Consolidated Appropriations Act Provides Relief to Individuals and Businesses
On Sunday, December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA 2021) was signed into law. A $900 billion emergency relief package is included as part of this omnibus spending bill. It is intended to assist individuals and businesses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and accompanying economic crisis. Major relief provisions are summarized here, as well as some additional tax provisions.
The legislation provides an extension to expanded unemployment benefit assistance (although at a lower amount):
Most individuals will receive another direct payment from the federal government. Technically a 2020 refundable income tax credit, the rebate amount will be calculated based on 2019 tax returns filed and sent automatically via check or direct deposit to qualifying individuals. To qualify for a payment, individuals generally must have a Social Security number and must not qualify as the dependent of another individual.
The amount of the recovery rebate is $600 ($1,200 if married filing a joint return) plus $600 for each qualifying child under age 17. Recovery rebates are phased out for those with an adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeding $75,000 ($150,000 if married filing a joint return, $112,500 for those filing as head of household). For those with AGIs exceeding the threshold amount, the allowable rebate is reduced by $5 for every $100 in income over the threshold.
Rebate Amounts and Phaseout Ranges
Enhancements to the normal charitable gifts deduction rules in 2020 have been extended through 2021.
Other tax provisions
The floor for deducting medical expenses has been permanently lowered to 7.5% of AGI (it was scheduled to increase to 10% in 2021).
Starting in 2021, the deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses has been repealed. To make up for it, the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) phaseout range for the Lifetime Learning Credit has been increased to be the same as the phaseout range for the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
A number of provisions that are periodically extended (often a year at a time) have been extended through 2025, including:
A number of other provisions have been extended (generally through 2021), including:
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