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The Lowdown on the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act

Just days ago, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan act, which allocates $1.9 trillion for COVID-19 relief. The act provides funds for individuals, including an extension of unemployment benefits and new health insurance assistance in addition to the expected stimulus funds. Citizens should begin receiving their stimulus payments as early as this week.

Here’s how to determine the benefits for which you may be eligible:

  • Those who either earn up to $75,000 annually, file as head of household earning up to $112,500, or couples filing jointly earning up to $150,000 will receive a full stimulus payment of $1,400 per person. (Those who have higher incomes will receive smaller stimulus payments.)
  • Adult dependents, including college students, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly, are now eligible for $1,400 stimulus payments as well.
  • Those who earn $80,000 per year or more, file as head of household earning $120,000 or more, or couples filing jointly earning $160,000 or more will not receive a stimulus check.
  • Child tax credits have been increased, allowing up to $300 per month for children under 6, and up to $250 per month for older children.
  • Child tax credits can be claimed for the maximum amount of $3,600 annually for children under age 6, and $3,000 annually for older children. Low-income earners are now eligible for this maximum credit.
  • If your pension plan is failing, it may be one of the 200 plans being rescued. 1 million pensioners will now receive their full payments.
  • Unemployment has been extended, ensuring that individuals receiving $300 per week will continue to do so.
  • Up to $10,200 of 2020 unemployment payments have been exempt from federal taxes. New Jersey does not levy taxes on unemployment benefits.
  • If you have been receiving assistance under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program of the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, your benefits have been extended. PUA has been extended for up to 74 weeks, while PEUC has been extended for up to 48 weeks.
  • Renters in New Jersey will receive a collective $466 million in emergency assistance.
  • If you have fallen behind on your mortage, you can apply for assistance from the newly-allocated $10 billion funds for homeowners. You may use the money on your mortgage, HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance, or your utilities.
  • If you need health insurance, or require reduced payments, you may be eligible for subsidized COBRA coverage or the coverage expansions under the newly-bolstered ACA.
  • SNAP benefits will provide additional funds to 788,000 individuals in New Jersey.

If you were eligible for prior stimulus payments and did not receive them, you may file for a credit against your 2020 taxes. Fill out the applicable sections of your 1040 Form titled “Recovery Rebate Credit.” If you have questions about your tax credit situation, please contact me directly.

Depending on your individual situation, you may be eligible for further tax deductions, write-offs, and assistance with your independent business. For assistance with filing your taxes, please contact me. I am fully prepared to navigate all of the tax-related complexities presented by COVID-19 and everything else 2020 brought with it!

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