So, you got that stimulus money (or, as the government wants to call it, your “Economic Stimulus Payment”)…
And, yes … some of us have not yet received it.
If you have not received your payment, and want to check on what’s going on, the IRS has set up a tool where you can check your status: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
And there are plenty of other links on that page to help ensure that the IRS has all the info they need so that you do get it, if you’re entitled to it.
Now … if you did get this stimulus money (and even if you didn’t), may we offer you some advice?
With all of the chaos out there, there are some interesting options that have come available as far as not having to pay your bills…or at least “putting off” your bills until we can all get back to work.
While it’s ALWAYS worth looking into getting every break you can, we are also encouraging clients to be careful about “making assumptions” about what will or won’t happen if you decide not to pay your bills.
Let’s talk about some specifics:
1. If you are renting:
If the government says you don’t have to pay your rent and there’s a ban on evictions, make sure to check the specifics about how this will work.
Will “deferred” months of rent all be due at once? Will there be late fees, etc.?
There could be major repercussions when eviction bans are lifted. Your landlord has bills to pay too and it’s highly unlikely that landlords will just “forgive” months of rent. Maybe that will happen in certain circumstances but we encourage you to first ask, “What’s the catch?”
2. To homeowners:
Similar idea with mortgage payments. Some banks are providing a “forbearance period” where you won’t have to pay your mortgage for up to 120 days.
This can be very beneficial and necessary, for sure.
However, again we recommend checking on the specifics with your lender, so that you don’t end up “surprised” later. Some lenders are saying, for example, that you don’t have to pay for three months, but on the 4th month, all four payments are due in full.
The banks didn’t help homeowners in 2008-2009 as much as they said they would, and in 2020 … we fear that the song will remain the same.
Be very careful before stopping payment on your mortgage before knowing the details of when those “skipped” payments will come back at you…
3. If the utility company suspends payments…
Like banks, they (likely) will want their money eventually, and when all this clears up, you could owe a hefty bill and/or not have the utilities you need.
How can you assure yourself that you won’t end up with a huge utility bill down the line that must be paid right away to keep utilities on?
A discussion with the utility company about exactly how non-payment of utilities will really work seems like a good idea…
As the saying goes, there is always free cheese in a mousetrap!
Let’s challenge ourselves to be wise in this hour.
We don’t know what is coming down the pike. The last two months should have made that abundantly clear.
In the meantime … yes, the tax deadline got shifted — but if you haven’t already taken care of this, maybe can we get your 2019 tax return out of the way for you?
Hope this info helps and we will talk to you again soon.
Your Pronto Income Tax Team
“CRISIS Action Plan” for Pronto Income Tax clients:
1) Don’t marinate in other people’s panic. Be mindful of your social media consumption.
2) Make sure you have some ready, liquid assets, if you are able. (I.e., cash in the bank, and in hand.)
3) Set aside plans for any big spending until the dust settles — but especially look out for your small business owner friends and vendors.