Tax Planning Insights

Tax Planning Insights: January 2021


Happy New Year!

Another round of stimulus payments will greet many of you in January thanks to a new COVID relief package enacted by Congress in December. Read about who qualifies for these latest relief payments, along with other benefits appearing in the bill including an extension of unemployment benefits and more financial assistance for businesses.

Call if you would like to discuss how any of this information relates to you. If you know someone that can benefit from this newsletter, feel free to send it to them.Upcoming dates

  • January 15
  • 4th Quarter Estimated Payments Due
  • January 18
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Start tax filing for 2020
  • Organize filing records (W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, etc.)
  • Schedule tax appointment for drop off or meeting
  • Start tax planning for 2021
  • Create simple budget
  • Adjust withholdings
  • Rebalance investment portfolio

More COVID Relief on the Way

You could soon see another stimulus payment in your bank account with the recent passage of the Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, which means more direct relief to you and your family. Here are some of the major points you need to know that are buried inside this $900 billion piece of legislation.

Direct stimulus payments to you. The legislation includes a $600 payment per person, including adults and dependent children who are under age 17. Payments are based on your 2019 income and should start being distributed shortly, per Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The payment amount phases out for adjusted gross incomes over $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married couples.

Things to consider:

  • If your income in 2019 is over the phaseout threshold, but not over the phaseout threshold for 2020, you will have an opportunity to request the funds on your 2020 tax return.
  • Unlike the first round of stimulus payments in 2020, if you have someone in your household who is ineligible, you can still get payments for those individuals who are eligible.
  • If the number of adults or dependents in your household changed during the year, you will need to keep track of this and be prepared to issue corrections to ensure you receive the correct payment amount.
  • The payment mechanism in place for the initial 2020 direct stimulus payments should help facilitate distributions of this second round of direct stimulus payments.

Extension of unemployment benefits. Federal unemployment benefits of up to $300 per week are extended through March 14. Benefits for self-employed workers, set to expire at the end of 2020, are also extended.

Things to consider:

  • If you have not already done so, you must file for unemployment with your state.
  • These benefits also apply to self-employed and part-time employees. Many workers who were eligible for this unemployment earlier in 2020 did not file because this class of workers is typically not eligible for most state unemployment programs.

Deductibility of expenses paid with PPP loans. Businesses that received PPP loans and had them subsequently forgiven will be permitted to deduct the expenses covered by those loans on their federal tax returns. Much to the chagrin of the IRS, the recent bill clarifies that PPP loan forgiveness now means no tax impact due to the forgiveness. For example, if you used $100,000 of payroll in your application to get your loan forgiven, you can still deduct the payroll as an expense on your tax return.

New PPP loan funds. There is additional money available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a new round of PPP loans. The new loan program is targeted to businesses that need the funds. To qualify, your business must have 300 or fewer employees and have seen a drop in revenue of 25% or more during any quarter in 2020. Some of the money is earmarked for very small borrowers, underserved communities, and small lenders. There are even simplified requirements for forgiveness if the loan amount being applied for is less than $150,000.

Eviction moratoriums and rent assistance. The bill extends until January 31, 2021 a moratorium on evictions that was scheduled to expire at the end of 2020. The bill also includes $25 billion in emergency assistance to renters.

There is much more in this huge bill, including relief for hard-hit industries, education, student loans, and vaccine assistance. Please keep up-to-date as more is learned after a full review of the bill is made available.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your tax situation please feel free to call.