DISCLAIMER: Given the fluid nature of responses to the Coivid-19 pandemic some of the provisions listed below may have been changed or modified. We advise everyone to double-check for the latest updates as well as consult with their own accountants or financial advisors before applying for or accepting any economic assistance.
Note: this list is a work in progress, and is being updated. If you have information to share on grants or relief for visual artists, please send an email to Sue Morrow at [email protected].
Stimulus direct payment to taxpayers:
1) Direct payment from the federal government. If you pay your taxes, you don’t need to fill out anything for this. There are income limits on this.
2) Note that your 2019 tax filing deadline is postponed, as is the payment deadline. But you can file if you are able, and if you are due a refund, it will get processed sooner. In addition, if you earned more than the stimulus limit in 2018, but not 2019, filing now may change your eligibility for the stimulus payment.
Stimulus money for your small business under the CARES Act
As a self-employed photographer, you may be eligible for relief for your small business under the CARES Act. Each circumstance may be different so please consult your accountant, payroll service, or tax attorney to determine eligibility. Many applications for funding will be through eligible banks.
The U.S. Senate has provided a “Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act” Click here.
Paycheck protection program- loans to cover the cost of employees including yourself. Loans may be forgiven if used for payroll, rent, utilities.
The program would provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the crisis. PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. This program would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020.
A chart with info on uses and max loan options is available, click here.
You will need to talk to an SBA lender for this. Ask your own bank first as banks will be flooded with applications and you will see less friction through your existing bank.
Payroll tax credit
The credit—50% refundable payroll tax credit worth up to $5000 per employee-- is available to employers whose fit either of these criteria: 1) operations have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings. 2) experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in quarterly receipts, measured on a year-over-year basis. For this bill, the definition of employer INCLUDES sole proprietorships and independent contractors (a.k.a. freelancers).
You should talk to your accountant or payroll processing company about applying for this.
Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Assistance (this is a low-interest loan, but includes a grant
These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The full $10k is available to businesses with 10 or more employees and companies with less will get less.
To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.
You will need to apply to a bank for this, however the loan application can be started though the Small Business Administration.
SBA's Disaster Loan (EIDL) for small businesses, click here.
More info also here.
Additional provisions you might take advantage of
- - Your business can contribute up to $5250 toward your student loans without counting towards an employee’s income.
- - Unemployment: unemployment benefits are now available to independent contractors and self-employed workers. This is found through your state unemployment insurance provider. Here is an article from the National Writers Union directed at freelancers.
- - $300 deduction for charitable donations.
- - You can delay your social security payroll tax payments. You will still have to pay these later.
- - You can carry back net operating losses.
Philanthropic and other National Grant opportunities targeting photographers
Coronavirus Pandemic: ASAE Advocacy and Resources, click here.
Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles, Applications open 4/28 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Click here.