SAS Financial Advisors Wishes You A Happy New Year 2021
As we begin this week's newsletter there are 23 days left until the Biden inauguration. Rest assured, the political drama will continue. The fiscal relief act has been signed by President Trump after a bit of drama and some demands he made to increase the subsidy check sent to qualifying Americans and rid some of the typical “pork” in the bill. Also today his veto of the “Defense Appropriations” bill was overridden by the House repeating their veto proof original passage of the bill.
Markets reacted positively to the signing of the fiscal relief bill-all 5,000+ pages of it. Markets were especially pleased with the revival of the 3-martini lunch through 2022. An oft critiqued and suspended deduction, in part or entirely, this is the allowable business tax deductibility for spending on client lunches necessary for operating and running a business. Presumably intended to encourage spending in the well-hit restaurant and dining industry, its impact is dubious to slight although directionally appropriate for more spending at struggling small businesses in the restaurant industry while abiding by appropriate public health guidelines.
There are many tax benefits included; the above line deduction for charitable cash donations was increased to $300 per person replacing the previous deduction of $300 per family for 2021. This is a reminder that this above line deduction - meaning it is deducted before your adjusted gross income or AGI is calculated - is better than an itemized deduction because above the line deductions can be used even if you use the standard deduction! Donations to your Donor Advised Fund do not qualify for this incentive. Make sure you take advantage of this giving opportunity if you can afford it.
Pandemic Assistance Updates
- The US Treasury will be sending checks of $600 to qualifying individuals.
- Unemployment benefits will be extended as well as increased by $300, which is ½ of the previous benefit in the CARES act.
Maybe these two inclusions will change tomorrow but I doubt it if Mitch McConnell has his way. Trump’s last minute post Congressional passage of this benefit is causing a bit of chaos again. But it’s a good attention grabber, especially for the House with its Democratic majority and passage of the bill today with substantial Republican support.
Here is a link to the best coverage of the fiscal relief bill that I have read. A little long and it includes the many provisions including an extension of the PPP program for small business:https://www.kitces.com/blog/coronavirus-stimulus-2-omnibus-consolidated-appropriations-act-2021-stimulus-checks/
Best of 2020
Lots of “best of 2020” articles are appearing. Even with all the troubles, trauma, conflict, division, death, disease, recession and anxiety, there still was great entertainment available on network and streaming TV. Oh, and then there was broad stock market performance with the S&P 500 up over 60% from the low of March 23 and a commensurate increase in net worth for investors. Wow!
The bear market we experienced earlier this year was the shortest recorded in history and a bull market returned in the summer thanks to the Federal Reserve old Wall Street adage “don’t fight the fed”, and “don’t fight the tape,” which synced with Fiscal relief in the form of the CARES Act passed earlier this year. This was truly a head spinning year and it’s not over for 2021. Grease the hinge on your neck! The journey continues.
As we eagerly await to ring in the new year, we wish you all continued health and optimism as we crossover into 2021. Happy New Year!