COVID-19 Economic Relief for Students, Self-Employed and Other Individuals

Updated: Apr 30




While public health is top priority during the Covid-19 pandemic, the requirement to shut down schools and non-essential businesses has left many individuals wondering how they will financially recover. Below is information on economic relief and recovery options from public and private organizations. This blog will be updated regularly as more options become available.


Tax Filing and Payments


On March 18, 2020 the IRS and Treasury released Notice 2020-18 to provide tax deadline relief for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus. The Notice states the following:


  • The filing due date for any individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation tax return due on April 15, 2020 has been pushed to July 15, 2020.

  • The payment due date for any individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation with a tax liability due on April 15, 2020 has been pushed to July 15, 2020. The postponed payment can be made without filing an extension or incurring interest or penalties. There is no monetary limit on the amount of payment that can be postponed to July 15, 2020.

  • First quarter estimated tax payments for any individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation normally due on April 15th can be postponed to July 15th without incurring interest or penalties (Please note, second quarter estimated tax payments are still due on June 15).

  • Foreign Bank and Financial Account Form FinCEN 114 (FBAR) is automatically extended to October 15 each year. No postponed due date was required.

  • Please note, states are not required to meet the postponed deadline, however, many will accommodate this relief. A list of updated state filing due dates can be found here.


Paid Sick and Child Leave


  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created a federal emergency paid sick leave and child care leave benefit program for employees that work for businesses that have 50-500 employees (includes self-employed). Eligible workers (sick individuals, quarantined individuals, parents in need of childcare, and caregivers) can qualify for this compensated leave starting March 18, 2020 until December 31, 2020. The amount of benefits vary based on the purpose of leave. The benefits are detailed in IRS Notice 2020-57. Contact your employer if you qualify for these benefits.


Retirement



Students

  • Scholly, the top college scholarship platform, is providing $200 in cash assistance to eligible students through their Covid-19 relief fund. You can apply here.

  • For veterans, emergency legislation was signed by the President on March 21, 2020 to extend GI Bill funding to cover distance learning.

  • Many schools have established student relief funds. Contact your school's financial aid office to determine what options are available to you.

  • The CARES Act provides student loan relief, financial aid relief and other provisions for students. A few of these relief items are summarized here.


Unemployment


  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also provides $1 billion in federal funding to help the states meet the intense increase in unemployment insurance (UI) claims resulting from COVID-19.

  • Unemployment benefits are distributed at the state level. To apply for unemployment, a list of state unemployment agencies can be found here.


Utilities, Car Payments and Other Bills


  • Utilities - most utility companies are offering forbearance and waiving late fees. Contact your gas, electric and other utility company immediately to request accommodations needed due to Covid-19 impact.

  • Property Taxes - many counties are waiving late payment penalties and interest. Visit your counties tax assessor website to determine how to request a waiver.


Health Insurance


  • If you were laid off from your job of 20 employees or more, you might be eligible for COBRA health insurance.

  • Many unemployed individuals can still qualify for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

  • Most health insurance companies will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to Covid-19. Please proactively contact your health insurance provider to determine what fees are waived.

  • Over-the-counter products without prescriptions are now eligible for the Health Saving Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Agreement (HRA) reimbursements.

  • Employees can not use their HSA, FSA, and HRA funds to purchase items such as feminine products as of January 1, 2020.


CARES. Act


  • The CARES Act provides recovery rebates, consumer credit, mortgage forbearance, additional unemployment benefits and other economic relief for individuals. See the highlights from the Act here.


We must continue to pray for our world, praise first-responders and hospital heroes on the front lines of this pandemic, and continue to support each other even if we have to stand 6-feet away. We are stronger together.



This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisers before engaging in any transaction.


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The mission of The Little CPA is to share information I have learned as a Certified Public Accountant that will

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