Where the Heck is My Check?

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I started posting morning Livestreams on my Facebook group to answer questions related to the CoronaTax Act. Wow, how the Livestreams has grown!

Catch up now by go to https://web.facebook.com/groups/649184332531811/ Group.

The main questions all have to do with, “Where’s my check?”

There are 4 main programs that the Coronavirus Aid, Rescue and Economic Stimulus Act set up that would provide cash to Americans. 

#1: Economic Stimulus

The Economic Stimulus program will provide $1,200/adult and $500/dependent, subject to certain limitations. We originally heard that the checks would be delivered within 3 weeks. It was 3 weeks on 4/10/2020 and we’re getting some spotty reports of direct deposits. The IRS has stated privately that there will be more direct deposits made by Wednesday, 4/15/2020. We’ll start seeing paper checks mailed in 2-3 weeks, but they cautioned that it will take 5 months to completely roll out the Economic Stimulus checks. 

What do you need to do to get a direct deposit or check?

The IRS will first look to see if you filed in 2019. If not, they’ll look to see if you filed in 2018. And if not, they’ll look to see if you have an SSA-1099 (for SS pension) or RRP-1099 (for Railroad pension). If you meet one of those and they have your direct deposit info, they’ll direct deposit the money.

Well, kind of.

If your income is over the income threshold (single – $75,000, married filing jointly $150,000), the amount you get phases out.

If you have anyone on your tax return who doesn’t have a SS number, you won’t get anything for that person. (If you filed a joint return with someone who had an ITIN instead of a SS, you may need to file married, filing separately to get the econ stim check).

You only get credit for dependents under the age of 17.

If the IRS doesn’t have your current info or your circumstances change dramatically in 2020, you can catch it all up when you file your 2020 return. 

This is NOT a loan you have to pay back. There is no reason not to take the money. If you didn’t get your money yet, it could be because they don’t have your current direct deposit info, it could be because they don’t have a return for you, it could be because your 2018 or 2019 income was higher so it phased out or it could be that you’re just at the bottom of the list for receiving the check. 

Basically, you’ll just have to wait. And, I know, that can be the hardest thing to do right now especially. 

The IRS announced that they will put a portal on their web page to for you to upload your direct deposit info on 4/17/2020 if they don’t already have that yet. 

#2: Unemployment. 

If (and that is a big if) you meet the requirements for getting this additional CoronaTax benefit, they will be added to your ongoing unemployment checks. If you are/were laid off due to the Coronavirus, and again, the big if, you will receive state unemployment from March 28th or the first day you’re laid off whichever is later, plus $600/week for 4 months. 

The additional $600/week starts after 3/28/2020 or the day you stopped working, whichever is latest.

Now what if you’re self-employed? The self-employed group, also includes people who are just partially employed or haven’t worked for the 16 weeks usually needed to qualify to claim unemployment, 1099 workers, independent contractors, gig workers and the like.  People in this group also need to meet the other requirements to receive CoronaTax benefits. 

If you’re self-employed, you can also claim unemployment. Most likely your benefit will the be the lowest weekly amount set in your state plus $600. The $600 federal part will run for 17 weeks.

The biggest challenge here is that the states simply weren’t set up for such a massive change in how they administer unemployment payments. Their websites need big programming changes. They are short staffed due to coronavirus themselves and they are facing more unemployment claims then they ever have seen before. 

You have to wait. Just like the economic stimulus checks. You have to wait.

The additional federal money program runs until 7/31/2020. 

#3 Payroll Protection Plan (PPP)

The PPP program was designed to help for employers keep employees employed, with a little piece carved out for self employed persons.

At this point, you have to make a decision. As a self-employed person, are you an employee? (and filing for unemployment) Or, are you a business owner, and filing to cover your salary?

You can’t file for both at the same time.

Could you file for PPP, run the money out and then file for unemployment? Perhaps. Just remember there are time limits on all of these programs.

PPP has barely started to issue the first few loans. They have a huge backlog. Once you get the money, you have 8 weeks to spend it on salary and a few other approved items.

If you do that, then the amount you spent up to $10,000 is a tax-free grant. You don’t have to pay it back. Of course, you need to spend in accordance with the plan guidelines.

Let’s say you did that, and then applied for unemployment. Maybe you’d have time. It’s hard to say how fast this will all roll out.

You have to file for PPP by 6/30/2020. It is administered by lenders who are required to only make the loan to existing clients.

You need a satisfactory credit score and an existing business bank. Some banks also require that you already have some kind of credit established with them. You may have time to open a business bank account and get an associated credit card in time to meet this requirement.

You are allowed 2.5 times average monthly salary in a loan. What you spend up to $10,000 in the first 8 weeks is forgiven.

#4: Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) 

The EIDL is administered by the SBA and so far, seems to be a disaster itself. The rules have been changed by SBA and/or the Senate Banking Committee from what the CARES Act originally said.

EIDL is a loan that you can apply for to help your business if it has been specifically damaged by coronavirus. The deadline is 12/6/2020. The amount you can received is based on the amount you have been damaged and your business’s ability to repay. It’s up to the discretion of the SBA. 

CARES said that once you applied you would get up to $10,000 in an advance that could become a tax-free grant. They had to give you the money within 3 days.

People applied by the score and then, crickets. 

Nothing. No money. No acknowledgement. Nothing. 

Then, rumors started leaking that SBA and/or the Senate Banking Comm had changed the rules for the advance. In what seems like most substantial rumors now, the advance is limited to $1,000 per employee, up to $10,000.

That means most solopreneurs won’t be able to get anything.

We don’t know now if a self-employed person can apply for both an EIDL loan and Unemployment.

With all this going on, in the midst of a major economic downturn, it’s hard to have to wait for checks. But that’s what is happening.

We’re entrepreneurs. We’re used to uncertainty. We’ll get through this together.

There are plenty of tax breaks in the CARES Act that we will be talking.

The checks will show up when they show up. Let’s move forward. 

My book, “CoronaTax: Free Money! New Opportunities!” will be available by mid-April 2020 at USTaxAid.com. Tax law has been turned on its ear again. Are you getting everything you should? 

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