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Hogan signs RELIEF Act into law, clearing way for direct payments to Earned Income Tax Credit recipients

Posted at 11:01 AM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 08:42:26-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan on Monday officially signed the RELIEF Act into law, clearing the way for direct stimulus payments to about 400,000 low-to-moderate income state residents who file for Earned Income Tax Credits.

The General Assembly approved the bill Friday. Hogan called it his top legislative priority.

To make it happen, an amendment was removed that would have included payments to those with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, including undocumented immigrants who pay taxes but don't have Social Security numbers.

Payments amount to $750 per family or $450 for individuals, and will be broken up in two installments.

RELATED: Hogan calls for hundreds-of-millions in direct payments as part of proposed emergency COVID-19 relief package

The State Comptroller will be tasked with preparing checks so they can quickly be sent out.

Here's a breakdown of how it works based on your annual income.

Breakdown of Relief Act

The RELIEF Act also addresses unemployment benefits, by repealing the customary state and local income taxes associated with them.

Those who filed and are still awaiting their unemployment benefits will be issued a one-time $1,000 payment.

That comes in addition to $300 million in small business sales tax credits, which could save thousands of businesses up to $12,000 over a four-month period.

For example, if you're a business with $100,000 in monthly revenue and you collect $6,000 in sales taxes, you only remit $3,000. Or, if you have $50,000 revenue and you collect $3,000 in sales taxes, you keep it all and wouldn't have to pay it back at any point.

On top of that, the legislation extends restrictions on sudden and substantial tax hikes that small businesses could see as result of workers filing for unemployment.

Additionally, businesses will be protected from any tax increase triggered by the use of state loan or grant funds.

According to Hogan, a majority of funding for the legislation is coming from money left over in last year's budget. Approximately $100 million will also be taken from the state's rainy day fund.

Later this week, the legislature is expected to consider a separate bill that would allow those with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to qualify for Earned Income Tax Credits.