Applicants of COVID-19 Relief Fund urged to register with SARS

The Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture says applicants for the second wave of the COVID-19 Relief Fund must be registered as taxpayers.

“Despite the opening of the second wave, the department has observed the challenges experienced by potential applicants in terms of their tax registration status, however, this is a mandatory requirement, which the department cannot eliminate,” the department said on Tuesday.

The department has consulted with the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

“SARS has indicated that potential applicants can register as taxpayers in order to secure the documents required to submit their application.

“Furthermore, the turn-around time to process these applications is 24 hours and upon registering, applicants are then able to provide proof of tax registration, enabling them to submit their applications,” the department said.

The department said it can only disburse funds to arts practitioners who make a living from the arts industry and therefore, a certified bank letter is an acceptable recommendation.

The department has agreed to a recommendation by sector organizations to accept referrals.

All arts practitioners are eligible, except those already receiving government funding, including grants, or pensioners between the ages of 60 and 69.

The department’s Living Legends Legacy Programme (LLLP) caters to those who have contributed to the sector and are 70-years-old and above.

With regards to relief for theatres and arts organizations, the Stimulus Package “ObjectiveTwo” will be made available to all formations, NPO’s, NGO’s, theatres, independent and semi-independent theatres, theatre-makers, and community theatre organizations, to ensure the sustained visibility of the arts industry.

The arts sector will be informed through public calls in due course.

“In light of the two extensions for applications in the second wave of relief funding, the department continues to interact with those who have applied but whose applications have been stalled due to missing or incomplete documents,” the department said.

Safe re-opening of the arts sector

The department has presented the sector’s proposals on reopening to the government.

“Government is favorably looking at the reopening of the economy, including the creative economy. In due course, the government is going to pronounce this matter. The safe re-opening of the arts sector, including theatres and arts venues, has always been at the top of the agenda,” the department said.

With the recent published Directions, the department reopened venues, under strict health protocols, and further created live streaming opportunities

“The emphasis on adherence to strict health and safety protocols remains a critical priority while opening up the economy; ensuring that the country does not get the second wave COVID-19 resurgence; as has happened in other countries.

“The department remains committed to creating an enabling environment and developing sustainable livelihoods for sector practitioners, whilst ensuring that we safeguard against the spread of the Coronavirus.” – SAnews.gov.za

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