PART 1: Relief for Individuals
The US Senate passed Phase 3 of the CARES Act late last night 96-0 and the House is expected to pass the CARES Act by a voice vote around 9:00am EDT Friday morning. This means the President could sign the Act into law as early as Friday. Here are some of the highlights of Phase 3 of the Act that will benefit individual Americans (a more complete breakdown of the relevant provisions can be accessed at the link below).
Recovery Funds for Individuals – Subject to certain income restrictions, each single adult will receive $1,200 ($2,400 for married individuals filing jointly). Additionally, families with dependent children under 17 will receive $500 per child. These funds begin phasing out for adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) and are phased out completely at $99,000(single) and $198,000(married). These numbers are based on your 2019 tax return (or 2018 if you haven’t yet filed your 2019 return). Funds will be paid via direct deposit or check from the IRS. Direct deposits could be available as soon as three weeks. Checks will likely take six to eight weeks.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – Similar to temporary disaster unemployment relief, this program will provide payments to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment, including the self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others unable to find a job as a result of the coronavirus emergency. An additional $600 per week for four months will also be included over and above whatever normal unemployment benefits your state provides.
Retirement Funds Access – the Act waives the 10% additional tax penalty for money withdrawn from qualified retirement accounts, up to $100,000. Any distribution would be subject to tax over three years and can be re-contributed to a retirement account within three years.
Charitable Donations – the Act allows for an “above the line” deduction up to $300 for contributions to churches & charitable organizations in 2020. Additionally, 100% of charitable contributions in 2020 to public charities can be deducted, up from 60% normally.
Consumer Protections – Creditors who agree to forbearance or modification of payments on debts must report the account as “current’ to the credit reporting agencies (assuming it was current prior to the accommodation). This extends to 120 days after the national emergency declaration ends. Foreclosures on federally-backed mortgages are forbidden for 60 days beginning March 18, 2020, and up to 180 days of forbearance will be provided for federally-backed mortgages. For 120 days from the passing of the Act, landlords with any federally-backed mortgages are prohibited from evicting or charging fees or penalties as a result of nonpayment of rent.
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In Part 2 we’ll discuss relief for small businesses.