Clarity for Nonprofits: Stimulus Relief Funds and Single Audits

By Chris Stanz, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen – Email T. 320.203.5532

Key insights

  • The OMB recently indicated that funds received under the PPP will not be subject to the Uniform Guidance single audit requirements.
  • However, loans received through the EIDL program are subject to the single audit requirements.
  • A recent OMB memo notes that an organization can provide its single audit submission up to six months beyond the normal due date.
  • The AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center is still seeking additional clarity from the OMB.

Congress recently passed four significant pieces of legislation to provide relief funds to various organizations in response to COVID-19:

While the funds are providing much-needed economic relief, nonprofit organizations have been wondering whether the funds are subject to single audit requirements. Fortunately, we’ve received more clarity.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently indicated that funds received under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will not be subject to the Uniform Guidance single audit requirements; however, loans received by nonprofit organizations under the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program are considered federal financial assistance and, therefore, are subject to the single audit requirements.

We are still awaiting further clarification around other relief funding, including:

  • Treasury Middle Market or Economic Stabilization Fund loans
  • Reimbursements for unemployment work-sharing programs
  • Provider relief funding from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund

However, today we’ll focus on what we do know and tackle a few questions related to stimulus relief funds and single audits.

What is a single audit?

If you are new to receiving federal funds, the single audit term may be unfamiliar. A single audit is required when a state or local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education (IHE), or nonprofit organization is the recipient or subrecipient of a federal award and expends $750,000 or more of federal awards during their fiscal year. The $750,000 threshold includes assistance received in the form of loans.

The focus in a single audit is determining whether the recipient complied with the applicable federal statutes and regulations and the terms and conditions of the federal awards. Additionally, the recipient must show that it has established and implemented proper internal controls pertaining to those compliance requirements.

Although for-profit entities that receive federal funds are subject to compliance requirements included in the award agreements, they may not be subject to the single audit requirement if the federal awarding agency does not impose the single audit requirement.

If I received EIDL funds, do I need a single audit?

Maybe. EIDL funds may have been funded in two pieces:

  • An advance of up to $10,000, which does not need to be repaid
  • A loan based on the SBA’s sizing process

However, there still may be confusion surrounding the process. While eligible applicants submit some preliminary information through the SBA’s website, there is a sizable backlog, and the SBA is processing on a first-come, first-served basis. Organizations may find the advance (up to $10,000) suddenly appears as a deposit in their bank account one day. At a later point, the SBA may contact the organization to work through the loan details, including sizing. Then, the loan agreements are signed and funded.

As of late April, there were a limited number of EIDL loans processed. The SBA released the following national statistics:

  • 39,000 loans were approved
  • Average loan size was approximately $200,000

This compares to the PPP, which funded almost 4 million loans by May 1.

Of the 39,000 loans approved, we are unsure how many exceed the $750,000 federal award threshold. If your organization received other federal awards, they should be added to the EIDL funding when determining if a single audit is required.

Is there a single audit filing extension?

On March 10, 2020, the OMB released memorandum M-20-17, Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations. This memo provides administrative relief to grant recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to COVID-19.

According to this memo, an organization can provide its single audit submission up to six months beyond the normal due date. You would not need to seek approval for a single audit extension by the cognizant or oversight agency; however, you should maintain proper documentation to support the reason for the delayed filing.

Are there other implications?

Organizations that receive other forms of federal financial assistance may find challenges in understanding both new and revised compliance requirements. The terms and conditions for a particular award may be missing some of the important information that is typically included.

For example, agency implementation guidance has been issued slowly, making it difficult for recipients and auditors to understand the federal compliance requirements and single audit requirements for these programs. There has also been a lack of guidance on the impact of relief act funding on costs and activities that are normally reimbursed from other funding sources.

On April 10, 2020, the AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center (GAQC) posed many questions to the OMB regarding COVID-19’s impact on single audits and the subsequent passage of the relief acts. Some of those questions include seeking clarity for the following areas:

  • Guidance on allowable activities
  • Allowability of payroll costs for employees that are being retained and paid, but may not be working
  • Required documentation to support time and effort requirements when employees are not physically in the office
  • How to comply with the procurement and cash management guidelines

We plan to monitor this and share additional guidance on these issues when it is released.