CARES Act provides economic relief for individuals, businesses during pandemic

On Friday, March 27, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, into law, a few hours after it was passed by a voice vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Senate originally passed it on Wednesday, March 25. The CARES Act contains a $2 trillion economic relief package meant to help counter the economic fallout from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Stimulus Checks:
One of the most touted aspects of the law are the $1,200 stimulus checks for most individual taxpayers ($2,400 for couples filing jointly), along with an additional $500 for each dependent child under the age of 17. According to Section 2201 of the CARES Act, the stimulus checks are available to taxpayers who file individually whose income for 2019 (2018 for those who haven’t filed yet this year) are $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers and $112,500 for those who file as head of household). People who make no money and those on Social Security will also get the payments. The checks would be reduced by $5 for every $100 of income over the limit; there is no stimulus check for those making $99,000 ($198,000 filing jointly). Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said most checks, because they will be direct deposit, will be in taxpayers’ checking accounts within three weeks.

Other relief for people:
It was reported that the bill also provides an additional $600 per week for those currently on unemployment for four months, in addition to the unemployment they receive from the states. Those who are paying student loans can also defer their payments for up to six months.
MarketWatch reported that the legislation contains “the Paycheck Program” which is $350 billion in partially forgivable loans to be made to small businesses, provided they retain their employees. Section 1101 of the legislation states that “any business concern that employs not more than 500 employees per physical location of the business concern and that is assigned a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72 at the time of disbursal shall be eligible to receive a covered loan.” There is also a 50-percent refundable payroll tax credit on employee wages to create another incentive to retain employees.

Other parts of the legislation:
Bloomberg reported that the legislation also includes $150 billion for hospitals and other healthcare providers to help replenish their medical supplies, and $500 billion will go to loans and assistance to larger businesses and state and local governments. The states will also receive $400 million in election assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, “allowing them to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting and online registration.”
Additionally, $17 billion will go to loans for businesses deemed essential to national security. Another $25 billion is reserved for grants for airlines, subject to certain conditions, and $25 billion in loans for passenger carriers, plus $3 billion in loans for airline contractors which provide ground staff. Ground carriers will get $4 billion in grants. Businesses owned by President Trump or members of his family, members of Congress, Vice-President Mike Pence and heads of executive departments are blocked from receiving loans from the Treasury Department.
For more information:
The full text of the 883-page law can be seen at; type “HR 748” into the search bar.


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