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Three Ways Congress' Stimulus Bill Could Provide Some Quick Relief to You and Your Family

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, fewer and fewer aspects of life, if any, remain untouched. Some of the more severe effects have begun to personify by way of names and faces of friends and family members who are anxiously contemplating how they can pay their rent or mortgage, make a student loan payment, or even buy groceries for the next week while being out of work either temporarily or permanently. Last week, in hopes of providing some source of stability to a country that’s experienced such a swift, sharp economic decline, Congress passed the largest stimulus package in United States history, spreading two trillion dollars in relief efforts across state and local governments, public and private institutions, and businesses and individuals. While this post highlights just a few of the package’s short-term impacts, you should also consider its long-term impacts on your financial plan by reading our related post entitled “Today's Impact on Tomorrow: Key Financial Planning Considerations from the COVID-19 Stimulus Package”.

Government Payments

  • Non-taxable payments will be made to millions of eligible Americans. No set date has been established for the payments, but it could be as early as within the next few weeks, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
  • Payment amounts are determined by your adjusted gross income (AGI) and tax filing status from the most recent tax year (2019) and, possibly, the current tax year (2020). Refer to the graphic for more details.
    • Single with an AGI of $75,000 or Less – $1,200
    • Head of Household with an AGI of $112,500 or Less – $1,200
    • Married Filing Jointly with an AGI of $150,000 or Less – $2,400 (per couple)
  • Payment amounts decrease for those with AGIs exceeding certain limits and are completely eliminated for individuals with an AGI of $99,000 or more and married couples with an AGI of $198,000 or more.
  • Dependents are ineligible for payments, and college students between the ages of 18 and 24 are also ineligible unless they provided more than half of their own support or were over the age of 24 in 2019. However, eligible individuals and couples could also receive an additional $500 per dependent.
  • Those who have already filed a tax return for the most recent tax year are at an advantage from a time standpoint because the IRS should already have the information for your bank account into which it will deposit the payment.

For More Information: "Coronavirus Stimulus Payments: When Will They Be Sent and Who Is Eligible?" from the Wall Street Journal

 

Taxes

  • The official federal tax filing and payment deadline for the most recent tax year (2019) has been moved from April 15th to July 15th of this year. However, the extended deadline is still October 15th. You don’t need to submit a form to utilize the new deadline.
  • The deadline for contributing to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs) for tax year 2019 has been moved to July 15th.
  • If you elected an automatic withdrawal of your tax payment to occur on April 15th, you can change the date of your payment. If you’d like to cancel your payment, contact the IRS Payment Service at 1-888-353-4537 by 11:59 PM EST at least two business days before your payment is due.
  • Some states, like Tennessee, have also extended their filing and payment deadlines, but not all states have done so. Refer to your state’s official website to see if a change has occurred.
  • The IRS is still processing tax returns during this time. If you want to receive your tax refund before the new deadline, you file your taxes early.

For More Information: Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers from the IRS

Student Loans

  • Most direct loans, or student loans issued by the federal government, are eligible for emergency forbearance for six months, meaning payments will be suspended and, in this case, interest will not accrue until September 30th. Contact your loan servicer to determine if your loans are eligible and if forbearance on them will be applied automatically or by request.
  • Forbearance does not impact your credit score. However, late payments do impact it. If you choose to suspend your payments, the likelihood of forgetting to make them when the suspension ends increases, so be mindful of staying current.
  • If you’re able to comfortably continue making payments on your student loans, emergency forbearance is an opportunity to pay down principal more quickly and, as a result, pay less in interest over the life of your loans.
  • Some employers offer partial or entire student loan repayment as a benefit for their employees. If this is something your employer does, they can provide you with up to $5,250 by the end of the calendar year without it being included in your income. Note that there are limitations if your employer is paying tuition for classes you’re taking as an employee, so speak to your employer to determine how much you could be eligible to receive, which you could use to repay your loans.

For More Information: "How to Get Student Loan Relief During the Coronavirus and Beyond" from NerdWallet

The opinions expressed are those of PYA Waltman’s Investment Team. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Forward looking statements cannot be guaranteed.
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