Late Monday night, Congress agreed to the next round of stimulus funding in the form of a massive $900 billion relief package. Among other things, the bill includes direct payments to individuals and families, enhanced unemployment benefits, small business aid and funding for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
One major item that was left out of the final agreed upon package was the inclusion of liability protection for businesses. This omission undoubtedly highlights the importance of the Ohio Legislature passing House Bill 606 earlier this year, which granted all Ohio employers qualified immunity from lawsuits alleging their action or inaction exposed someone to the coronavirus.
There were many changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and a rundown on can be found at this link. However, there was one significant change in PPP eligibility that we want to spotlight. 501(c)(6) organizations, such as chambers of commerce, are now eligible to apply for PPP loans which they have not been allowed to do so up until this point. 501(c)(6) organizations are eligible to receive a PPP loan provided:
- They are not a professional sports league or organized for the purpose of promoting or participating in a political campaign (Note: this will not impact chambers of commerce or trade associations).
- They do not employ more than 300 employees.
- They do not receive more than 15% of their receipts from lobbying activities.
- Lobbying activities do not compromise more than 15% of the organization’s total activities.
- The cost of the lobbying activities of the organization did not exceed $1,000,000 during the most recent tax year that ended prior to Feb. 15, 2020.
This is a welcome change and is the result of the continued effort by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, supported by many chambers of commerce around the nation, including the Ohio Chamber. We anticipate that this will be signed by President Trump very soon and will allow for chambers of commerce and other organizations to apply for some much-needed relief. As more updates become available, we will be sure to provide as much information as we can to you.