Economic relief for individuals in 2020

The resources below are based on official information provided by the U.S. federal government about COVID-19. Additional information for individuals, households and families with children is provided here. 

The $2 trillion federal economic relief bill, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in late March 2020 is aimed to help American workers and businesses impacted by the coronavirus epidemic. Families of our scholarship students should benefit from this. Highlights of the bill for individuals and families are below.

The bill includes several elements aimed at helping keep people engaged in the economy. That means direct cash for many, plus expanded unemployment benefits and new rules for things like filing your taxes and making retirement contributions.

Cash Payments: 
Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400.

The checks start to phase down after that and disappear completely for people making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000. However, unemployment benefits may be available for individuals affected by job loss.

RELATED:  See how our students -- and families -- are learning online from home >

Cash Payments for People Who Don't File Tax Returns: 
As part of the federal stimulus program, the government is providing "Economic Impact Payments" to non-filers. Many low-income, homeless qualify (HERE)

The Internal Revenue Service reminds low-income Americans to use the free, online tool Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here to quickly and easily register to receive their Economic Impact Payment. The IRS has recently released a new Spanish language version of the tool to help even more Americans get their money quickly and easily.

Unemployment Benefits:
The bill also boosts the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week for four months. Unemployment benefits also extend to self-employed workers, independent contractors and those with limited work history. The federal government will provide temporary full funding of the first week of regular unemployment for states with no waiting period and extend unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 13 weeks through December 31, 2020 after state unemployment benefits end. More information about unemployment benefits can be found here.   

Tax Filings:
The deadline to file 2019 tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020, for both federal and Kansas state income taxes. The proposed recovery rebates will use 2019 tax returns (2018 if the taxpayer has not filed in 2019) to determine the advanced rebate amount and reconcile the rebate based on 2020 income. This means that taxpayers who receive a smaller rebate than they are eligible for based on 2020 income will receive the difference after filing a 2020 tax return, but overpayments of rebates due to a higher income in 2020 will not be clawed back.

Employers are eligible for a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit on wages paid up to $10,000 during the crisis. The credit would be available to employers whose businesses were disrupted due to virus shutdowns and those that had a decrease in gross receipts of 50 percent or more when compared to the same quarter last year. The credit can be claimed for employees who are 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.

Charitable Donations -- they're deductible again!
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act will let taxpayers deduct up to $300 in charitable donations from their taxable income. The rule will apply only to charitable contributions made in 2020. Taxpayers will be able to claim the deductions on their tax forms next year. The law also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. For corporations, the bill raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent. Food donations from corporations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap.  Learn more. 

Sources: MarketWatch, The Tax Foundation, NPR, The Hill, Natl. Council of Nonprofits

Additional resources for schools are available here.

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