In these difficult times, Arts Council Malta’s priority is to support the arts and creative sector. Most artistic projects planned for the coming weeks have either been postponed or cancelled altogether and it is yet uncertain as to when the situation will be back to normal. It is time to prioritise health and the well-being of the community. In this scenario too, Arts Council Malta will keep fostering creativity and helping the sector in the best manner possible. Whilst most of the team members are working remotely from home, we are still here to answer your questions and receive your suggestions. Most questions/comments received so far are related to the funding programmes and funded projects, particularly those involving travel. Here are the questions and answers for ease of reference.
Q. Will I be able to contact the Arts Council Malta team regarding any questions I might have?
A. Yes, brokerage services are available during office hours. Following the directives issued by the Health Authorities, team members cannot meet you in person for the time being. However you may call on t.23347230 between Monday and Friday (09:00 till 16:00) or else send an email on email@example.com.
Q. We have to postpone our funded project as a result of the current situation. What options are there?
A. We are encouraging all our beneficiaries to, first of all, try and consider alternative ways to implement the project. You might want to consider taking your projects to digital platforms or other platforms within the parameters allowed in the current situation. But it is understood that this is not always possible. In some cases, you might need to postpone the project to a later date, and therefore you need to request an extension, provided that this date still falls within the project timeframe of the specific call. Further extensions beyond the timeframe of the call may be considered in exceptional scenarios.
It is highly important to seek approval from Arts Council Malta about any proposed changes/updates to your project. You may do so by sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Projects and related needs are discussed and tackled on a case by case basis. It is important that you keep the Council in the loop and that changes are discussed before actually implemented.
Q. I received a travel grant earlier on this year but the event is now cancelled. I have received the first cheque from Arts Council Malta but have not spent anything. What should I do?
A. In this case you are requested to return the cheque. If you have already deposited your cheque, then kindly send us a new cheque, payable to Arts Council Malta, at postal address TG Complex, Level 1, Brewery Street, Mrieħel, Malta.
Q. I received a travel grant to attend a networking session which is now cancelled. I had already paid for my flights and accommodation. What do I do?
A. Firstly, you should check whether you are able to get any reimbursements or insurance covers. Not all airlines provide full or partial reimbursement, but it is important to check out the conditions with your respective airline. You should also do so for accommodation. After these initial checks are carried out and, please contact Arts Council Malta on email@example.com and provide the feedback received in writing from these operators. The way forward will be indicated on a case by case basis.
Q. I needed to postpone my project, which was funded through the Malta Arts Fund. I am not yet sure when I will be able to implement my project as I am still trying to find a common date when all my collaborators are available. I have already paid deposits and part of the fees and cannot afford to lose the sum I already received from the fund. Will Arts Council be taking funds back?
A. Arts Council Malta is evaluating each and every request on a case by case basis. Whilst encouraging you to determine a way forward as soon as possible, it is understood that it is difficult to do so quickly in the current situation. The Council will not be asking for funds back at this stage – and it is not the intention to recover any funds if the project can still be implemented but it is highly important to keep Arts Council Malta’s in the loop so as to be able to find a solution together. You may do so by sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. We are half way through our project, but we could not implement it fully due to the current situation caused by COVID-19. We had to stop our work abruptly and could not postpone our project. Plans and budgets have changed. What do we do?
A. In this case, it is best to contact immediately Arts Council Malta via email on email@example.com whereby changes and details are notified and the way forward discussed with the Fund team.
Q. I was attending a course abroad funded by the Professional Development Grant. The course involved three separate sessions. I have already attended one session but, due to the current situation, the other two were cancelled. What happens now?
A. In this case it is important that to get in touch as soon as possible with Arts Council Malta via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and whereby you forward or attach the official notification of cancellation from the international platform. Try to ask for a reimbursement, where possible. You will be requested to submit your final report as per usual process after which way forward will be advised, particularly in relation to any funds which would not have been used from your end. In this case, you will not be asking for a full reimbursement but all expenses carried out in relation to the project so far will be considered.
Funding Programme Calls
Q. Are the current open calls effected by this situation?
A. The current calls are not effected and the deadlines announced in our guidelines (available on our website) However, it is highly recommended that you follow the Council’s online platforms for any updates which might be announced, particularly in relation to those calls which address international projects, exchanges or education & development.
Q. I have applied for a grant and am waiting for the results. Will the results be issued on the date indicated in the guidelines? And in case I am successful, how should I go about signing the agreement?
A. Yes, the results will still be issued on the date indicated. All results are processed online and sent via email. You will be guided by the Funding team on the way forward. In the current context, we are also sending and receiving back all contracts via email. Therefore, throughout the whole process and until it is safe to do so, there is no need for you to come directly to our offices.
Many creative practitioners, particularly those engaged as full-time self-employed and therefore fully dependent on income from the sector, have reached out to ask for assistance and guidance, particularly in relation to possible grants and schemes. Below are a summary of the questions mostly asked. In any case, feel free to get in touch directly on email@example.com or call t.23347227 for further information.
Q. How do I know whether I am eligible for the wage supplement?
A. You should, first of all, check your registration. You may do so easily via the Commissioner for Revenue website, Jobsplus or else through your eID. Those working in the creative sector are registered under NACE code 90 (Creative, arts and entertainment activities). Malta Enterprise has provided more information about the wage supplement here.
Q. Is the Wage Supplement a loan?
A. This is a grant and not a loan. Therefore you do not have to give the money back at any point.
Q. For how long is this measure going to be in place?
A. Government is currently monitoring the situation regularly and updating initiatives accordingly. Malta Enterprise will be taking its decisions regarding the scheme on a monthly basis. It obviously depends on a number of different factors, primarily on how long the Covid-19 pandemic is going to last.
Q. How do I apply?
A. Applications and guidelines are available as of Monday 30 March 2020 on the Malta Enterprise website: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/employee-wage-support/. You may also follow the Council’s online platforms for any updates.
Q. Is the wage supplement applicable to part-time employees in the creative industry?
A. Yes it is applicable. Malta Enterprise has provided information about who is eligible as well as the categories covered through this scheme here.
Q. What do I need to prepare before I start to fill in my application?
A. In the application, you need to include both your VAT number and your IBAN number. So make sure these are in hand.
You need to include your IBAN number for the simple reason that once the application is approved, Malta Enterprise will be transferring the money directly to your bank account.
Q. What is a NACE code?
A. In brief, a NACE code is a code given by the European Union to every activity. When you apply for a VAT number, the VAT department usually asks you to specify your activity. A number – the NACE code – is assigned to you, based on your reply.
Q. If I am listed under Annex A, what am I entitled to?
A. Each full-time employee/self-employed with a NACE code listed under Annex A, will be receiving EUR 800 (gross) per month. You will receive EUR800 minus the NI contribution. The rest of the amount is tax free. The NI will be paid directly to the Government by Malta Enterprise. In case your activity is not included in Annex A, but you still feel that the Covid-19 situation has drastically impacted your activity, then you have to make a case for this in your application and explain the situation. Malta Enterprise reserves the right to accept or refuse the application.
Q. Do I need to input my NACE code directly at any point in the application?
A. Once you input your VAT number, a NACE code will come up. This essentially means that when applying for your VAT number with the VAT department, you would have declared that this was going to be your main activity.
If you changed your activity in the meantime, you should have informed the VAT department. However, given the situation, Malta Enterprise is adopting a flexible approach allowing applicants to change the activity in the application and provide a justification for this. They will also be carrying out spot-checks to verify the information provided. Applications are subject to approval from Malta Enterprise.
Q. I work in the creative sector, but I am not registered under NACE Code 90. What should I do?
A. It is highly recommended to contact directly Malta Enterprise on t.144 to send an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What if I have different business activities registered under one VAT number?
A. In that case, Malta Enterprise will consider what you deem as your primary activity. By means of example, if 60% of your revenue is coming from performing and the rest from teaching, Malta Enterprise would still consider ‘performing’ as the primary activity.
Q. I recently changed my activity and am now a self-employed. I did inform the VAT department, but did not register as self-employed with JobsPlus. What do I do?
A. It is important that JobsPlus are informed about this change as soon as possible. Otherwise it might seem that you are still employed elsewhere and you might not qualify for such benefit. Visit the JobsPlus portal on jobsplus.gov.mt for more information.
Q. I am a public officer on a full-time basis and am involved in the cultural scene after working hours. Am I still eligible for this benefit?
A. No, if you still have a salary coming in then you are not eligible for the Covid-19 Wage Supplement.
Q. The application asks you to differentiate between a 100% loss of work, or (at least) a 25% loss. I am asked to measure this on the basis of the revenue during the same period in 2019. As a creative practitioner I have an irregular type of income. How should I make my case?
A. You would need to make a case in the application form. Provide information about how, for instance, your shows have been cancelled and provide documentation (such as emails) to prove this.
Q. I am involved in the education sector and I do not have a VAT number. What do I do?
A. Certain business sectors, such as the education sector, do not have a VAT number and the application form caters for this possibility. This obviously does not apply if you closed your VAT account.
Q. What if my performance has been postponed to next year and not fully cancelled?
A. In this case you still do not have income coming in this year, so you may still apply for the benefit.
Q. I am self-employed, and my income comes from two different types of sources. In this case do I fill-in two application forms?
A. No, there is still one VAT number so in this case you would need to submit one application form.
Q. As a foreign resident in Malta and a musician with a regular VAT number, am I entitled to the same support?
A. Yes, if you are a self-employed in Malta - and therefore your business is registered in Malta and pay your taxes here – then you still qualify for the scheme.
Q. Are the measures relevant to NGOs with a VAT number?
A. Yes, they are.
Q. If this same NGO employs people, is it still entitled to apply for the wage supplement for the employees?
A. Yes, the NGO would be entitled to apply.
Q. If an NGO is receiving some form of public subsidy towards the running of the organisation, how is this going to be taken into consideration?
A. If the income which this NGO is receiving from government or from another institution is covering all the costs, then they should not apply. But if, by way of example, the income which the NGO is receiving covers only five out of its ten employees, then the NGO may cover these other five employees and provide the necessary justifications.
Q. I am a student receiving a stipend and also work in the creative sector. Am I eligible to apply?
A. No, students receiving a stipend and pensioners are not eligible to apply for the Covid-19 Wage Supplement.
Q. What is the process once I submit the application? Will I be contacted directly?
A. If your NACE code is listed in Annex A, you will only receive an acknowledgement from Malta Enterprise and transfer of funds will start taking place around third week of April.
If you are not listed in Annex A but you still applied and included your reasons for applying then Malta Enterprise might need to contact you to verify the information provided. You will then receive a notification from their end, stating whether your application has been approved or otherwise.
Q. Are there other schemes I may tap into as a creative practitioner in this situation?
A. Yes, Malta Enterprise is managing other schemes such as, for instance, the deferral of payments of taxes. This is a measure which essentially addresses liquidity. It is a two-month deferral to enterprises, including the self-employed, to pay Provisional Tax, VAT and National Insurance Contribution on salaries. The full details of this scheme may be found here - https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/deferral-of-payment-of-taxes/
Other measures include the quarantine leave. Employers who have or had a member of their staff (including themselves) on mandatory quarantine leave in accordance with the directives of the Superintendent of Public Health are entitled to a one-off lump sum grant of €350.
More information as well as the application form may be found here - https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/quarantine-leave/
Malta Enterprise also launched another call to assist investment in teleworking facilities.
This call supports employers and self-employed individuals to invest in technology that enables teleworking and to partially cover the costs of teleworking solutions. More information may be found here: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/teleworking/
Q. Will Arts Council be providing other support measures?
A. Arts Council Malta’s priority is to support the arts and creative sector. Initiatives may be found here.
Need to talk about any situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic? Contact us on email@example.com or call us on t.23347201 for further information.
Need to speak to us about your funding project and would like to get in touch with your Fund Manager and / or Fund Executive? Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or on t.23347227.