The federal government is committing $2 trillion to help stimulate the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An economic stimulus package, called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, cleared the U.S. Senate in the late hours of March 25 and was approved in the House on March 27. The president signed the bill into law later that same day.
Passage of the bill earmarks funds for businesses and individuals. In general, the bill authorizes emergency loans for distressed large businesses in certain industries, such as aviation, and includes various provisions for small businesses.
The bill creates and funds forgivable bridge loans for small businesses and commits additional funding for grants and technical assistance.
The legislation will provide an estimated $250 billion in rebate checks to the majority of Americans: Up to $1,200 for people filing individual tax returns and $2,400 for couples filing jointly, with additional $500 payments for each child claimed as a dependent.
Checks are expected to start being dispersed electronically as soon as April 6. Paper checks are expected to take several extra weeks more to deliver. Distribution methods are determined by 2019 tax return filing or the 2018 return for those who haven’t yet filed their tax return this year.
Rebates will be lowered by the amount of unpaid tax debts, according the legislation.
The Washington Post has a stimulus payment calculator on its website to give you an idea about how much of a rebate to expect.
Furthermore, the measure sets aside $150 billion for states and localities whose tax revenues will be affected by moving the tax filing date from April 15 to July 15. Another $130 billion will go to help hospitals and other health care providers that have been on the front lines helping test and treat people for the coronavirus, according to an analysis of the bill by the law firm FisherBroyles LLP.
The law firm says companies fully or partially prohibited from operating during the pandemic will be eligible for a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50 percent of employer wages. Additionally, the bill waives the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty for retirement fund distributions up to $100,000 made during calendar year 2020.
Employers also will be able to provide a tax-free student loan repayment benefit for employees up to $5,250. These payments would not count as part of a person’s income.
FisherBroyles says the bill will allow businesses to carry losses from 2018, 2019 and 2020 up to five years. Net operating losses temporarily would not be subject to a taxable income limit as well.
A summary of the bill on Congress.gov shows payments for federal student loans will be temporally suspended and provisions for campus-based aid will be revised. That applies to supplemental education grants, federal work study, subsidized loans and Pell Grants.
The Department of the Treasury also has the authority within the bill to temporarily guarantee money-market funds.
The CARE Act follows the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18.
That law brings changes for employers in the form of additional paid sick leave requirements and job protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Syndeo, an outsourced human resources provider, will continue to monitor regulatory changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
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