Important Financial Things to Act on During the Coronavirus Outbreak

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Emergency

Emergency Savings

It is important to have an emergency fund in place or at least a plan to access a line of credit in the event your paycheck is affected by the coronavirus restrictions. If you are still getting paid, consider building up your emergency fund with any extra money working at home (cost of gas), expenses such as eating out, going to the movies, gym membership, salon visits (these are not open at this time) and clothing. If you don’t have an emergency fund and you are working, now is good time to start one.

Mortgages and Loans

Banks across the country are taking steps to help consumers impacted by the coronavirus. Customers should reach out to their bank to find if they qualify for assistance. Consumers should find out whether their banks are included on the list of those banks making policy adjustments.

For example, some banks will allow consumers to:

  • Delay making payments for a month.
  • Avoid payments for the month of March entirely without worrying about accruing interest.
  • Offer personal hardship programs
  • Benefits from collection forbearance programs
  • Auto loans and home loans payments deferral for up to 120 days.
  • Fee waive program for up to 90 days.

Rent

Contact your landlord regarding assistance with your rent if you are affected by the virus or unemployed because of the virus.

Investments

You want to take a look at your financial portfolio, including any investments you have. Consult your investment adviser before getting rid of any stocks and buying any stocks. It is always better to buy low and sell high, not the other way around.

Unemployment

If you are unemployed or going to be unemployed due to the coronavirus restrictions, file day one or as soon as possible. People who want to apply for unemployment benefits in North Carolina can call 888-737-0259 or go online to the Department of Commerce website. The online application site is always available, but the phone line is only open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Consider a side hustle

Many companies have job openings like grocery stores, discount stores, pharmacies, and others. Avoid jobs requiring close contacts, consider job that allow you to work from home editing, proofreading, virtual assistant, telemarketing, etc.

Federal Income Taxes

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

Utility Companies

Some electric companies have suspended disconnections for the non-payment of home and business accounts. Some companies will waive all fees for late payments and returned checks and for credit or debit cards payments for residential customers. Customers recently disconnected can make arrangements for service restoration.

Coronavirus Scams

Consumers should on alert for scams, but particularly for scams involving the coronavirus. The scammers are using scary schemes. Fake miracle cures and events, shopping thieves, door-to-door sanitation services, robocalls, official-looking phishing emails, and government impostor scams” are all on the rise. These scams look to gain access to seniors’ financial information and anyone else’s financial information as well.

Scams include thieves who offer to do shopping for seniors then take off with the money, fake census workers asking for financial information or money, miracle products to cure the virus, phishing mails and more.

Financial Resources for Consumers From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

States continue to announce the temporary closure of businesses, schools and other public facilities or events. While these actions are necessary steps to help reduce exposures, it may bring financial uncertainty for many people who could experience a loss of income due to illness or workplace closures.

If you are facing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, there are resources to protect and help you manage your finances.

  • Protect yourself financially – As Americans prepare for the possible spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19, here are resources to protect yourself financially. Read in English, Leer en Español (Updated 3/16/2020)
  • Consumer complaints – Since our inception, we’ve built a robust and technologically forward complaint process that handles approximately 30,000 complaints every month. Even in these challenging times, we are ready to send your complaints to companies to help you get the response you need. (Updated 3/17/2020)
  • Protecting your credit during the coronavirus pandemic – Your credit reports and scores play an important role in your future financial opportunities. Learn how to manage and protect your credit during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. (Updated 3/19/2020)
  • Dealing with debt: Tips to help ease the impact – We have resources you can use to address issues related to debt collection during the coronavirus pandemic. (Updated 3/20/2020)
  • Tips for financial caregivers – We have resources for financial caregivers helping people who cannot manage their money or property themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. (Updated 3/20/2020)