- Dance/USA continues to work across the arts and cultural sector, business community and nonprofit sector to ensure ALL small-to-mid-size businesses and non-profit organizations as well as individual creative workers within the professional dance community are supported during and beyond this current pandemic. Dance/USA will continue to advocate on behalf of the professional dance community, gather and compile important data from the ground to be used in various advocacy efforts, and to provide a number of resources regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our field. Further questions can be directed to Tony Shivers, Dance/USA Director of Government Affairs, at email@example.com.
Community by community, the impact of COVID-19 is variable and rapidly changing. U.S. Congress passed 6 major pieces of legislation (totaling $4 trillion) since the CARES Act in March 2020 to the American Rescue Plan in March 2021 to support states, local communities, families, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individual workers during the current pandemic. As our nation continues to deal with new variants during this current pandemic and move beyond the current pandemic, the U.S. Congress and current Administration are considering various ways to continue that support and help the economic recovery. The professional dance community and various interested stakeholders should continue to contact and engaged their federal elected officials concerning ls to let them know of the unexpected loss of event-dependent revenue, income for dancemakers, and declines in charitable contributions. Learn what you can do now and find summaries of the latest federal assistance available below:
- Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program ($16 billion): The Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2021 – enacted December 27, 2020 – ($2.3 trillion) established SVOG program for the performing arts industry negatively impacted by the current pandemic with the cancelling and/or postponment of their public performances and events. Any arts and cultural-related entities that own, manage, rent, or otherwise utilize live venues for their public performances and events and suffered revenue losses were eligible to apply. Implemented and executed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, grantees will receive initial grants to be expended by December 31, 2021 and supplemental grants to be expended by June 30, 2022. Grantees are able to leverage the SVOG Program, ERTC program, and secure PPP forgiveable loans.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Loan Forgiveness ($800 billion): The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March 2020 established this SBA-backed forgiveable loan program to help businesses and non-profit organizations keep their workforce during the current pandemic. Eligible borrowers were able to potentially secure two rounds of forgiveable loans. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) stopped accepting new applications on May 31, 2021 and the SBA is currently executing the loan forgiveness process.
- Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) Program: The Employee Retention Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes. Eligible employers can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make. Also, if the employer’s employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, the employer may get an advance payment from the IRS. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted December 27, 2020, amended and extended the employee retention credit (and the availability of certain advance payments of the tax credits) under section 2301 of the CARES Act.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance for Performing Arts Organizations: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is offering financial support to qualifying organizations, including performing arts organizations, to support costs associated with the safe opening and operations of facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources, outlined in the policy document Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Safe Opening and Operation Work Eligible for Public Assistance, are administered by state and regional FEMA offices and are available to entities that meet the general requirements to qualify for FEMA public assistance. This pandemic relief may help support the costs of masks, testing, and other costs incurred through December 31, 2021, for those organizations that own their facilities, or are legally responsible for their facilities. OPERA America encourages its members and the overall opera community to direct the owners of their live venues and other facilities to this pandemic relief opportunity.
- In 2008, the performing arts community successfully secured FEMA eligibility for “performing arts organizations” under the agency’s definition of a “public nonprofit (PNP),” which has enabled certain nonprofit organizations to receive FEMA support following a natural disaster. The general eligibility requirements for FEMA support also apply to this COVID-19 relief opportunity and general PNP eligibility is outlined in FEMA’s Fact Sheet and in the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide Version 3.1.
- FEMA COVID-19 Safe Opening support is administered through state disaster relief offices, so the experience of applicants may vary. Organizations seeking to learn more about eligibility and registering to apply can start by contacting your state’s emergency management agency.
- COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Small business loan program implemented and executed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support small businesses’ recovery during the current pandemic by providing accesible and borrower-friendly capital. Small businesses must qualify for a certain loan amount by completing the economic injury formula which takes into account two years’ worht of revenue and costs of goods sold to produce an eligible loan amount.
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) required covered employers to provide eligible employees with paid sick and expanded family and medical leave for certain COVID-19 related reasons. The requirement that employers provide paid sick or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA employer mandate provisions applies to leave taken or requested during the effective period of April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Please see Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers for questions specific to the application of the FFCRA mandate. Employers who choose to provide such leave between January 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021 may be eligible for employer tax credits. Information about claiming the tax credits for paid sick leave or paid family leave wages can be found on the IRS website.
- 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 individuals) and $600 for joint filers for cash charitable donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations during calendar year 2021. 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%.
- Dance/USA recently signed onto a signatory support letter from the nonprofit sector (#ReliefforCharitiesCoalition) supporting reinstatement of the ERTC for Q4-2021 and the expansion into 2022.
- 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.
- Funding for Federal Arts-Related Agencies: The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (enacted in March) provides $135 million each in emergency funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). NEA is providing grants to local arts agencies to provide subgrants and is providing direct grants to arts-related businesses and organizations. Grant decisions will be made in December 2021 and grantees will be able to start expending their funds in January 2022. Grants will not be limited to prior NEA grantees. Grants will be able to support grantees’ general operating expenses during the current pandemic and beyond.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a resources you think should be included. 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 the dance community.