Biden Signs COVID-19 Relief Package
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Some of the tax-related provisions include the following:
- 2021 Recovery Rebate Credits of $1,400 for eligible individuals ($2,800 for joint filers) plus $1,400 for each eligible dependent. Credit begins to phase out at adjusted gross income of $150,000 for joint filers, $112,500 for a head of household, $75,000 for other individuals. The IRS has already begun making advance refund payments of the credit to taxpayers.
- Exclusion of up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation from income for tax year 2020 for households with adjusted gross income under $150,000.
- Enhancements of many personal tax credits meant to benefit individuals with lower incomes and children.
- Exclusion of student loan debt from income, for loans discharged between December 31, 2020, and January 1, 2026.
- For tax years after December 31, 2026, the $1,000,000 deduction limit on compensation of a publicly-held corporation’s covered employees will expand to include the five highest paid employees after the CEO and CFO. The rule in current law applies to the CEO, the CFO, and the next three highest paid officers.
- For the payroll credits for paid sick and family leave: The credit amounts are increased by an employer’s collectively bargained pension plan and apprenticeship program contributions that are allocable to paid leave wages. Also, paid leave wages do not include wages taken into account as payroll costs under certain Small Business Administration programs.
The president is conducting a nationwide tour to explain and promote the over 600-page, $1.9 trillion legislation.
Many of the 158.5 million American households eligible for the payments from the stimulus package can expect to receive them soon, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the same afternoon Biden signed the legislation into law. Payments are coming by direct deposit, checks, or a debit card to those eligible.
FTC: Beware of Scams
Scammers are right now crawling out from under their rocks to fleece businesses and consumers receiving the aid, the Federal Trade Commission warned on March 12.
It is important for business owners and consumers to know that the federal government will never ask them to pay anything up front to get this money, said the FTC: "That’s a scam. Every time." The regulatory agency also cautioned that the government will not call, text, email or direct mail aid recipients to ask for a Social Security, bank account, or credit card number.