Congress Clears 2021 Appropriations And COVID-19 Relief
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Congress Clears 2021 Appropriations And COVID-19 Relief

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On December 21, Congress passed the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” which includes COVID-19 relief. This massive legislation funds the federal government through September 30, 2021.

Notably, the Act extends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and makes the following amendments to the program:  Eligible small businesses with fewer than 300 employees that have experienced at least a 25% loss in gross revenue may be able to take a second PPP loan.
 PPP loans that are forgiven and Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance payments will NOT be considered taxable income.

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 PPP covered expenses may be deductible even if the PPP loan is forgiven.

 Mandates a new 1-page loan forgiveness form for PPP loans that are less than $150,000.Additionally, the tax credits for paid sick and family leave have been extended. The Small Business Administration will be required to issue implementing regulations within 10 day of enactment.

The Act also includes a “Return to Work Reporting” provision that requires states to have a method to address concerns that individuals receiving pandemic unemployment assistance are refusing to return to work or accept an offer to work without good cause. This provision includes a reporting method for employers as well as a requirement to provide notice to those receiving unemployment benefits describing their rights under the Act.

Finally, the appropriations section of the Act includes provisions impacting the aftermarket industry: Funding is provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for behavioral research on advanced driver assistance systems, automated driving systems, and improving consumer responses to safety recalls.
 The explanatory statement of the Act encourages NHTSA to implement tire related provisions from the “Tire, Efficiency, Safety and Registration Act of 2015” and directs NHTSA to report to Congress on the agency’s schedule and plan for promulgating regulations regarding tire efficiency as directed by the FAST Act.
 The explanatory statement also, “encourages NHTSA to work with stakeholders on vehicle electronics and cybersecurity challenges, including the development of objective cyber risk evaluation methods that may be applied to a motor vehicle and its associated information sharing eco-systems.” 

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