Several options have been made available for assistance for NC Conference local churches in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local church leadership should evaluate these options taking into consideration the circumstances of your local church and decide which option might be the best route for you. Assistance offerings from the CARES Act and the NC Conference are listed below. As additional offerings become available, we will provide more information.
- Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) – PPP forgivable loans are provided for businesses and 501(c)3 organizations (including churches) to cover payroll expenses, including benefits, for a period of time. Loans made through this program are limited to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll and benefits (up to $100,000 per employee). The loan is intended to keep people employed and will be forgivable to the extent the number of employees at June 30 equals or exceeds the number of employees prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. A guidance tool is available to help churches complete the application.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) through the SBA – The EIDL provides loans for small businesses in officially declared disaster areas (including an up to $10,000 cash advance that does not have to be repaid). Any amounts over $10,000 that will need to be repaid and amounts over $25,000 must be secured.
- Employer Retention Credit – According to the IRS, the Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) that Eligible Employers pay their employees. This Employee Retention Credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The maximum amount of qualified wages taken into account with respect to each employee for all calendar quarters is $10,000, so that the maximum credit for an Eligible Employer for qualified wages paid to any employee is $5,000. This program assists after expenses are paid as a tax credit so it will not assist in cash flow now, but could be an option later if a church is denied other assistance.
- Missions assistance grants through the NC Conference Missions Team – these funds provide assistance for emergency needs of local churches for community response to COVID-19 needs in the community.
- Church operating grants through the NC Conference – the funds provide operating assistance for local churches through a grant administered by the Conference Cabinet.
- Church compensation grants through the NC Conference – these funds provide assistance for compensation needs of local churches. Churches should first seek assistance through the PPP or EIDL provisions of the CARES Act to help maximize available assistance.
- Insurance premium assistance grants through the NC Conference – these funds provide assistance for paying up to three months of health insurance premiums on NC Conference health insurance plan. Churches should first seek assistance through the PPP or EIDL provisions of the CARES Act to help maximize available assistance. Due to tax implications, this only applies to the church portion of the premiums.
- Church pension contributions grants through the NC Conference – these funds provide assistance for paying up to three months of pension contributions on United Methodist Church pension plan. Churches should first seek assistance through the PPP or EIDL provisions of the CARES Act to help maximize available assistance. Due to tax implications, this only applies to the church portion of pension contributions.
- Other assistance grants through the NC Conference – the funds may provide assistance for local churches for needs not addressed in the categories listed above. These funds are provided through a grant administered by the Conference Cabinet.
Please remember that resources are available to assist your church in evaluating these options. The Conference staff can assist you with questions on the Conference fund through your district staff. Assistance with SBA options is available through a partnership with the General Council on Finance and Administration and LBMC by emailing PPPTaxAdvisor@lbmc.com and by contacting your local SBA-approved lender. Different lenders are requiring different information so it is important to seek guidance from your lender on their requirements with specific PPP questions.