If you have further questions related to the Paycheck Protection Program, please email us at PPP_Help@bofa.com. Keep in mind, email isn’t a secure method for sending information. So it’s important not to include sensitive information, like account or Social Security numbers, in any emails you send us.

I received my confirmation email from my application, but what is the next step in the process?

You will receive an email from Bank of America which will provide next steps for you, including:

  • How to upload the required documents
  • What you need to know as your loan application is processed with the Small Business Administration
  • How Bank of America will notify you of the status once we receive a decision from the Small Business Administration

For help managing documents in Intralinks, download our user guide.

Please note:

New legislation signed into law on July 4 has authorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) to approve Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications through August 8, 2020. This is an extension from the SBA’s original deadline of June 30, 2020.

In order to provide the necessary time for processing prior to the SBA’s updated August 8 deadline:

  • We will accept new PPP loan applications until 5 p.m. ET on July 24
  • Applicants must provide all required supporting documentation (this does not include promissory notes) by 5 p.m. ET on July 31 in order for their application to proceed
  • We will discontinue all application processing at 5 p.m. ET on August 7. Clients who applied for, but who have not received an SBA loan number by the time of the SBA’s August 8 cutoff will be notified their application will not be processed and has been cancelled.

How long will the application process take?

We will submit your loan application to the Small Business Administration when our review is complete. Bank of America will email you with the status once we receive a decision from the Small Business Administration.

If you have further questions related to the Paycheck Protection Program, please email us at PPP_Help@bofa.com. Keep in mind, email isn’t a secure method for sending information. So it’s important not to include sensitive information like account or Social Security numbers in any emails you send us.

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Organizing documents

I don’t use quarterly Form 941s. Can 2019 payroll provider documentation be used?

Yes, payroll provider documentation can be used.

Can I use a DE9 document for payroll calculations (state of California)?

Yes, the DE9 payroll document can be used.

Do I need to provide documentation on the exact date of February 15, 2020, to prove I had employees on this date, or can I submit documentation near that date (such as February 12, 2020)?

Submitting documentation from dates on or around February 15, 2020, is acceptable. The rule references having employees “on or around” February 15, 2020.

Can I add additional payroll cost for retirement benefits, insurance premiums and state and local tax?

Yes, these costs can be included, provided that they are summarized on the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Amount Template. Additional documentation may be required to substantiate these amounts. Please see the latest guidance related to the Paycheck Protection Program at the SBA, U.S. Treasury Assistance for Small Business and U.S. Treasury FAQ websites.

Can I include rent, utilities and interest payments on mortgages opened prior to February 15, 2020, on my Paycheck Protection Program loan amount request?

No. While funds are eligible to be used for these purposes, these expenses are not permitted to be included in the calculation of the maximum loan amount.

Can I include distributions from partnerships as employee wages? I have provided or can provide a Schedule K-1 as evidence of the payroll amount.

Yes, distributions may be included up to $100,000 annualized per general partner, provided that you submit the corresponding Form 1065 Schedule K-1. For more information, please see the latest guidance related to the Paycheck Protection Program at the SBA, U.S. Treasury Assistance for Small Business and U.S. Treasury FAQ websites.

Can I provide cumulative W2s for 2019 or a W3 in place of quarterly Form 941s to determine the loan amount?

No. Bank of America does not accept W2s. Line 5 on Form W3 may be used, but please provide your quarterly Form 941s or annual Form 944 if available. In addition, certain applicants may be required to provide Form 1040 Schedule C, Form 1040 Schedule F, Form 1040 Schedule 1 and/or other documentation to substantiate the loan amount. For more information, please see the latest guidance related to the Paycheck Protection Program at the SBA, U.S. Treasury Assistance for Small Business and U.S. Treasury FAQ websites.

Can I use a W2 without quarterly Form 941s?

No. Bank of America does not accept W2s.

Do I need to provide employee names to prove evidence of payroll on or after February 15, 2020?

No. Employee names are not required for the application process.

What verification do I have to submit to confirm that as an employer I am a seasonal employer?

No additional verification is required. As a borrower, you attest to the information included in the application.

What documentation do I need to submit to support the seasonal employer wage calculation?

As noted on the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Amount Template, you can either provide (i) an annual average calculation or (ii) a calculation of the average monthly payroll for (a) the period between February 15 and June 30, 2019, or (b) any consecutive 12-week period between May 1, 2019, and September 15, 2019, supported by payroll documentation. For more information, please see the latest guidance related to the Paycheck Protection Program at the SBA, U.S. Treasury Assistance for Small Business and U.S. Treasury FAQ websites.

What documents are required for organizations with employees who file quarterly Form 941s?

The documents required will vary based on the applicant. You should refer to the “How to Calculate Maximum Loan Amounts — by Business Type” guide, issued by the SBA. Among other documentation, the following may be needed:

  • Quarterly Tax Form 941s from 2019
  • Bank of America Paycheck Protection Program Loan Amount Template (located in your Bank of America Intralinks library folder)
  • Bank of America Paycheck Protection Program Application Addendum (located in your Bank of America Intralinks library folder)
  • Payroll processor records for the period including February 15, 2020

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Submitting documents

Can I wait to sign the promissory note, so I can receive the funds at a later date (e.g., when I reopen)?

Do not wait to sign the note. You must sign the promissory note we have sent before we can approve your loan and disburse funds. Do not delay signing the note and returning it to us; failing to do so promptly could impact your ability to receive funds under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Why is the loan amount in my Paycheck Protection Program promissory note different from the amount in my application?

Approved and/or funded loan amounts may vary from the original amount requested. Reasons may include:

  • Changes to U.S. Treasury and SBA requirements since the beginning of the Paycheck Protection Program
  • Documents you provided during the loan process
  • A combination of the U.S. Treasury and SBA requirements and documents you provided

You can refer to the most updated SBA and U.S. Treasury guidance on loan amount calculations and compare it with the documents you’ve submitted.

If you have further questions related to the Paycheck Protection Program, please email us at PPP_Help@bofa.com. Keep in mind, email isn’t a secure method for sending information. So it’s important not to include sensitive information, like account or Social Security numbers, in any emails you send us.

Where will my funds be deposited?

Funds granted and authorized by the Small Business Administration from the Paycheck Protection Program will be deposited into the Bank of America Small Business checking account that you designated during the application process.

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Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness

What changes has the SBA made to the PPP rules and how do they impact the loan forgiveness process?

  • You now have a 24-week “covered period,” the period in which you must spend the PPP loan proceeds for full loan forgiveness, starting on the date the funds were disbursed. If your PPP loan was funded prior to June 5, 2020, you still have the option to use the original 8-week covered period.
  • You must use at least 60% of funds for eligible payroll costs to qualify for full loan forgiveness, down from 75%
  • You can use up to 40% of funds for eligible nonpayroll costs, up from 25%.

You can find up-to-date information on the rules of the program on the SBA website.

When can I apply for loan forgiveness?

We will begin opening our online loan forgiveness application in early August, and will be emailing you with additional instructions on how and when to apply.

How long do I have to apply for loan forgiveness?

The timeframe for applying for loan forgiveness in your promissory note no longer applies. You now have more time to gather your documents and prepare your application.

Based on the latest guidance from the SBA, you may submit a loan forgiveness application any time on or before the maturity date of your loan. We will notify you by email of any changes to your loan forgiveness application window.

Which PPP loan forgiveness application should I use?

In an effort to make it easier for some businesses to apply for PPP loan forgiveness, the SBA published a new PPP EZ Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ for borrowers who meet certain requirements. To determine if you are able to use the EZ application, you should review the Checklist for Using SBA Form 3508EZ on the SBA’s website.

Borrowers who do not meet the requirements for using Form 3508EZ will apply using the updated PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508.

How can I prepare to apply for loan forgiveness?

Once you determine which SBA Loan Forgiveness Application Form you will use, we recommend that prior to applying online through Bank of America for PPP loan forgiveness, you carefully review and fill out the applicable form, and gather the required documentation specified in the instructions:

Who determines the amount of loan forgiveness?

The U.S. Treasury and Small Business Administration (SBA) are responsible for the rules of the program, which determine the amount of loan forgiveness you may receive. This can include full, partial or no forgiveness.

We encourage you to visit the U.S. Treasury and SBA websites for the most up-to-date program rules and guidance.

Where should I go if I have questions?

For detailed information on the application, covered periods, the type of costs that are eligible for forgiveness and what documentation you will need to submit in connection with your application, please visit the U.S. Treasury and SBA websites.

 

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Additional assistance options

What are the types of assistance that are available for existing Bank of America Small Business clients who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus?

Bank of America is currently providing support to our customers and clients through our enhanced Client Assistance Program, which includes:

  • Small business loans: clients can request to defer payments, get refunds on late fees
  • Consumer and Small Business deposit accounts: clients can request refunds for fees, including overdraft fees, nonsufficient funds fees and monthly maintenance fees
  • Consumer and Small Business credit cards: clients can request to defer payments or get refunds on late fees
  • No negative credit bureau reporting for up-to-date clients
  • Offering commercial card payment deferrals upon client request
  • Helping clients assess capital/liquidity options
  • Helping clients manage operations through digital channels
  • Loans and philanthropic grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

What other assistance is available for Small Business clients who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus?

  • Other Small Business Administration relief programs: The SBA is providing small business owners with access to special financing options
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs): You may also turn to CDFIs, which are small and typically not-for-profit providers of loans. Bank of America is the largest investor in CDFIs in the United States — with more than $1.6 billion in loans and investments in over 250 CDFIs. We recently announced that will provide up to $250 million in capital to CDFIs by funding loans through the Paycheck Protection Program and up to $10 million in philanthropic grants to help fund the operations of CDFIs. To get started, find a CDFI near you.
  • SBA 7(a) lenders: The SBA can help match you to local lending partners

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We stand ready to support small business owners with the services and resources you need to manage your business.