From Thomas Cunniff, ELCA General Counsel
Paycheck Protection Plan questions I have received. The SBA application form is here: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/Borrower%20Paycheck%20Protection%20Program%20Application.pdf
- Are churches eligible? Yes. There is some misinformation out there and some lenders are confused, but churches are eligible.
- What is the application period for the Paycheck Protection Plan loans/grants? It opens tomorrow, April 3. There is no close date we are aware of, but because the pool of money is limited, applicants should start soon.
- If you take the loan/grant, do you have to submit to an audit to get forgiveness? Not likely. You will have to document through payroll records, canceled checks, etc., that you spent the money as allowed, but that is a far cry from an audit. The SBA’s ability to audit individual claims is going to be severely limited.
- Who is the owner of the congregation/synod? NO ONE. The space on the application for ownership of 20% or more of the entity does not apply and should be left blank. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT say that the synod or the ELCA owns a congregation, or that the ELCA owns a synod. IT IS NOT TRUE. Also, if we are improperly lumped together, it will put us over 500 employees and no one will get it.
- Do we share common management or ownership (question 3 on the application)? NO.
- Do we need a congregational meeting to approve borrowing money? Maybe. One option is to hold a remote meeting; our remote meeting guide is up on the ELCA public health page. If timing is an issue, the congregation can start the application process and ratify when they can hold a remote meeting. Another option is to treat it as a grant application (assuming the congregation is going to comply with the rules for forgiveness) so a meeting is not necessary. If no meeting is held now, we strongly recommend having a meeting when the congregation can to ratify the action.