Small businesses that have received government guaranteed loans to ease the pain of the coronavirus pandemic are starting to look to a process some say as complex as getting money: determining if they need to pay it back .

Some small business owners have spent dozens of hours going through the 11-page forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program Loans. Others are trying to determine how or if the legislation signed by President Trump earlier this month changes the math. Some lenders say the government is putting them in a difficult position by making them responsible for determining the forgiveness, and they are worried about being stuck with unprofitable loans.

“It’s not an easy thing to figure out without help,” said Tyler Coates, vice president of sales at Ultimate Sales & Services, a 32-person convenience store food broker and sales and marketing agency based in Savannah. , Georgia. , who received a loan of $ 420,000. Mr Coates said he spent at least 25 hours on an application that estimates it takes 180 minutes to complete. “There are too many question marks and too many mistakes you can make.”

The Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration have published 18 “provisional final rules” and 48 guidance material in the form of “frequently asked questions” for the program. The government has approved $ 512 billion in loans to nearly 4.6 million businesses since the program began in April.

The new law extends the time borrowers have to use P3 funds and qualify for the rebate from eight weeks to 24 weeks. It also allows them to spend 40% of the loan on rent and certain other expenses, compared to 25% previously. Changes came in response to requests for more flexibility small businesses that remain closed have been slow to reopen or spend more on rent and other overheads.