March 19th •
With millions of Americans facing layoffs and cut hours due to the recent coronavirus epidemic, the economy is taking big hits across all sectors. But relief may be on the way.
The Treasury Department under Secretary Mnuchin is asking Congress for $500 billion for direct payouts to taxpayers. This half of a trillion dollars is part of a larger $1 trillion package designed to combat the negative effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This payout will be broken up into two equal $250 billion chunks, which the Treasury Department aims to send out on April 6 and May 18.
Payouts will be tiered, meaning your total received will depend on your income level and family size. Payments on both dates will be equal—meaning that if you receive $1,000 on April 6, you will receive an additional $1,000 on May 18.
It’s important to note that as of the time this article was written, no amounts are set in stone. Proposals need to pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and exact amounts are being negotiated by the Treasury, President Trump, and various groups in Congress.
For example, President Trump also proposed payroll tax cuts for added financial relief, however these proposals were later discarded as coming too late to provide measurable benefits for the average American. Since then, many lawmakers have proposed direct payouts, although the exact amounts have yet to be decided.
“Americans need cash now, and the president wants to get cash now…in the next two weeks,” said Secretary Mnuchin.
These cash payouts are part of a three-pronged relief effort, with laws regarding business loans already passed earlier this month.
These payouts will also be on top of the second set of relief measures, which include free coronavirus testing, unemployment protections, and food assistance for those affected by the virus.
In addition to personal relief aimed at the average American, the relief package also contains financial aid for important American industries affected by the virus—chiefly, $50 billion for affected airlines, $300 billion for small business interruption loans, and $150 billion for other affected economic sectors.
Potential additions to the coronavirus payout bill still being discussed include homeowner and renter relief, higher unemployment insurance, expanded Medicaid coverage, small business support, increased airline rescue packages, and better food security measures.
Lawmakers aim to complete the second phase of the stimulus by the end of this week (March 20) and for the third phase to be completed the following week.
UPDATE: March 20, 2020
The GOP has unveiled their official proposal to Democrats for the stimulus bill. Pending negotiation with Democrats, the GOP bill would provide $1,200 for every American adult and $500 for every child for adults earning less than $75,000 per year, with diminishing payouts for adults earning between $75,000 and $99,000. Families with no federal income tax liability would see smaller payouts, but would receive at least $600.
The proposed payout checks to Americans are not related to taxes in any way. However, there have been separate bills passed regarding the 2019 tax season and the April 15 filing deadline.
In summary, anyone who files taxes will still need to file by April 15. The filing deadline has not changed. However, any payments you’re required to make to the IRS can be delayed by up to 90 days with no penalties or interest. This applies to individuals who make up to $1 million, and corporations who make up to $10 million.
State governments are now following suit, with several states making similar adjustments to their state tax deadlines (be sure to check your state announcements for up to date information).
Under the Treasury proposal, checks will be mailed to eligible Americans.
COVID-19 belongs to a larger family of viruses known as coronaviruses. Viruses in this family can range in severity—some have symptoms similar to a weak cold, others can cause death. COVID-19 is no different.
COVID-19 was discovered in late 2019, and likely originated in animals before making the jump to humans. In fact, this is a trait shared by many other coronaviruses.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Many patients will never even know they’re infected, while many others will only suffer a light cold. Some of the common symptoms include:
More severe symptoms include:
COVID-19 is dangerous because a significant number of patients who develop moderate to severe symptoms will need a respirator to breathe, meaning extended hospital care for days or weeks at a time.
Anyone can get coronavirus—however, certain risk factors can increase your chance of contracting the disease, and increase your chance of experiencing severe symptoms. These groups may include:
In addition, healthcare workers are at an increased risk of contracting the virus because they are exposed to the disease more than the general population.
Although anyone could potentially suffer serious symptoms from coronavirus, it’s clear that most deaths occur in older patients.