Small Business Administration’s PPP loan forgiveness portal now live

Businesses that took on government-backed loans to help weather the height of the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply to have their borrowing debt erased.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened an online loan forgiveness portal for companies that accepted money through the Paycheck Protection Program. To be eligible, recipient businesses must have maintained employment and compensation levels through an eight- to 24-week post-disbursement covered period and spent at least 60% of the proceeds on payroll expenses.

SBA officials said borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness as soon as they spend their entire PPP sum and up until the loan’s maturity date.

The agency’s portal can only be used by businesses whose lender is participating in the loan forgiveness program. Borrowers whose lender is not participating must apply directly through that lender.

A full list of participating banks, trusts, credit unions and other lenders is available through the SBA’s website.

The Paycheck Protection Program — authorized through the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act — disbursed hundreds of billions of dollars to businesses to subsidize payroll costs in an effort to prevent mass layoffs. The money is only authorized to be spent on employment-related expenses, such as salaries and wages, sick leave, furlough pay, commissions and severance pay.