COVID-19 Resources

CARES ACT APPROVED

( Information courtesy of  California Tax Boutique, All rights reserved.)

Earlier today, the President signed into law the CARES ACT.  This email will provide a few highlights of the Act.  Please understand this was just signed today, so we do not have all of the details yet.  Information, processes, and procedures are being put into place and we will provide updated information as received.

2019 file and pay deadline for IRS and California has been extended to July 15th  You do not need to file an extension unless you believe you cannot file until October 15th.

WE DO NOT HAVE ANY GUIDANCE REGARDING CHANGING OR ADDING DIRECT DEPOSIT FOR PAYMENTS AT THIS TIME.

CARES ACT HIGHLIGHTS: 

  1. Businesses may apply for SBA loans that may not have to be repaid. This could mean free money for your business.  Please see the link to apply: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/apply-for-disaster-loan/index.html
    • Businesses can defer paying payroll taxes.
    • Employers are eligible for a 50% refundable tax credit up to $10,000 on wages paid during the crisis.
  2. Individuals may qualify for recovery rebates.
    • $1,200 refundable tax credit for individuals and $2,400 for joint taxpayers.
    • $500 for each child, under the age of 17.
      • Dependents such as parents or older children do not qualify.
    • Phase-out income limits:
      • $75,000 for single
      • $112,500 for head of household
      • $150,000 for joint
    • The advance rebate will be based on the 2019 return if filed.  If not, they will use the 2018 tax return.
    • If you receive social security or social security disability and did not file a return, you still qualify.
    • If a taxpayer is eligible for a larger rebate (based on lower-income in 2020), they will receive the additional rebate on their 2020 taxes.
    • The advance rebate is a refundable tax credit, it is not considered taxable income.
    • You still qualify if you owe back taxes.
    • The payment will not affect any aid benefits.
  3. There will be a $300 partial “above the line” charitable tax deduction.  This means that even if you do not itemize, you can still take a deduction against your taxable income for $300 of donations in 2020.
  4. Up to $100,000 can be taken penalty-free from a retirement account.
  5. Certain employer payments of student loans on behalf of employees are excluded from the employee’s taxable income.  Employers may contribute up to $5,250 annually towards employee’s student loans.   The business will be able to take a deduction for this contribution.  *This does not apply for an S-Corp shareholder who owns more than 5% of the company.*
  6. Unemployment now includes an additional $ 600-week payment to each recipient for up to four months and extends benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors, and those with limited work history.
    • Self-employed individuals now qualify to take a credit for “sick time.”
  7. RMD’s can be deferred
  8. Federally back mortgage payments can be deferred.
  9. Installment Agreement payments will be suspended between April 1st and July 15th.  However, interest will accrue on any unpaid balances.
  10. The deadline for IRA and HSA contributions has been extended to July 15th.

WHAT IF I HAVE NOT FILED FOR 2018 OR 2019?

If you have not filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, contact a tax professional many are still offering remote preparation for clients.  If you want more information or you have questions please call a tax professional to discuss your specific tax situation.

(Above information courtesy of  California Tax Boutique, All rights reserved.)

 

Survival Guide/Life Kit

( Following information is from NPR Article Life Kit )

 

The federal government is throwing $2 trillion at the coronavirus problem. Banks and other lenders are doing things to assist people on top of that. Here’s your survival kit for how to get the help that’s available and be in the best financial shape possible as you weather this storm.

Who Can Qualify For Unemployment Benefits

Listen to Life Kit

This story comes from Life Kit, NPR’s podcast with tools to help you get it together. Listen to the podcast episode at the top of the page or find it here.

The good news here is almost everyone qualifies who has lost their income because of the virus outbreak. The Labor Department says, “unemployment insurance programs provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own.”

And the rescue package dramatically expands who is “eligible.”

Gig workers like Uber drivers, self-employed people, freelancers and contract workers should all be eligible for benefits if they are unable to work because of COVID-19.

You apply for benefits through your state’s website. State-specific details will be available there, too. There’s been so much demand that sites have been crashing, and phone lines have had long wait times. But hang in there and keep trying. Nearly 3.3 million people were able to file in a single week, and states say they are staffing up to help more people. We have more advice on how to file for unemployment benefits here.

How To Skip Payments On Your Mortgage, Auto Loan And Credit Cards

The federal government is ordering mortgage companies to allow people who have lost their job or income to make reduced payments or to skip payments. To qualify, you need to have suffered a financial hardship related to the coronavirus outbreak that makes you unable to meet basic living expenses. (This includes lost work because of all the business shutdowns. You don’t need to have fallen ill or be caring for a sick family member.)

This order covers the vast majority of existing mortgages. On top of that, many lenders say they are offering similar assistance for many other types of loans.

“We have assistance that includes refunds on fees, deferred payments, and at the same time, no negative credit bureau reporting,” says Holly O’Neill, chief client care executive at Bank of America. “And this is across our products, deposit accounts, credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and small business loans.”

But you can’t just stop paying your bills!

You need to call your lender. If you’re a homeowner, for example, you call the company that you normally send your mortgage check to every month. You tell them you are having a financial hardship because of the coronavirus and you need to make reduced payments or skip payments and be put into what’s called a forbearance plan. Some lenders will let you do this online because call wait times can be long.

But be sure to ask what the options are for you when this forbearance period ends. You will need to make those missed payments. So the best option for most people will probably be to just extend the term of the loan by the number of months that you skipped payments while in forbearance.

For example, if you skipped three mortgage payments, your loan term would just extend three months longer and you’d make those payments many years down the road if you have, say, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. If your mortgage company wants to raise your payment as part of a repayment plan, push back and ask if extending the term of the loan a few months is an option to keep your payment the same as it was. Get it in writing.

For half the loans in the country, those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, lenders are required to give you an option that does not raise your monthly payment.

Likewise with auto loans, credit cards, etc., make sure you understand the terms that you are agreeing to. In most cases you should not be paying any extra interest or fees since the goal is to help people financially during a time of national crisis.

Trim Spending All You Can

You want get to the other side of this widespread business shutdown as financially intact as possible. And even with the biggest rescue package in history enacted by Congress, if you’ve lost your job, you still won’t have as much money coming in the door as usual. Plus, it can take two to three weeks after you file to receive your first unemployment check, even in normal times.

“I kind of just went through everything that normally gets charged on my card and canceled it,” says 25-year-old Angelica Rico in Southern California. She lost her job as a digital marketing specialist. “Spotify, you know, canceling Amazon orders, deferring my student loan.”

And she says, for food, “basically a lot of pasta, a lot of rice and beans. I have an Instant Pot, so I can live on rice and beans for a while.”

What Can Renters Do?

One good thing to do if you’ve lost your job and you’re a renter is to talk to your landlord. Mortgage companies are being told to offer flexibility to landlords, too, if their tenants can’t pay rent as a result of the outbreak. If you have a mom-and-pop landlord with just a few rental units, they may not even realize this. They could call their lender and see if there’s a way for them to let you skip some payments if the landlord could do the same.

Not that you’d want it to come to this, but in many areas evictions have been suspended because the government doesn’t want people being put out of their homes when we are all supposed to be social distancing to stem the spread of the virus.

What If I Lose My Health Insurance?

One major goal of the rescue package from Washington is that by making furloughed workers eligible for unemployment benefits, employers will be willing to keep workers technically employed and getting health benefits, even if the business can’t afford to keep paying workers.

This way workers can have an income from unemployment benefits and keep their employer-sponsored health plan. But, if you do lose your health insurance, there is the normal myriad of options. One is to pay out of pocket to keep your old benefits through what’s knows as COBRA, but that can be expensive.

You can look into whether you qualify for Medicaid. And also, losing your job is considered a life event that enables you to enroll in your state-level health care exchange system set up under the Affordable Care Act.

Are you asking for a break on mortgage, rent or other bills? NPR wants to hear from you.

The audio portion of this story was produced by Andee Tagle.

(Above information was taken from  NPR Article Life Kit )

( If you are working/employed and you can afford to make your payments you should continue to do so as it will create a greater hardship on our overall economy and make it more difficult to recover from this pandemic and possibly forcing us into a recession its import for us to all work together so we can a quickly a possible return to a normal life.)

 

Useful Links and Tools…

  1. Apple COVID-19  Phone App

  2. Apple COVID-19 Resource Page

  3. EDC Health and Human Services EDCCOVID-19
  4. Johns Hopkins Cronavirus Resource Center
  5. S.3548 – CARES Act Bill

  6. EDD’S Unemployment Calculator 

 

Charitable Organizations

Disaster Loan Assistance

My SBA Call results: Traci Biaz _ California Tax Boutique www.DoesMyTaxes.com
1. Anyone that applied BEFORE the streamlined app, does not have to apply with the NEW streamlined app UNLESS they want the $10,000 advance.
2. You could see the $10,000 in your account without being contacted by anyone.
And the rep said, they have heard nothing about running out of money and the $10,000 being first come first serve, get it or it’s going to be gone.
3. Money may be 3 days could be longer to see it in your account.
4. $10,000 is an advance, they don’t want to say FREE, but it kinda is.  Even if you are not approved.
5. HUGE for me!  Combined Annual Operating Expenses for 12 months is for EVERYONE, not just Non-Profits like I thought.  The supervisor thinks the language should be changed.
6. Email notifications could take 24 hours or more to say the application has been received and in review.
Here are the link to the site first one is to the programs (the $10K)