5 Highlights of the New Stimulus Package

by Suzanne Powell

After a bit of political posturing in December, the $900 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (2021 CAA) was signed into law by President Trump as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact employers and employees.

Here’s a quick recap of five key highlights:

Stimulus Checks: The new law authorized a second round of $600 checks for people with
income that meets the criteria. The checks start to phase out for individuals who earned
at least $75,000 in 2019 and $150,000 for joint filers.1

Unemployment Benefits: The law provides up to $300 per week in enhanced benefits
through March 2021. The benefits extend to self-employed individuals and gig workers.2

Student Loan Repayment: The 2021 CAA extends the provision that allows employers to
repay up to $5,250 annually towards an employee’s student loan payments. The
payments are tax-free to the employee.3

Small Businesses: The 50% limit on the deduction for business meals has been lifted.
Business meal expenses after December 31, 2020, and before January 1, 2023, may now
be fully deductible. Please consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional for more
specific information regarding this provision.4

PPP Loans: The new law contains $284 billion in relief for a second round of Payment
Protection Program loan funding. Businesses with 300 or fewer employees may be eligible for a second loan. “Second-draw” loans are available through March 31, 2021.5

As 2021 gets underway, expect some additional guidance from regulators on 2021 CAA.
Our office will keep an eye out for updates and pass information as it becomes available.

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