Business owners who have applied for and have received a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can also now apply to have that loan forgiven.

"The PPP forgiveness application is out," said Allan Peterson, a small business development manager with Grant County Economic Development Council (EDC). "Even if you just got your PPP loan, you need to go through this."

Peterson spoke Thursday during a weekly webinar jointly sponsored by the EDC and the Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Congress created the PPP in late March as part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The loans to small and medium-size businesses were intended to cover eight weeks of payroll, limiting the number of workers who would have to file for unemployment as closure orders limited which businesses could be open.

The portion of the loans, made through banks approved by the Small Business Administration, used to pay employees was always supposed to be forgiven, but the rules for that forgiveness were not completed until this week.

Peterson said the forgiveness application is complicated — it comes in at 11 pages — and the rules covering loan forgiveness will likely keep changing as well.

"Don't wait until the eight weeks is up. Get started soon; banks will have a lot of problems with this," he said.

Peterson said that borrowers should also keep their PPP money in a separate bank account in order to make accounting for the money, and getting the loan forgiven, easier.

He also encouraged any business owner who might need the money to apply for a loan.

"There's still $100 billion in the PPP loan program," Peterson said. "You can turn it down if you actually get it, but if you think you might benefit, apply."

Between late March and May 1, the SBA has backed $12 billion in PPP loans to over 80,000 businesses in Washington under the PPP program, according to data published by SBA.

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