Stimulus Rebates: How Much Will You Get?
By now you have probably heard that the stimulus package (also known as Coronavirus Act, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act) has been signed into law. The purpose of the bill is to give Americans a financial bridge until quarantine measures are lifted and people are able to go back to work.
The final version of the CARES Act is long, and it will take accountants and financial planners weeks and months to sort out all the provisions. For now, here’s what you need to know.
Tax filing and payment deadline postponed to July 15
When it comes to individual and family tax returns for 2019, April 15th no more! The deadline for filing tax returns has been moved to July 15. There is no need to file an extension in order to take advantage of the postponed deadline.
However, you may still consider filing early. For example, if you expect a refund, filing your 2019 taxes as soon as possible will allow you to get that refund quicker.
Rebate checks are coming
As a part of the fiscal stimulus package, the CARES Act provides “Recovery Rebates” for individuals and families. This is the part that most people know about.
How much should you expect? It depends on your financial situation.
Individuals will receive up to $1,200, couples filing joint can expect up to $2,400, with an additional $500 per child. However, those numbers are adjusted depending on the adjusted gross income or AGI that you reported in 2018 or 2019 (the most recent year for which a filed tax return is available). If your AGI was over $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a couple, the rebate check will be reduced. Some people will receive no rebate at all.
One confusing thing about “Recovery Rebates” is that they are calculated based on the taxpayer’s 2018 or 2019 income tax return — but they are treated as a rebate against 2020 income return.
How does the rebate work?
The government will use 2018 or 2019 numbers to cut the initial checks. When the 2020 numbers become available, they will re-do the math. As a result, some people may get a smaller rebate (or no rebate at all) now, and another rebate later when the 2020 return shows that they “deserved” it.
In good news, if your 2020 tax return shows that you should have received less than what you actually received, the government won’t ask you to give the excess money back. So, once you receive the rebate check, you get to keep it.
What happens if you have had a life change since 2018?
Many people have had major life changes between 2018 and now. Some have lost their spouse or have gotten divorced. Young families may have had a child. And, of course, your reported adjusted gross income for 2018 may be higher than 2019 or 2020.
If that’s your situation, consider filing your 2019 return as soon as possible to communicate those changes to the IRS. There is a chance that they would then use your 2019 numbers to calculate the rebate. However, you need to know that these are estimated timelines and not a guarantee.
How will you get your rebate check?
If you are receiving Social Security benefits and qualify for a rebate, it will be direct-deposited into the same account. Same goes for those whose 2018 or 2019 tax return resulted in a refund that was distributed by direct deposit. All others will receive a check in the mail.
The timeline for those highly-anticipated checks is uncertain. According to the Treasury Department, it could be as soon as 3 weeks from the bill being signed into law (i.e. mid-April).
Stimulus Package: Beyond the Rebate
RMDs waived in 2020
If you were previously expected to take Required Minimum Distributions (or RMDs) from your traditional IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plans, those RMDs have been waived for 2020.So, if you don’t need this money, you can leave it in the account!
The CARES Act also eliminated any RMDs that would need to be taken during 2020. So, if you turned 70 ½ in 2019 and opted to push that first distribution until April 2020, you would normally have to take two RMDs in 2020. This year, because of the extraordinary circumstances, you get a pass on both.
One more note on the RMDs: If you have already taken your RMDs for 2020, you may be able to return them. Work with your accountant or financial planner on the mechanics of this, since the steps will be different depending on when you took the distribution.
IRA contribution deadline extended
The deadline to contribute to your Individual Retirement Account or IRA has been extended to match the Federal tax filing deadline (July 15). That means you have until July 15 to make your 2019 contribution.
No “early withdrawal” penalty
Under normal circumstances, the common advice is to contribute to your retirement savings accounts — and not touch that money until retirement.
However, these are not ideal times. Many families and individuals have suffered financial hardship because of the Coronavirus. Some have been sick. Others have been laid off or furloughed, experienced work hour reductions, or were unable to go to work because they had no access to childcare.
If that is the case for you, you may qualify for a Coronovirus-Related Distribution from an IRA or a 401(k).
That means you would be exempt from paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty. You would skip the mandatory 20% Federal withholding. You would also be eligible to repay the distribution back into the retirement savings account over the next 3 years.
By default, any income from the early withdrawal would be distributed among 2020, 2021, and 2022. However, you could elect to include the whole distribution in your 2020 income (which may make sense if your overall income for the year is lower than usual). However, you should talk to us before making this election.
So, in summary:
- Many families will receive a rebate check.
- The amount of the check will be based on your latest reported adjusted gross income (2018 or 2019).
- Some individuals and families should consider filing their 2019 taxes as soon as possible, especially if they are expecting a refund, or if reporting 2019 income could potentially result in a bigger refund payment.
- The CARES Act is a historic emergency relief program. CPAs and financial planners will spend the coming months pouring over the Act, as any change in tax law can potentially create planning opportunities.
- Work with us to fully understand how the new law will affect you.
We are here to help you better understand how the CARES Act will apply to your personal situation.
Have a great weekend!
Source: M. Kitces
Golf Tip of the Week
Yes, You Can Hit Long Irons Well
Many amateurs pick rescue hybrids over long irons, thinking that long irons are difficult to hit. In reality, they are not. Try these tips for better long iron play.
Do a half-swing drill on the range. Take half-swings with a long iron: in terms of the swing arc, think nine ‘o’ clock to three ‘o’ clock. Gradually, work your way up to a full swing, which will be easy. You see, when you hit a long iron correctly, your full swing will be shorter than it will be with a driver; at finish, your hands should be about shoulder high. Got that down? Then proceed to this. Put a ball on grass and a tee in the ground about 2 inches in front of it. As you swing, try to cleanly contact the ball and strike the tee immediately afterward. This drill encourages you to strike at the ball, not swoop at it as you might with a hybrid.
Tip adapted from BuzzinGolfi
Recipe of the Week
Violet’s Blueberry Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (additional flour for pan, etc.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 stick salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 cups blueberries, rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Lightly butter a pan and dust with flour.
- Whisk flour and baking powder; add cinnamon and set aside.
- With mixer, beat butter on medium-high for 2 minutes.
- Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Add eggs, one at a time.
- Beat until well blended.
- Stir in the lemon zest.
- Mixing on low, add dry ingredients, and beat until smooth.
- Pour batter into pan.
- Dress and mix berries with flour and lemon juice, then spoon over batter.
- Bake on middle rack for 45 to 55 minutes.
- Check with toothpick, cool in pan for 10 minutes, and release from pan with a knife.
- Dust cake with powdered sugar.
Recipe adapted from simplyrecipes.comii
Health Tip of the Week
Spring into Spring Cleaning
As the flowers begin to bloom, many of us feel inspired to revive our living spaces from the gloom of winter, especially during this period of social distancing. Spring cleaning is a familiar and even pleasant concept to most, but the thought of purging all our unnecessary clutter can be a bit daunting. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Make a list of cleaning tasks. Cleaning stains and dust from the doors, ceilings, walls, etc. Vacuuming, shampooing, washing, or waxing your floors. Steam-cleaning upholsteries. Washing windows. Dusting furniture and other surfaces.
- Then take it room by room. Assess what needs to be accomplished and focus on brainstorm ways to organize more efficiently.
- Don’t forget outside your home. Take advantage of spring days to clean and organize your garage, patio, sheds, and other outdoor spaces.
Springtime is a great opportunity to assess our surroundings and transform them to better serve our needs.
Tip adapted from MarthaStewart.comiii
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The articles and opinions expressed in this newsletter were gathered from a variety of sources, but are reviewed by Ballentine Capital Advisors prior to its dissemination. All sources are believed to be reliable but do not constitute specific investment advice. In all cases, please contact your investment professional before making any investment choices.
Securities through Triad Advisors, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services through Ballentine Capital Advisors, Inc. Triad Advisors and Ballentine Capital Advisors are not affiliated entities.
i BuzzinGolf.com, March 27, 2020
ii Simplyrecipes.com, March 27, 2020
iii Marthastewart.com, March 27, 2020