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March 28, 2020 Newsletter

Another non-stop news week ends with historic legislation designed to bolster the economy, support families and help businesses during this unpredictable and trying time. In this week’s newsletter, we’ll cover the highlights of the CARES Act and provide actionable to-do’s for clients. 


On Sarah’s Book Club, Sarah Boston talks bread. Learn how the CARES Act rises to meet the demands of a challenging economy and what it means to your financial plan. 


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 is an estimated $2 trillion dollar package passed by the Senate and House, signed by President Trump on Friday evening. Nearly 900 pages in length the details will take some time to fully understand. We have outlined some of the most notable provisions below. *Please note that these details can change as the full bill becomes available and additional clarity is provided. 


The CARES Act provides a refundable income tax credit against 2020 income of up to $2,400 for married couples filing a joint return. All other filers begin with a refundable credit of up to $1,200. The credit amount is increased by up to $500 for each child a taxpayer has under the age of 17. Read this Forbes article detailing if your high schooler or college student is eligible for a check. 

The applicable AGI threshold amounts are as follows: 

  • Married Joint: $150,000 
  • Head of Household: $112,500 
  • All Other Filers: $75,000

You can find your AGI on line 7 of the 2018 1040 or line 8b on the 2019 1040. Individuals and families with income above their respective thresholds will see their relief payments reduced by $5 for every $100 over the AGI threshold amounts listed above. 

The initial amount paid will be based on either a taxpayer’s 2018 or 2019 income tax return (whichever is the latest return that the IRS has on file). However, it will ultimately be ‘trued up’ if a taxpayer is owed money based on their actual 2020 income. Meaning, if your income is within or above the phase-out based on 2018 or 2019 taxes and your 2020 income is drastically lower, you will qualify when 2020 taxes are filed. If you have not filed 2019 taxes and your payout is based on 2018 income, there will be no repayment of the ‘excess payment’ when you file your 2020 return. *If you have not yet filed your 2019 taxes please call us or your tax advisor to discuss the best strategy for your household. 

Recovery payments will be made electronically if you have direct deposit on file with the IRS or Social Security. Otherwise, a check will be sent to the address of record as referenced on your last filed tax return. Payments are expected to be made “as soon as possible”, but early indications from the Treasury Department place this timeline to May. 

If you have questions, please reach out! We are happy to speak with your tax advisor as well. 


The relief provided by this provision is broad and applies to Traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs, as well as 401(k), 403(b) and Governmental 457(b) plans. Furthermore, the relief applies to both individual retirement account owners and beneficiary owners taking stretch distributions. 

*We will be calling clients to confirm if you still want to take your RMD this year. However, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us first to discuss! 

If you have taken your RMD within the past 60 days and would like to “return” it to your IRA, you can write a check before the expiration of the 60-day window. If you are past the 60-day rollover window AND you’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis then you have three years to complete the rollover. We are confident that further guidance will be provided by Raymond James in the near future. Please reach out to us as soon as possible if you would like to discuss this option. 

If you have taken a Beneficiary RMD then you are not eligible for a rollover back into the Beneficiary IRA. 


The Federal Income tax filing date has been extended to July 15th without penalty or interest. The State of Indiana has also extended to July 15th. *Please check your state of residence for state filing details. 

IRA contributions have also been extended to July 15th. If you have not filed your 2019 taxes, you are still eligible to make an IRA or Roth IRA contribution. (It is not necessary to file an amendment for Roth contributions but please check with your tax preparer to confirm.) 


  • Student loans 
  • Small Businesses 
  • Unemployment Compensation 
  • Healthcare provisions 
  • Coronavirus related distributions from qualified plans
  • *There are many more provisions to the CARES Act than we’ve covered here. Please let us know what is going on in your personal situation and we will research the appropriate tools for your particular situation. 


Although we saw a “bounce” in the stock market this week, values are still far below the highs of February. This creates an opportunity for conversions from IRA’s to Roth IRA’s. You pay income taxes on the amount converted, transferring that balance to the tax-deferred Roth IRA where future growth will be distributed tax-free (after the account has been held for five years and the participant is age 59 1⁄2 or older). Cash or in-kind assets can be transferred. If you think this could be right for you, please reach out to discuss with us. 


Last week we asked you to review your income and expenses, ensuring that your household is sufficiently covered in the short term. This week we ask you to do something more difficult… to discuss and prepare your Estate planning details with your loved ones. A young nurse who is caring for COVID patients in Indianapolis shared this personal story: 

“Instead of discussing Opening Day baseball with my husband we had a frank, blunt, and honest discussion about my last Will and Testament. We discussed what accounts I have, how much money is owed, and how to put the trash out on Wednesday. We discussed what I want my funeral mass to look like. We discussed what I want done with certain items. How I want him to be happy and continue to care for our animals. I cried. I should be talking baseball, not end of life care with my husband. But that’s the reality that we live in right now.” 

These are difficult conversations to have, but very necessary. We have a complimentary tool to help our Bookends Financial Planning clients, This service is an electronic personal information organizer that can be shared with advocates. Download this checklist and reply to this email to get started. We will send you an enrollment email and are also offering Everplans video conferences to help get you started! 

We hope all our clients and loved ones are safe and healthy. We love hearing what you are up to so please keep the emails coming and don’t forget to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages! 

-The Bookends Team

Securities offered exclusively through Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Bookends Financial Planning. Bookends Financial Planning is not a registered broker/dealer and is not affiliated with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Bookends Financial Planning is not affiliated or endorsed by the Securities & Exchange Commission or any government agency and are not engaged in the practice of law. Bookends Financial Planning is not affiliated or endorsed by Forbes Media LLC. Bookends Financial Planning is not affiliated with Market Watch or Million Hearts.

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