Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) and Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) introduced The Giving Retailers and Our Convenience Employees Relief Act (GROCER Act), which would exempt the wages of convenience and grocery employees earned between Feb. 15 and June 15 from federal income tax.
Eligible employees would include anyone in the convenience or grocery industries making less than $75,000 annually who work in a county with at least one confirmed COVID-19 case. These employees would be able to exempt up to $25,000 in income from their 2020 federal income taxes during that four-month period.
Should this proposal become law, it would immediately provide additional take-home pay for these frontline workers via adjusting their withholdings.
“Our grocery and convenience store employees are serving on the front lines, making sure the rest of us have the food and other crucial supplies we need to get through this pandemic,” said Rep. Evans. “This bipartisan four-month income-tax holiday would be a way to thank these vital workers and help them meet their own needs.”
The legislation also allows the U.S. Treasury Secretary to extend the relief for up to an additional three months, with the cap increasing by $6,250 per month. Unless individual states enact similar legislation, these wages still would count for any state taxation purposes.
The proposal may be included in the “phase IV” stimulus bill currently being developed in Congress, but the timing remains unclear. Neither chamber is expected to be back in session until May.