COVID-19 relief package has a stimulus sweetener for CEOs: business lunch deductions

Laveta Brigham

The average taxpayer is looking at a check for $600 as part of the new COVID-19 stimulus package that’s set to pass Congress and get signed into law. At the same time, corporations will get a tax break enabling them to write off the cost of business meals from their […]

The average taxpayer is looking at a check for $600 as part of the new COVID-19 stimulus package that’s set to pass Congress and get signed into law.

At the same time, corporations will get a tax break enabling them to write off the cost of business meals from their tax bills. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called the move “unconscionable,” in a statement to The Washington Post.

Some online also criticized the deduction at a time a record number of Americans are seeking charity for shelter and utility assistance, countless are worried about paying rent and food banks are being overwhelmed.

President Donald Trump advocated for a business lunch deduction in the spring, as a way to boost business. “They’ll send their executives, they’ll send people there, and they get a deduction. That is something that will really bring life back to the restaurants; I think make them hotter than before. You know, they used to have it. And when they ended it, it was really never the same.”

The stimulus is valued at around $900 billion, way less than the more than $3 trillion House Democrats had initially asked for.

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The stimulus bill’s fine print

Individuals who earn up to $75,000 get $600 checks from the government, compared to $1,200 in the spring. The bill also includes $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 a year.

Unemployed people will be eligible for $300 per week in extra unemployment benefits through March 14.

For struggling small businesses, the new stimulus funds $284 billion for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to potentially help with loans. The requirement is that 60 percent of the loan go to payroll expenses.

Businesses and taxpayers struggling with potential evictions extends a moratorium on them through January 31, one month later than originally.

The government will begin to send out direct payments to millions of Americans next week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

“People are going to see this money the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin said in a CNBC interview. “This is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. People go out and spend this money, and that helps small businesses. And that helps getting more people back to work.”

Mnuchin said the government would begin sending the money out via direct deposit next week. In the spring, physical checks were mailed to Americans who didn’t have a bank account or for those the federal government didn’t have direct deposit information.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus stimulus package includes treat for CEOs: lunch deductions

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