The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package enacted into law on March 11 contains AVMA-championed provisions that are critical to supporting veterinary professionals and preventing another pandemic. These include tax benefits for qualified student loan borrowers, support for small business programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, and funding for SARS-CoV-2 monitoring and surveillance.
Student loan debt relief
The relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, temporarily provides tax-free treatment of forgiven debt for qualified student loans discharged Dec. 31, 2020, through Jan. 1, 2026. Qualified loans generally include those guaranteed by the federal government.
Regulations from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be forthcoming to provide clarification on how this provision will impact veterinary borrowers, especially those in income-based repayment (IBR) programs. This provision also would apply to debt forgiveness through future legislation, administration action, or action by educational institutions within the specified time frame.
Small business support
The American Rescue Plan Act also expands and extends many of AVMA’s small veterinary business priorities, including providing an additional $15 billion for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) grants to additional non-profits. It extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through Dec. 31, 2021, and the paid family and medical leave fully refundable tax credit to Sept. 30, 2021, for employers that voluntarily offer paid leave to their employees.
SARS-CoV-2 surveillance and other provisions
The law also contains AVMA-supported language that provides $300 million for monitoring and surveillance of susceptible animals for incidences of SARS-CoV-2.
Other provisions of note include:
- $7.5 billion in CDC funding for COVID vaccine distribution
- $48.3 billion for testing, contact tracing, and other steps to combat the virus
- $39.6 billion for higher education to provide emergency financial aid grants for students, as well as cover revenue losses and increased costs related to COVID-19
- $1,400 stimulus checks per individual and dependents subject to certain income caps
- Extension of federal unemployment insurance of $300 per week until September 6, 2021, including a $10,200 tax exclusion for tax year 2020, subject to income limitations
Learn more about the American Rescue Plan Act.
The AVMA’s COVID-19 resource center has additional detail on legislation and relief programs related to COVID-19.