In one of his first major moves in office, President Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act - a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan meant to extend, renew and implement relief for those affected by COVID-19.
Below is a breakdown of some important components to this legislation, including what business owners, families and struggling individuals may need to know.
Similar to previous relief bills, eligible American taxpayers will be receiving direct stimulus payments of $1,400 as part of the new bill. Similar to previous checks, those with incomes up to $75,000 will receive $1,400 payments, while families with children will receive $1,400 per dependent. Married couples with an income of $150,000 or less will receive $2,800.
The Treasury is directed to issue this credit as an advance payment (Economic Impact Payment) based on the information on 2019 or 2020 tax returns. This credit will be reconciled on the 2021 tax return. Taxpayers who are married to undocumented residents will be able to receive the stimulus payments.
There will be a phase-out and income cap for individuals and couples who make more. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $80,000 will receive a lesser amount, with those making above $80,000 receiving no stimulus payment. The same applies for couples earning between $150,000 and $200,000 - with $200,000 being the cap.
For more information and to determine if you qualify for a stimulus payment go to: Kiplinger Stimulus Calculator
Child Tax Credit
Special rules for 2021 include an expansion of the credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per eligible child under age 18 ($3,600 per child under age 6). The fully refundable credit, with 50% of the credit issued as advance periodic payments starting in July, will be reconciled on the 2021 tax return.
For 2021, the increased credit amount (additional $1,000 or $1,600 per-child in excess of the present-law $2,000 per-child) begins to be phased-out at $75,000 ($150,000 for MFJ) and surviving spouse and $112,500 for head of household). Once the increased credit amount is reduced, the credit plateaus at $2,000, and the phaseout begins at $200,000 ($400,000 for MFJ).
Starting in July, the Treasury will issue advance payments of the child tax credit based on 2019 or 2020 tax return information. The Treasury is tasked with establishing an online portal to allow taxpayers to opt out of receiving advanced payments and provide information regarding changes in income, marital status and the number of qualifying children for purposes of determining each taxpayer’s maximum eligible credit.
For more information and to find out if what your child tax credit advanced payment and credit will be in 2021 go to: Kiplinger Child Tax Credit Calculator
Earned income credit
For 2021 only, the bill expands the eligibility and the amount of the earned income credit (EIC) for taxpayers with no qualifying children. The maximum credit amount for childless people will increase from $543 to $1,502. For 2021, taxpayers can use their 2019 income if it was higher than 2021.
The bill also includes permanent changes, allowing a married but separated individual to be treated as not married for purposes of the EIC if a joint return is not filed and the individual lives with a qualifying child for more than half the year. Individuals who otherwise would be eligible for EIC, but whose children do not have Social Security numbers, are now permitted to claim the childless credit. The disqualified investment income limit has increased from $3,650 (2020) to $10,000 and will be adjusted for inflation.
Eligible unemployed individuals may continue receiving an additional $300 in federal unemployment benefits through early September 2021.
Small Businesses & The PPP
Overall, the bill allocates around $50 billion toward assisting small businesses affected by COVID-19.
The Paycheck Protection Program will receive $7.25 billion, but the new legislation does not change the PPP’s end date of March 31, 2021. Bars, restaurants and entertainment venues heavily impacted by the pandemic will also be eligible to receive grants from the government.
Low-income communities have been some of the hardest hit financially during the pandemic. In response, the government will be allocating $15 billion toward Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advanced Grants. Eligible businesses in low-income communities may be able to receive up to $10,000 each.
Employee Retention Credit
The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) will be extended through the end of 2021. With this refundable tax credit, business owners may claim up to $7,000 per employee per quarter.
2020 tax-free unemployment benefits
The bill provides a $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit through Sept. 6 and also makes the first $10,200 of unemployment payments nontaxable ($20,400 in the case of a joint return, but only $10,200 per spouse) in 2020 for households earning less than $150,000.
Retroactive advanced premium tax credit
An individual can receive an advanced premium tax credit (APTC) to lower their monthly health insurance payment (premium). If at the end of the year they have received more APTC than the credit allowed based on final household income, the taxpayer does not have to pay back the excess when filing their 2020 federal tax return. For those who have already filed their 2020 return, we are waiting for guidance as to how to get the refund.
COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution & Testing
Similar to previous legislation, a portion of the American Rescue Plan will designate funding for COVID relief. Around $15.05 billion will go toward vaccine production and distribution, while $50.8 billion will go towards testing, contact tracing, genome sequencing and global health response initiatives.1
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will receive a portion of the funds as well.
State & Local Government Assistance
States, tribal governments and cities will receive $350 billion in federal assistance.
In addition, this legislation includes a $10 billion infrastructure program to help local government continue capital projects.1
FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program
FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program will receive $510 million to support initiatives for homeless and struggling families including:1
- Shelter and meals
- One month’s rent
- Mortgage assistance
- One month’s utility payments
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Attune Financial Planning. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information only.