The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a revised Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application that is designed to be easier for applicants to use

In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new "EZ" version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that are self-employed and have no employees, or did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees, or experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to Covid-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details on the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the application form. The new EZ application is available here.

The full application, as well as the EZ version, give borrowers the option of using the original eight-week covered period if the loan was made before June 5 or an extended 24-week covered period.

Advisors and bankers who work with small business owners have been clamoring for guidance to clarify the SBA’s rehire safe harbor deadline so they can advise clients about their rehiring deadline.

While the PPP program has dispersed $500 billion in forgivable loans to businesses to help them survive the pandemic shutdown, it is not without controversy. A House panel overseeing the coronavirus response held a hearing yesterday into the PPP lending practices of a number of big banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc.

The investigation, launched by the Democratic-led Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, is seeking to determine whether banks and Treasury Department guidance favored larger, well-connected businesses over smaller companies from rural or minority communities when making small business loans to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Some large lenders apparently created a two-tier system for processing PPP loan applications,” stated a letter sent by the subcommittee Monday that asked banks to turn over their lending records. “The banks’ wealthiest clients had access to a personalized application process that ensured their applications were processed first.”

“Other applicants had to use poor-performing electronic portals, faced significant processing delays, and sometimes needed to find another lender to consider their application,” the letters said.

The probe come as the Trump administration faces increasing criticism for not releasing the details of the companies that received billions of dollars through the Small Business Administration’s PPP program, a high-profile federal coronavirus-relief initiative.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said the information should not be released.