The CARES ACT: What you need to know

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has passed several bills to try and help individuals, families, small business-medium sized businesses, all of whom have been majorly impacted by this global crisis. One of the most substantial bills, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), was also the most bipartisan bill. The CARES act includes a 2 trillion dollar stimulus package that was signed into law by the president.

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This bill has several tenants, and it’s important to go through at least some of them to understand what it’s passing could mean for people and companies who have been impacted by this pandemic.

Direct Payments

Firstly, any individual who is making an adjusted gross income of $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers) will be eligible to receive a 1200 payment ($2400 for joint filers) as well as a $500 payment for any children under the age of 17. There is no minimum income barrier to this, as long as a person is not dependent on another taxpayer and has a work-eligible social security number. This amount is phased out by $5 for every $100 over 75K and is fully phased out for anyone making an adjusted gross income of $99,000 (single) and $198,000 (joint filers) with no children or dependents.

Increased Unemployment Assistance

This bill also increases unemployment insurance by providing an additional $600 per week to individuals receiving unemployment benefits for up to four months. This provision also provides for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits (through December 2020) for any individual that remains unemployed after state unemployment benefits have ceased.

Delay In Tax Filling

The CARE Act pushed the date/deadline in which individuals have to file 2019 taxes from April 15 to July 15. The treasury department has also postponed the deadline for individuals making contributions to their IRA under the extended filing period.

Retirement Account Changes

The government is waving the 10% penalty on early withdrawal of retirement funds (up to $100,000) for some qualified retirement accounts that qualify for some form of COVID-19 relief. This does not mean that those holders won’t have to pay income tax, but it does allow them to pay those taxes over three years.

The new changes allow for an increase in the limit of a loan that an individual can take from a retirement account from $50,000 to $100,000 for 2020. It also waives the required minimum distribution (RMD) that are due either in 2020 or are expected in 2020 butt attributable back to 2019. Individuals who want to waive RMD requirements do not need to meet any other COVID-19 relief requirements.

Enhanced Benefits for Charitable Contributions

(this is good for nonprofits)

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The government has lifted certain restrictions on charitable donations aimed at ensuring people continue to contribute even during this challenging time.

For example – $300 deduction of cash donations regardless of whether an individual chooses to itemize their deductions.
For individuals who do itemize their deductions in regards to charitable giving, the usual limit of 50% of adjusted gross income has been lifted
For corporations, the 10% limit on charitable donations has been increased to 25% of taxable income.

Mortgage and Housing Assistance

This bill requires any federally backed mortgage lender to postpone mortgage payments if the borrower is currently experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardship. This postponement under these conditions must be granted for 180 days, with the option to extend for another 180 days.

There is a moratorium on Foreclosures starting on March 18, 2020, that prevents the servicer of any federally backed foreclosure loan from starting any foreclosure processes for at least 60 days.

There is also a prohibition on evictions by landlords who hold mortgages backed by any federal entity. This includes The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac and any other federal entity. These landlords cannot pursue eviction for their tenants for 120 days after the CARES Act goes into effect. These landlords also cannot charge late fees or penalties during this period if their tenants cannot pay their rent.

Small Business Assistance

The small-medium business has been especially impacted by this crisis. With many having to close their doors because of restrictions on movement, and some total facing shutdowns. There are provisions for small businesses in the CARES act; here are a few:

Much small business will now qualify for disaster loans to help them mitigate the wreckage from COVID-19, which is crucial as so many are losing so much in this chaos. People need to be able to make payroll, continue operations to whatever possible extent, or they will be forced into massive layoffs or possible shuttering.
Other benefits included are aspects like the employee retention tax credit, which is being awarded to a business experiencing total or partial shutdown due to COVID-19 who continue paying their employee’s salaries.
Also, the ability to delay payment of payroll tax is included.

Student Loan Help

Millions of Americans have student loan debt, and it can be crushing to pay back, but during a pandemic like this, it can get much much worse. With people with debt being laid off, entering into a possible recession, and everything else that is going on provisions for student borrowers is essential and essential. There are aspects of the bills that go towards helping student borrowers, though some would say it’s not enough.

Here are some of the provisions for borrowers:

Loan payment suspension: this applies to federally backed loans and will continue through September 30, 2020, with no interest being accrued or any penalties being applied through that period of suspension
There are additional provisions in the bill that allow for educational help. For example, allowing universities to pay students who were unable to complete work-study programs due to COVID-19.

Writer’s note:

These are the parts of the bill that I think are the most relevant to our readers, but if you’d like to read the entirety of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, I’m linking it here. → CARES Act

We are committed to helping ensure that nonprofits have the proper information about grants that have been made available as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our team is consistently updating this list to reflect any updates available.

Libby Hikind

Libby Hikind, began her grant writing career while working as a teacher in the New York City Department of Education. She wrote many grants for her classroom before raising $11 million for a Brooklyn school district. Throughout her professional career, she established her own grant writing agency in Staten Island with a fax newsletter for her clients of available grants. After retiring from teaching, Libby embraced the new technology and started GrantWatch. She then moved GrantWatch and her grant writing agency to Florida to enjoy her parents later years, and the rest is history. Today more than 120,000 people visit GrantWatch.com online, monthly.

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