The IRS is mailing all recipients of Economic Impact Payments a Notice 1444 that provides information about the amount of their payment, how the payment was made and how to report any payment that wasn’t received. If you’ve already received your economic impact payment, you’ve probably already received this document too. This notice was issued from The White House and looks more like a letter than a traditional IRS notice, but the notice number is in the upper right of the heading, just below the date.
For security reasons, the IRS mails this notice to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the payment goes out. Don’t discard this notice, as you may need it when your 2020 tax return is prepared. The economic impact payment is actually an advance payment of a refundable tax credit based upon your 2020 tax return. In order to get the money into people’s hands during the time of the greatest need, these payments generally were made based upon each individual’s 2019 return, or in some cases their 2018 return.
COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of American businesses, but perhaps none have been as severely affected as small business owners. Surviving this disaster will require more than just time: you will need to take a pragmatic view of what has happened and what steps you are willing and able to take in order to bounce back. Here are our suggestions:
In the face of the global pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis it has spurred, the federal government has taken several steps to protect small business owners. One of the most notable of these steps is the offering of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which are being trumpeted as forgivable loans. Though the loans are indeed forgivable, the requirements for forgiveness are not as broad as many borrowers originally thought.
As of Tuesday, April 21st, the Senate has passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPP & HCE Act), a $484 billion package which will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. It is anticipated that this bill could pass the House as early as Thursday, and President Trump is expected to sign it into law soon after.
If you are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 epidemic, you will be happy to know Congress, as part of the CARES Act enacted on March 27, has made it easier for you to access your retirement funds during this emergency.
Normally, withdrawals from traditional IRAs and qualified plans such as 401(k)s, self-employed pension plans (SEPs), tax sheltered annuities (TSAs), etc., are taxable when withdrawn and subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty if withdrawn before you turn age 59½.
For the rest of 2020, you will be able to tap those accounts for up to $100,000 and avoid the 10% penalty, although the distributions will still be taxable. To qualify, you, your spouse or a dependent must have been diagnosed with either SARS-CoV-2 or the COVID-19 virus or have been quarantined, lost your job, had your hours reduced or are unable to work due to lack of child care. To ease the taxes on these distributions, you can choose to have distributions taxed 1/3 in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Or, if your income is very low in 2020, it might be better to tax a distribution entirely in 2020. That is a decision that can be made when you file your 2020 tax return. You also have the option of paying the distribution back over a three-year period.