Dance/USA is working with many federal arts coalitions and other field leadership organizations to advocate for the field, gather information, and provide a number of resources regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our field.
Quick links to content on this page: Paid Leave Provisions | SBA Economic Injury Disaster Relief and Loan Advances | Paycheck Protections Program | Pandemic Unemployment Benefits | New Charitable Giving Incentives | Industry Stabilization Fund Loans | Employee Retention Credits | Nonprofits That Self Insure for Unemployment Benefits | International Artist Visas | National Endowment for the Arts Funding | Background | Dance/USA Advocacy and Congressional Action | Reopening Resources | Performing Arts Resources | Webinar Resources and Additional Reading | CDC Resources
For those still in the process of applying for PPP loans, the Treasury has issued new rules for seasonal employers that allow applicants to determine their maximum loan amount by calculating average monthly payroll over the period of March 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 (as announced in the original PPP guidelines), or May 1, 2019 to September 15, 2019 (a new timeframe, meant to help those with higher employment in summer months). Interim guidelines for self-employed applicants are also now available, which is important news to share with the many 1099 dance artists and administrators who were not permitted to be included in the W-2-focused PPP loans available to dance organizations.
While all await complete guidance on loan forgiveness for the Paycheck Protection Program, the Treasury continues to update PPP rules by way of additions to its Frequently Asked Questions (updated May 13). New answers have been posted regarding the Small Business Administration's plans to review loan forgiveness applications for loans in excess of $2 million and employee calculations for loan eligibility and forgiveness. Continue to check those FAQs for more updates.On the question of calculating the 500 employee threshold, preliminary U.S. Department Treasury guidelines to borrowers, refer to the following SBA method of calculation:
Loans may cover expenses incurred beginning February 15, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2020. The loans have a maturity of 2 years, an interest rate of 1%, and payments are deferred for 6 months. Eligible uses of the loans include payroll costs (including salary, wages, compensation, leave, severance, health care benefits, insurance premiums, retirement benefits, and state and local taxes), rent, utilities, and mortgage interest payments.
Guidelines made public on April 2, indicate that, “independent contractors have the ability to apply for a PPP loan on their own so they do not count for purposes of a borrower’s PPP loan calculation.” The Treasury issued guidelines on April 20 for self-employed applicants outlining the process for calculating maximum loan amounts and detailing further eligibility requirements.
Applicants may apply to their lender for loan forgiveness. The borrower will be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount of allowable costs spent by the borrower during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan. The portion of the loan that can be forgiven will be reduced by an amount related to positions that have been eliminated and wages that have been reduced, unless those positions and wages are restored by June 30, 2020.
Pandemic Unemployment Benefits, Including Self-Employed Individuals: Unemployment Benefits Guidance was expanded by the federal government on March 12, giving states the flexibility to expand their unemployment benefits coverage to include COVID-19 related worker displacement. Unemployment benefits will be further expanded to provide an additional $600 per week above the amount allowed under state unemployment benefits, for four months. New relief will be available for workers not eligible for state unemployment benefits, including self-employed individuals who are unable to work due to a number of COVID-related reasons, including "the individual's place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency."
Dance workers who otherwise do not have access to state unemployment benefits may find relief through this provision. Unemployment benefits will be available for a total of 39 weeks, and covered dates of unemployment are from January 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
While many states have officially opened the application process for unemployment benefits available to self-employed workers, including those in the dance industry, access to those benefits is challenged by overwhelming demands on state systems. Meanwhile, guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Labor to states is further restricting access to relief meant to be provided under the CARES Act, as some artists who typically earn a mixture of 1099 and W-2 income report being locked out of opportunities for Pandemic Unemployment Benefits. While Dance/USA, in partnership with other national arts organizations, is pursuing a policy solution, artists should stay connected to their State Departments of Labor for further details.
U.S. Department of Labor Issues PUA Guidance to States (April 5, 2020)
Future of Music Coalition Tracks State-by-State Readiness to Accept Unemployment Claims for Self-Employed Workers
New Charitable Giving Incentives: Building on years of advocacy by Dance/USA through our broader coalition efforts, a new universal charitable deduction is available, allowing the growing number of taxpayers who do not itemize their returns to receive a tax deduction of up to $300 for cash charitable donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations during calendar year 2020. For taxpayers that itemize returns, the limit on the total percentage of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) eligible for the charitable deduction has been lifted. The limit on corporate contributions has been lifted to 25%. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation issued a report on CARES Act provisions specifying that the new non-itemizer deduction’s $300 cap applies to each “tax filing unit,” which means the $300 limitation applies per tax return, regardless whether filed individually, or jointly by a couple.
Industry Stabilization Fund Loans: Loans may be available to nonprofits with 500 or more employees that commit to restoring 90% or more of their workforce within four months of the end of the national public health emergency. Additional requirements will apply to future workforce conditions--some of them related to collective bargaining agreements--and will merit careful consideration. Loans will be available at an interest rate of 2% or less, and payments would not be required for the first six months. The CARES Act also provides resources for a “Main Street Lending” program, giving broad authority to the Federal Reserve to set the terms for eligibility. As the initial draft of the Main Street program does not include eligibility for nonprofits, Dance/USA and our partners in the nonprofit sector are calling for immediate access for 501(c)(3) organizations. The Federal Reserve and Treasury are continuing to write guidelines for loan administration.
Federal Reserve Announces Draft Main Street Lending Guidelines (April 9, 2020)
Main Street Lending Description
Employee Retention Credits: Employers that do not make use of the forgivable Payroll Protection Program loans may be eligible for a quarterly refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis, applied to the first $10,000 in compensation per employee (resulting in a credit of up to $5,000). The extent of the credit and eligibility requirements vary depending on whether the employer has more or less than 100 employees.
Internal Revenue Service Employee Retention Credit FAQ
Advance Payment of Employer Credits due to COVID-19
Penalty Relief for Failure to File Employment Taxes
Nonprofits that Self-Insure for Unemployment Benefits: Unemployment benefit guidance issued to states by the U.S. Department of Labor on April 27 indicates that states must first bill a self-insuring nonprofit for 100% of the costs and payment must be made to the state by the nonprofit. Only then will the 50% reimbursement included in the CARES Act be issued to the nonprofit by the state.
Led by the National Council of Nonprofits, nonprofit advocates are seeking revised rules that would streamline this process and relieve nonprofits of the payment burden. They are also seeking 100% coverage of costs under the next version of COVID-19 relief shaped by Congress.
DOL Issues Unemployment Insurance Letter to States
National Council of Nonprofits Statement Calls for Improved DOL Guidance
International Artist Visas: Dance/USA, as a member of the Performing Arts Visa Working group, signed on in support of a letter requesting USCIS and Department of State to address the multiple issues COVID-19 is causing for foreign guest artists working in the U.S. The coalition request outlines five simple, short-term provisions that will dramatically aid the U.S. performing arts sector once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Read the letter calling for Artist Visa Solutions
Read the latest news on Artists from Abroad, a complete guide to artist visa procedures
National Endowment for the Arts Funding: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) includes $75 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to administer for COVID-19 assistance. Of the total, 40% of funding will be administered in partnership with state arts agencies, and the remaining resources will be delivered through direct NEA grants. The agency is authorized to make grants to support general operating expenses, and matching requirements may be waived for grants. The NEA will be rapidly providing more information about grant opportunities. In the meantime, the NEA makes the following information available to current grantees and FY20 applicants:
NEA FAQs for Applicants and Current Grantees
Statement from National Endowment for the Art Chairman Mary Anne Carter
NEA Announcement: NEA to Distribute $75 Million in Relief to Arts Organizations in Need
Relief Package #3: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
CARES Act Full Text
Overview of CARES Act: Support for Dance in Latest Relief Package
Senate Summary of Key CARES Act Provisions
National Council of Nonprofits CARES Act Overview
Independent Sector CARES Act Guide for Nonprofit Organizations
Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act – U.S. Senate
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist
Dance/USA Actions include:
Dance/USA will continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation and will share more information as it becomes available. We encourage you to share these resources with your colleagues and follow Dance/USA on social media. Contact us at email@example.com if you have a resources you think should be included.