New Updates to the PPP: The Small Business Owner’s Complete Guide to PPP Round 2

Gusto Editors

Update as of May 5, 2021:

Funding for PPP has run out for all lending institutions with the exception of CDFIs. Funding remains solely for community lenders.

Find out more about CDFIs here.

First came the CARES Act, which established the paycheck protection program (PPP) in March of 2020; then in December, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which added PPP funds and changed some of the guidelines around the loan. In March of 2021, we got the latest version of federal COVID-19 relief legislation: the American Rescue Plan.

Keeping up with the latest in rules and regulations can be dizzying, but we’re here to help.

The important thing to know is that each of these bills dedicated funding to PPP and every piece of legislation is aimed at getting more and bigger loans to the small businesses that need it.  

Here’s everything you need to know about PPP Round 2. 

When and how to apply for a PPP loan

Applications for PPP are open through March 31, 2021; find a list of PPP lenders here. If your business operates in a low-income area or is owned by a POC, you may want to get your loan through a CDFI or MDI; we’ll give you the details here.

First, you need to figure out how much you can borrow (there is a maximum limit to the amount of PPP funds you can borrow, and that limit depends on a few details about your business). Luckily, we put together a PPP calculator for you; use this calculator tool to crunch the numbers.

If you’ve never received a PPP loan, you’re a first-draw borrower. See the application guide for first-draw PPP borrowers here.

Going for a second-draw PPP? You’ll need to demonstrate a 25 percent revenue reduction. We show you how to do that and how to fill out the second-draw application step-by-step here.

If you

PPP round 2 loan eligibility

Please note: the White House is working on expanding eligibility. We will make changes here as they become law.

Only certain businesses are eligible to receive a PPP loan, and these specifications are different for first-time loan recipients and second-draw recipients.

To be eligible for a first-draw PPP loan:

  • Your business has less than 500 full-time, part-time, or seasonal employees.
  • Your business was operational before February 15, 2020 and remains operational.
  • The SBA has released the application form for first-draw loans.

To be eligible for a second-draw PPP loan:

  • Your business has less than 300 full-time, part-time, or seasonal  employees; if you have multiple locations, you may not have more than 300 employees per location.
  • You are able to demonstrate a revenue reduction of at least 25% in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 (when compared with the same quarter in 2019).  Tax filings can be used to demonstrate this.
  • You have used or will use the full amount of the first-draw PPP.
  • Your business was operational before February 15, 2020 and remains operational.

 Businesses eligible for first- and second-draw PPP loans include: 

  • Sole proprietors
  • Independent contractors
  • Self-employed individuals
  • Certain non-profits (the new bill has expanded eligible businesses to include certain 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations)
  • Seasonal employers; the new bill has clarified the definition of a seasonal business to be one that operates for at least a 12-week period, but no more than seven months within a year or earns no more than a third of gross receipts within a six-month period
  • Faith-based organizations that have less than 150 employees
  • Housing cooperatives that employ less than 300 people 
  • Businesses owned by lawful, non-citizen U.S. residents
  • Businesses owned by those who are delinquent on student loans
  • Businesses owned by those who have been convicted of non-fraud felonies

The following businesses remain ineligible for PPP loans: 

  • Lobbying organizations 
  • Organizations involved in political activities or public policy 
  • Lenders or financial services businesses 
  • Cannabis businesses (or any other businesses that deal with products that are illegal at the federal level)
  • Household employers (such as those who employ housekeepers or nannies) 
  • Businesses that have defaulted on SBA or federal loans
  • Entities affiliated with the People’s Republic of China or Hong Kong or that have a member on their board of directors that is a resident of the People’s Republic of China
  • Registrants under the Foreign Agents Registration Act
  • Entities that have received or will receive a grant under the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program

PPP loan terms

All PPP loans have a fixed interest rate of 1%. The new bill has clarified that the interest rate is non-compounding and non-adjustable for first- and second-draw loans. 

Under PPP, lenders may not:

  • Charge a yearly fee
  • Charge a guaranteed fee
  • Charge a prepayment penalty
  • Request collateral or a personal guarantee

Businesses that receive PPP loans may also receive loans from other lenders or programs and may be able to obtain credit from other institutions.

PPP loan maturity and deferral period

The maturity of a PPP loan is five years.

The deferral period lasts until the loan forgiveness amount is determined. This means that until you know how much of your loan will be forgiven, you don’t need to start making payments. Borrowers who fail to apply for loan forgiveness must start making loan payments within ten months of the last day of the covered period. 

PPP round 2 loan maximums and limitations 

There are limits to what borrowers can receive; these vary depending on the specifics of the business and whether a borrower has already received a PPP loan. 

First-draw PPP loan limitations

The maximum amount a business that has not yet received a PPP loan can borrow is the lesser of:

  • 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs and healthcare costs
  • $10 million

There may be exceptions to these limits for restaurants and other hospitality businesses. 

Second-draw PPP loan limitations

Any business that is applying for a second draw will be subject to more stringent limitations. The maximum second PPP loan amount is the lesser of: 

  • 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs and healthcare costs in the year prior to when the loan was received or within the calendar year
  • 3.5 times the average monthly payroll costs and healthcare costs in the year prior to when the loan was received or within the calendar year for any business that is classified under Code 72 by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). (This is a list of hospitality and entertainment businesses like restaurants, hotels, and casinos; click the link to get the full list.)
  • $2 million

PPP loan forgiveness 

A major benefit of the PPP is streamlined and simplified loan forgiveness. The new legislation expands expenses that are eligible for forgiveness and makes applying for forgiveness even easier.

The covered period

In order for the loan to be eligible for forgiveness, the funds must be used within the covered period. If you have already received a PPP loan from the first round, nothing has changed. Your covered period remains the same. 

If you are applying for a first- or second-draw PPP loan, you may choose a covered period that is anywhere from eight to 24 weeks after receiving the loan. This gives you the flexibility to choose a covered period that works best for you. 

Covered expenses 

In order to get full or partial PPP loan forgiveness, it is critical that you spend the loan money on covered expenses. The new bill has expanded covered expenses for PPP. 

Below is the full list of covered expenses for PPP. Certain items are covered for all PPP recipients, round 1 and round 2, but certain items are only covered for first-draw borrowers of PPP round 2, second-draw borrowers of PPP round 2, and borrowers of PPP round 1 whose loans have not yet been forgiven. We break these down in the tables below. 

At least 60% of the loan must be spent on:

First-draw borrowers of PPP Round 2 Second-draw borrowers of PPP Round 2 Borrowers of PPP Round 1; loans have not been forgiven Borrowers of PPP Round 1; loans have been forgiven
Employee payroll costs* x x x x
Group health insurance payments x x x x
Dental and vision plans x x x x
Disability benefits x x x
Life insurance  x x x
Owner compensation costs** x x x x

* These include salaries, wages, tips and commission, and are capped at a max of  $15,385 within an eight-week covered period or capped at a max of $46,154 within a 24-week covered period for each employee.

**These are capped at eight weeks worth of the net profit earned in 2019—but not more than $15,385; or two and a half months worth of net profit earned in 2019—but not more than $20,833, depending on the covered period.

40% or less of the loan amount may be spent on: 

First-draw borrowers of PPP Round 2 Second-draw borrowers of PPP Round 2 Borrowers of PPP Round 1 whose loans have not yet been forgiven Borrowers of PPP Round 1 whose loans have been forgiven
Paid time off and leave for employees* x x x x
Pension and retirement plans x x x x
Federal income and FICA taxes x x x x
State unemployment insurance  x x x x
Utilities  x x x x
Rent x x x x
Interest on mortgage payments x x x x
Business software or cloud services that facilitate business operations** x x x
Costs related to property damage, vandalism or looting due to unrest that occurred in 2020 x x x
Supplier costs that are essential to the operations of the business  x x x
PPE that help businesses comply with federal and state COVID-19 safety guidelines (like face masks)  x x x
Measures that help businesses comply with federal and state COVID-19 safety guidelines (like plastic separators) x x x

*Keep in mind that if you use FFCRA tax credits to cover these, then they will not be considered eligible expenses.

**These include software or cloud services that facilitate product or service delivery, processing payments, tracking of payroll expenses, human resources, sales and billing functions, accounting, tracking supplies and/or inventory, tracking records and/or expenses.

In order to qualify for forgiveness, you must keep records and documentation (including purchase orders and invoices) for these expenses. 

Keep in mind that these expenses are still not covered: 

PPP loan forgiveness applications

A number of different PPP forgiveness applications have been released, and the new bill has provided yet another. We’ll break them down for you here:

Forgiveness Application Who is eligible to use this application? Details
Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application Anyone who has applied for a PPP This was the first PPP forgiveness application released; it was revised on June 16, 2020 and remains in use.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ (also known as the EZ Loan Forgiveness Application
  • Any employer who has not reduced employee wages by more than 25% during the covered period (or alternative covered period)
  • Sole proprietors
  • Self-employed individuals
  • Independent contractors
This is a simpler, more streamlined PPP loan forgiveness application.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508S (also known as the Simplified Loan Forgiveness Application)   Any PPP borrower who has borrowed less than $50,000 This simpler, streamlined forgiveness application was released in October of 2020 under an interim final rule that indicated borrowers of less than $50,000 would be exempt from forgiveness reductions based on reductions in FTE employees and reductions in employee salaries or wages.
Simple Loan Forgiveness Application Any PPP borrower who has borrowed less than $150,000 This is a new forgiveness application under the new bill and has not yet been released; it will be a simple-one pager and will make obtaining forgiveness easier for borrowers.
The one-pager will require the borrower to sign and certify a description of:
  • the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan
  • the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs
  • the total loan amount

Remember to retain relevant records related to employment and expenses.  These records may be reviewed and audit these loans to ensure against fraud. 

Taxes and deductibility of forgiven PPP expenses

The new bill has clarified the taxability of PPP loans and the deductibility of expenses paid for with PPP loan proceeds. These are effective as of March 27, 2020 (the date CARES was enacted); and remain effective under the new bill for both first- and second-draw loans: 

  • The gross income a business is required to report will not include any PPP loan amount that is forgiven
  • Any expenses paid for with PPP loan proceeds that are forgiven will be tax-deductible

Common questions about PPP

There were so many questions about PPP, that we grabbed them and put them in this PPP FAQ post. We’ll keep it updated as new Qs come in!

What does a PPP round 2 loan application look like? How do I fill it out?

This depends on where you apply; different lenders have different application requirements, but eligibility, loan terms, and forgiveness won’t change from lender to lender. 

Where can I find a list of PPP round 2 lenders?

Contact banks and lenders in your area to find out if they are supporting the PPP program. Keep in mind that lenders who are offering first-draw loans may be ready to distribute loans before lenders offering second-draw loans (because wading through second-draw legislation and shifting internal practices may take some time for these institutions). 

Here is a list of popular lenders; this list indicates whether these lenders are participating in this round of PPP. We will continue to update this list as more information on lenders becomes available.  

I wasn’t able to get a first-round PPP loan; should I try for one in the second round?

Yes, as long as you are eligible and can adhere to the terms of the loan. With the creation of the new bill, Congress has set aside allocations for community lenders and institutions that can help smaller businesses, businesses owned by POC, and those who operate in lower-income areas access capital. 

A portion of funding is being directed to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institution (MDIs). These are community lenders who have committed to expanding economic opportunity for underserved people. Not only are portions of the PPP allocated for these lenders, but also outside of PPP funds; $12 billion is being routed to CDFIs and MDIs. This means that even if the community lenders in your area aren’t supporting PPP, they may be offering other loans with federal funds under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

I returned part or all of my PPP loan; can I apply for another PPP loan? 

Yes. Within 17 days of the enactment of this bill, the SBA is required to release guidance to lenders on allowing borrowers who have returned loans to access PPP capital. 

Is the PPP the only loan or funding option under the new bill?

No. This is very important; both the CARES Act and the new bill offer have allocated money to a number of different loan and grant programs outside of PPP. If you do not qualify for PPP, you have other options to access capital. 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 has injected capital into the following programs: 

Use the COVID small business relief finder to find loans and grants.

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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