Can freelance content creators get PPP loans? (IMPORTANT PPP update)

In this 4-minute read:

  • Can freelance content creators, streamers, influencers, etc. apply for PPP loans?
  • Other PPP loan eligibility requirements for freelancers
  • Paycheck Protection Program changes could give freelancers a chance to get more funds
  • Helpful PPP loan resources for freelance content creators

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of financial hardship to people across the United States. From statewide shutdowns to cautionary actions, most businesses have faced drastic changes since the beginning of the pandemic. 

As the pandemic continues, more Paycheck Protection Program funds have become available to help small business owners, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals. The extended application deadline is May 31, 2021.

A big question is, where do freelancers fit into the mix? Are you eligible to receive a forgivable PPP loan?

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Can freelance content creators, streamers, influencers, etc. apply for PPP loans?

Depending on your employment classification, you may very well be qualified to apply for and receive a first- or second-draw forgivable PPP loan. Whether you are a freelance writer, graphic designer, website developer, copy editor, or any other freelance job, as long as you qualify as an independent contractor, sole proprietor, or self-employed person, you check off the first box to be eligible to apply for the PPP stimulus loan. 

You will need tax forms to verify your employment classification—most freelancers receive a 1099-misc and/or file using IRS Form 1040 Schedule C. If you are a freelancer but get a W2 via a service like Upwork, then you would not be eligible for a PPP loan unless you also do additional 1099/freelance work on the side. 

Other PPP loan eligibility requirements for freelancers

Just being an independent contractor or self-employed person isn’t enough to grant you the status you need to apply for the PPP loan. You must meet additional eligibility requirements to receive these funds. 

Currently, applicants can apply for first or second draw PPP loans. First draw loans are for those that are applying for the PPP loan for the first time, where second draw loans are for people who already received a PPP loan.

To apply for a first draw PPP loan (this is not an all-inclusive list):

  • Your business must be based in the U.S. and must have been operating as of February 15, 2020

To apply for a second draw loan:

  • You must have received a PPP loan previously
  • You must have spent your first PPP loan on approved costs by the time your second draw loan disbursement comes in
  • You must show that your revenue was reduced by at least 25% in any quarter of 2020 when compared to 2019
  • (You must also have fewer than 300 employees)

Check out these FAQs for more information on PPP loan eligibility:

Paycheck Protection Program changes could give freelancers a chance to get more funds

The Paycheck Protection Program has gone through some important recent updates that can give freelance content creators an advantage as they apply for their PPP loans: 

  • Applicants who are delinquent on student loans are now eligible to apply for PPP loans
  • Non-citizen businesses can now apply for the PPP loan so long as they are lawful residents and have an ITIN
  • Applicants who file their taxes with IRS Form 1040 Schedule C can now use their GROSS profits, rather than net, to determine their max PPP loan amount. This can have a significant impact on contractors, self-employed individuals, and sole proprietors, and in some cases can make the difference between being ineligible for PPP loans and being able to apply. Read more here, and see the new rules, and the new PPP application form for Schedule C applicants.

Helpful PPP loan resources for freelance content creators

We know there’s a ton of information out there about the PPP loans and it can be a lot to take in and understand. We’ve put together several helpful resources for independent contractors and small business owners to help add some clarity:

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