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May 2020

COVID-19 uncertainty abounds for everyone. This month’s newsletter provides a round-up of tax-related laws to help with tax planning for 2020 as we all navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Also in this edition are ways to track your stimulus payment, tips to find cash, and how to protect your video conference meetings from unwanted visitors.

Please call if you would like to discuss how this information could impact your situation. If you know someone who can benefit from this newsletter, feel free to send it to them.

Contents

Key 2020 Coronavirus Tax Changes

Key 2020 Coronavirus Tax Changes imageCoronavirus uncertainty abounds. Thankfully, by monitoring tax changes on your behalf, we can work together to navigate the right path for you and your family. Here is a round-up of tax-related laws and information to help with tax planning for 2020.


Get Your Money: Ensure You Receive a Stimulus Payment

Stimulus Payments Are On Their Way imageThe IRS has two websites to help with stimulus payments: One for non-tax filers to register to receive their economic impact payment and a new “Get My Payment” tool.

Background

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is sending $1,200 to single taxpayers with income less than $75,000 ($98,000 with phaseouts). $2,400 is being sent to married taxpayers with income less than $150,000 ($198,000 with phaseouts). An additional $500 is being sent for each child under the age of 17.

The Problem

The payments are being made based on 2019 or 2018 tax returns. If you do not need to file a tax return for either of these years, you run the risk of not receiving this payment.

The Solution

The IRS launched a way to register to receive your payment and to determine the status of your payment. Here are the websites:

Who should use the app for non-filers

If you fall into one of the following cases, you need to review whether it makes sense to use the app mentioned above for non-filers:

Who should NOT use the app for non-filers

DO NOT use the app for non-filers if you will be filing a 2019 return. If you are required to file a return, using this tool will not speed up your stimulus payment and will likely slow down processing of your tax return and receiving any refund.


Ideas to Help Make Payments During Tough Times

How to get cash quickly when you're out of work

Ideas to Help Make Payments During Tough Times imageYou’re not alone in trying to navigate the financial uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of American workers who lost their paycheck because of COVID-19 need to find creative ways to pay bills.

Here are 6 ways to get cash to help pay for your monthly expenses.

  1. Apply for state unemployment benefits. Recent federal legislation expands traditional state unemployment payments from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. State unemployment offices are also administering an additional weekly payment of $600 to unemployment benefit recipients courtesy of the federal government. This additional $600 weekly payment runs through July 31, 2020. If you have not already done so, visit your state's unemployment insurance website to fill out your application. Even better, this federal unemployment assistance applies to self-employed workers and part-time workers.
  2. Look to your retirement accounts. While not ideal, you can withdraw up to $100,000 penalty-free from your retirement accounts. You can then pay it back within the next three years without penalty or being subject to annual contribution limits!
  3. Talk to your banker/landlord about a mortgage or rent deferral. Recent legislation suspends required payments on certain loans and halts foreclosures for at least 60 days. But you must contact your lender to discuss the specifics of your situation. It may be trickier to work with landlords to defer rent payments, but many property owners have signaled a willingness to work with tenants over the next several months to defer or forgive payments.
  4. Talk to lenders about credit card payments. Call your credit card company to see if they are willing to defer your payment for several months. While credit card companies haven't explicitly said that consumers can skip or defer credit card payments, they have encouraged anyone experiencing financial hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic to contact their customer service teams to discuss their individual situation.
  5. Tell everyone in your network that you could use work. While the U.S. unemployment rate is close to 20%, that still means 80% of Americans are still working. You may have numerous friends and family that could help you weather the financial storm for several months. But you won't know unless you ask.
  6. Downsize your budget. If you normally don't create a monthly budget, now would be a good time to start. Keep track of where every dollar goes. Identify non-essential spending you could put on hold until you find your next job.


Protect Your Video Conference Meetings

Avalanche of new remote workers creates latest playground for hackers

Hackers have found their new playground amid the increased use of video conferencing during the coronavirus pandemic: Zoombombing!

Zoombombing defined

Protect Your Video Conference Meetings imageNamed for the company Zoom, the unfortunate first high-profile victim of this phenomena, zoombombing occurs when internet trolls hack video conference meetings and join as uninvited attendees. After infiltrating a meeting, the hackers then have their fun, doing everything from performing harmless pranks to posting sexually explicit content.

Ideas to keep your meetings private

You can protect yourself, your friends and your company while using popular video conferencing tools with these tips.



Newsletter Archive

Please note: Some material may be time-sensitive and may no longer apply.
Please contact us with any questions.
  1. Posted on: 2020-03-31
  2. Posted on: 2020-03-03
  3. Posted on: 2020-02-04
  4. Posted on: 2019-12-31
  5. Posted on: 2019-12-03
  6. Posted on: 2019-11-05
  7. Posted on: 2019-10-01
  8. Posted on: 2019-09-03
  9. Posted on: 2019-08-06
  10. Posted on: 2019-07-02
  11. Posted on: 2019-06-04