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Explore: Key Provisions of the CARES Act

Key Provisions of the CARES Act

Recently, the $2 trillion “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” (“CARES”) Act was signed into law. The CARES Act is designed to help those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also providing key provisions that may benefit retirees.1

To put this monumental legislation in perspective, Congress earmarked $800 billion for the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 during the financial crisis.1

The CARES Act has far-reaching implications for many. Here are some important provisions to keep in mind:

Stimulus Check Details. Americans can expect a one-time direct payment of up to $1,200 for individuals (or $2,400 for married couples) with an additional $500 per child under age 17. These payments are based on 2019 tax returns for those who have filed them and 2018 information if they have not. The amount is reduced if an individual makes more than $75,000 or a couple makes more than $150,000. Those who make more than $99,000 as an individual with no children (or $198,000 as a couple with no children) will not receive a payment.1

The amounts differ for those with children, and you can get an estimate of what you can expect to receive here: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/taxes/T023-S001-stimulus-check-calculator-2020/index.php

Business Owner Relief. The act also allocates $500 billion for loans, loan guarantees, or investments to businesses, states, and municipalities.1

Expansion of Unemployment Program: Both employees and the self-employed, including independent contractors, whose employment or ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible to receive unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks (unemployment benefits were normally only available for 26 weeks). Typically, self-employed individuals and independent contractors are ineligible, so this Act extends the benefit to them. In addition, benefits will be increased by up to $600/week for the first four months of an unemployment claim. Given that the average unemployment check is for $400/week, this amounts to a substantial 150% increase in the average claimant’s benefits.

RMDs Waived. The CARES Act waived the minimum required distributions most people must take from 401(k)s and IRAs in 2020. In 2009, Congress passed a similar rule, which gave retirees some flexibility when considering distributions.2,3 Inherited 401(k) or Individual Retirement Account beneficiaries can also suspend distributions in 2020.

Retirement Plan Withdrawal Provisions. Owners of IRAs, 401(k)s, and even defined-benefit plans who are impacted by COVID-19 can take a distribution of up to $100,000 from their retirement plan or IRA in 2020, without the 10% early withdrawal penalty that normally applies to money taken out before age 59½. In addition, the owner can elect to spread the distribution over three years for tax purposes and can roll it over for three years from the date of the distribution. This rollover provision will allow owners to access much-needed short-term funding while also enabling them to maintain long-term tax deferral once their cash flow improves in future years. This will not apply to inherited accounts, which are always ineligible for rollovers of funds that have been distributed to account beneficiaries.

Many businesses and individuals are struggling with the realities that COVID-19 has brought to our communities. The CARES Act, however, may provide some much-needed relief.


This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Under the CARES act, an accountholder who already took a 2020 distribution has up to 60 days to return the distribution without owing taxes on it. This material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Under the SECURE Act, your required minimum distribution (RMD) must be distributed by the end of the 10th calendar year following the year of the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) owner’s death. Penalties may occur for missed RMDs. Any RMDs due for the original owner must be taken by their deadlines to avoid penalties. A surviving spouse of the IRA owner, disabled or chronically ill individuals, individuals who are not more than 10 years younger than the IRA owner, and children of the IRA owner who have not reached the age of majority may have other minimum distribution requirements.

Under the CARES act, an accountholder who already took a 2020 distribution has up to 60 days to return the distribution without owing taxes on it. This material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Under the SECURE Act, in most circumstances, once you reach age 72, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Withdrawals from Traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. You may continue to contribute to a Traditional IRA past age 70½ under the SECURE Act, as long as you meet the earned-income requirement.

Accountholders can always withdraw more. But if they take less than the minimum required, they could be subject to a 50% penalty on the amount they should have withdrawn – except for 2020.


Citations.

1 – CNBC.com, March 25, 2020.
2 – The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2020.
3 – The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2020.
4 – The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2020.

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