March 14, 2023 By Suzanne Robertson

Small business finance experts often recommend Small Business Administration (SBA) loans above all other types of funding. That’s because the SBA loan program’s government backing ensures that participating banks receive money even if borrowers default.

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That, in turn, means SBA lenders may offer funding with highly favorable interest rates, repayment periods, and monthly payment amounts. You may be able to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars with SBA loans – but what if that gets added to your taxable income?

The good news is that the answer to the question “are SBA loans taxable income?” is a resounding “no.” If anything, SBA loans may benefit your business come tax time. Read on to learn more about how.

How do SBA loans affect taxes?

The interest you pay on your SBA loan may be partially or fully tax-deductible. If so, your SBA loans will typically affect your business taxes positively – by lowering them.

Additionally, some purchases you make with your SBA loan proceeds may be tax-deductible. These may be purchases you couldn’t have afforded without your loan. They include things like equipment, machinery, advertising dues, office supplies, and professional membership dues.

When is your business loan interest tax-deductible?

You can generally deduct your interest payments on your small business loan if:

  • You are the person who is legally liable for repaying the loan
  • You have signed a loan agreement with the lender
  • Your relationship with your lender is a debtor-creditor relationship

You generally cannot deduct your interest payments if:

  • You’re paying capitalized interest
  • You’re repaying a debt refinancing loan used to pay off a prior loan
  • Your loan, or the property it covers, is assumed from a prior debtor or owner

Are SBA loans taxable?

SBA loans themselves are not taxable as income. This means that your loan amount typically has no impact on your taxes.

One exception exists: If your loan is forgiven, the forgiven amount is added to your business income and taxed accordingly. However, forgiveness amounts on SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for COVID-19 relief, as well as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, are typically not taxed on a federal level. That said, some states may still tax your forgiveness amount as business income and bar you from deducting expenses paid for via EIDL loans.

Types of SBA loans and their tax requirements

In most cases, you may deduct your interest payments on all types of SBA loans. Here are five types of SBA loans that business owners commonly use.

  • SBA 7(a) loans. Many small business finance experts say that SBA 7(a) loans should be a small business owner’s top pick. Their low interest rates, long repayment terms, and high loan amounts may minimize your loan expenses. You can use them for working capital and debt refinancing, making them highly versatile funding sources.
  • SBA Express loans. SBA Express loans are basically SBA 7(a) loans on an accelerated timeline. Your lender will typically approve or deny your application within 36 hours, much faster than with SBA 7(a) loans.
  • SBA microloans. With SBA microloans, you may be able to get government-backed loans of up to $50,000. Typically, though, your loan amount will be closer to $13,000. You may use them for working capital or to buy furniture, supplies, or fixtures.
  • SBA CAPLines. The SBA CAPLines program is designed for contractors and subcontractors as well as home builders and construction contractors. Seasonal businesses and businesses with inventory or accounts receivable may also use SBA CAPLines loans, which can be revolving or installment loans.
  • SBA 504 loans. With SBA 504 loans, a lender will typically lend you 50 percent of your project costs. Alongside that, a local community development corporation (CDC) will lend you 40 percent. You’ll generally need to make a down payment for the remaining 10 percent. You’ll then repay the CDC and bank loans over time.
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What you should gather to prepare for tax time

Although SBA loans aren’t taxable income, they do introduce paperwork requirements for your tax returns if you plan to deduct your interest payments. After all, tax authorities always need to see a paper trail to verify your earnings and expenses. Below are the SBA loan documents you’ll typically need to include alongside your tax return.

1. Your loan agreement

Your loan agreement is typically a great start for showing that you made monthly installment and interest payments. Your agreement should generally show your monthly payment amount and interest rate, proving the loan’s validity to tax authorities.

2. Records of your loan and interest payments

A loan agreement generally proves that you’ve taken out a loan, but it doesn’t necessarily prove that you’re actually repaying the loan. You’ll often need records of your loan repayments and interest payments for that. Your bank statements are typically a great source for this information. Consider including your statements alongside your tax returns if you plan to claim your interest payments as tax-deductible expenses.

3. Documentation for other tax deductions

Look over everything you used your SBA loan to purchase. Often, these assets are tax-deductible too. Pull up your receipts, invoices, and other documentation proving these purchases, then add them all to your tax return. This way, you may be able to calculate your total deductible expenses and prove them in one fell swoop.

Find the right loan with SmartBiz®

Now may be a great time to apply for an SBA loan through SmartBiz. It’s a simple process – within five minutes, you’ll know whether you pre-qualify, and you can do it all right from home. And if you wind up ineligible for SBA loans, you can also apply for bank term loans and custom financing options. Check now whether you pre-qualify* for funding that may help to boost your cash flow and lower your tax burden.

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