by Ron Bare
As I sit down to write this, it is a sunny 70-degree day with a slight breeze, some would say near “perfect” conditions. It may be perfect weather but that’s not what I feel inside. I feel a burden – a burden but at the same time peace. Peace that goes beyond my understanding but a heaviness of the unknown. How many lives and families will be affected? What will the economic impact be and how will it ultimately affect us? All of the “experts” seem to have a different outlook on the health situation and the financial impact and timeframe. Could it be that no one really knows? Where should we go for the answers?
These past few days as I worked at my home office, I watched several signs of new life outside my window; a robin with bright colors, a finch perched just feet away, a bald eagle flew right over my house and I can almost watch the bushes and trees budding their leaves. These are all reminders that spring is here and new life is coming!
It is also the week of Easter. A story that redefined the meaning of life! Hope, Peace, Love, Joy can all be found in the Easter story regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Jesus died on Good Friday and all seemed lost – even his 12 disciples thought it was over. They fled for their physical lives, were emotionally defeated and spiritually confused. BUT Easter morning came a few days later and everything changed! Over 500 witnesses saw Jesus after he rose on Easter and many wrote about it and sacrificed their lives because of their testimony. They had a new outlook – one that changed everything. Physically they had hope for life beyond what this world has to offer, emotionally they had joy and peace even when enduring suffering, and spiritually they had a rebirth knowing they had hope for eternity.
We can experience the same today in the uncertainty of our life circumstances. We may find ourselves wanting to control our circumstances or how our leaders are responding – but we will be better off working on self-control. We CAN control how we respond to events, but usually cannot control the events themselves. How can we have contentment, faith in the future, and peace? To be content it is necessary to not fear the future, to have peace we must look for truth and to have faith we must rely on what is trustworthy. Are these even possible? Yes! The Easter story makes all this possible. We have someone who gives us a bright future, who IS truth and who has proven trustworthy. This person is found in the center of the Easter story – Jesus. He is our Way, our Truth, and our Life!
We are praying for you and your family that you will experience His peace, joy and hope this Easter weekend. And for our country and world to have physical, emotional, and financial healing. I am also looking forward to a good ham and lots of chocolate!
The CARES Act is an acronym for Coronavirus Aid, Relieve, and Economic Security Act. Below are some thoughts specific to our industry that might be helpful to you:
- 2019 IRA Contributions: The 2019 IRA contribution deadline has been extended with the tax-filing deadline until July 15th. Make sure that you communicate with us if your contributions are intended to be for prior-year.
- Early Withdrawal Penalty Waiver: The CARES Act also waives the 10% early distribution on distribution of up $100,000 from IRAs and plans for individuals who meet the requirements of being affected by the coronavirus. The tax would still be due on pre-tax distributions, but could be spread evenly over three years, and the funds could be repaid anytime during the three years.
- 2020 RMDs: The Act included a waiver for required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020. This waiver applies to company savings plans and Traditional and Inherited IRAs. If you would like to stop your 2020 RMDs, please contact our office.
- Charitable deductions: The Act creates an above-the-line charitable deduction for 2020 (not to exceed $300) with a cash donation to charity, this particularly useful for those using the Standard Deduction on their tax return but still give. If you itemize your deductions, the bill also modifies the AGI limitations on charitable contributions for 2020, to 100% of AGI for individuals and 25% of taxable income for corporations. The bill also increases the food contribution limits to 25%. The prior AGI limit was 60% for individuals. Donor-Advised Fund Limits were unchanged, so if you are desiring to maximize the individual or corporate increases, the increased giving must be directly to a qualified charitable organization.
The Bill that was passed is over 800 pages long and covers many things from stimulus, to loan programs, to one-year changes in tax laws, and more. Please stay close to your accountants, attorneys, and bankers for applicable opportunities this Act provides. Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions as to how this Bill impacts you and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll point you to someone who does.
If you anticipate receiving a stimulus check, it would be a good time to prayerfully consider how best to use that money since it was not in anyone’s plans as the year started. If you haven’t been financially impacted by the COVID-19, perhaps consider extra levels of generosity to help those who have needs.
Thank you again for trusting us to walk with you on your stewardship journey.