Among the hardest hit during the coronavirus epidemic are the small businesses that have lost their revenue sources and do not have the financial resources to weather the storm. In this case, the federal government’s SBA (Small Business Administration) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) can help a business make it through these trying times.

Normally, these loans are available to small businesses located in a presidentially designated disaster zone; for example, after a hurricane, wildfire or tornado hits a specific area. However, in the case of the coronavirus emergency, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands have been declared disaster zones for purposes of qualifying for EIDLs.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans have the following characteristics:

  • Maximum Amount: $2 million
  • Interest Rate: 3.75% (2.75% for nonprofits)
  • Maximum Term: 30 years
  • Active Business: Must have been in business on January 31, 2020
  • Loan Guarantees: None required for loans under $200,000. Loans of $200,000 or more must be guaranteed by any owner of the business having a 20 percent or more interest in the business.
  • Advance Disbursements: Where the need is urgent, a borrower may request an advance disbursement of up to $10,000 to be used for authorized expenses. If the loan is not approved, the advanced payment is not repayable.

Applications can be submitted online at or at a local office. For help with applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, call 800-659-2955 or email You can also use a text telephone (TTY) by calling 1-800-877-8339.

Paycheck Protection Loans: The CARES Act authorized a Paycheck Protection Loan Program. These loans can be forgiven if certain conditions are met. To qualify for this program, the business must not have more than 500 employees or the maximum specified by the SBA. There is an exception for accommodation, food services and drinking places with multiple locations where each location cannot have more than 500 employees. Special rules apply to franchisees. The following are the characteristics of Paycheck Protection Loans:

  • Eligibility: Partnerships, corporations, sole proprietorships, tax exempt non-profits, qualified veterans’ organizations and certain tribal businesses.
  • Maximum Amount: $10 million, non-recourse.
  • Loan Fees: None
  • Amount Limit: 2.5 times the average monthly payroll prior to the epidemic plus any other debt that is approved for refinancing.
  • Maximum Interest Rate: 4%
  • Active Business: Must have been in business on Feb 15, 2020.
  • Employees: On Feb 15, 2020, the business had employees on payroll or had one or more independent contractors for which 1099-MISC forms were filed.
  • Loan Guarantees: Waived, no collateral requirements.
  • Payments: Deferred during the crisis—6 to 12 months.
  • Employee Retention Credit: A Paycheck Protection Loan makes an employer ineligible for the employer retention credit created in the CARES Act.
  • Certification: The applicant is required to certify that the loan proceeds will be used to support ongoing business operations, including to keep workers, make payroll, mortgage payments, lease payments and utility payments.

This article was published shortly after the CARES Act was signed into law, and the SBA had not yet provided forms or guidance for applying for a Paycheck Protection Loan.

Loan Forgiveness: The CARES Act provides loan forgiveness under certain circumstances for Payroll Protection Loans (limited to the amount of the loan) and existing SBA Disaster Loans.

  • Payroll Protection Loans: Forgiveness is based upon the sum of the following expenses paid during the 8-week period after the loan origination date:
    • Payroll Costs (maximum $100,000)
    • Mortgage Interest (loans incurred before Feb 15, 2020)
    • Lease/Rent Payments (in force prior to Feb 15, 2020)
    • Utilities for Services in Place Before Feb 15, 2020. Includes electric, gas, water, transportation, telephone and internet.

The forgiven amount is not taxable to the borrower. However, the forgiveness is proportionally reduced for a reduction in employees or pay reductions in excess of 25%.

  • Existing Disaster Loan: Forgiveness for existing disaster loans is provided by the SBA paying principal, interest and associated loan fees for a period of six months.

If you have questions or need assistance applying for a loan, please give this office a call.

Isler Northwest LLC is a firm of certified public accountants and business advisors based in Portland, Oregon. Our local, regional, and global resources, our expertise, and our emphasis on innovative solutions and continuity create value for our clients. Our service goals at Isler Northwest is to earn our clients trust as their primary business and financial advisors.

Isler Northwest

(503) 224-5321

1300 SW 5th Avenue
Suite 2900
Portland, Oregon 97201