Sunday, 29 March 2020
On March 27 the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis related to COVID-19.
This $2 trillion bill is meant to impact both individuals and businesses and contains significant tax-savings measures. It could affect prior tax years while also creating immediate cash-flow.
Impact on Individuals
Perhaps the most impactful provision for American citizens is the CARES Act’s promise of cash payments of up to $1,200 per single individual and $2,400 for a married couple. Parents will also receive an additional $500 per qualifying child. Payments are phased-out for individuals with incomes greater than $75,000 and for married couples filing jointly with income greater than $150,000.
Provisions are such that payments will be based on 2018 tax returns, though, like the Affordable Care Act’s tax premium credit, there is a true-up related to the amount for which you are eligible on your 2020 tax return. Nonresident aliens, dependents and estates and trusts are not eligible for a stimulus check.
Retirement Plan Rules
Since this bill aims to generate more access to cash, it loosens retirement fund rules. In particular, it waives the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 for coronavirus-related use. It also allows for the federal income tax on such distributions to be paid over a three-year term. Finally, these distributions can be contributed back into the retirement fund within three years with no impact on that year’s contribution limit.
The CARES Act also adds flexibility regarding loans from certain retirement accounts when used for coronavirus-related needs. The loan maximum is now the lesser of $100,000 or 100 percent of the accrued benefit. Repayment is also now delayed.
Friday, 27 March 2020
As I sit here in my home office looking out at so many beautiful plants just beginning their gorgeous annual blooming ritual, I am reminded of the new awakening we Americans are experiencing. Americans have a long history of pulling together when needed, from 9/11 to numerous world military conflicts and now to the global COVID-19 virus pandemic. Amid the drumbeat of constant bad news these days there are also many good things happening--one just has to look around a little.
Tuesday, 17 March 2020
We are facing something we have never faced before in our lifetimes. That is a fact and, in a time, when the news of the pandemic is spreading and the recommendations on social distancing are getting broader by the day, it can be hard to feel certain or safe about anything.
As troubling as it is to watch the unprecedented market decline and as hard it is to tune out the fact that you know you are losing a lot on your investments, we need to maintain our health and the health and safety of our family, friends and neighbors as the number one priority. Covid-19 which emerged late in 2019 in China has spread rapidly worldwide since then and is a global pandemic. The measures taken by leaders around the globe have been drastic leaving most children without a classroom to go to, parents working from home or without a job altogether and investors panicking about what is to come.
This disruption to daily life and to our psyches is substantial and it’s terrible. The coming weeks will not be easy, but these measures are practical and prudent.