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How the stimulus bill may help you

August 10, 2009 | Alliant Credit Union

The government's actions to aid struggling businesses have garnered much of the media's attention. However, the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as the "stimulus bill," also contains measures designed to help individuals.

Here are highlights:
• In 2009 and 2010, workers will receive a tax credit equal to 6.2% of their earned income, up to $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples. Individuals receiving Social Security, Social Security Income (SSI) or Veterans' Disability Compensation will get a $250 credit.
• First-time homebuyers who purchase a primary residence on or after January 1, 2009, and before December 1, 2009, can claim a tax credit equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000. Unlike the previous first-time homebuyer tax credit, this one does not need to be repaid as long as you keep the home as your personal residence for at least three years.
• If you purchase a new car in 2009, you can deduct the sales tax on your federal income tax return.
• For workers who are involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, and choose to continue health insurance coverage under COBRA, the government will subsidize 65% of the premiums for up to nine months.
• Unemployment benefit amounts are temporarily increased by $25 a week. Additionally, the first $2,400 received in unemployment benefits will not be taxed this year.
• The American Opportunity tax credit provides a credit of up to $2,500 for college tuition and related expenses. Most of the benefits are phased out at specific income levels. To find out more, visit www.irs.gov or consult with a qualified tax advisor. For more information on the stimulus plan, visit
www.financialstability.gov.

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