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You’ve probably seen it all over the news that Congress just approved a new $1.9 Trillion (yes, that’s with a “T”!) COVID-19 stimulus package. But the biggest question is what exactly is in this new relief package and how is it different from the ones passed in 2020? And more importantly, how can this provide additional relief and assistance to small businesses in the wedding industry?
While we are still waiting on full details of the new stimulus package to be released, here are some of the key items for so many folks need to be aware of:
Help for Businesses
- Restaurants: Restaurants get some much needed relief in the new law, which establishes a $28.6 billion “revitalization fund” for them. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide grants of up to $5 million each to reimburse restaurants for revenue lost due to COVID-19. Stay tuned and check the SBA and Treasury websites as more details are released about the application program and eligibility for these grants.
- Live Venues: The new stimulus package also provides $1.25 billion earmarked for grants to certain live event venues (like theatres, live performing arts organizations, and museums). This adds on to the higher amount allocated in the December 2020 relief package, which still hasn’t opened applications yet. Like the restaurant relief, details on how to apply for these grants will likely be released by the SBA in the coming weeks.
- Additional PPP Funds: Adds $7.25 billion to be used for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), though it does not extend the program past the existing end date of March 31, 2021. If you think you want to apply for the PPP before that date, contact your lender ASAP to learn how to apply. If you already took out a PPP loan, don’t forget that you will need to provide documentation to apply to have it forgiven.
- Forgivable Economic Injury & Disaster Loans (EIDL) for Low-Income Communities: The new law also adds an additional $15 billion in EIDL funding to be distributed in forgivable $10,000 grants, specifically targeted to communities in certain income brackets. Visit the SBA website for more information on how to apply.
Help for Individuals and Families
- New, Bigger Stimulus Checks: The new stimulus package includes up to $1,400 direct payments to people making under $80,000 individually (or $160,000 as a married couple). Above $75,000 individual income (or $150,000 for married couples), that amount decreases gradually. Those with dependent children will also get up to another $1,400 per child.
- Extended Unemployment Benefits: State unemployment benefit checks will keep being $300 per week more than usual until September, a measure that was first introduced in the December stimulus package. The new law also waives federal income taxes on the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits received in 2020 by individuals who made under $150,000/year.
- Significant Tax Relief for Certain Households: The law includes some major tax relief provisions for families up to certain income levels, including:
- Higher Child Tax Credits: This stimulus package will temporarily increase the existing child tax credit. Right now, eligible people with children under 17 get up to a $2,000 credit per child when they file their federal income taxes. For 2021, they’ll get as much as $3,600 for children under 6, and $3,000 for children 6 to 17. This added amount phases out above $75,000 individual income ($150,000 for married couples).
- Direct Payments of Child Tax Credits: Not only is the child tax credit higher, you now also won’t need to wait until you file your taxes to get the money. Beginning in the second half of 2021, the IRS will advance this credit through direct payments to eligible people in installments.
- Other Tax Relief: The stimulus package also increases the child and dependent care tax credit and the earned-income tax credit for workers without children for 2021. If eligible, these credits get paid out to you when you file your taxes.
We recommend you consult with your tax advisor (<— I’m free 🙂 ) to see how these tax relief measures could help you and your family.
- Healthcare Relief for Unemployed: For those who’ve lost their jobs during the pandemic and were eligible to apply for the federal health insurance program COBRA, the federal government will fully cover COBRA premiums until September 2021.This helps people pay for much needed healthcare coverage during this time.
Information on COVID-19 relief measures is changing rapidly, and full details of the new law are still being released. Check the U.S. Treasury and SBA websites, and with your legal, financial and tax advisors regularly for the most up-to-date information.