Paycheck Protection Program Loan Applications Open for Sole Proprietorships and Independent Contractors

Friday, April 10th is the day self-employed and independent contractors can start applying for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This loan program was created to support small businesses affected financially by the coronavirus outbreak. The PPP started a week ago for small businesses with fewer than 500 workers.

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What is an independent contractor?

An independent contractor is a person, business, or corporation that provides goods or services under a written contract or a verbal agreement. Unlike employees, independent contractors do not work regularly for an employer but work as required to complete tasks or projects. Independent contractors are usually paid on a freelance basis. Contractors often work through a limited company or franchise, which they themselves own, or may work through an umbrella company. Examples of independent contractors include:

  • Accountant
  • Adjunct professor
  • Architect
  • Artist
  • Auctioneer
  • Author
  • Barber or hair stylist
  • Bookkeeper
  • Consultant
  • Courier
  • Court reporter
  • Dry cleaner
  • Engineer

See the full A to Z list on Wikipedia.

What counts as self-employed?

Self-employment describes working for oneself rather than an employer. Self-employed people generally find their own work rather than being provided with work by an employer, earning income from a profession, a trade or a business that they operate.

You could be self-employed if:

  • You do contract work.
  • You freelance.
  • You drive for Uber and Lyft.
  • Your income depends on your specific skills (such as athletes, performing artists, accountants, doctors, and dentists)
  • You have a full-time job and a part-time side gig.
  • You receive a Form 1099-MISC.

Here are additional details about the self-employed and independent contractor’s application process:

When and where can I apply?

The PPP says self-employed individuals and independent contractors can start applying on April 10. You can apply through an SBA lender, a credit union, or a participating Farm Credit System institution. The SBA has a searchable database of approved lenders here.

What’s the first step?

The first step to the process is to fill out the application form located on the US Treasury Department's website.

You’ll need to download, fill out and prepare to upload it to the PPP portal through the lender you’re working with.

What can I use funds from a PPP loan for?

Payroll costs (including benefits), rent, mortgage interest, and utilities over an eight-week period. For a sole proprietor or independent contractor, that means wages, commissions, income, or earnings from self-employment ($100,000 a year max for each employee).

Do I have to pay the loan back?

As long as you use the money on approved costs, the loan is forgiven.

How long will the PPP loan process take?

The SBA and lenders are struggling due to the flood of applications. The sooner you get started and if you have the required documentation ready to go, the better off you’ll be.

Where can I find additional details?

Find more information on the SBA website.

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