SVOG and American Rescue Plan Bill Update 3/15/21

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March 15, 2021

Dear Arts Action Fund Member,

Following the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March 11th, dozens of federal agencies are already beginning to implement the $1.9 trillion of COVID health and economic relief aid to those in need, as outlined in our last legislative update and press release. Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund will be hosting a free webinar to provide a comprehensive overview of these latest details on Thursday, March 18, 2021 @ 3:00 pm ET. Please register on our ArtsU platform.

Here are some important federal agency updates:

  • Check the direct stimulus calculator to see how much you may be eligible for based on your latest tax return for either 2019 or 2020. Then check the IRS payment status to see when you will be receiving your payment. IRS plans to get all payments out by the end of March.
  • Federal pandemic unemployment assistance of an additional $300 per week has been extended through Labor Day, September 6, 2021 for all W2, 1099, and self-employed individuals who are out of work. Be sure to update your weekly certifications. If your state experiences a delay in updating their portals, don’t worry, you will get the money you are owed retroactively.
  • The federal cultural agencies released FAQs and statements on their plans for distributing their portion of American Rescue Plan funds.
  • SBA posted new Paycheck Protection Plan FAQs on 3/12/21. Please look at Question #66 if you are a self-employed Schedule C tax filer, who submitted a new PPP application before the new SBA Forms 2483-C or 2483-SD-C were issued on March 3rd, that qualifies you for a larger loan based on your gross income rather than net profits. The guidance in question #66 is primarily for those who have applied with the old form, but not yet received the PPP funds. Please know that we are also still advocating for the SBA to allow already-funded self-employed schedule C tax filers to request modifications to both their first and second draws based on gross income, instead of net profit…stay tuned. In order to secure the more favorable loan amount based on gross income for self-employed individuals, schedule C filers must make sure your lender supplies you with the correct forms listed above.
  • The current deadline for a bank/lender to submit your new PPP forgivable loan to the SBA is Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Because of the constantly shifting rules and stricter federal verifications to prevent fraud, banks have experienced long delays in processing applications to the SBA. Many large national banks have required much earlier deadlines for small businesses to submit their applications. Below are some helpful links to find possible alternative, smaller banks with later deadlines. You do not need to be a pre-existing client. Don’t forget, you can also use online PPP lenders like Paypal, Square, Kabbage, etc. (Note: Legislation is also moving through Congress this week to extend the PPP deadline by two months to May 31, 2021…stay tuned, but you should still proceed quickly to meet the March 31st deadline just in case.)
  • Good news for those who took out an Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) in 2020. EIDL loan repayment schedules have automatically been deferred by an additional 12 months. EIDL borrowers will not have to begin repaying their first installments until 2022.
  • SBA announced that its Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) application portal will open in early April. In the meantime, several documents have been updated on the SVOG website, but certain sections still state that you cannot apply for a PPP and an SVOG. That information is incorrect and will eventually be updated online. The SVOG new FAQs do make it clear that you can now apply for both a PPP and SVOG. However, please note the additional twist in question #5 on page 2 of the FAQs that you cannot apply for a PPP after receiving an SVOG. You will also see in question #17 on page 14 that the SBA has clarified that audits will NOT be required for the great majority of SVOG applicants.
  • $350 billion in State and Local Block grants will be administered nationwide within the next two months. Many arts groups and artists benefitted with additional economic relief through these funds the last time it was administered with only $150 billion in CARES Act funds. Eligible uses specifically include assistance to small businesses, nonprofits and hard-hit industries like tourism, travel, and hospitality. Check out the estimate of how much your state and county can expect to receive.

Our March 18th webinar will be an overview of all the components of the American Rescue Plan. Please know that we still plan to have a standalone Shuttered Venues webinar in the coming weeks once more details are available from the SBA. Remember, you can always join me on Fridays at 11:00am ET for my Zoom Office Hours to ask any specific questions related to federal COVID relief funds.

Stay safe and stay tuned for more. 

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

To read an archive of Arts Action Fund federal updates, visit COVID-19 Arts Federal Policy Updates & Action Alerts.