COVID-19 Arts Relief Update 2/11/21

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February 11, 2021

Dear Arts Action Fund Members,

I wanted to share some updates about current federal COVID-19 funding and new federal legislation being considered by Congress now.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgivable Loans

If you’re still considering applying for either a First or Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program Loan, there are still funds available, but it’s going quickly. SBA reports that more than 1.29 million loans have already been approved, totaling $100.9 billion. Please remember that you do NOT need to submit your Forgiveness Application for last year’s PPP before you apply for a Second Draw this year. However, you do need to certify that you used the funds properly and that you incurred a reduction in gross receipts of at least 25% in any one quarter’s comparison between 2019 and 2020. Do not apply for a PPP if you plan to apply for a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

Future Legislation: Congress recommends appropriating an additional $7.25 billion in PPP funding in current legislation.

Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grants

SBA has still not opened up the new SVO grants portal, but as I look into my crystal ball, I think it will go live within the next two weeks. As you know by now, demand is very high for this program with only $15 billion available. Here are some things you can do to get ready to apply as soon as possible, regardless of which Priority Category that you may fit into:

  1. If you or your organization does not already have a Dunn and Bradstreet DUNS Number, get one.
  2. Use your DUNS number to register in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM). You can’t simply use a Taxpayer or Employer ID Number to apply for an SVO grant. (Note: It could take up to two weeks to finalize a SAM registration.)
  3. Gather documents that demonstrate your number of employees and monthly revenues so you can calculate the average number of qualifying employees you had over the prior 12 months.
  4. Determine your gross earned revenue losses. It looks like SBA is going to use the Gross Earned Revenue definition to determine Priority Eligibility, but it’s not confirmed yet.
  5. Determine the extent of gross earned revenue loss you experienced between 2019 and 2020 on a quarterly basis.
  6. Make PDFs of additional information such as floor plans, contract copies and other evidence that will be needed to apply for an SVO grant.
  7. Sign up for a regional mailing list and webinar in your area and develop a direct relationship.
  8. Ask the SBA specific questions about SVO eligibility by e-mailing [email protected].

SVO Resources to Review:

Future Legislation: Congress recommends appropriating an additional $1.25 billion in SVO funding in current legislation.

Targeted EIDL Advances

Advance funds of up to $10,000 will be available to only applicants located in low-income communities who previously received an EIDL Advance for less than $10,000, or those who applied but received no funds due to lack of available program funding. Eligible applicants do not need to take any action at this time. Applicants will be contacted directly by SBA via email and they will first reach out to EIDL applications that already received a partial EIDL Advance (between $1,000 - $9,000). Applicants will need to prove at least a 30% loss in gross receipts during any 8-week period comparing 2019 and 2020.

Future Legislation: Congress recommends appropriating an additional $15 billion in Targeted EIDL Advance funding in current legislation.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) COVID Relief

Future Legislation: Congress recommends appropriating an additional $135 million each to the NEA and NEH in supplemental COVID-19 economic relief grants in current 2021 legislation.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Future Legislation: Congress recommends extending temporary federal unemployment benefits from March 15, 2021 to August 29, 2021. The current legislation would also increase the weekly federal supplemental benefit from $300 to $400.

Direct Economic Stimulus Checks

Future Legislation: Congress recommends providing an additional $1,400 per taxpayer, phasing out at a 2019 Adjusted Gross Income of $75,000. Current legislation also recommends significantly expanding the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children under 6), which can be fully refundable and advanceable.

Health Insurance Assistance

Future Legislation: Congress recommends in current legislation:

  • Reducing health care premiums for low- and middle-income families by increasing the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) premium tax credits for 2021 and 2022.
  • Supporting the continuation of employer-based health coverage by subsidizing COBRA coverage through September 30, 2021.
  • Creating health care subsidies for unemployed workers who are ineligible for COBRA.

Federal Tax Income Questions & Answers

  • PPP funds should NOT be included in your taxable income.
  • PPP covered expenses CAN still be deducted on your tax return.
  • IRS direct stimulus checks should NOT be included in your taxable income.
  • EIDL Advances should NOT be included in your taxable income.
  • EIDL Loans are debt that must be repaid. They should NOT be included in your taxable income.
  • CARES Economic Relief Funds that State and Local Governments re-granted to individuals and businesses SHOULD be included in your taxable income according to the IRS.
  • State and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance SHOULD be included in your taxable income.
  • Employee Retention Credits CANNOT be taken on that portion of employee wages that were covered with a PPP forgivable loan.
  • It’s not confirmed yet, but similar to PPP, it appears SVO grants will NOT be included in your taxable income, but your covered expenses CAN still be deducted.

Upcoming SVO Webinar & Zoom Office Hours

We will email you with the new date and time for our second part webinar on SVO grants as soon as SBA releases its official guidelines. In the meantime, the Arts Action Fund posts all COVID-19 economic resources at

​​​​Stay safe and stay tuned for more. In the meantime, join me for Zoom Office Hours with Nina every Friday at 11:00 am ET to answer your questions. You can also take action and contact your Members of Congress to pass this upcoming legislation.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director


To read all Arts Action Fund updates, visit COVID-19 Arts Federal Policy Updates & Action Alerts