Most Churches Qualify! | By Don Corder
If your church shut down for COVID, it may be eligible for more federal dollars. Here’s what pastors and church leaders need to know.
The Federal Government has recently changed eligibility requirements for one of the pandemic assistance grants, making almost every church eligible where, until recently, most churches were not eligible. The amount of money most churches are eligible for can be substantial.
The Employee Retention Credit
Until recently, the federal government’s Employee Retention Credit program was available to all US businesses, churches, and charities who had significant and defined declines in revenue during 2020 and 2021. The eligibility requirement was:
A decline in gross receipts in a calendar quarter in 2021 where the gross receipts of that calendar quarter are less than 80% of the gross receipts in the same calendar quarter in 2019 (to be eligible based on a decline in gross receipts in 2020 the gross receipts were required to be less than 50%).
This WAS the only eligibility requirement and said requirement was completely objective. Then in late 2021, the federal government added a second eligibility requirement:
A full or partial suspension of the operation of their trade or business during this period because of governmental orders limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19.
Plainly spoken, if you had to shut down your church in 2020 and/or 2021 to comply with federal, state, or municipal orders, your church is probably eligible for Employee Retention Credits from the federal government that award could be as much as $26,000 per full time employee.
In over 40 years of leading business and ministry, I have always lived by the precept that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If I am being completely transparent, I was of that mind when I was first informed of the new eligibility requirements for the Federal Employee Retention Credit program. Since then, I have applied for these credits for my business and my church. I am here to tell you that this program is the real deal, and your church is probably eligible for substantial support.
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