1. PPP Loan Forgiveness Help Center
  2. Forgiveness Application Questions

What are eligible payroll costs?

Borrowers are generally eligible for forgiveness for the payroll costs paid and payroll costs incurred during the Covered Period.

To calculate eligible payroll costs incurred or paid during the Covered Period, add Cash Compensation, Employee Benefits, and Owner Compensation, as follows:

  • Cash Compensation: The sum of gross salary, gross wages, gross tips, gross commissions, paid leave (vacation, family, medical or sick leave, not including leave covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act), and allowances for dismissal or separation paid or incurred during the Covered Period. Do not include qualified wages taken into account in determining the Employer Retention Credit. For each individual employee, the total amount of cash compensation eligible for forgiveness may not exceed an annual salary of $100,000, as prorated for the Covered Period. For example, for an 8- week Covered Period, the maximum is $15,385; for a 24-week Covered Period, the maximum is $46,154. You can only include compensation of employees who were employed by the Borrower at any point during the Covered Period and whose principal place of residence is in the United States.
  • Employee Benefits: The total amount paid by the Borrower for: 1. Employer contributions for employee group health, life, disability, vision, or dental insurance, including employer contributions to a self-insured, employer-sponsored group health plan, but excluding any pre-tax or after-tax contributions by employees. Do not add contributions for these benefits made on behalf of a self-employed individual, general partners, or owner-employees of an S-corporation, because such payments are already included in their compensation. 2. Employer contributions to employee retirement plans, excluding any pre-tax or after-tax contributions by employees. Do not add employer retirement contributions made on behalf of a self-employed individual or general partners, because such payments are already included in their compensation. 3. Employer state and local taxes paid by the Borrower and assessed on employee compensation (e.g., state unemployment insurance tax), excluding any taxes withheld from employee earnings.
  • Owner Compensation: Any amounts the Borrower paid to owners (owner-employees (with an ownership stake of 5% or more), a self-employed individual, or general partners). For each individual owner in total across all businesses, this amount is capped at (a) $20,833 (the 2.5-month equivalent of $100,000 per year), or (b) the 2.5-month equivalent of the individual’s applicable compensation in the year that was used to calculate the loan amount (2019 or 2020), whichever is lower.

Payroll costs are considered paid on the day that paychecks are distributed or that the Borrower originates an ACH credit transaction. Payroll costs are considered incurred on the day that the employee’s pay is earned. Payroll costs incurred but not paid during the Borrower’s last pay period of the Covered Period are eligible for forgiveness if paid on or before the next regular payroll date. Otherwise, payroll costs must be paid during the Covered Period. Count payroll costs that were both paid and incurred only once. Include only payroll costs for employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States. 

Are you a sole proprietor, contractor, or self-employed individual with no employees?

We understand you may not always have well documented payroll expenses because the money was used to pay yourself. Read this article to understand how you can document your "payroll."