Grant vs. Debt Accounting For PPP Funds

Jan 15, 2021

Over the past several weeks’ companies have started to receive notification of forgiveness of their PPP loans. As you begin to think about how you will account for your loan and forgiveness, it is important to remember proper GAAP accounting. As we noted in our prior blog, Accounting for PPP Loan Proceeds, the legal form of a PPP loan is debt. However, the PPP loan does include a forgiveness component which under certain scenarios permits treating the proceeds as a grant and following IAS 20 Accounting for Government Grants as an option. To be treated as a grant, the proceeds must be reasonably assured they will comply with the eligibility and forgiveness requirements. The biggest difference between the two options is under grant accounting, the income is recognized as the costs are incurred and for debt accounting, the gain is recognized when the entity is notified of forgiveness.

PPP loans should be derecognized when the debt is extinguished, in accordance with the guidance in ASC 405-20, Liabilities: Extinguishments of Liabilities. Under this guidance, debt is extinguished when either the debtor pays the creditor, or the debtor is legally released from being the primary obligator. As a result, when treating the PPP loan proceeds as debt you recognize the income in the year the company is notified of forgiveness. For any business with a 12/31 year-end who receive notification after such, even if the financial statements have not been issued, the gain should be recognized in 2021. If a company wants to recognize the gain during the fiscal year 2020 they should consider grant accounting.

Each borrower under the PPP program should carefully analyze its unique facts and circumstances in determining the appropriate accounting. Regardless of the accounting approach followed by a borrower they should disclose in the footnotes how the PPP loan was accounted for and where the related amounts are presented in the financial statements. Should you have questions about your specific situation, please contact your William Vaughan Company advisor or reach out to our contributor, Juli Seiwert in our firm’s audit department.

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Juli Seiwert, CPA
Audit Senior Manager, William Vaughan Company | 419.891.1040

Categories: Audit & Accounting, COVID-19