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May 01, 2021

Third COVID relief bill helps veterinarians

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The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package signed into law March 11 includes several AVMA-backed provisions critical to supporting veterinary professionals and preventing another pandemic.

These include tax benefits for qualified educational loan borrowers, support for small-business programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, and funding for SARS-CoV-2 monitoring and surveillance.

The relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, temporarily provides tax-free treatment of forgiven debt for qualified educational loans discharged Dec. 31, 2020, through Jan. 1, 2026. Qualified loans generally include those guaranteed by the federal government.

A portion of the American Rescue Plan Act document

Forthcoming regulations from the Internal Revenue Service will clarify how the provision applies to veterinary borrowers, especially those in income-based repayment programs. The provision also applies to debt forgiveness through future legislation, administration action, or action by educational institutions within the given time frame.

The American Rescue Plan Act also expands and extends many of the AVMA’s veterinary small-business priorities, including providing an additional $15 billion for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans and PPP grants to additional nonprofits.

The act extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit through Dec. 31, 2021, and the fully refundable paid family and medical leave tax credit to Sept. 30, 2021, for employers that voluntarily offer paid leave to their employees.

The new law also contains AVMA-supported language that provides $300 million for monitoring and surveillance of susceptible animals for infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Other provisions of note include:

  • $7.5 billion 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 Sept. 6, 2021, including a $10,200 tax exclusion for tax year 2020, subject to income limitations.

Visit the AVMA’s COVID-19 resource center for additional details on legislation and relief programs related to COVID-19.