Below is a top-level summary relating to the CARES Act. This is applicable to you, your family, and your finances. We will be following up with additional resources when available.
Direct Cash Payments/Recovery Rebates¹
- The bill provides a $1,200 cash payment for individuals which represents a refundable tax credit for 2020 ($2,400 for joint taxpayers).
- Taxpayers with children will receive a flat $500 for each qualifying child under 16.
- The rebate phases out at adjustable gross income of $75,000 for singles, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for joint taxpayers at 5 percent per dollar of qualified income, or $50 per $1,000 earned. It phases out entirely at $99,000 for single taxpayers with no children and $198,000 for joint taxpayers with no children. A family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.
- The rebates would not be counted as taxable income for recipients, as the rebate is a credit against tax liability and is refundable for taxpayers with no tax liability to offset.
- Everyone must have a valid Social Security number.
- You cannot get payment if you are claimed as a dependent.
- Internal Revenue Service will transfer the money via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has within 3 weeks.
- 2019 or 2018 tax returns will be used to calculate the rebate advanced to taxpayers, but taxpayers eligible for a larger rebate based on 2020 income will receive it in the 2020 tax season. Taxpayers with higher incomes in 2020 will see the overpayment associated with their rebate forgiven. For example, a single taxpayer with $100,000 in 2019 income would not receive an advance rebate but would receive the $1,200 credit on their 2020 return if their income for the year fell below the phase-out.
- This credit is one-time, but policymakers may consider additional rebates if the downturn is prolonged.
- For calendar year 2020, individuals will not have to take an RMD for IRAs or 401(k)s.
- 10 percent early withdrawal penalty is waived on retirement account distributions up to $100,000 for taxpayers facing virus-related challenges.
- Withdrawn amounts are taxable over three years, but taxpayers can recontribute the withdrawn funds into their retirement accounts for three years without affecting retirement account caps.
- Eligible retirement accounts include individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401Ks and other qualified trusts, certain deferred compensation plans, and qualified annuities.
- For 180 days after 3/27/20 and with certification that an individual has been affected by the pandemic, the individual will be able to take out a loan of up to $100,000 from a qualified employer plan.
- Also, an outstanding 401(k) loan that is due to be paid back on or before 12/31/20 has repayment term extended for 1 year.
Small Business Support3
- Paycheck Protection Program- $350 billion is allocated to help small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) impacted by the pandemic and economic downturn to make payroll and cover other expenses from February 15 to June 30. Notably, small businesses may take out loans up to $10 million—limited to a formula tied to payroll costs—and can cover employees making up to $100,000 per year. Loans may be forgiven if a firm uses the loan for payroll, interest payments on mortgages, rent, and utilities and would be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year and a 25 percent or greater reduction in employee compensation. Click here for further Q&A
- Small Business Debt Relief Program- The program will provide immediate relief to small business with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504 and microloans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on the SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the President signing the bill into law. Click here for further Q&A
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants- These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits impacted by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Click here for further Q&A
- Delay of payment of Employer Payroll Taxes- This provision would allow taxpayers to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Payroll taxes that can be deferred include the employer portion of FICA taxes, the employer and employee representative portion of Railroad Retirement taxes (that are attributable to the employer FICA rate), and half of SECA tax liability. Note: Deferral is not provided to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.
- $454 billion in emergency lending to businesses, states, and cities through the U.S. Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund. Additionally, this includes $25 billion in lending for airlines, $4 billion in lending for air cargo firms, and $17 billion in lending for firms deemed critical to U.S. national security. Firms taking loans must not engage in stock buybacks for the duration of the loan plus one year and must retain at least 90 percent of its employment level as of March 24, 2020. Loans also come with terms limiting employee compensation and severance pay for firms taking loans.
- Expanded unemployment insurance (UI) for workers, including a $600 per week increase in benefits on top of the state benefit for up to four months.
- The bill provides for federal funding of UI benefits to those not usually eligible for UI, such as the part-time workers, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and those with limited work history.
- People who are furloughed or must self-quarantine are covered by the legislation.
- Workers who receive paid sick leave or paid family leave are not covered.
- The federal government is incentivizing states to repeal any “waiting week” provisions that prevent unemployed workers from getting benefits as soon as they are laid off by fully funding the first week of UI for states that suspend such waiting periods.
- Many states provide 26 weeks of benefits. The federal government will fund an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 after workers have run out of state unemployment benefits.
- Tax filing deadline has been moved to July 15.
- IRS will not charge interest or penalties on taxes owed.
- Estimated payments have not been postponed yet and are due 6/15/20.
- The emergency legislation will allow an above-the-line deduction for cash contributions up to $300 for filers taking the standard deduction for 2020.
- The legislation allows donors to deduct 100% of their charitable gift against 2020 adjusted gross income but only for cash gifts to a public charity excluding donor-advised funds.
- State filing deadline- please check with your local tax advisors. While it’s likely to match the IRS deadline, you’re advised to confirm to avoid an issue.
- State Tax Filing Guidance for Coronavirus Pandemic
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHA) has instructed mortgage servicers to allow borrowers whose mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to delay payments.
- This forbearance program allows for a mortgage payment to be suspended for up to 12 months due to hardship caused by the coronavirus.
- For more information : FHFA Coronavirus Assistant Information
- Federal housing officials have also announced a nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium for borrowers of Fannie or Freddie mortgages, or borrowers whose loans are backed by the FHA including foreclosures in progress.
- To find whether Fannie or Freddie hold a mortgage, homeowners can search: Find Out Who Owns My Mortgage
- The bill puts a temporary, nationwide eviction moratorium in place for any renters whose landlords have mortgages backed or owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other federal entities.
- This will last for 120 days after the bill passes, and landlords also cannot charge any fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent.
- Other resources for renters: JustShelter.org – Community Resources
- Some utility companies have pledged not to terminate services to residential or small business for 60 days.
- For list of companies: FCC.gov – Keeping Americans Connected
Paid Family and Medical Leave8
- Available to qualified workers who are unable to work because they need leave to due to care for their child because the school or day care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
- Workers will be paid not less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, up to $200/day and $10,000 over the benefit period. The first 10 days taken may be unpaid, but the employee may use other paid leave during that period, if available.
- Duration of leave is up to 12 weeks, which includes job protection as required in the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Employee must have worked for the employer for at least 30 days. Employees shall provide the employer with such notice of leave as is practicable. An employer of an employee who is a health care provider or emergency responder may elect to exclude such an employee.
- Applies to private businesses with < 500 employees and all public employers. Exemption for small businesses with less than 50 employees may be available.
Paid Sick Leave9
- Paid Sick Leave Act protects an employee who is unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because the employee is:
- subject to quarantine or isolation order,
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns, or
- is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- Benefit is employee’s regular pay, up to $511/day and $5,110 over the benefit period.
- Other qualified reasons for paid sick time leave include an employee who is unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because the employee is:
- caring for an individual who is subject to quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns,
- caring for their child if their school or day care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable, due to coronavirus precautions; or
- is experiencing “any other substantially similar condition specified by” the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.
- Benefit is two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, up to $200/day and $2,000 over the benefit period.
- An employee shall be entitled to paid sick time of 80 hours for full-time employees and an amount equal to the average number of hours such employee works over a 2-week period for part-time employees.
- Paid sick leave is available for immediate use and does not require a waiting period or accrual.
- Employers may not require, as a condition of providing such paid sick time, that the employee involved search for or find a replacement employee to cover the hours during which the employee is using paid sick time.
- Applies to private businesses with < 500 employees and all public employers. Exemption for small business with less than 50 employees may be available.
- An individual tax credit for qualified sick leave and family leave for self-employed individuals in the amount of $200 a day (or $511 for emergency paid sick leave for own quarantine or seeking own medical diagnosis) or 67% (or 100% for emergency paid sick leave for own quarantine or seeking own medical diagnosis) of average daily pay for self-employed individuals over the permitted duration, whichever is less.
- Private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP must cover detection and diagnosis of Covid-19 without cost-sharing, without meeting deductible and without prior authorization.
- All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% and payments are suspended until 9/30/20.
- Borrowers will get notices in the mail regarding the suspensions.
- Private student loan lenders like Sallie Mae and Navient may be offering waivers and should be contacted.
- If a borrower’s income has fallen dramatically, it may be better to enter an income driven repayment plan.
- Employers can provide up to $5,250 in student loan aid and it will not be counted as part of the employee’s income.
- Employers are eligible for a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit on wages paid up to $10,000 during the crisis. It would be available to employers whose businesses were disrupted due to virus-related shutdowns and firms experiencing a decrease in gross receipts of 50 percent or more when compared to the same quarter last year. The credit is available for employees retained but not currently working due to the crisis for firms with more than 100 employees, and for all employee wages for firms with 100 or fewer employees.
- Payroll tax credits for qualified sick leave wages and family leave paid by an employer shall be allowed in the amount of benefits paid (not to exceed the limits identified above for pay) over the permitted duration.
- Employer-side Social Security payroll tax payments may be delayed until January 1, 2021, with 50 percent owed on December 31, 2021 and the other half owed on December 31, 2022. The Social Security Trust Fund will be backfilled by general revenue in the interim period.
- Firms may take net operating losses (NOLs) earned in 2018, 2019, or 2020 and carry back those losses five years. The NOL limit of 80 percent of taxable income is also suspended, so firms may use NOLs they have to fully offset their taxable income.
- Firms with tax credit carryforwards and previous alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability can claim larger refundable tax credits than they otherwise could.
- The net interest deduction limitation, which currently limits businesses’ ability to deduct interest paid on their tax returns to 30 percent of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), has been expanded to 50 percent of EBITDA for 2019 and 2020.
- The excise tax applied on alcohol used to produce hand sanitizer is temporarily suspended for tax year 2020.
- Aviation excise taxes are suspended until January 1, 2021. We estimate this will reduce federal revenue by about $8 billion in 2020.
Information relating to states located near the metro NY area
New York Legislation
- Public and private employers with at least 100 employees are required to provide 14 days of paid sick leave.
- Tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended to July 15
- Sales tax payment deadline is not extended, but late payment fees are waived.
4Sec. 2102. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance., Sec. 2104. Emergency increase in unemployment compensation benefits., Sec. 2105. Temporary full Federal funding of the first week of compensable regular unemployment for States with no waiting week.