The IRS recently released Notice 2020-32 which explains that while amounts forgiven under PPP loans are not taxable to the recipients of the loan, the expenses used to qualify for said loan forgiveness are also not deductible.
The CARES Act provides for PPP loan forgiveness when the use of proceeds meets certain conditions. If the recipient of a covered loan uses the proceeds to pay (1) payroll costs, (2) certain employee benefits relating to healthcare, (3) interest on mortgage obligations, (4) rent, (5) utilities, and (6) interest on any other existing debt obligations, and meets all other qualifications then loan will be forgiven. The CARES Act also excludes this loan forgiveness for income. It makes no reference however to the deductibility of the expenses paid with the loan fund forgiven.
The IRS however, in Notice 2020-32 has determined that based on the existing tax code these expenses will NOT be tax deductible, as in effect they are not being paid with the funds of the taxpayer and are in effect being paid with loan forgiveness funds provided by the government.
The notice spells out the revenue sections and other information on which the IRS has based the notice. Since the CARES Act does not make specific reference to the deduction of these expenses, and there is no way to determine congressional intent or court decision to rely on, this would seem to be the best guidance on how these expenses will be handled for now.
For example: If ABC Company receives a PPP loan for $100,000 which is forgiven based on $80,000 in payroll expenses and $10,000 in rent and $10,000 in utilities during the 8 week qualifying period, and total expenses for these items for the tax year of $1,000,000 for payroll, $100,000 for rent and $120,000 for utilities, then the tax deductions for these items would be payroll ($1,000,000 – $80,000) = $920,000, rent ($100,000- $10,000) = $90,000 and utilities ($120,000-$10,000)=$110,000.