COVID RELIEF Act of 2021

Feb 17, 20210 comments

COVID RELIEF Act of 2021

With Maryland families facing compounding difficulties due to the pandemic and help delayed from the federal government, Maryland legislators produced our own package to provide immediate relief to hundreds of thousands of Maryland families. In addition, hundreds of millions of additional dollars are now available for schools, disability insurance, utility relief and housing assistance. 

On February 15th, Governor Larry Hogan signed the RELIEF Act into law, unlocking over $1.5 billion in aid. I am proud of the work that has gone into this much-needed support. You can learn more about what is in the package and the work that is left to do. 

What is Included in the Relief Act: 

  • Earned Income Tax Credit

    • Maryland becomes the state with the most generous EITC in the nation, putting dollars in the bank accounts of low-income Maryland taxpayers.  Specifically, the credit is raised to 45% of the federal credit amount – which will, on average, provide families with children up to $730 more for a total of nearly $1,700.
  • Direct Payments

    • The RELIEF Act includes one-time payment to low-to-moderate incoming working individuals and couples of $300-$500. These payments are being processed now by the Comptroller’s office and will be deposited or mailed this week and next. Find out if you are eligible by clicking here.
  • Unemployment Payments

    • State income taxes on Unemployment Insurance income received during 2020 and 2021 will be waived for single filers who report under $75,000 in income and joint filers who report under $100,000. Taxpayers who have already filed their 2020 State tax returns can file an amended return for a full refund of Maryland state income taxes. 
    • The RELIEF Act provides $1,000 Unemployment Grants to 32,000 recipients who have been stuck in limbo with the unemployment system.
  • Support for Small Businesses

    • Small businesses that collect less than $6,000 in sales tax per month can keep up to $3,000 for March, April, May. (Businesses should claim this benefit on their quarterly filings with the Comptroller.)
    • Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees are eligible to postpone unemployment tax payments for 2021 until January 2022
    • Small businesses which participated in state loan or grant programs do not have to pay taxes on that money
    • Minority and Small Business Loans: up to $50,000 from the Equity Participation Programs loans become grants to support these important businesses
  • Other Support
    The RELIEF Act provides other important financial assistance for programs that need our help to ensure we are taking care of our most vulnerable residents and preparing for a speedy economic recovery. These additional payments include: 

    • $150 million for school reopening and support
    • $85 million for utility relief through the Office of Home Energy Programs
    • $22 million for disability assistance
    • $18 million for housing programs and legal assistance 

Who Qualifies?

  • More than 422,000 workers across the State
  • Go to marylandtaxes.gov/reliefact and enter your name, last four digits of your SSN, and your adjusted gross income from last year’s tax return to see if you are eligible
    • State will make direct deposits to about ⅔ of eligible Marylanders (with bank account information gathered from tax returns)
    • Others eligible will get checks in the mail
    • Remaining 2% of those eligible need to contact Comptroller to update address or bank account

What Still Needs to Be Done: 

We continue to work hard to ensure more Marylanders are eligible for an EITC. This week Democratic lawmakers will move forward and pass legislation to include those with an ITIN number in longer-term relief. I am confident that Maryland will join Colorado and California as the only states to expand EITCs to taxpayers who use ITINs. 

Have Questions?

  • Visit marylandtaxes.gov/reliefact
  • Call Comptroller’s Office at 833-345-0787 
  • Send questions to [email protected]

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