(March 31, 2020) — Clarke Beasley, executive vice president of the National Quartet Convention, has shared the following letter regarding an upcoming SGMG forum to discuss the CARES Act:

On March 20, 2020, the Southern Gospel Music Guild joined a group of nearly 40 organizations across the entertainment industry to send a unified message to Congress asking to address the needs of those in the music industry in any economic aid legislation. On March 27, 2020, The CARES Act was signed with the intent to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. We are proud to say the bill includes multiple means of economic relief for those within the Southern Gospel Music industry.

The SGMG will be hosting an online forum featuring longtime music industry CPA Tom Bates of The Blankenship Group, who will be providing instruction on how to apply for the various mechanisms of relief available through the CARES Act.

The forum will take place on Thursday, April 2nd, at 11:00 a.m. EDT / 10:00 CDT. Here is the meeting information:

Topic: SGMG Forum on CARES Act – Tom Bates (The Blankenship Group)
Time: Apr 2, 2020 11:00 AM EDT / 10:00 AM CDT

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 577 390 191
Password: 004701

Outlined below are a few of the ways in which those in our industry might find relief, and we appreciate Ed Leonard for taking the time to compile this list:

1. Individual Cash Rebates
All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers, who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a valid social security number, are eligible for a $1,200 ($2,400 joint filer) rebate. These same standards apply to additional benefits of $500 per dependent child. Generally, the taxpayer does not need to take any action to receive the rebate. The rebate amount is phased out gradually for single filers with incomes up to $99,000, and for joint filers up to $198,000, with further adjustments for filers with children.

2. Unemployment Insurance
The CARES Act includes increased and expanded unemployment insurance (UI).
• Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those who quit their job as a result of the virus, and those who employer is forced to close due the virus are all eligible for UI.
• The federal government will provide an additional $600 per week on top of the normal benefit provided by your state. This increase of eligibility and benefits will last four months from time of enactment of the law.
We encourage eligible members to promptly apply for UI benefits. UI is administered by states and state-provided benefits vary. Find your state guidelines and process for filing for UI here.

3. Self-Employed/Small Business Relief
The CARES Act creates a new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a $366 billion Small Business Administration (SBA) lending program intended to alleviate disruption to individuals and small businesses caused by the coronavirus.
Importantly, small businesses, sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals are eligible for relief.
How to access the PPP:
• Banks, credit unions, and other lenders approved by the Treasury Department will process and service loans under the PPP. We highly encourage members to act immediately and seek out an institution with which you have a prior lending relationship, if possible.
• The PPP will require borrowers to make a good faith effort to certify that funds will be used for businesses expenses including payroll, rent or mortgage payments, and utilities.
• Loan Forgiveness Funds used for qualifying expenses will be eligible for forgiveness. Speak with your lender about specific requirements for loan forgiveness.

We advise members to reach out to their local bank or credit union to inquire whether they will be part of the PPP. To start the process, fill out the application at this link: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

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