May 11, 2020
On April 30, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-32 (the Notice) answering a major tax question involving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It ruled that any deductible expenses that result in forgiveness of a PPP loan will not be deductible in computing the taxpayer’s income. This conclusion contradicts the language in the CARES Act (the Act) under Section 1106(i) which states the cancellation of indebtedness of a PPP loan, under the provisions of Section 1106(b), “shall be excluded from gross income” in computing the taxpayer’s taxable income.
The IRS points out in the Notice that while the Act provides that PPP loan forgiveness is not taxable income, no provisions of the Act address the ability to deduct eligible expenses paid from such loan proceeds.
Stay tuned! It is unlikely the end of this controversy. First, it is possible a taxpayer may decide to challenge this position in court. Whether they would or would not prevail is open to question, and the other big problem is being able to afford the litigation. The more likely scenario is that Congress would reverse the notice by simply enacting an amendment in the next Coronavirus bill (if there is one) to make clear expenses used to justify PPP loan forgiveness are deductible, regardless of any provision by the IRS.
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