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CARES Act: Independent Contractors

The CARES Act states “individuals who operate under a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor and eligible self-employed individuals shall be eligible.”

Unemployment benefits may be available for those that are freelancers, independent contractors and others that do not receive a W-2. Each state is administering these benefits differently. Many states are still developing the process of applying benefits.

The stimulus also include potential payments from the IRS. Independent workers and freelancers are entitled to receive a $1,200 payment ($2,400 for married couples) from the IRS, plus an additional $500 per dependent 16 years or younger. In order to qualify for the full amount, you have to have earned $75,000 or less in the prior year ($150,000 or less if married). Above those income thresholds, the stimulus payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married couples who have no children and earn $198,000. If you haven’t prepared your 2019 tax return, you can use your 2018 return to see if the income threshold is met.

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