You heard about $2 trillion the feds decided to helicopter into American pockets. And the $1,200 “stimulus checks.” Maybe it’s just a coincidence it’s an election years and thousands of voters are dying from a bug that go loose.
Whatever you figure is going on, there’s free money in them thar hills.
Some of those dollars just might have your name on it.
“Pandemic Unemployment Compensation” and “SBA Paycheck Protection” are just two of the biggest examples. Oh, right: there also is those “Stimulus Checks” (and, what if you get overpaid?)
Here’s a thumbnail summary with contacts and links.
But if you’re going for it, do not delay. If a deal works for you, you will not be the only one in line. The money will run out. And there’s a stampede to claim just getting going.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
Plenty of people are out of work, sheltering at home. Compensation for those who lost jobs and income is the idea here.
The big change in the law is making self-employed people eligible for benefits. It is a major change.
Two other major changes are a big deal too.
1. Benefits pay an additional $600 per week on top of what state unemployment pays.
2. Benefits last 13 weeks longer, beyond the standard half year (26 weeks).
Practically anything connected to Covid-19 gets people the benefits. On top of the usual unemployment comp reasons, people qualify if:
1. An employer temporarily cases operations due to Covid-19; or
2. You get quarantined and expect to go back to work after that’s over; or
3. You leave employment due to risks of exposure or risk of infection or to care for a
Kentucky and Indiana have ditched 7-day waiting periods for benefits. So benefits will be paid saying he first week anyone is eligible.
Individuals whose hours have been reduced are eligible for partial benefits.
People who think they’re eligible should contact their state office ASAP. There already are record numbers of claims being filed, even though information on the benefits still is being rolled out.
Indiana’s office and forms are at https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Indiana_Unemployment_FAQ.pdf. Forget calling.
Agents are lining up for it.
SBA Paycheck Protection
Potentially forgivable business loans are being handed out through the new Paycheck Protection Program through the SBA (Small Business Administration).
It provides assistance for maintaining payroll, covering overhead such as rent and utilities, and interest on mortgages, for an eight-week period. Loans can cover up to 2.5 times your average “payrll costs” for the 12 months from April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. Details are still being worked out. But the idea is that the loans will be forgiven if the loans are used for those specified purposes.
Eligible business need to apply as quickly as they can. There is a funding cap.
On April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can begin applying.
On April 10, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can begin applying.
Anyone interested in applying should contact their local lender to make sure they are participating and to find out what information they will require. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.
The SBA website covering the Paycheck Protection Program is https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp.
General U.S. Dept of the Treasury information is at or https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses and https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP–Fact-Sheet.pdf.
The application is at or https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Application-3-30-2020-v3.pdf.
Won’t fly if you have more than 500 employees. Not much of a problem for Kentucky brokers, agents, or home inspectors.
Everybody that earned anything (under $99,000) is supposed to get a tax-free “”Stimulus Check” of at least $1,200 in the next week or two, as you’ve probably heard.
There has been less news about problems with how the amount will be calculated. That’s basically out of your hands.
Taxpayers filing jointly get $2,400 and families get an extra $500 for each child. The exact amount is calculated based on 2020 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) – but using 2019 tax returns to speed up getting the money out. You can see the manufactured problem.
But here is the important zinger. Accountants have been told that a taxpayer will be allowed to keep “any excess stimulus check that a taxpayer received because of a larger 2020 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) than 2018 AGI or 2019 AGI” – and that money also will be tax free.
If a taxpayer does not receive a large enough check, they will be able to claim the difference on 2020 tax returns as an estimated payment toward their 2020 taxes.
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE!
These are just key highlights.
The new laws include considerably more tax spices, such as:
Employee Retention Tax Credit — a refundable payroll tax credit up to 50% f wages for businesses hit by revenue declines of 50% or more due to the virus.
Payroll Tax “Holiday” for employers, allowing employers to defer paying 50% of the employer part of Social Security taxes owed through Dec. 31, 2020. That means the second half of those employer Social Security taxes are not due until Dec. 31, 2022.
Self-employed taxpayer also can elect to defer 50% of the self-employment tax that normally would be owed, as above.
And, of course, most federal, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio income tax deadlines have been pushed back from April 15 to July 15, 2020, with penalties eliminated. However, Kentucky will charge interest on taxes delayed after April 15 as things now stand – something the Kentucky Society of CPAs and others are working with legislators to change.