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The CARES Act

March 31, 2020
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The CARES Act
A summary of this historic relief program.

In response to the unfolding COVID-19 global pandemic, the United States Congress introduced and President Trump has signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion emergency fiscal stimulus package, in order to help ease the effects of the resulting economic damage, caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Following is a summary of this historic act.  This does not include every detail of the Act, but instead will provide you with a summary of what is included.

Recovery Rebate

The CARES Act provides a refundable income tax credit against 2020 income of up to $2,400 for married couples filing a joint return. Other filers begin with a refundable credit of up to $1,200. The credit amount is increased by up to $500 for each child a taxpayer has under the age of 17.

Thus, a single taxpayer with one young child would be eligible for up to a $1,200 + $500 = $1,700 refundable credit, while a single taxpayer with two young children would be eligible for up toa $1,200 + $500 + $500 = $2,200 credit.

A married couple, on the other hand, with one young child and who file a joint return, would be eligible for up to a $2,400 + $500 = $2,900 credit, while the same couple with four young children would be eligible for up to a $2,400 + $500 + $500 + $500 + $500 = $4,400 credit.

As a taxpayer’s income begins to exceed their applicable threshold, their potential Recovery Rebate Payment (their credit) begins to phase out.

The applicable AGI threshold amounts are as follows:

Married Joint: $150,000

Head of Household: $112,500

All Other Filers: $75,000

So, if your income falls within these AGI threshold amounts, you will receive a Recovery Rebate.  If not, you will not participate in this rebate.

Recovery Rebate Payments

The initial amount paid will be based on either a taxpayer’s 2018 or 2019 income tax return (whichever is the latest return that the IRS has on file), while it will ultimately be ‘trued up’ if a taxpayer is owed money based on their actual 2020 income.

In other words, Congress is going to ‘front’ taxpayers an estimated amount based on their 2018/2019 incomes, but if the 2020 return shows they really ‘deserved’ it, they will get it after all, albeit much later.

The individuals most negatively impacted by Congress’s choice to process the Recovery Rebates this way are those taxpayers who had high income in 2018/2019, but who have since been laid off, furloughed, or had their incomes substantially decrease for other reasons. In such situations, individuals may have a genuine need for income at this very moment. And while they won’t ultimately benefit from the Recovery Rebate until April of 2021 (or whenever they file their 2020 return), that is of absolutely no use to them today.

Example: Georgia is a single taxpayer with no children who made $150,000 as a boutique travel agent in 2019, the most recent year for which a tax return is on file with the IRS.

Unfortunately, in early February of 2020, after making just $8,000 for the year, she was let go and has been unable to find new employment.

Suppose that Georgia is not re-employed until July, and ultimately makes ‘just’ $45,000 in 2020. Given these set of facts, Georgia is actually eligible for a $1,200 Recovery Rebate, because her income is well below the $75,000 threshold amount for single filers.

However, because Georgia’s 2019 income was $150,000, she will not get any cash flow assistance now via a Recovery Rebate check (or direct deposit) but, rather, will have to wait until her 2020 income tax return is filed to have it applied.

How does this help Georgia now?  It does not.

What if your income actually increases in 2020?  Here’s an example – 

Example: Sunny is a hand sanitizer distributor who files a joint return and has four children under the age of 10. Therefore, he has a potential Recovery Rebate of $4,400. In 2019, the most recent year for which a return is on file with the IRS, he and his wife had AGI of $130,000, well below their threshold amount of $150,000. As such, the IRS will send Sunny a check for $4,400, his maximum potential rebate amount.

Suppose, though, that due to a large increase in the demand for hand sanitizer in 2020, Sunny has his best year ever and he and his wife have $240,000 of AGI. Despite the fact that they are well above the income phaseout range, they get to keep the $4,400 Recovery Rebate, further enhancing what is, at least from an income perspective, already an excellent year for the couple.

When will Recovery Rebate Payments be Paid?

The CARES Act requires that these payments be made as soon as possible, but early indications from the Treasury Department are that “as soon as possible” may not be until sometime in May.

Individuals receiving Social Security benefits will likely receive their Recovery Rebate in the same account they receive their Social Security benefits. The CARES Act also authorizes Recovery Rebate payments to be made to the account into which a taxpayer’s 2018/2019 refund was deposited. Other payments will be sent to the last known address on file.

The CARES Act indicates that the IRS will provide a phone number for individuals to report such issues as no longer active direct deposit accounts, or whether or not someone has moved since they filed their last tax return.

Coronavirus-Related Distributions

The CARES Act has created Coronavirus-Related Distributions. Coronavirus-Related Distributions are distributions of up to $100,000, made from IRAs, employer-sponsored retirement plans, or a combination of both, which are made in 2020 by an individual who has been impacted by the Coronavirus because they:

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Have a spouse or dependent who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Experience adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, being laid off, or having work hours reduced because of the disease;
  • Are unable to work because they lack childcare as a result of the disease;
  • Own a business that has closed or operates under reduced hours because of the disease; or
  • Meet some other reason that the IRS decides to say is OK.

In addition, there are a number of potential tax benefits associated with Coronavirus-Related Distributions. More specifically, these include:

  1. Exempt From the 10% Penalty – Individuals under the age of 59 ½ may access retirement funds without the normal penalty that would otherwise apply. The money received is considered ordinary income, and is subject to normal income taxes.
  1. Not Subject to Mandatory Withholding Requirements – Typically, eligible rollover distributions from employer-sponsored retirement plans are subject to mandatoryFederal withholding of at least 20%. Coronavirus-Related Distributions, however, are exempt from this requirement.
  1. Eligible to be Repaid Over 3 Years – Beginning on the day after an individual receives a Coronavirus-Related Distribution, they have up to three years to roll all or any portion of the distribution back into a retirement account. Furthermore, such repayment can be made via a single rollover, or multiple partial rollovers made during the three-year period. Finally, if distributions are rolled using this option, an amended return can (and should) be filed to claim a refund of any tax paid attributable to the rolled over amount.
  2. Income May Be Spread Over 3 Years – By default, the income from a Coronavirus-Related Distribution is split evenly over 2020, 2021, and 2022. A taxpayer can, however, elect to include all of the income from a Coronavirus-Related Distribution in their 2020 income.

Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan Loan Enhancements

Many employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s, offer participants the option of taking a loan of a portion of their retirement assets. For individuals who have been impacted by the coronavirus (using the same definition as outlined above for Coronavirus-Related Distributions), the CARES act enhances the ‘regular’ plan loan rules in the following three ways:

  1. Maximum Loan Amount is Increased to $100,000 – In general, the maximum amount that may be borrowed from an employer plan is $50,000. The CARES Act doubles this amount for affected individuals.
  2. 100% of the Vested Balance May Be Used – In general, once an individual has a vested plan balance that exceeds $20,000, they are only eligible to take a loan of up to 50% of that amount (up to the normal maximum of $50,000). The CARES Act amends this rule for affected individuals, allowing them to take a loan equal to their vested plan balance, dollar-for-dollar, up to the $100,000 maximum amount.
  3. Delay of Payments – Any payments that would otherwise be owed on the plan loan from the date of enactment through the end of 2020 may be delayed for up to one year.

Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) are Waived in 2020

The CARES Act allows you to suspend Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) during 2020. The relief provided by this provision is broad and applies to Traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs, as well as 401(k), 403(b) and Governmental 457(b) plans. Furthermore, the relief applies to both retirement account owners, themselves, as well as to beneficiaries taking stretch distributions.

Individuals who turned 70 ½ in 2019, but did not take their first RMD in 2019 (and thus, would have normally been required to take such a distribution by April 1, 2020, as well as a second RMD for 2020 by the end of 2020) do not have to take either their 2019 RMD or their 2020 RMD.

Returning 2020 RMDs Already Taken

A number of individuals have already taken their 2020 RMD. Now, in light of the CARES Act, these individuals may wish to ‘return’ their RMD. 

For IRA, 401(k), and other retirement account owners, this may be possible two different ways. In a best-case scenario, the RMD distribution will have taken place within the last 60 days, and the distribution will not be prevented from being rolled over due to the once-per-year rollover rule (either because it came from a plan, is going to a plan, or because no IRA to-IRA rollover has been made within the past 365 days). In such instances, an individual can simply write a check, or otherwise transfer an amount equal to the RMD back into a retirement account before the end of the 60-day rollover window.

For retirement accounts owners who took their RMD earlier in the year, and for whom the 60-day rollover window has already expired, there is another potential approach. If it can be shown that the individual has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis enough to qualify under the guidelines outlined earlier for a Coronavirus-Related Distribution, then the rollover can still be completed…anytime for the next three years (from the date the distribution was received).

While most benefits in the CARES Act are only available for actions occurring either after the President declared a national emergency or, in other cases, the enactment of the law, the Coronavirus-Related Distribution provision can apply to distributions as early as January 1, 2020.

However, a beneficiary is not eligible to make a rollover. Period. As such, even if the distributed RMD was made within the last 60 days, there is no way to get it back into the inherited retirement account.

2020 is Ignored for Purposes of the 5-Year Rule

A final item addressed by the CARES Act’s suspension of RMDs for 2020 is the way it impacts the 5-Year Rule that applies to Non-Designated Beneficiaries (e.g., charities, estates, non-See-Through Trusts) who inherit a retirement account from decedents who die prior to reaching their required beginning date.

In general, such beneficiaries must distribute the entirety of their inherited assets by the end of the fifth year after the retirement account owner’s death. The CARES Act, however, allows 2020 to be ignored, or simply not counted as one of those five years. Thus, for Non-Designated Beneficiaries subject to the 5-Year Rule who inherited from a decedent dying between 2015–2019, the 5-Year Rule is effectively a 6-Year Rule.

New $300 Above-The-Line-Deduction

Having recently removed many of the above the-line-deductions via the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in the interest of simplicity, Congress introduced a new above-the-line deduction in the CARES Act for Qualified Charitable Contributions made to qualifying charities.

This can be looked at as both good news and bad news. The bad news is that the deduction, which is effective for tax years beginning in 2020, is limited to $300. Even for a taxpayer in the highest tax bracket of 37%, that only amounts to an actual tax-bill-savings of $111. For a taxpayer in the 12% bracket, the full deduction would amount to $36 of tax savings.

The good news, though, is that while the impact on an individual basis may not amount to much, a substantial number of people will be able to take advantage of this benefit. That’s because in order to claim the deduction, a taxpayer cannot itemize deductions on their Federal return. But thanks to the TCJA’s near-doubling of the standard deduction, only about 10% of taxpayers today itemize deductions on their Federal return. 

Qualified Charitable Contributions must be made in cash. And they cannot be used to fund either donor-advised funds (DAFs) or 509(a)(3) supporting organizations.

AGI Limit Temporarily Repealed for Cash Charitable Contributions

The CARES Act temporarily increases the AGI limit on cash contributions made to charities from a maximum of 60% of AGI (previously increased from 50% by the TCJA), to a maximum of 100% of AGI for “qualified contributions.” As such, an individual can completely wipe out their 2020 tax liability with charitable contributions. If total charitable contributions exceed the 2020 100%-of-AGI limit (so, effectively, once a taxpayer has brought their 2020 income tax liability to $0), the excess may be carried forward as a charitable contribution for up to 5 years.

Like Qualified Charitable Contributions, this provision expressly prohibits such contributions from funding either donor-advised funds (DAFs) or 509(a)(3) supporting organizations.

Relief for Student Loan Borrowers

Several provisions were included in the Act aimed at providing relief to student loan borrowers, including the following:

Student Loan Payments Deferred Until September 30, 2020 – required payments on Federal student loans have been suspended through September 30, 2020. During this time, no interest will accrue on this debt. Unfortunately, though, while required payments are suspended, voluntary payments are not prohibited. And by default, payments will continue unless individuals take proactive measures to contact their loan provider and pause payments.

This period of time will continue to count towards any loan forgiveness programs. As such, any student borrower who intends to qualify for a program that will ultimately forgive the entirety of their Federal student debt (such as via the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program) should immediately pause payments. Because whereas other borrowers who continue to pay Federal student loans during this time may simply be paying down what is effectively 0% debt (at least temporarily), those borrowers who will ultimately have their outstanding student debt forgiven (upon completion of whatever requirements are necessary for their particular loan forgiveness program) are paying down a debt that would otherwise be wiped clean anyway!

Finally, all involuntary debt collections are also suspended through September 30, 2020. This not only includes wage garnishment or the reduction of other Federal benefits, but the reduction of any tax refund (for student loan purposes). As such, borrowers of student debt who are delinquent on payments and would normally be subject to a reduction of their tax refund have an incentive to file their tax returns early enough so that the refund is processed before this relief expires.

Employers Can Exclude Student Loan Repayments from Compensation – Employers are provided a limited window of time in which they can take advantage of a special rule to aid employees paying down student debt. In general, amounts paid by an employer to an employee which are used to pay student debt (or payments made by an employer directly to the loan provider) are considered compensation to the employee, and are subject to income tax.

Employers have from now through the end of the year, to provide employees with up to $5,250 for purposes of student debt payments, and exclude those amounts from their income. This amount, however, is coordinated with the ‘regular’ $5,250 limit that employers can provide employees tax-free for current education. As such, total maximum tax-free education assistance an employer can provide an employee in 2020 is $5,250.

Pell Grant and Subsidized Federal Student Loan Relief for Students Leaving School

Both Pell Grants and Subsidized Federal Student loans are subject to various limits. Section 3506 of the CARES Act excludes from a student’s period of enrollment any semester that a student does not complete due to a qualifying emergency. Section 3507 does the same with respect to the Federal Pell Grant duration limit.

Both provisions are contingent upon the Secretary of Education being “able to administer such policy in a manner that limits complexity and the burden on the student.” Upon first glance, these provisions would appear to create far more “burden” for the Secretary of Education than they do on the student.

Finally, if a student withdraws from school during the middle of a semester (or equivalent) because of qualifying emergency, Section 3508(b) eliminates the amount of a student’s Pell Grant that would normally have to be returned, while 3508(c) cancels any direct loan that was taken to pay for the semester.

Qualified Medical Expenses is Expanded

Beginning in 2020, the definition of qualified medical expenses, for purposes of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs), and Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) is expanded to include over-the-counter medications.

Provisions Related to Individual Healthcare

The CARES Act is loaded with health-related provisions. With that in mind, other notable personal

healthcare provisions include the following:

  • Medicare Beneficiaries will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (when available) at no cost (Section 3713).
  • During the COVID-19 emergency period, Medicare Part D recipients must be given the ability to have, upon request, up to a 90-day supply of medication prescribed and filled (Section 3714).
  • Telehealth services may be temporarily covered (through plan years beginning in 2020) by an HSA-Eligible HDHP before a participant has met their deductible (Section 3701).
  • Rules for providing telehealth services are relaxed during the COVID-19 emergency period for Medicare (Section 3703), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) (Section 3704), Home Dialysis (Section 3705) and Hospice Care Recertification (Section 3706).

Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Last week, the number of individuals applying for unemployment in the most recent (weekly) period jumped to nearly 3.3 million.

For the many who have already lost their jobs, and for the countless more who will likely find themselves subject to the same fate in the coming weeks, there is, thankfully, some (relatively) good news. Unemployment compensation benefits have been significantly expanded by the CARES Act.

These enhancements include:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – Self-employed individuals (who are generally ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits), and other individuals who are ineligible for ‘regular’ unemployment, extended unemployment or pandemic unemployment insurance, or run out of such insurance, will be eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits via this provision.

The government will cover unemployment for the first week of Unemployment – In general, individuals are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits the first week that they are unemployed. It essentially amounts to an elimination period that’s meant to encourage people to try and get another job quickly so as to avoid the week without income. Of course, at present time, finding work quickly is difficult, if not impossible. And in recognition of this fact, the CARES Act offers to pay to states to provide unemployment compensation benefits immediately, without the ‘normal’ one week waiting period.

‘Regular’ Unemployment Compensation is ‘Bumped’ by $600 per Week – Section 2104 of

the CARES Act provides states with the ability to increase their unemployment benefits by up to $600 per week with Federally funded dollars, for up to four months. This has the ability to dramatically increase the amount of money an individual is entitled to receive via unemployment compensation benefits, as the average weekly unemployment benefit nationwide is under $400. Thus, many individuals will see their unemployment checks increase by 150% or more thanks to this part of the CARES Act.

Unemployment Compensation is Extended by 13 Weeks – In the event that people are nearing – and ultimately reach – the maximum number of weeks of unemployment compensation provided under state law, Section 2107 of the CARES Act will allow them to receive such benefits for an additional quarter.

Incentives to Create Short-Time Compensation Programs – Section 2108 of the CARES Act provides an incentive for states who do not currently have “short-time compensation” programs to establish such programs by covering 50% of the establishment costs incurred through the end of the year. Short-time programs are meant to help those employees who have seen their work hours cut (or similar cuts) and have had income drop, but who are still employed, and therefore, ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

Paycheck Protection Program and Forgivable Loans

Another significant potential benefit included in the CARES Act for ‘small’ business owners is the Paycheck Protection Program, a (partially) forgivable loan program offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Such loans must be applied for by June 30, 2020, and can have a maximum maturity of 10 years. They may be provided via existing approved SBA lenders, as well as lenders who are otherwise certified by the SBA to offer such loans. Furthermore, such loans will be 100% guaranteed by the SBA.

Qualifying for the Paycheck Protection Program

Businesses, including sole-proprietors, that have fewer than 500 employees (including affiliated businesses), or the employee size standard under NAICS Code, if larger, are eligible for this relief (food service businesses also apply if they employ fewer than 500 people per physical location).

Under the Paycheck Protection Program, lenders will generally be able to issue small business loans up to a maximum of the lessor of $10 million, or 2.5 times the average payroll costs over the previous year (excluding annual compensation of amounts over $100,000 per person). And the proceeds of such loans may be used to pay a variety of costs, including: 

  • Payroll cost
  • Group health insurance premiums and other healthcare costs
  • Salaries and/or commissions
  • Rent
  • Mortgage interest (excluding amounts pre-paid)
  • Utilities
  • Other business interest incurred prior to February 15, 2020

Loan Benefits Under the Paycheck Protection Program

The single largest potential benefit of a loan issued under the Paycheck Protection Program is the possibility of having all, or a portion of the loan forgiven. The amount eligible to be forgiven is the amount spent, during the first 8 weeks after the loan is made, on:

  • Payroll costs, excluding prorated amounts for individuals with compensation greater than $100,000
  • Rent pursuant to a lease in force before February 15, 2020
  • Electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access expenses for services which began before February 15, 2020
  • Group health insurance premiums and other healthcare costs

However, there is a catch. In order for the above amounts to be forgiven the business must maintain the same number of employees (equivalents) from February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020 as it did during either the same period in 2019, or from January 1, 2020 until February 15, 2020. To the extent this requirement is not met, the amount eligible for forgiveness will be reduced, ratably. Additional reductions in the amount to be forgiven will be incurred if employees with under $100,000 of compensation have their compensation cut by more than 25% as compared to the most recent quarter.

Any debt forgiven pursuant to this provision is not included in taxable income for the year.

The maximum interest rate that can be charged for a loan made under this program is 4%. Small businesses tend to be risky borrowers, so the ability to borrow up to $10 million at no more than 4%, and over a term of up to 10 years, is a pretty significant ‘win’ for many small businesses.

Finally, payments for loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program will be deferred for a period of no less than six months, and no longer than one year. Additional guidance will be provided to lenders within 30 days of enactment to further elaborate on the six-to-12-month deferment period.

Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure due to COVID-19

The economic fallout as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic is unprecedented. As businesses have shuttered their doors or cut back on hours or services, individuals have been laid off in record numbers. As an incentive to encourage businesses who have been hit hard by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis from making further layoffs, Section 2301 of the CARES Act introduces a new payroll tax credit (provided they are not receiving a covered loan under section 7(a)(36) of the Small Business Act.

Qualifying for the Employee Retention Credit

The ‘trigger’ for a company to begin to be eligible for the credit is either that operations of the company have been fully or partially suspended during a quarter as a result of a governmental authority, or a quarter in which revenue in 2020 that has less than 50% of the revenue from the same quarter in 2019. As such, a business which is not at least partially suspended because of government restriction, and never sees its year-over-year quarterly revenues plummet below the 50% mark will not be eligible for the credit.

For those businesses that do meet this (unfortunate) requirement, the business will continue to qualify for the credit until the earlier of:

  • The end of 2020, or
  • Depending upon the method of qualification for the credit, there is either a quarter without a government-required suspension of operations, or gross revenue from the current quarter exceeds 80% gross revenue from the same calendar quarter in 2019, whichever is sooner.

Notably, for businesses qualifying for the credit based on revenue, by virtue of the fact that at least one quarter’s revenue in 2020 must be more than 50% less than the revenue for the same quarter in 2019, a company experiencing a sustained substantial, but not-substantial-enough, decrease in revenue throughout the year, may never qualify for the credit.

Finally, it’s worth highlighting that the key metric used here is revenue, not profit. Thus, a business with a small profit margin, such as a grocery store (which tend to have margins of less than 5%) that loses ‘just’ 10% or 15% of revenue may, in fact, already be running at a substantial loss without cutting other costs.

Calculating the Employee Retention Credit

For business planning purposes, it is important for employers to not only understand that they are eligible for a credit, but also to know how much of a credit they are eligible for, as this will help inform business decisions. In the simplest terms the credit is equal to 50% of wages paid to each employee, up to a maximum of $10,000 of wages per employee. There are, however, as usual, some important caveats to which business owners must be made aware.

Specifically, businesses with 100 or fewer employees count “wages” very differently from larger businesses. For small businesses (100 or fewer employees), all wages (up to the $10,000 maximum limit per employee) are eligible to count towards the credit. By contrast, for larger employers with more than 100 employees, only wages paid to individuals (up to the $10,000 maximum limit per employee) who are not providing services (not working) during a government shutdown, or because the businesses revenues have declined as outlined above, are eligible to count towards the credit. In both cases, wages include qualified health care expenses allocable to those wages.

Deferral of Payment of Payroll Taxes

The CARES Act provides employers with another payroll-related tax break. With the exception of employers who have debt forgiven by the CARES Act for certain loans provided by the Small Business Administration, employers are eligible to defer payroll taxes from the date of enactment, through the end of the year, until the end of 2021 and 2022.

More specifically, 50% of the payroll taxes that would otherwise be due during this period may be deferred until December 31, 2021. The remaining 50% is due on December 31, 2022.

In good news for self-employed persons, this relief applies to them too, at least with respect to the ‘employer equivalent’ portion of their self-employment taxes. Accordingly, 50% of an individual’s self-employment taxes, from the date of enactment through the end of 2020, may be deferred, with 50% of that amount (so 25% of 2020 self-employment taxes) due December 31, 2021, with the remaining deferred amount due on December 31, 2022.

Payroll taxes and self-employment taxes go to fund programs such as Medicare and Social Security, which are significantly underfunded already. To mitigate further impact to these programs, the CARES Act authorizes Congress to appropriate amounts from elsewhere in an amount equal to the deferred amounts that would have otherwise gone into the Trust Funds. And interesting, there doesn’t appear to be an offset when those deferred payments ultimately do go into the Trust Funds. So, perhaps Social Security and Medicare actually get a little boost thanks to the CARES Act.

Net Operating Loss Rules Are Loosened

Section 2303 of the CARES Act amends the rules for corporations (other than REITs) with net operating losses (NOLs). For many years, NOLs were allowed to be carried back up to two years, and forward up to 20 years. The TCJA changed those rules, however, beginning in 2018, to allow such losses to be carried forward, indefinitely, only.

Now, the CARES Act adjusts those rules once more, allowing any NOL from 2018, 2019 or 2020 to be carried back up to five years. In theory, this should allow companies to reduce prior year’s tax bills, allowing them to claim refunds of amounts previously paid, providing them with further liquidity to get them through the COVID-19 crisis.   

The CARES Act further enhances the ability of companies to use their NOLs to offset prior year’s tax liabilities by amending another rule put in place by the TCJA. Under the TCJA, NOLs were only able to offset up to 80% of taxable income. Section 2303 of the CARES Act amends the law to allow for up to 100% of taxable income to be offset for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Section 2023 also provides relief to non-corporations as well by temporarily repealing TCJA-created IRC Section 461(l), which limits the cumulative losses that a taxpayer may claim attributable to businesses (above the income attributable to those businesses) to no more than an inflation-adjusted $250,000 for single filers, and $500,000 for joint filers. These limits are repealed for 2018, 2019, and 2020. Accordingly, taxpayers who had losses suspended because of this provision in 2018 or 2019 should consider the potential benefits of filing an amended return.

We realized this is a ton of information – a lot of which may not be applicable to your specific situation.  However, we wanted to provide you with details of this new Act. 

Please call us if you feel you need to talk about anything. We are here and willing to help however we can.  Our office number is (818) 841-1746.

 

Disclosures:

The information provided is not a complete analysis of every material fact and are subject to change.

Securities and some investment advisory services are offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a broker/dealer and Registered Investment Adviser.

Financial Planning and some investment advisory services are offered through Cameron Thornton Associates, a Registered Investment Adviser.

Cameron Thornton Associates and Cetera Advisor Networks LLC are non-affiliated companies.

The opinions expressed in this letter are those of Cameron M. Thornton, CFP® and Trevor M. Cole, CFP®.  All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.  All economic and performance information is historical and not indicative of future results.  Past performance does not guarantee results.

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Websites provided as a courtesy and are not under the control of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC or Cameron Thornton Associates.

 Cameron M. Thornton, CFP® is a Representative with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC and may be reached at www.cameronthornton.com or (818) 841-1746.

Citations:

1 - https://www.kitces.com/blog/analyzing-the-cares-act-from-rebate-checks-to-small-business-relief-for-the-coronavirus-pandemic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=analyzing-the-cares-act-from-rebate-checks-to-small-business-relief-for-the-coronavirus-pandemic&utm_source=Nerd%E2%80%99s+Eye+View+%7C+Kitces.com&utm_campaign=4b3655b1e2-NEV_MAILCHIMP_LIST&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4c81298299-4b3655b1e2-57127305