Written by: Matt Mathiesen & Phuc Dang, CPA, CFP®
With news about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, people across the country have been wondering what might be contained in the almost 900 pages of legislation. While we can’t cover every provision of the new law, this post highlights some of the sections that will have the biggest impact for individual taxpayers.
Looking specifically at how the $560B dollar portion of the $2T dollar legislation will benefit individual taxpayers during this pandemic, here are the broad highlights for you to consider:
“Advance” rebate payment
An “advance” rebate payment of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under 17 will be sent out to households. There are income limits that will start phasing out the rebate base on your adjusted gross income and filing status.
These payments are based upon either 2019 (if already filed) or 2018 tax return data. If you don’t receive a rebate payment now due to high income on your prior return, you may still be eligible for a refundable credit on your 2020 tax return if you qualify based on your 2020 income.
You can find out more information about the rebate payment on the IRS website.
RMDs are no longer required for 2020
For individuals in their RMD stage – RMDs for all retirement accounts and Inherited IRAs are no longer required for 2020. You may be able to return already distributed RMDs (except from Inherited IRAs) taken within the last 60 days. There are specific steps required to ensure it is done properly, so be sure to consult your advisor.
Additional options to use retirement assets to help cover expenses
There are some additional options available to tap retirement assets to help cover expenses. It’s important to note, that some are only for Individuals impacted by the Coronavirus. This is someone who:
- Has been diagnosed with COVID-19,
- Has a spouse or dependent who has been diagnosed with COVID-19,
- Experienced adverse financial consequences from being quarantined, furloughed, being laid off, or having work hours reduced because of the disease,
- Is unable to work because they lack childcare as a result of the disease,
- Owns a business that has closed or operate under reduced hours because of the disease, or
- Meets some other reason the IRS decides is considered impacted.
Impacted individuals can withdraw up to $100,000 in 2020 with modified rules
- These distributions are not subject to 10% early distribution penalty or mandatory withholding.
- The taxes on these distributions can be spread evenly over three years.
- The distributions may be repaid to the retirement account within three years to reduce or eliminate the taxable income.
The retirement plan loan limit increased from $50k to $100k for all borrowers
- 100% of the vested balance can be used for the loan up to the $100k maximum.
- Payments on the loan can be delayed for up to 1 year.
Unemployment benefit changes
For individuals who are filing for unemployment, unemployment benefits now start in the first week of the claim. Unemployment Compensation is increased by $600 per week via federally funded dollars, for up to 4 months of claims. Unemployment Compensation is extended for 13 more weeks in addition to what one would normally be eligible for under state law.
Federal student loan changes
Required loan payments are suspended through September 30, 2020 and no interest will accrue during this period. The suspensions are not automatic; borrowers should contact their loan provider to pause payments.
The pandemic has caused financial hardship for many Americans, and the CARES Act is only the latest in what is sure to be an ongoing battle to help people and businesses get back on their feet. At Merriman, we are dedicated to staying on top of the ever-changing landscape to help your family make the best financial decisions. Please reach out to us if you would like to discuss how any of the above provisions may affect you.