President Donald Trump has signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides additional relief for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, into law.
The Act includes an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with the following amendments:
- Eligible small businesses with fewer than 300 employees that have experienced at least a 25% loss in gross revenue may be eligible for a second PPP loan.
- PPP loans that are forgiven and Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance payments will not be considered taxable income.
- PPP covered expenses may be deductible even if the PPP loan is forgiven.
- There’s a new, one-page loan forgiveness form for PPP loans of less than $150,000.
- Extension of credits for paid sick and family leave. (The Small Business Administration is required to create implementing regulations within 10 days of enactment.)
- Establishment of a "return to work reporting" provision that requires states to have a method that addresses businesses' concerns that individuals receiving pandemic unemployment assistance are refusing to return to work. This will include a reporting method for employers, as well as a requirement to provide notice to those receiving unemployment benefits that describes their rights.
Additionally, the spending bill includes some auto and tire industry-specific items:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is encouraged to implement tire-related provisions from the Tire Efficiency, Safety and Registration Act of 2015.
- NHTSA also has been directed to report to Congress on the agency’s schedule and plan for presenting regulations regarding tire efficiency as directed by the FAST Act.
- Funding for NHTSA to conduct behavioral research on advanced driver assistance systems and automated driving systems, plus improving consumer responses to safety recalls.
- The same statement that related to tire regulations also encourages “NHTSA to work with stakeholders on vehicle electronics and cybersecurity challenges, including the development of objective cyber risk evaluation methods that may be applied to a motor vehicle and its associated information sharing eco-systems.”