TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida teachers and first responders looking forward to a promised $1,000 bonus from a chunk of CARES Act money may not have as much to fluff their wallets with due to federal taxes.
At a Tuesday morning news conference in Orlando, and on the cusp of the educator bonuses being mailed out, Gov. Ron DeSantis said there is a possibility that the money might get hit with a tax by the federal government.
The governor and state lawmakers set aside CARES Act funds in the Florida budget for the coming fiscal year to give $1,000 bonuses to teachers and the many first responders who worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bonuses are supposed to go to firefighters, police, sheriffs and deputies as well as teachers, principals and medical personnel. They are expected to arrive by mail in August.
“I think they’re going to be mailed a check,” DeSantis said. “I think we’re good to go – I mean, we’re using the federal funding from one of the ESSER pots, [it] absolutely can be used for bonuses. I think the question we have is, was the administration going to tax the bonuses? I think they might, obviously we don’t believe they should be taxable but that’s not our ability to be able to write those tax implications from it.”
Florida has no state income tax but residents still have to pay a cut to Uncle Sam each year during tax season. That means that due to the federal taxes on bonuses and income, the $1,000 promised by Florida lawmakers may end up being less.
According to TurboTax, bonuses are a supplemental income and are therefore subject to a flat tax rate of 22%. Just off of the 22% tax rate for bonuses, that $1,000 would end up being closer to $780.
If additional taxes from the federal government for things like Medicare and Social Security are also applied – at 1.45% and 6.2%, respectively – that bonus could drop as low as $703.50, with the Medicare tax carving out $14.50 and the Social Security tax taking $62 even.
Still, it’s unclear if those taxes will be applied, we’ll have to wait for more information from the governor’s office and the federal government to know more. Either way, the state of Florida won’t be taking anything out of that bonus for its own revenue needs.