April Market Commentary
While American workers continue to struggle with stay-at-home orders, April brought a relief rally for investors. Perhaps a huge sigh of relief rally, we should say. US stock returns for April were the best monthly returns since 1987, with double-digit returns across the market cap spectrum. From the depths of the market selloff into late March, stocks moved significantly higher through the end of April. In a little over a month, we have witnessed the quickest selloff in stock market history followed by one of the most remarkable rallies.
The advice to stay the course and remain long-term investors is a tough message to deliver and a tougher message to hear during these challenging times. None of us know when this healthcare crisis will end and the long-term ramifications it will have on our economy, our investments and our way of life. However, there have been numerous times in history when unpredictable events have occurred, creating significant uncertainty in our lives and the world and financial markets have recovered. We are in one of those moments in history with this pandemic and the financial stresses created by the economic shutdowns globally. While the road to recovery is challenging, we believe in the ingenuity of the American people that will permit discovery and medical solutions to this healthcare crisis.
Currently, economies across the globe are attempting to reopen, with the uncertainty of whether going back to work will lead to more COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and yes, deaths. However, business owners and political leaders know we cannot stay in shutdown mode forever. The world needs to find a way to co-exist with this virus until a vaccine is discovered. The FDA recently approved an anti-viral drug named Remdesivir, which has demonstrated the ability to reduce the time to recovery for severely ill patients. While this is not a vaccine, it is a reminder the brightest minds in the healthcare and scientific communities are laying the groundwork for a sustainable recovery. This brought a ray of hope back to the markets. If we can discover treatments for the virus to keep us alive until a vaccine is discovered, perhaps we can go back to work and get the economy humming once again. This healthcare development, along with significant support from the Federal Reserve and fiscal relief efforts, contributed to the sharp rally in spite of the release of difficult economic data.
As we learn more about how to fight this virus and live with it until a vaccine is discovered, stocks are looking ahead toward an economy attempting to regain its footing with Americans going back to work. The uncertainty about how this evolves will lead to continued volatility in the financial markets, as we experience the ups and downs of treatment discoveries and potential setbacks along the way. However, as a resilient nation, we are determined to fight through this in order to seek a path back to a new normal way of life. Regardless of how this path moves forward, your team at 9258 Wealth Management is here to help you navigate the uncertainty. Whether it is how to invest your assets during these challenging times, understanding the waves of new legislation affecting your business, or considering new financial and tax planning opportunities created in the current environment, we are here to help.
As always, please contact us with questions anytime at 513.791.9258
We would love to hear from you! Please continue to stay safe and healthy!
Tax Planning and Preparation
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM ˜PPP° LOAN UPDATE
This loan program was established as part of the CARES Act to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. For those that followed certain guidelines, primarily around using at least 75% of the loan proceeds for payroll, the loans would be forgiven. Additionally, it was noted that the amounts forgiven would not be considered taxable income.
The IRS recently issued Notice 2020-32 to state that any expenses paid with loan proceeds that are ultimately forgiven will not be tax-deductible expenses. Thus, while you do come out ahead by being provided tax-free cash flow, there is a cost of lost tax deductions on expenses that you may have incurred regardless of the loan. Please consult with your financial and/or tax advisor to further discuss and we will monitor any further updates to this notice.
Due to COVID-19, colleges transitioned to online learning and, for the most part, closed down their on-campus housing. Along with the closures, some schools issued refunds for room and board costs. While many parents originally paid the invoice, the refunds were issued to the child. These costs are qualified educational expenses and many of you used 529 assets to pay for these expenses. Now you have expenses not incurred, but yet the distribution from the 529 obviously already occurred. If you don’t take appropriate action, the distribution could be deemed a non-qualified distribution, subject to tax and penalty.
If you received a refund and you originally paid for these expenses from a 529 withdrawal, you have two options:
1. Apply the funds to a qualified expense incurred in 2020 or
2. Place the funds back into your 529 account within 60 days of the receipt of the refund
The first option may be problematic if your child was a senior, as there may not be any further costs in 2020 unless they are attending graduate school this fall. For the second option, please consult with your state’s 529 plan as to their procedure to return the funds to the 529 account. The key is to clearly document what you’ve done and inform your tax preparer and your financial advisor.
Some schools are not providing actual refunds but are rather providing a credit to future costs. No real action is required as your future 529 withdrawals will just be reduced for the credit. However, please consider how the credit may impact the amount of on-going funding you have planned. Of course, if you do end up with excess funds after paying for all qualifying undergraduate expenses, you can always use the 529 assets for graduate school or you can shift the assets to a qualifying family member.