Thousands of small businesses scrambling to stay afloat as a result of COVID-19 are getting extra time to apply for PPP loans.
By a 92-7 margin, on Friday, the Senate passed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 (“Act”), extending until May 31 the deadline for Paycheck Protection Program applications. The PPP was scheduled to sunset Wednesday, a timeline that could have prevented some 190,000 small businesses who have pending PPP applications from securing a loan. Previously, on March 16, the House passed the Act, by a 415-3 vote. This was a rare show of overwhelming bipartisan support!
The Act also gives the SBA an additional 30 days beyond May 31 to process those loans. The Act now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature.
This year through March 14, the SBA had approved more than 2.7 million loans worth about $181 billion. When the program reopened in January, it had $284 billion in funding.
Separately, on Friday, the IRS announced that face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes can qualify as medical expenses for tax deductions or can be paid for with money from tax-advantaged health accounts.
“The purchase of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus are deductible medical expenses,” stated the IRS.
Taxpayers can qualify for the deduction if they have medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income and they itemize their tax returns. Generally, only a small percentage of taxpayers itemize their taxes and an even smaller portion meet the threshold for medical deductions. For the vast majority of taxpayers that take the standard deduction the IRS is also offering tax relief. They can also use tax-favored health saving accounts to pay for those costs.