A Whitfield County CPA says the first of the stimulus checks aimed at helping the nation’s economy recover from the COVID -19 pandemic could be in local bank accounts as early as mid-April.
Giving that information Tuesday afternoon during one of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners’ twice-weekly teleconference calls, local accountant Mark Krueger said 60 million checks will be direct-deposited into bank accounts nationwide over a three-week period, possibly beginning as soon as next week.
Paper checks will be issued to another 100 million taxpayers, with about 5 million issued each week over a 20-week period.
“They’ll start with the lowest income folks first who need it the most,” Mr. Krueger said, “and work their way up according to income. The more income you make, the longer you will have to wait to get your check.”
Mr. Krueger said the rebates, intended to keep the American economy afloat as the world battles the coronavirus, will be $1,200 for each taxpayer making up to $75,000, gradually phasing out totally at $99,000. Married couples will be eligible to receive a $2,400 payment (plus $500 for each dependent below age 17), as long as their total income is no more than $150,000, with the checks phasing out totally at $198,000. Those filing single head of household will also receive $1,200 if their income is below $112,500 (with the cut-off level being $146,500). Social Security recipients will also get the $1,200 rebates even if they haven’t filed a tax return, with the funds likely direct-deposited into their bank accounts, he said.
Mr. Krueger also said federal and state tax returns won’t have to be filed until July 15, and no action is necessary by taxpayers to get the extensions past the usual April 15 deadline. Whereas in the past, taxpayers who owed taxes had to pay a penalty and interest if they filed for such an extension, “now even if you owe, the taxes are not due until July 15, with no penalty or interest,” he said.
Taxpayers such as self-employed individuals who normally pay estimated taxes by April 15 and June 15 are facing new deadlines, according to Mr. Krueger. The first estimated payment for 2020 normally payable on April 15 is not due until July 15 this year, but oddly the second payment usually due on June 15 has not been changed. “Your second payment will actually be due before your first payment,” he said.
He also emphasized that the deadline for certain 990 tax returns normally due by May 15, such as for non-profits, has not been changed.
Answering a question from a call-in viewer, Mr. Krueger explained the two types of emergency loans available through the Small Business Administration to help with the economic damage done by the COVID-19 crisis.
He said businesses can apply for an economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) directly through the SBA website in a process “as easy as ordering pizza online,” in the words of one of Mr. Krueger’s partners at his CPA firm. Those loans are tailored more toward working capital and could possibly be forgiven if the funds are used on COVID-19 expenses.
A second type of SBA loan, called Payroll Protection Program loan (PPP), is geared to help businesses continue to meet their payrolls. The application process is a bit more complicated for this loan and is being done through banks, and Mr. Krueger suggested that businesses contact their personal banker for more information.