Independent tire dealers take note: The program's portal was scheduled to open on Jan. 15, with full access available by Jan. 19. Loans will be limited to those businesses with fewer than 300 employees that have lost at least 25% of their revenue during any of the first three quarters of 2020. Those businesses must have used all funds from their previous PPP loan.
While the amount of money that can be borrowed is reduced to $2 million, businesses have more flexibility on how they can spend the money, while the forgiveness process for loans under $150,000 has been simplified.
Lost in the legislation, however, are two other aspects that are good news for the industry.
The first, highlighted by both the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and the Auto Care Association (ACA): the Internal Revenue Service has reversed a ruling that had required taxes on money received to cover certain business expenses.
According to Roy Littlefield IV, director of government affairs for TIA, that "would have saddled borrowers with significant, unexpected tax liability."
Businesses can continue to claim expenses, as they traditionally have over the years, on their tax forms, even though the money came from the PPP. Gabrielle Hopkins, vice president of federal affairs at the ACA, called it "a really big deal, ... a big relief" to a lot of businesses that applied for the PPP.
Secondly, the legislation provides up to $2 billion in much-needed relief for the motorcoach industry.
Motorcoaches run on medium truck/bus tires, but that industry reports that 80,000 of its 100,000 workers are now unemployed or furloughed thanks to the severe downturn in business.
Anne Forristal Luke, CEO of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, was happy to see that funding included this time around.
"... they are important customers of ours," she said. "We want to be supportive. We were disappointed that support for that industry had not been included in any previous stimulus package. We were very pleased to see that this time. And we hope to see it increase in the next one."
President-elect Joe Biden has promised a third stimulus package not soon after he assumes office. More help might be on the way.
And that's welcome news for the industry.