Information from the Board of Pensions
The Board of Pensions is offering dues deferments or waivers to assist churches during the coronavirus crisis. There are also expanded benefits available to those participating in the benefits offered. Click here for the Board’s website with more information.
Also, now is the time for churches to review, update, and submit their employer agreement with the Board of Pensions for 2021. Employers have until October 9 to log on to benefitsconnect.pensions.org, click the Employer Agreement tab at the top of the home page, and select the benefits the church’s employees may select during the annual enrollment period this fall (October 26-November 13). Please go to the Board of Pensions website for available resources to help employers make their decisions.
Additionally, I highly recommend that churches sign up to receive the Board of Pensions’ “Employer News” newsletter. It is published monthly and provides information regarding recent Board news, important updates, and information specifically for employers. To receive the newsletter, please contact the Board of Pensions (1-800-773-7752, email@example.com), or get in touch with me (304-744-7634, firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can help you get a copy.
If you have questions for the Board of Pensions about the Benefits Plan or the benefits selection process, call 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN) and select “Employer Services.”
The Board of Pensions is also offering new e-learning opportunities to support wholeness in virtual spaces and a Well-Being Respite, “a unique online opportunity for members that supports wholeness.” For more information, click here for the e-learning and here for the Well-Being Respite.
PPP Loan Forgiveness
The Small Business Administration (SBA) began accepting loan forgiveness applications in August. But just this week, they released additional guidelines, in another set of interim final rules, for the forgiveness application process. We continue to be advised by lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that loan recipients wait to apply for forgiveness. There are potential significant changes to the forgiveness application process currently under consideration in Congress.
In preparation of applying for forgiveness, now is the time, if you have not already done so, to build a documentation file of how the loan proceeds were used. Here is a list of some of the documents that should be in the file: Documents verifying the number of full-time equivalent employees on payroll and their pay rates, payroll reports, payroll tax filings (ex. Form 941), documents verifying any retirement and health insurance contributions (ex. Board of Pensions invoices), documents verifying eligible interest paid, rent, and utility bills (canceled checks, payment receipts, account statements).
UPDATE: Several news sources are reporting that there is a growing bipartisan coalition in the Senate and House of Representatives led by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Fred Upton (R-MI) supporting legislation that requires the SBA create a simple, one-page attestation form to forgive covered PPP loans of less than $150,000. Nothing in the legislation prevents the audit of these loans for fraud, but it does prevent small businesses from spending limited resources completing government paperwork. Also, a growing coalition of more than 140 groups representing businesses and lenders is urging Congress to quickly pass this legislation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also supports a streamlined forgiveness process.
If your church received a PPP loan, your lender should be providing information to you. If not, you should contact them to make sure the church is on their list to receive PPP information and updates from the SBA. Please stay in contact with your lender and rely on them for information on applying for PPP loan forgiveness. We will do our best to keep you updated, and you can also visit the Small Business assistance page of US Treasury website.
Executive Order on Payroll Taxes
On Saturday, August 8, the president signed an executive action to delay the collection of payroll taxes effective September 1. The President’s order memorandum seeks to postpone the 6.2% portion taken from employees’ paycheck for Social Security. The order defers the payment of this tax until next year. The president’s executive order specifically asks the Treasury Department to “issue guidance to implement this memorandum,” and Treasury has yet to do so. The accounting firm KPMG noted in a post on its website that the “technical aspects of how the deferral and payment process would be implemented remain for the Secretary of Treasury to determine.” The CPA firm of Suttle & Stalnaker has provided some information for employers.
UPDATE: On Friday August 28, the U.S. Treasury issued guidance saying employers can opt-in or out. Employers who opt-in would then be required to remit the deferred taxes, both employees’ and employer’s share, between January 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021. The recommendations I have seen from CPA firms and other sources is for employers to opt out until, at least, Treasury provides more detailed guidance or Congress acts to forgive the repayment of the deferral. Here is some information we received from CPA firms.
Stewardship and Budgeting in a Time of Uncertainty
I have started compiling resources and information on managing church finances, stewardship, and budgeting during difficult times, like those we find ourselves in now. Attached is a list of resources and information I have found that may be informative and helpful to you.
Also, there are two upcoming opportunity on this topic I want to highlight. The first, Stewardship Kaleidoscope 2020, is an annual event that will be online this year, held on three consecutive Tuesdays, starting September 22. The cost is $45, and that gives you access to all three days plus the recordings of the event and all materials. Details and registration information are here.
The second is “People-Focused Stewardship,” presented Saturday, October 10 by the Generosity 365 Academy. Participants will hear from Catherine Malotky, Grant and Project Manager for the Center for Stewardship Leaders at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, on “Donor-Focused Stewardship”; Gretchen Colon, Senior Consultant at Cramer & Associates in Columbus, OH, on “Cheerful & Creative Sparks – Engaging New Stewards”; and Tom Berlin, Lead Pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, VA, on “Voices of Stewardship.”
The Academy includes presentation time and an opportunity to engage with presenters in breakout sessions. It runs 3.5 hours beginning at 1 p.m. Registration is online and closes Thursday, October 8. The cost is $29.99. Generosity 365 Academies are sponsored by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, publisher of Giving Magazine.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance COVID-19 Relief
Any churches that want to assist Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) with their response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may direct donations to the PDA Matthew 25 Fund (#E052197). Donations may be made directly through the PC(USA) website or can be included with benevolence sent to the PWV office. If sent to the office, please be sure to note on the 2020 Benevolence remittance the amount that is for the Matthew 25 Fund.