“American Rescue Plan” Is A Done Deal



To our Utah REIA PEEPS, The “American Rescue Plan” Is A Done Deal. Act FAST and SLOW.

While I normally write weekly, there is information in this blog that you need to know about now that might even impact how you proceed in the following days.

As of this writing, Congress has agreed -- but this is so fresh off the presses that many of my industry colleagues are scrambling, and the research services are still compiling all the data. But I felt it important to get ahead of all of that on your behalf.

There is a lot to discuss, and I will have more to say early next week, but this is important for you to know about NOW. So, let's dive in...

Stimulus Payments 
(and how they might impact your tax paperwork)

These are different from previous stimulus programs: $1,400 dollars per taxpayer and dependent (with significant income limitations).

1) Previously, if you had a child over 16, or an adult dependent, they would not qualify. In this round, you'll receive a payment for yourself and each dependent -- depending on your income.

2) The "phase out" for this is significant and steep. What this means is that in previous rounds, the phase out was much more gradual. The phase out began at the same numbers (75K for individual150K for joint-filed return, and 112,500 for Head Of Household), but they were so gradual that it didn't significantly impact filing decisions.

Now -- you will NOT receive these payments if your income is anything over 80K for individuals or 160K for joint.

How This Might Impact You NOW (Tax Planning)
We want to maximize your stimulus. And once the IRS issues you a stimulus payment, it's yours. TIMING matters, and so might how you file (in certain unusual cases).

If your 2020 income increased versus 2019 ...

  • If it didn't take you over the phase out thresholds, there is nothing needed for you to think about.
  • If it brought your AGI (Average Gross Income) above the phaseout thresholds (especially if over the 75K or 160K joint), and you have not filed your return: you will be waiting to file it until after you receive your stimulus. File your Extension to give yourself breathing room.
  • If your increase brought your AGI above these thresholds, and you have already filed ... I am sorry :( The IRS goes by the most recently-filed information for these decisions.

Congratulations on your income increase ... there are other ways to reduce your tax obligations in the future.


  • If your income was already under the phaseout thresholds, you will not be affected -- you will receive the stimulus no matter what.
  • If your income decreased below the thresholds (i.e., your income in 2019 was above 75K or 150K filing joint and now it is below), you do NOT have to rush to get your return in. 

The way this bill works is that there are two phases of how these stimulus payments will be distributed. In phase 1, the IRS will take the data it already has and pay out of that. If you didn't file a return in 2019 or 2020, you will not get a stimulus. But fret not ... in phase 2, there will be a second date on which the IRS will calculate stimulus payments. This will be for those who had an income decrease. That date will be the earlier of 90 days after the tax deadline day (whatever it might be -- more on that later), or September 1.

So as long as we get your taxes filed on time, you WILL get it. You do not have to FILE YOUR TAXES RIGHT NOWDon't let any scammy tax pros or marketers tell you differently. Fortunately, this issue was (miraculously) considered within the text of the bill.

In certain odd cases, it might actually make sense to file "married filing separately" for your 2020 taxes even though you will (as a result) pay slightly more in taxes -- because by doing so, you will be able to receive a greater stimulus payment. It would then outweigh the greater tax you might pay.

This will not be the case for most folks, and it mostly will concern those whose income hovers around the phaseout thresholds. If this is you…check with your tax pro.

"When Will I Get My Stimulus?"

Unclear, but likely these will begin by the end of this month for those who already are under the thresholds and qualify.

For the rest, it will be after the second phase that I already mentioned.

Unemployment Now (Partially) Non-Taxable (for most)
I already mentioned in a recent blog, and it has been confirmed in the bill-- the first 10,200 of unemployment benefits are untaxable -- but only for those whose income is below 150K.

This is a very real benefit for many, probably meaning about 1,500 in savings. But the timing on this will take some time because the IRS will have to issue guidance.

If you know anyone who has unemployment who has already filed their return, it is likely that they might have to amend ... but not necessarily. Again, best to check with your tax pro.

There are (obviously) many more elements to this bill, and I will unpack them in the following weeks.

There are changes to child tax credits, earned income credits, and more. Look out for my blog next week on those items.

In the meantime, ... know that we are in your corner.

We are grateful for this opportunity to support you through these blog posts.

BE THE ROAR not the echo®


Janet Behm
Utah Real Estate Accountants
(801) 278-2700


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