Dear OCAPL Members,
With everyone experiencing a total economic shutdown and uncertainty over the next few months, I decided to team up with OCAPL’s Legislative Affairs Committee Chair (Aaron F.W. Meek: Rison, Meek & O'Shields, PLLC) and Co-Chair (John R. Arrowood: Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson, P.C.) to research the recently passed COVID-19 Stimulus bill (CARES Act (HR 748) and compose an article that would hopefully provide guidance to our members facing hardship, and lay out relief options available. After it was all said and done, we thought it would best to send out an email before the newsletter to help get a jump start on the Application process. Although, not as in depth as the Legislative Affairs Article being posted in the newsletter, I feel it is valuable information you can utilize now, rather than later.
Whether you are an In-House or Independent Field Landman, here are a few beneficial tips and website links that may help determine what options best fit your situation and make the overall application process much easier:
1) 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. https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options
NOTE: I applied for the 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 the 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