The novel coronavirus nearly destroyed the American economy. The federal government responded by swiftly passing the biggest stimulus package in our history. However, it wasn’t big enough. Consequently, discussions for a second stimulus package are under way. Accordingly, this one could be just as big as the first one.
Considerations for the Second Stimulus Package
While the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided the country with emergency relief, the next package has a different goal. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act’s goal is chiefly to aid in economic recovery.
The White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro pointed out some structural challenges in that goal recently when speaking with CNN. “The only way to fully rebuild the economy in the face of those headwinds is to significantly expand and strengthen our manufacturing base,” he said.
That certainly doesn’t mean individuals and families don’t have relief in the second stimulus package. In fact, the bill proposes additional direct payments, the expansion of enhanced social services, hazard pay for essential workers, and more.
What’s in the Bill?
A short overview of the HEROES bill reveals items that address the impact the novel coronavirus has had on the country. It’s important to point out that the bill still has a long way to go before it goes into law. However, the following list is a good idea of the direction it’s going in. The House has approved the following:
- Emergency supplemental appropriations to federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2020,
- Payments and other assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments,
- Additional direct payments of up to $1,200 per individual and $6,000 per household, (including adult dependents),
- More paid sick days, family and medical leave, unemployment compensation, nutrition and food assistance programs, housing assistance, and payments to farmers,
- Enhancement of the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofit organizations,
- A fund to award grants for employers to provide hazard pay for essential workers (specifically, a $13 raise per hour for up to 60 days after the pandemic ends or the limit is reached),
- Several more tax credits and deductions,
- Funding and defined requirements for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing,
- No more cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatments,
- Enhancements on the moratorium on certain evictions and foreclosures, as well as a $100 billion fund for monetary aid for rent and utilities for those who qualify), and
- Requirements for employers to develop and implement infectious disease exposure control plans.
Other Possible Components of the Second Stimulus Package
The bill also enriches a wide range of other programs and policies, including those regarding:
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Health insurance,
- Broadband service,
- Medical product supplies,
- Student loans and financial aid,
- The federal workforce,
- Veteran’s benefits,
- Consumer protection requirements,
- The U.S. Postal Service,
- Federal elections,
- Aviation and railroad workers, and
- Pension and retirement plans.
Lawmakers are also pursuing other discussions. In fact, Spectrum News eluded to “a tax credit of up to $25,000 for small businesses to purchase personal protective equipment.”
The president suggested another tax credit that he calls Explore America. He explained that “Explore America tax credit that Americans can use for domestic travel, including visits to restaurants.”
When Will the Second Stimulus Package Come Out?
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill and at the time of publication, it’s on the senate’s legislative calendar. It’s clear that further negotiations are in store. Some estimations suggest the second stimulus package will arrive as soon as June. However, a more practical timeline is toward the end of the summer.
On the timing of any potential deal, Navarro said it must be done before the August recess “for the sake of American workers and small businesses now in pain.”
Be Prepared. Here’s How
The good news is that taxpayers with back tax debt are likely also eligible. But just as with the CARES Act, taxpayers should have their 2018 or 2019 tax return filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
That’s not to say that back tax debt isn’t a problem. Be mindful that you’re still accumulating penalties and interest every day. If you need to file your 2018 or 2019 return, or you want to resolve your tax debt altogether, we can help. Use our directory to find a reputable tax specialist near you.