SBA: It’s (Maybe) Fine if You Didn’t Count the Employees of Your Foreign Affiliates for PPP Purposes

In what might be a classic “now you tell me” scenario, the SBA issued a new rule May 21 saying that if an applicant failed to count the employees of its foreign affiliates when it was determining its eligibility, the SBA will not hold that against the applicant so long as the application was submitted before the SBA clarified that requirement.

The problem with that, however, is that because the safe harbor ended May 18, it’s highly likely that a lot of those businesses already gave their PPP loan back. They’d be forgiven for thinking they had to, as earlier this month Sen. Marco Rubio was indicating that Congress would investigate companies who took PPP funds for which they weren’t eligible.

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SBA, Can a Foreign-Owned Entity Receive a PPP Loan or What?

Well, we thought we had this figured out. Yet here we are a week later and we keep hearing conflicting reports.

The question remains, can a foreign-owned company receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan or not? Let’s try to figure it out.

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UPDATE: Paycheck Protection Program Form Now Does not Disqualify Businesses for Foreign Ownership

UPDATE: The form this post references has been revised to ask whether the United States is the “principal place of residence for all employees of the Applicant included in the Applicant’s payroll calculation”.

Based on the text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the fact that a company has foreign owners shouldn’t necessarily disqualify it from participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

But the form used to apply says otherwise.

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Yes, Foreign-Owned Entities Can Be Small Businesses Under SBA Government Contracting Rules

Government contractors often assume that a foreign-owned company cannot qualify as a small business under the SBA’s government contracting size rules.

Not so.  As demonstrated by a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals size appeal decision, a foreign-owned entity can qualify as a small business, provided that it has a physical location in the United States and contributes to the U.S. economy.

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