Dear OCAPL Members,
I wanted to take a moment to reach out to everyone regarding the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic as well as the recent advisories from the federal and local government, to limit all gatherings of more than 10 people of any kind for the next 8 weeks. At this point, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our members and after much debate, the Executive Committee has decided to cancel our upcoming Educational Luncheon and Monday Night Meeting scheduled for April 6th. We are also canceling the Field Landmen Seminar on April 23rd and the Fishing Tournament on May 1st as they all fall in the 8 week period. We understand the value of these events and the opportunities they provide, but at this time, feel it is best to reschedule for the fall. We will continue to keep a close eye on the situation and will inform everyone if the Golf Tournament on May 18th will be affected.
We appreciate your patience and understanding through these tough times.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact myself or other Board Members.
Jerrod Hardegree, RPL
APRIL PRESIDENT'S LETTER
Fellow OCAPL Members,
As many of you know, last month the Board and Executive Committee had to make the tough decision to cancel several upcoming events to be in accordance with the CDC guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Our top priority is keeping our members safe. As of now, our April lunch and dinner speakers have been rescheduled for October and the Field Landman Educational Committee is working to secure a date closer to the end of Summer. Also, Bhavin Naik has secured a later date (August 10th) for the Golf Tournament. We will continue to keep everyone informed of any changes to these events and whether they are postponed or canceled.
Although, no stranger to industry downturns, Landmen have always been a resilient bunch and found ways to make it through to better days. Unfortunately, what our beloved industry and National economy face now, is unlike anything experienced before. With everyone experiencing a total economic shutdown and uncertainty over the next few months, I want to take this opportunity to provide some guidance and hopefully help anyone willing to listen.
A few weeks ago, our Legislative Affairs Chair, Aaron Meek, reached out and informed me that he had been watching the COVID-19 Stimulus Relief bill closely with hopes that once passed, there would be fiscal opportunities for not only small business owners to utilize but relief that independent contractors could also apply for. If opportunities for both scenarios were included in the bill, this information should be presented to our members to assist in any way possible. Fortunately, the bill passed, and Aaron began working diligently on a more detailed explanation of what the relief packages entail for both the small business owner as well as the best choices for independent contractors. Aaron’s full article, co-authored by John Arrowood, is included in the newsletter and will be extremely beneficial to everyone.
With the short timeline between the Bill passing and the deadline for the April newsletter, I reached out to my CPA and other co-workers who were already getting things in order to apply for an SBA Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program, to get as much information as possible and I would like to share a few beneficial tips and links that will help make the application process much easier. I hope the information below, paired with Aaron’s article will benefit any OCAPL members currently facing economic hardship:
The cash "rebate" payments, subject to income limits:
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.
NOTE: For payment the IRS will 1st look for a 2019 return, if not filed they will use the 2018 tax return information. If direct deposit is listed on tax return that is how you will receive funds. As of 4/2/2020 the IRS has made the announcement that the first economic payments, if by direct deposit, will hit in two weeks.
2) Independent contractors can now apply for unemployment benefits:
Unemployment compensation benefits were usually reserved only for employees who were laid off from their job. Under the CARES Act, independent contractors and freelancers are now eligible to receive unemployment benefits as well. The CARES Act even increases the amount of benefits by $600 a week.
To claim the unemployment benefits, freelancers and contractors should log on to the state’s unemployment website and apply as soon as possible for benefits. Here is the link to the State of Oklahoma https://unemployment.state.ok.us/
3) Small business loans that can be forgiven if they are used for certain designated purposes:
For the Paycheck Protection Program/EIDL Loans/SBA Express Bridge Loans/SBA Debt Relief there are several options and below is a link that will take you directly to the SBA website for a breakdown of each loan/relief so that you can determine which one makes the most sense.
COVID-19 Economic Disaster Loan Application (SBA Loan) and a good friend and co-worker of mine sent a YouTube video that helped tremendously. Thanks for your help, Jay Asbill!!!!
Here is the link to the online application: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
Here is the link to an extremely helpful step by step YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXQt1iI4C4
4) Student loan payment and interest suspensions until 9/30/2020:
Borrowers can request to delay student loan payments until 9/30/2020. All federally owned student loans will automatically have a 0% interest rate until then. Contact your federal student loan servicer to request forbearance. NOTE: Federal Student Loans (not all Student loans are Federal) should suspend automatically. Request is more than likely for non-federal loans.
5) You can withdraw up to $100,000 from a retirement account early without paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty (but you will still have to pay the income taxes you would owe on it):
The Cares Act will allow eligible individuals to withdraw up to $100,000 from their retirement accounts, in total, without the 10% early-withdrawal penalty as long as they pay back the distributions within three years. The relief package also eases some of the rules surrounding 401(k) loans.
NOTE: To qualify for the provisions, individuals need to fall into one of two main categories. You, your spouse or a dependent is diagnosed with Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Alternatively, you qualify if you have experienced adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, being unable to work due to lack of child care or closures related to the coronavirus pandemic.
6) Forbearance of Mortgages:
Holders of federally backed mortgages can request forbearance if they have been affected by COVID-19. If approved by the bank, the borrower will not be required to pay the mortgage for 180 days and the lender cannot impose any penalties or other fees. This can be extended another 180 days. Banks must halt foreclosure proceedings until May 18, 2020. To utilize this benefit, contact your mortgage holder to request forbearance.
As mentioned above, the article by Aaron Meek and John Arrowood, included in this newsletter, will go into greater detail and should further layout what choices are available for your specific situation as an In-House/Small Business or Independent Landman.
I hope the small amount of information provided can help everyone in one way or another. Although times are tough and there is much uncertainty for the rest of 2020, please remember, as Landmen, we retain a much-needed skillset, diligent work ethic, and overall passion for the industry. We are leaders, innovators, and teachers of the future generations but most important, we are family.
Stay positive, be persistent, and persevere.
I hope to see everyone sooner rather than later…even if it’s through a Zoom meeting.
Jerrod R. Hardegree, President