Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act – Part 1: Individuals

On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed the $2 trillion Stimulus Bill formally known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security [CARES] Act (the “CARES Act”) to provide assistance to workplaces and employees. The CARES Act provides many benefits intended to deliver cash into the hands of individuals and businesses, as well as many other tax provisions.

In this blog we will highlight the major provisions applying to individuals.  Click here for our blog on provisions for businesses.

Immediate Cash Payments To Individuals

To get cash assistance promptly delivered to individual taxpayers, qualifying taxpayers will receive one-time cash payments of $1,200 for individual taxpayers or if married, $2,400 for married couples.  An additional $500 may be paid for each qualifying child.

These amounts are subject to reduction if the individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) exceeds $75,000 for an individual taxpayer; $112,500 for head of household; or $150,000 for a married couple. Nonresident alien individuals and a person who is the dependent of another are ineligible to receive the payment.

The cash payments will be based on the most recent tax information available to the IRS looking at a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return filed and if it has not yet been filed, then the taxpayer’s 2018 tax return filed.  So if you haven’t filed taxes yet for one of those years, now is a good time.

The Treasury Department is expecting to get these checks out to qualifying taxpayers around the third week of April 2020.

Keep in mind that if your 2020 tax return will reflect an AGI higher than the above applicable threshold, you should expect to pay back at least some or perhaps all of the cash payments you received under the CARES Act.

Retirement Funds

Be aware of the following significant changes to retirement plan payments and loan rules:

  • Required Minimum Distribution rules for qualified plans and individual retirement accounts are suspended for 2020. This avoids taxpayers having to sell retirement plan assets when they are likely at depressed values.
  • Coronavirus-related distributions of up to $100,000 can be made with the related income tax payable over a three-year period. Additionally, the amount can be recontributed back to plan over a three-year period without affecting that year’s contribution limits.
  • Loans can be taken from a qualified plan for coronavirus-related purposes up to the lesser of $100,000 or 100% of the individual’s accrued benefit.

Incentive For 2020 Charitable Contributions

Be aware of new provisions encouraging charitable contributions:

  • Up to $300 of charitable contributions can be taken as a deduction in calculating AGI for the 2020 tax year. As this is an “above the line” deduction, even those taxpayers who do not itemize will receive a tax benefit.
  • For the 2020 tax year, a taxpayer can elect to disregard the 50% AGI limitation on deductible contributions.

Employer Payment of Student Loans

Certain employer payments of employee student loan amounts made before January 1, 2021, whether paid to the employee or the lender, can be excluded from income as an Educational Assistance Benefit.

Click here for COVID-19 Tax Relief measures instituted by the IRS in “The IRS People First Initiative” that can benefit you.

What Should You Do?

You know that at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. we are always thinking of ways that our clients can save on taxes. If you are selected for an audit, stand up to the IRS by getting representation. Tax problems are usually a serious matter and must be handled appropriately so it’s important to that you’ve hired the best lawyer for your particular situation. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), Los Angeles (including Long Beach and Ontario) and elsewhere in California are highly skilled in handling tax matters and can effectively represent at all levels with the IRS and State Tax Agencies including criminal tax investigations and attempted prosecutions, undisclosed foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, and unreported foreign income. Also if you are involved in cannabis, check out what a cannabis tax attorney can do for you.  And if you are involved in crypto currency, check out what a bitcoin tax attorney can do for you.