As you know, Congress recently passed a massive new stimulus bill that was enacted into law on December 27, 2020. Most of the public’s attention has been focused on the bill’s authorization of additional stimulus checks, new PPP loans, and other aid targeted to struggling businesses.
But Form 1040 American taxpayers who are not in business are struggling as well. The stimulus bill contains a hodgepodge of eight new or extended tax breaks intended to help Form 1040 filers.
None of these tax breaks are earthshaking by themselves, but together they add up to a nice tax present for COVID-19-weary Americans.
Here are the eight new tax breaks that can help you:
Did you miss out on your prior opportunities to receive tax-free PPP cash?
Many did miss out. Why? One reason: the word “loan.” Who wants a loan? No one. Well, almost no one.
But who wants a tax-free cash gift? If you do, read on for the details. But first, you should know that the big picture works like this:
New Money on the Table
The new COVID-19 stimulus act sets aside $35 billion for first-time PPP applicants, with $15 billion of that made in loans for first-time applicants with 10 or fewer employees or made in amounts less than $250,000 to businesses in low-income areas.
The new deadline of March 31, 2021, replaces the expired deadline of August 8, 2020.
The monies available in this new round of PPP funding are on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t procrastinate. Get your application for your first-time PPP monies in now.
If you would like to discuss the PPP, please contact us!
If you received an initial PPP loan, you can qualify for a second round (called a “second draw”) of tax-free PPP money.
To qualify for the second-draw PPP money, you must
The mechanics of the second-draw PPP loan amount follow the rules that apply to the original (first-draw) PPP loan, with some modifications. The overall limits work as follows:
During a period of your choice, beginning eight weeks from the origination date of the loan and ending 24 weeks after the origination date, you must use 60 percent or more of the monies for defined payroll in order to achieve 100 percent forgiveness.
Expenses that can qualify for forgiveness include the following:
And finally, keep these three thoughts in mind:
If you would like to discuss this second draw opportunity, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Sixty-one million adults and over 12.6 million children in the United States have some type of disability.
If you have a disabled or blind child or other family member, or are disabled or blind yourself, you should know about ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act) accounts. These tax-advantaged accounts can be a real game changer for the disabled.
Ordinarily, a disabled person who receives government benefits can have only $2,000 in cash or other countable assets. This can make it impossible for disabled people to save money for emergencies, buy a house or car, or take a vacation.
This is where ABLE accounts come in. Contributions to ABLE accounts up to certain levels are not counted for purposes of means-tested programs for the blind and disabled. Disabled people can have up to $100,000 in an ABLE account without losing Social Security disability benefits.
Contributions to ABLE accounts are not deductible for federal income tax purposes, but the money in the account grows tax-free. Withdrawals are also tax-free if made for a variety of living- and disability-related expenses.
Up to $15,000 in total can be contributed to an ABLE account each year. Contributions can come from the disabled beneficiary, from family, and from friends. Disabled people who work can put in an additional amount limited to the lesser of their compensation or $12,490 in 2021.
A total amount of $300,000 to $500,000 can be deposited into an ABLE account, depending on the state. There is only one real drawback to ABLE accounts: they are available only for people who became blind or disabled before reaching age 26. This eliminates the majority of the disabled.
ABLE accounts are run by the states. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have them. You don’t have to set up an account in the state where you live, and it can pay to shop around.
By the way, if you have a special needs trust, you can keep it. An ABLE account can be set up in addition to a special needs trust.
If you have any questions or need my assistance, please contact us!
Good news: the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) law enacted with the stimulus package adds dollars to your pocket if you have or had PPP money.
Note that the PPP money comes to you in what appears to be a loan. We say “appears” because you typically pay back a loan.
Done right, however, the PPP loan is 100 percent forgiven. The word “loan” makes some businesses leery of this arrangement. Don’t be. The PPP monetary arrangement is a true “have your cake and eat it too” deal.
And this remarkable deal applies to your past PPP loan, the PPP loan you have outstanding, and the PPP loan you are about to get if you have not had one before. Here are the details:
Loan Proceeds Are Not Taxable
The COVID-19-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 reiterates that your PPP loan forgiveness amount is not taxable income to you.
Expenses Paid with Forgiven Loan Money Are Tax-Deductible
As you may remember, the IRS took the position that expenses paid with PPP loan forgiveness monies were not deductible.
Lawmakers disagreed but were unable to get the IRS to change its position. The IRS essentially told lawmakers, “If you want the expenses paid with a PPP loan to be deductible, change the law.”
And that’s precisely what lawmakers did. The COVID-19-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 states that “no deduction shall be denied, no tax attribute shall be reduced, and no basis increase shall be denied, by reason of the exclusion from gross income.”
In plain English, the expenses paid with monies from a forgiven PPP loan are now tax-deductible, and this change goes back to March 27, 2020, the date the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted.
There’s more to this, of course. If you would like my help with your PPP loan or simply would like to talk about it, please contact us!
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Spencer Accounting Group, LLC does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations in these blogs. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.
Keana Spencer is an Accountant, Entrepreneur, and Educator to her clients, with a strong passion. Keana has over 10 years of experience and through her practice, she is a source of knowledge and strategies to her clients.