April 15, 2020
“Where’s My Refund?”
Even though the deadline to file and pay federal income taxes was extended to July 15th, many of you will have already completed the process. To check the status on your refund, visit the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” page.
IRS Now Making Stimulus Payments
The IRS has started sending “Economic Impact Payments” to taxpayers as part of the CARES Act relief program for COVID-19. Most people won’t need to take any action as the money should be deposited electronically using the information provided in your 2019 or 2018 tax return. Additional details follow in the next section, which will help you estimate how much to expect and when. You can also visit the IRS Coronavirus Economic Impact Payments site should you need to manage or update your information with the IRS.
Resources to Help You Through the Coronavirus Crisis
If you have ever been flattened by a rogue wave while fishing or sunbathing on the shore, you probably recognize the emotional responses that have accompanied the pandemic wave crashing across the United States – shock, anxiety, and concern for ourselves and others.
We’ve been knocked flat by the unexpected – COVID-19.
In just a few weeks, the virus has changed our world in significant ways. We have become familiar with new terms – elbow bump, social distancing, shelter-in-place, flatten the curve – and learned to guesstimate six feet. We’re finding ways to help our children with schoolwork (often while balancing our own work and online meetings), making cloth masks for ourselves and for healthcare workers, and learning to manage the loneliness that accompanies quarantine conditions.
Businesses are seeing sales and revenue decline. As a result, millions of people are without work. In February 2020, the St. Louis Federal Reserve reported 3.5 percent of the civilian workforce, about 5.76 million people, were out of work. By the end of June, estimates suggest unemployment could reach 32.1 percent and about 52.8 million people may be out of work.
Whether you are working reduced hours, furloughed, or out of work, there are resources available to help you stay afloat financially. The Federal Reserve, commercial banks, financial institutions, and federal, state, and local governments have taken steps to help people cope. Here are some of the financial resources available to individuals.
Economic Impact Payments
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created economic impact payments. The Treasury Department will send payments directly to American taxpayers and Social Security recipients and expects to begin making payments April 2020. The payment you receive will depend on your income and filing status. The IRS website explained:
- Taxpayers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals, and up to $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, will receive $1,200 each.
- Taxpayers with higher incomes will receive lower payments. The payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds.
- Taxpayers with income exceeding $99,000 (filing singly) and $198,000 (filing jointly) and no children are not eligible to receive payments.
- Qualifying children will receive $500 each.
- Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are not required to file tax returns also are eligible to receive economic impact payments.
You do not have to do anything to receive your payment. As long as you filed taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, the federal government has the information it needs to send your payment. It may be delivered electronically or arrive by check.
Beware of Scams
The Federal Trade Commission has cautioned Americans to beware of scams:
“Do not give anyone your personal information to ‘sign-up’ for your relief check. There is nothing to sign up for. Anyone calling to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security number, PayPal account, or bank information is a scammer, plain and simple. Also, be on the lookout for email phishing scams where scammers pretend to be from the government and ask for your information as part of the ‘sign-up’ process for the checks…No one has early access to this money. Anyone that claims to [provide early access] is a scammer.”
Electronic transfers of funds will begin on April 9, 2020. Paper checks will be issued, beginning on April 24, 2020, to taxpayers who have not used electronic deposit for tax refunds, reported The Washington Post.
Higher Unemployment Benefits
The Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020 was passed as part of the CARES Act. It increased unemployment benefits by $600 per week through July 31, 2020. Since the average unemployment benefit in the United States is about $300 per week, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, households may receive about $900 per week or $3,600 per month in unemployment benefits.
States also have the option to make unemployment benefits available to independent contractors, gig workers, and other workers who are not usually eligible to receive benefits.
Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides additional benefits to people who work for companies with 500 or fewer employees. These benefits include:
- Paid sick leave: At least two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee is unable to work because he or she is quarantined or experiencing coronavirus symptoms.
- Basic paid family and medical leave: At least two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, if the employee is unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. These reasons include caring for someone who has been quarantined and caring for a child (younger than age 18) whose school or care provider is closed.
- Extended paid family and medical leave: Up to 10 additional weeks of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, as long as the person has been employed for 30 days and the leave is related to COVID-19.
Loan and Fee Relief from Banks and Financial Institutions
Many banks and financial institutions put COVID-19 plans into place in March 2020. As a result, you may be able to defer mortgage, auto, and loan payments, as well as small business loan payments. The key word is ‘defer.’ You will receive relief now, but you will have to make the payments sometime in the future, in most cases. Contact your bank to find out what options are available to you. Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time on hold.
There also are resources available to help business owners, including loans and tax credits.
If you would like to talk about your current financial position, or that of your business, and learn more about steps you can take to improve it, please get in touch. We’re here to help.
Wishing you and your families well,
Sean M. Dowling, CFP, EA
President, The Dowling Group Wealth Management
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- Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
- Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
- The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
- All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
- The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
- The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
- Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
- The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
- The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
- International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
- Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
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- Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
- Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
- You cannot invest directly in an index.
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- The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.
- The Price-to-Earning (P/E) ratio is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual net income or profit earned by the firm per share. It is a financial ratio used for valuation: a higher P/E ratio means investors are paying more for each unit of net income, thus, the stock is more expensive compared to one with a lower P/E ratio.
- These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
- This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
- The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
- Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/irs-to-begin-issuing-1200-coronavirus-payments-april-9-but-some-americans-wont-receive-checks-until-september-agency-plan-says/2020/04/02/8e0cfc84-751e-11ea-85cb-8670579b863d_story.html (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Peak+Documents/May_2020_TheWashingtonPost-IRS_to_Begin_Issuing_%241200_Coronavirus_Payment_Checks-Footnote_4.pdf)
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