Congress approves new COVID relief package

Written on: December 22, 2020 by ICM

According to a report by Energy Marketers of America (EMA), Congress has approved a $2.3 trillion funding package, which includes $1.4 trillion in government funding and $900 billion in COVID relief.
The legislation extends the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and clarifies PPP expenses as tax deductible. The bill also provides $600 stimulus checks for adults and dependents, restores $300/week in additional unemployment assistance, increases SNAP benefits by 15 percent for six months (but does not expand eligibility), and allocates $20 billion in new targeted economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) for low-income communities.
Notable provisions also include:

  • $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  • Creates a simplified one-page PPP loan forgiveness application for loans under $150,000.
  • Supplies $2 billion to enhance the SBA’s existing government guarantee loan programs.
  • Extension and expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through June 2021.
  • Temporary allowance of full deduction for business meals.
  • Provides $20 billion to restart and extend the SBA’s EIDL Advance Grant for small businesses in low-income communities through December 31, 2021.
  • Replenishes the EIDL Advance fund, which allows businesses suffering a substantial economic injury to apply for an advance that does not need to be repaid or up to $1,000 per employee limited to $10,000 total.
  • The Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit is extended through December 31, 2021 (fueling equipment for natural gas, propane, liquefied hydrogen, electricity, E85, and diesel fuel blends containing a minimum of 20% biodiesel).
  • Alternative Fuel Mixture Excise Tax Credit is extended through December 31, 2021.
  • The residential energy efficiency tax credit is expanded and renewed through December 31, 2022 for water heaters, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, building insulation, windows and roofs placed in service through 2022. Beginning in 2021, expanded to include qualified energy efficient biomass fuel property with a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75%.
  • Makes permanent the 179D Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction that offers building owners a deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot for next-level energy-efficient improvements made to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Extends the Non-Business Energy Property Tax Credits through 2021 which provides a tax credit — 10% of cost up to $500.
  • Provides $3.75 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
  • Reauthorizes the Weatherization Assistance Program through 2025 and allow funds for the program to be used on renewable energy.
  • Provides $6.5 million for the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

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