American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – Part Deux: Helping The Less Fortunate

Greg Herman-Giddens has given us another nice summary of some of the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as it relates to “to individuals receiving Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Veteran’s benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.”

In addition, up to $2,400 of unemployment compensation benefits received in 2009 will be excluded from gross income for federal income tax purposes. And, for individuals who lose their jobs on or after September 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2010, the Act offers assistance in the form of subsidized COBRA premiums–those who qualify will have to pay only 35% of the COBRA premiums needed to continue their health coverage, for up to 9 months.

The Act also features new and modified tax credits and deductions, including:

  • A new “Making Work Pay Tax Credit” for 2009 and 2010 equal to 6.2% of earned income, up to $400 ($800 in the case of a married couple filing jointly); withholding schedules will be adjusted to increase current take-home pay to reflect the credit. The credit is phased out for individuals with modified adjusted gross income exceeding $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly).
  • A revised Hope education tax credit for 2009 and 2010, renamed as the American Opportunity Tax Credit. With an increased annual limit per student of $2,500, the credit is now available for the first four years of post-secondary education, and up to 40% of the credit is refundable. The credit is phased out for individuals with modified adjusted gross income exceeding $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing jointly).
  • A revised first-time homebuyer tax credit, extended to include qualifying home purchases through November of 2009. The maximum credit is increased to $8,000, and the rules requiring that the credit be repaid are waived for qualifying homes purchased after December 31, 2008, and before December 1, 2009, as long as the home continues to serve as the individual’s principal residence for 36 months. The credit continues to be phased out for individuals with modified adjusted gross income exceeding $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly).
  • A new standard deduction for state sales and excise tax related to the purchase of a qualified motor vehicle after February 17, 2009 and before January 1, 2010. Individuals who itemize deductions will claim the deduction as part of state and local taxes paid, reported on Schedule A of IRS Form 1040. The deduction is capped at the tax attributable to a maximum purchase price of $49,500, and is phased out for individuals with modified adjusted gross income exceeding $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly).

In addition, the Act increases the refundable portion of the child tax credit, and makes changes to the earned income tax credit that benefit families with three or more qualifying children, and married couples filing joint returns. Also, 2008 provisions relating to the alternative minimum tax (AMT), bonus first-year depreciation, and IRC Section 179 expensing were all extended through 2009.

Thanks Gregg…  This one is very helpful.

0 Responses to “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – Part Deux: Helping The Less Fortunate”


  • No Comments

Leave a Reply