Top 5 of 2021: #2 Applying for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness

Small Business
Small Towns

In our second highest viewed post of 2021, we feature details on applying for forgiveness on the Paycheck Protection Plan loan, a loan that was offered to small business owners as part of COVID-19 relief. This piece is authored by Kim Preston, and was posted in August.

Since the start of the pandemic, news has been coming fast and at times, it has been confusing. We do our best to stay on top of what was happening and keep you up-to-date on programs for small business owners, farmers and ranchers, and rural communities. We will continue to do so. Feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions.


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The Small Business Administration (SBA) has two options available for borrowers seeking forgiveness on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

On Aug. 4, 2021, SBA made an online portal available to recipients of PPP loans. However, not all PPP recipients will be eligible to use this portal. Please read the information below to find your best path toward forgiveness of your PPP loan.

1. SBA Portal

If you answer “YES” to any of the statements below, you will not be eligible for use of the SBA portal and will need to apply through your originating PPP lender. 

▢ My PPP loan is over $150,000.

▢ My PPP bank or lender does not opt in to use the portal. Review the list of lenders participating in direct forgiveness.

▢ I do not agree with or there is an error in the data as provided by the SBA.

▢ The SBA cannot validate my identity through the platform.

▢ Any other reason the SBA platform rejects my submission.

If you can answer “NO” to all of the above statements, you are qualified to apply through SBA’s Portal after Aug. 4, 2021. Qualified borrowers must use the SBA portal. The questions asked in the portal will correspond to SBA form 3508S.

2. Return to the originating PPP lender

For borrowers who do not qualify to apply through SBA’s portal, your lender can provide you with either the SBA Form 3508EZ, SBA form 3508S, SBA Form 3508 or a lender equivalent form. Your lender can provide further guidance on which form to use and how to submit the forgiveness application.

SBA Form 3508EZ

Click here to view the form.

  • Borrowers who applied for the PPP loan as self-employed, an independent contractor or a sole proprietor with no employees; OR
  • Borrowers who did not reduce employee salaries by more than 25% and did not receive employee hours; OR
  • Borrowers who reduced business activity due to COVID-19 health guidelines and did not reduce employee salaries by more than 25%.

SBA form 3508S

Click here to view the form.

  • Borrowers who received less than $150,000 PPP loan.

SBA Form 3508

Click here to view the form.

  • All borrowers who do not qualify to use the Form 3508EZ or Form 3508S.

Keep in mind that, regardless of which version of Form 3508 you use, you must have supporting documentation to justify your loan forgiveness request.