PPP? Not for Me

More than $100 billion is reportedly still sitting in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), awaiting loan applications from businesses to keep them afloat in the pandemic fallout. The deadline to apply is Tues., June 30 – perhaps the first deadline ever that I won’t meet.

I began the application process in April at the urging of my bank. As a sole proprietor with no employees, I had one question: What do I provide as the required “payroll documentation” if I don’t write myself paychecks and don’t have a payroll?

I asked by phone. I sent emails. I sent letters. I was shuffled to FAQ pages that don’t answer the question.

I decided to send the last two years of my Schedule C (business expenses) from my tax forms as proof of income, and a letter explaining that I don’t have a payroll report.

Every time I tried to upload these files to the application, I got an auto-message – the system can’t accept files right now, please try again later.

My banker finally said, “Send them to me. I’ll upload them.”

Progress? He got one of the three uploaded.

Since then, I’ve received a letter saying I’ve been turned down for not providing documentation. And I also receive regular emails reminding me that the loan application is pending.

I probably could have worked harder at this process. But the PPP money can be used for such specific expenses that it wouldn’t do me much good. And who needs another debt, even at only 1% interest?

I’m lucky enough to have some steady clients and income – I can always use more, of course. But I’ll leave the PPP funds for the entrepreneurs whose businesses have truly stalled as a result of the pandemic.

The ones who have lots of documentation to provide, if the system will allow them to upload it.