I-Team: Dozens of Massachusetts companies given PPP loans worth less than $500

I-Team

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses.

“It’s really just created a ton of unpredictability,” explained Geoff McKonly, the owner of Geoff McKonly Furniture in Easthampton

To help businesses, the federal government created the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, so businesses can keep their workforce employed and insured.

The 22News I-Team examined records from the Small Business Administration, and found more than 100 PPP loans worth less than $500 have been given out to Massachusetts businesses through March 3. One of those loans was for $5, another was for $15, and a Southampton company was given a PPP loan worth just $72.

McKonly told the 22News I-Team he received a PPP loan of about $800. He said this was enough to help him going during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“It was all salary,” he said. “It was all just to keep me going.”

A spokesperson for the Small Business Administration told the 22News I-Team, most PPP loans are based on payroll. So, some of the smallest companies are getting the smallest loans.

Last month, the Biden Administration changed some eligibility rules to help these small businesses:

  • Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants;
  • Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal; 
  • Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments by eliminating student loan debt delinquency as a disqualifier to participating in the PPP; and
  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.

The Small Business Administration is accepting PPP loan applications until March 31. The application can be found here.

At the state level, a bill is making its way through the Massachusetts State House that would help small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. State Representative Kelly Pease supports the bill that would freeze the unemployment insurance rate for business owners for two years and waive state taxes on PPP loans.

“Businesses would have had to pay taxes at the state level, even though they were forgiven at the federal level,” explained Pease. “This does exempt businesses who are struggling through this pandemic not to have to worry about paying state taxes on grant money they’ve received.”

Without this bill, businesses would be facing an estimated $150 million in state taxes on their PPP loans.

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