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Third stimulus check news summary: 30 March 2021

Update:
Latest news and updates on the stimulus checks of up to $1,400 in President Biden's $1.9tn coronavirus relief package, Tuesday 30 March 2021.

Stimulus checks - live updates

Headlines:

- Congressional support on the rise for recurring fourth stimulus check (full story)

- IRS issues information on stimulus checks arriving by mail (full story)

- Republicans seek to have $1,400 payments to inmates redirected to victims

- More than half of Americans have used their stimulus check to pay off debt

- Combined wealth of US billionaires increases by $1.3 trillion during pandemic

- 41 Democratic senators call for Child Tax Credit expansion to be made permanent

- Congress enjoys 10-year high in popularity polls after American Rescue Plan enacted

- SSA provides information to IRS to unlock stimulus checks for 30 million social security claimants (what happened?)

- US president unveils new $3 trillion employment package (full story)

- IRS has issued nearly 130 million stimulus checks to date, with 160 million households in the US set to receive $1,400 per person payment (who qualifies?)

- You can track your stimulus check using the IRS Get My Payment Tool

- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 30.35 million/550,371 (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)

Related articles:

 

dollar

Dollar marks fresh highs on U.S. pandemic recovery optimism

The dollar rose to a fresh one-year high versus the yen and multi-month peaks with other rivals on Wednesday as investors bet that massive fiscal stimulus and aggressive vaccinations will help the United States lead a global pandemic recovery.

President Joe Biden is set to outline later on Wednesday how he intends to pay for a $3-$4 trillion infrastructure plan, after earlier this week saying 90% of adult Americans would be eligible for vaccination by April 19.

The dollar index rose as far as 93.435, the highest in almost five months. It has climbed from close to 90 at the start of March, on course for its best month since 2016.

Data overnight showed U.S. consumer confidence soared this month to the highest since the start of the pandemic, supporting views that economic growth will accelerate in the coming months, driven by more fiscal stimulus and an improving public health situation.

Tax return deadline extended for state of Louisiana

The IRS has confirmed that filers the state Louisiana which was the victims of sever winter storms in February now have until June 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

Who to thank for the enhanced Child Tax Credit 

For the 2021 fiscal year, eligible Americans will benefit from an expanded Child Tax Credit. Under the tax provision in the American Rescue Plan, families with children will have access to a now fully-refundable tax credit which means that even if a filer paid less in taxes than the value of the credit, they will receive the money as a tax refund.  

The child tax credit has been increased to $3,000 for each child aged from 6-17 and $3,600 for each child under the age of six. Families could receive half the credit as a direct payment of $300 per child under 6 and/or $250 per child under 18 per month. The provision calls for the payments to go out monthly starting 1 July, through December. The remainder of the credit can be claimed on 2021 tax returns. 

“As President Biden stood in the Rose Garden this month, basking in the glow of his newly enacted $1.9 trillion stimulus package, he singled out two lawmakers who had been toiling away in relative obscurity on its key provisions for years.” 

“Rosa, you and I’ve spent so much time on this,” Mr. Biden said, addressing Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut and a 30-year veteran of the House. “You guys — you, Patty and others — are the ones that have been leading this for so long, and it’s finally coming to fruition.” 

To find out more about who was behind the enhanced Child Tax Credit measurecheck out this article at The New York Times. 

I took my first economics course around 1963. Since then, our country has endured at least 5 major economic crises. Each of these crises was very different but they all shared at least once significant characteristic: 
They all hit Latino-Americans disproportionately hard.

Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary
IRS

IRS anticipates Social Security recipients will receive stimulus checks starting next week 

The third batch of $1,400 direct stimulus payments is set to land in bank accounts on Wednesday but some 30 million beneficiaries of federal programs will have to wait at least one week more. 

Recipients of Social Security and Veterans benefits should be eligible for the third round of direct stimulus payments authorized in the American Rescue Plan passed into law in March. However, an administrative problem saw millions wondering where their payments were.  

The IRS projects that the funds will start to arrive by 7 April, but some may have to wait a little longer.Read the full story.

Medicaid enrollees have to figure out what to do with leftover stimulus money 

The three stimulus payments that have been sent out don’t count as income, for a time. After one year that money turns into an asset which could spell trouble for Medicaid enrollees. They are only allowed limited assets outside of the essentials like their primary residence and car. For a single person it’s usually around $2,000. 

The one-year anniversary of the first stimulus payments of $1,200 is fast approaching. Any stimulus money from that first payment left over that could push a Medicaid enrollee over the threshold needs to be spent. Click below to find out more.

Students can get more than just a stimmy check from stimulus package 

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan dedicates $40 billion to higher education. Institutions can choose how they will use the funds that are coming their way with some choosing to forgive student debt. Student loan forgiveness is tax-free. Other institutions have proposed giving students direct payments. Allison Pohle recommends checking with your institution to see what benefits you may be able to take advantage of.

Retailers feeling benefits of stimulus package 

With the number of people vaccinated increasing by the day, confidence is building to go out and spend. More than 50 percent of US consumers expect to spend extra by splurging or treating themselves according to McKinsey. Higher-income millennials intend to spend the most, with their out-of-home spending accelerating as they get vaccinated.  

Consumer spending slumped in February between stimulus checks, but with new batches of $1,400 payments going out weekly and vaccination efforts continuing to hit new records people are feeling comfortable going on again. Early purchases will be particularly on discretionary categories such as apparel, beauty, and electronics.

Capitol

How you can still benefit from the American Rescue Plan 

With the passing of President Joe Biden’s first major legislative priority since taking office eligible Americans have a host of new tax provisions to take advantage of. These include another round of direct stimulus payments, enhanced Child Tax Credit, and a waiver on up to $10,200 of taxed unemployment compensation in 2020. 

Being enacted in the middle of the 2021 tax filing season, some Americans have already filed their taxes and left with doubts about whether they will benefit from the provisions. Likewise, those that haven’t filed are wondering if they’ll miss out on stimulus money as checks have already started landing in bank accounts. On both accounts, there isn’t a need to worry, but you may have to wait until the IRS can catch up with the extraordinary workload. 

Read the full story.

Democratic lawmakers call recurring stimulus payments in infrastructure bill

President Joe Biden on Wednesday is set to present the first portion his Build Back Better, a generational investment in infrastructure, reviving domestic manufacturing, combating climate change and keeping the US competitive with China. Senate Democrats want President Biden to use the opportunity to include recurring stimulus checks and automatic unemployment insurance extensions based on economic conditions. 

The effort is led by Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden joined by 20 of his Democratic colleagues who presented the White House with a letter. "This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions," they wrote in the letter. 

 

Wisconsin Governor announces plans for federal stimulus money 

Republicans in the state Assembly tried to wrestle the power over how the $3.2 billion in stimulus funds away from Governor Tony Evers. However, Gov. Evers vetoed their proposal and on Monday announced how he will target the federal stimulus money.  

Although the plan is lacking full details the Governor wants $2.5 billion in spending toward economic relief for families, workers and small business owners. The state's pandemic response efforts will get $500 million.  A large portion of the $200 million for infrastructure will go toward expanding broadband access, but less than GOP assembly members are calling for.

Stimulus and shots put US on track to recover pre-pandemic economic growth 

The International Monetary Fund will lift its projections for global economic growth in the wake of encouraging vaccination trends and major new stimulus in the US, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Tuesday. 

The news isn't all good. Georgieva highlighted that, despite the broadly improved outlook, the global recovery remains uneven and gaps between countries could widen in the coming months. The US and China are likely to reach pre-pandemic levels of gross domestic product by the end of the year, but "they are the exception, not the rule," she said. 

Read the full story via Business Insider

IRS confirms that payment to Social Security beneficiaries will go out 

$1,400 stimulus checks that were authorized as part of the American Rescue Plan were delayed for 30 million Americans who receive Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and railroad retirement benefits. The issue mainly affected “non-filers,” or people who didn’t file a tax return in 2019 or 2020. 

In a press release from the Internal Revenue Service, the tax agency stated: 

“As work continues on issuing millions of Economic Impact Payments to Americans, the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department announced today that they anticipate payments will begin to be issued this weekend to Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file a tax return, with the projection that the majority of these payments would be sent electronically and received on April 7.”

Support for recurring stimulus checks

A petition has been set up on change.org to build a strong backing for the case for recurring checks. The argument goes as follows:

'The importance and power of stimulus checks is clear: the more money that goes directly into the pockets of people, the more it gets spent in local and national economies. Recurring stimulus checks is how we recover from this crisis. A recent study from Stockton has shown us the more recovery cash people receive, the healthier and more productive they become.'

For more, you can go to the site directly.

Stimulus funds: vote against, gratefully receive

MSNBC's Kyle Griffin points out in this thread that despite Rep. Madison Cawthorn voting against President Biden's American Rescue Plan, he is now praising the money that has been provided to his state from it.

This was always going to be a tough play for Republicans who stayed on party lines when they knew that the benefits were going to be forthcoming for their constituents.

Stimulus scammers: IRS warning to .edu email address holders

The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning Tuesday, reported by The Associated Press, about a phishing scam targeting students and staff at educational institutions who have an .edu email address.

The IRS said it has received complaints about the scam aimed at students at both public and private, for-profit and non-profit institutions.

The fraudulent emails display the IRS logo and use various subject lines, such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” The emails ask people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund. The phishing website then requests people provide personal information, such as their name, date of birth and Social Security number.

People who receive this scam email should not click on the link in the email, but they can report it to the IRS.

The IRS said taxpayers who believe they may have provided identity thieves with their information should consider immediately obtaining an Identity Protection PIN. An IP PIN is a six-digit number that helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name.

Taxpayers who attempt to e-file their tax return and find it rejected because a return with their social security number already has been filed should file an Identity Theft Affidavit reporting themselves as a possible identity theft victim.

IRS news: tax refund status

Don't say that the Inland Revenue Services haven't reminded you. Assuming you follow their news account on Twitter then there is little excuse for not knowing what you need.

IRS2Go offers many features

Refund Status

Check the status of your federal income tax refund using IRS2Go. You can check your refund status within 24 hours after we receive your e-filed return, or about four (4) weeks after mailing your paper return.

Make a Payment

Get easy access to mobile-friendly payment options like IRS Direct Pay, offering you a free, secure way to pay directly from your bank account. You can also make a credit or debit card payment through an approved payment processor.

Free Tax Help

Get your taxes done and filed. You can directly access FREE tax software from your mobile device to quickly prepare and file your taxes and get your refund. Or, if you prefer receiving help in-person, you can find a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) site near you and receive free tax help. These programs are available to taxpayers who qualify.

Stay Connected

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, watch helpful videos on YouTube, subscribe to receive IRS Tax Tips, and more.

Security Code

IRS2Go can generate login security codes for certain IRS online services, allowing you to retrieve codes through IRS2Go instead of using text messages. For more information, visit the Secure Access page.

Download the app and you'll have everything at your fingertips.

'Take it easy on stimulus spending'

Don’t spend it all in one place! Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang made that suggestion to the de Blasio administration on Monday, but it was not exactly welcomed with open arms by either mayor’s press secretary or the city’s accountant (and one of Yang’s rivals in the mayoral race), Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Yang, in front of City Hall, urged Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council to take up his recommendation that the $6 billion granted to the city through the American Rescue Act to make up for funding shortfalls due to covid-19 should be spaced out over a period of years to prevent future deficits.

“You’re looking at a total of, let’s call it six to $7 billion. So, if you project that it’s going to last you several years, then you’re looking at spending, let’s call it $2 billion a year, which is appropriate. If you’re facing, let’s call it a four to $5 billion budget deficit, then you use the federal money to build almost half of that goal [and eliminate] inefficiencies.”

AMNY reports on Yang's critique of the spending plans.

Avoid stimulus payment scammers

There are multiple reports of scammers attempting to use concern about the covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity for phishing (e.g. an attempt to get an individual to click a link in order to steal passwords, install malware, or otherwise gain access to sensitive information).

Individuals should remain vigilant when receiving emails or text messages received claiming to have information about covid-19 – especially from organizations which they did not sign up to receive alerts from. Some phishing attempts may purport to be from a health authority like the World Health Organization, from someone that makes promises about miracle cures, or asks for donations or other actions.

These types of emails may be phishing attempts, where an attacker sends you a message that looks innocent but may contain malware or a link designed to steal an account password.

The NY Attorney General's official website offers sound advice on a wide range of related issues.

$3,600 child tax credit: how it works

This year families with children will be looking forward to a bit of extra help covering the cost of raising their children. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) enacted in March included an enhanced Child Tax Credit that could see families receiving up to $1,800 in direct payments before the end of the year.

Congressional Democrats convinced the Biden administration to greatly expand the number of families and the amount they can receive under the tax provision. However, when speaking to Congress the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) chief, Charles Rettig, expressed doubts about the ability of his agency to roll out the full provisions within the timeline stated in the law.

What are the provisions of the 2021 Child Tax Credit?

The new system provides a fully-refundable tax credit which means that even if a filer paid less in taxes than the value of the credit, they will receive the money as a tax refund. The enhanced credit is $3,000 for each child aged from 6-17 and $3,600 for each child under the age of six, but only for the 2021 fiscal year. Families could receive a payment of $300 per child under 6 and/or $250 per child under 18 per month. The provision calls for the payments to go out monthly starting 1 July, through December.

Ideally families would receive half of the credit in 2021 through direct payments, similar to how the $1,400 stimulus checks in the same bill are sent. The remainder, $1,800/$1,500 per child, would be available to families as a rebate when they file their 2021 income-tax filing in 2022.

Find out more information.

Filing IRS taxes support: webinar

With many Americans struggling to navigate the complicated process of filing their taxes as the 2021 deadline approaches, the GetYourRefund team are hosting a webinar at 7pm EDT which will have free, easy-to-understand info on filing your taxes from state and national experts.

Among other pointers, local and national experts will cover:

- Tax prep options, either software or in-person, that are free
- New rules for the earned income tax credit
- Ways that unemployment insurance can affect taxes
- Reasons returns may be delayed

The event will also cover systemic issues in the tax filing system, as outlined in ProPublica’s extensive reporting on taxes and the IRS — from how companies like TurboTax, H&R Block and others have worked against making tax preparation easier (and free) to the huge backlog of paperwork at the IRS that is already slowing tax returns.

Find out more below:

Coronavirus USA: who gets stimulus money and when?

Coronavirus

Coronavirus USA: who gets stimulus money and when?

Stimulus check flashback

A year ago today, on 30 March 2020, the world was coming to terms with the coronavirus pandemic and as part of the support measures, then President Donald Trump had signed the largest economic stimulus package in US history, at $2 trillion.

This relief package had citizens checking out the finer details to find out if they were eligible for support from stimulus checks as well as unemplyment benefits and the likes. We had no idea then what would follow.

Stimulus rebound bets as Wall Street dips

US stocks were down slightly in afternoon trading on Tuesday, with investors selling tech-related growth shares as US Treasury yields hit a 14-month high, Reuters reports. At the same time, S&P 500 financials, industrials and consumer discretionary rose, extending the recent rotation out of growth and into so-called value names. Shares of Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com all were lower.

The Nasdaq was on track for its first monthly loss since November following the recent rise in Treasury yields. Tech stocks, which have a low-rate environment heavily baked in to their high valuations, have been among the hardest hit by the rise in yields.

"Investor preferences are flipping around here almost on a daily basis, primarily between tech plus and cyclicals," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, New York.

"Cyclicals have certainly had the upper hand here for a while, trading off the reopening of the economy."

Bets on a swift economic rebound backed by vaccine rollouts and unprecedented stimulus helped the S&P 500 and the Dow notch record closing highs last week, while the Nasdaq is still below its all-time closing high from February.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will unveil more details about the first stage of his infrastructure plan, which could be worth as much as $4 trillion.

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Stimulus, relief and IRS

As well as staying abreast of all the latest news related to stimulus check payments, the IRS schedule and filing deadlines, and Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan right here on our daily live blog, you can also review our back catalogue of articles.

At the following link, you will find our store of pieces in which we aim to inform appropriately as well as provide links to suitable sites to assist you to action what is necessary.

Stimulus spending: Texas education push

'$17.9 billion is at stake', is the call to action from the Raise Your Hand Texas group, which states that the state's schools missed out on over $1 billion of federal funds last spring when state leaders used those dollars to fill other budget holes. School districts have stepped up for students and families again and again over the last year, and now state lawmakers must step up for school districts. 

They want Texans to help ensure that dollars intended for education stay in education - at every step of the budget process.

Read more.

California stimulus plans

Governor Gavin Newsom and California legislators want to use federal stimulus money to give tax breaks to small and essential businesses for certain expenses during the pandemic — but they’re worried that they can’t because of certain provisions in the new covid relief law.

Newsom’s wants to match a federal tax policy that would make sure loans that businesses received through the Paycheck Protection Program are not taxable.

We don’t have any clear answers yet. I find it shocking that this even got in here in the first place,” Assemblyman Adam Gray said. “They prohibited states from tax credits, but not tax increases.”

The coronavirus relief packages have really highlighted where federal policy can make significant differences.

It should help us create a universal system for families.

Danielle Ewen, Principal, Education Counsel

Stimulus funds in the mail: check or pre-paid debit card

if you are eligible for the third stimulus payment but it is not going into your bank account by direct deposit then you should be receiving the funds in the post (check the status of your payment here). It will come as either a paper check or as a pre-paid debit card, with around 30 million Americans receiving their funds this way. 

Checks are checks, so you know what to do with that. The pre-paid debit card though actually has some advantages - once you've activated it (the instructions to do so come with the card) you can head to an ATM and withdraw the funds if you want crisp bills, transfer the funds to another account or even just use it like any other debit card to buy things at the store or online. 

Concern over access to stimulus checks for unhoused citizens

Representative Cori Bush has written to the Commissioner of the IRS, Charles Rettig, expressing her concern over the possibility of unhoused citizens being able to get access to the third round of stimulus checks after the IRS closed the Non-Filer Portal. That leaves non-filers having to complete a Form 1040, something that is likely to prevent many from getting their stimulus check.

With so many people struggling and homelessness rising sharply across the US, getting the third stimulus check out as quickly as possible is vital, and reopening the Non-Filer Portal to make things as easy as possible would seem to be a very necessary move.

Stimulus check payments to social security recipients expected by 7 April

Sam Brodey at the Daily Beast with this update. As he notes with his quote marks, it's hard to know how much work the word 'project' is doing here.

Check your old account for your stimmy

WTVR in Richmond have a useful story if you’re wondering where your stimulus check money has gone… make sure you look at old bank accounts, even if you’ve updated your details with the IRS.

Resident Debbie Baker said she’d updated her details back on January 2, but the money still went into her old account.

The IRS have also confirmed that it is using the account details it had on file last year. That means that if the account no longer exists the money will be bounced back to the IRS, who will then mail a paper check to you, or possibly a prepaid debit card.

Right now you can’t call the IRS to update details, so if the funds haven't arrived it looks like checking the IRS Get My Payment tool and then sitting tight is likely the best option, though that’s tough if the stimulus funds are needed right now.

A stimulus check divided

Some married couples have been angered and upset at receiving only half the stimulus payment they were expecting, to the point where they’ve been posting in a Facebook group about the issue.

It turns out the couples will be receiving the full amount eventually, but because of a glitch in the system the payment for both partners is being divided into two chunks.

The IRS have confirmed the issue.

The two payment glitch arises when the couple have filed what’s known as an ‘injured spouse claim’ (Form 8379) - this covers the situation where one of the couple owes federal back taxes, has defaulted on  federal student loan or owes child support. If the IRS accepts the claim, the full stimulus check will be available to the couple (up to $1,400 each) but it may come in two amounts.

When will the second stimulus payment come? The IRS say it should be the same week or within weeks of the  first payment. The couples can check the IRS Get My Payment tool, but remember to look at the situation of each spouse separately

How many stimulus checks have been there until now and when were they paid?

CORONAVIRUS STIMLUS CHECKS

How many stimulus checks have been there until now and when were they paid?

The three sets of stimulus checks

This is a useful summary of the three stimulus checks that have been paid out to now - including a reminder that it’s not too late to claim for the first and second checks if you were eligible but somehow missed out.

IRS web searches

Google trends shows massive rise in search for the IRS

Google Trends is reporting a massive increase right now  (up 3,000% ) in searches for the IRS website, as citizens look for information both on filing taxes and the stimulus checks. The IRS has of course (see below) extended the individual filing deadline to May 17 (and it may yet be extended again)

The direct link to the Get My Payment site for stimulus check information is right at the top of the IRS page.

The IRS really could not have an easier website to find - the URL is precisely what you’d expect - www.irs.gov - but it’s probably true that the vast majority of people wanting to go to it will type IRS into a search engine. The one thing to be careful about when doing that is scammers who manage to place an advert above the organic search, which people click thinking they are going to the IRS and in fact they aren’t. It always pays to check the actual link you’re clicking.

Fourth stimulus check: lawmakers support another payment

US NEWS

Fourth stimulus check: lawmakers support another payment

Many Americans recently saw money deposited into their bank accounts after President Joe Biden signed a new $1.9 trillion covid-19 rescue package that included a third round of direct stimulus payments. However, some Democratic lawmakers are saying the $1,400 checks that most individual Americans received are not enough.

The big question on people's lips now is whether there will be a fourth round of stimulus checks, as the federal government continues to distribute the $1,400 provided in the American Rescue Plan. So far, over 60 congressional lawmakers have pushed for recurring direct payments until the pandemic ends.

Read the full story on a potential fourth stimulus check.

American Rescue Plan projected to cut child poverty rate in half

Watch below as Secretary Yellen explains what the child tax credit is and how it helps American families.

The American Rescue Plan passed by the Democrats calls for $10,200 in unemployment benefits from taxable income in 2020 to be waived, which the tax agency must go back and retroactively exempt. At the same time the law approved another round of direct stimulus payments for $1,400 this time round which Commissioner Rettig says it must finish before the agency’s IT staff can set up the online portal for the child tax credit program.

When will the direct child tax credit payments be made?

Although the ARP directs the IRS to begin sending out payments monthly in July the law gives the Treasury Secretary some leeway to let the tax agency make the payments at longer intervals. It is up to the discretion of Secretary Janet Yellen to decide what will be feasible for the IRS.

$3,600 child tax credit: how often will it be paid? Monthly?

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

$3,600 child tax credit: how often will it be paid? Monthly?

This year families with children will be looking forward to a bit of extra help covering the cost of raising their children. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) enacted in March included an enhanced Child Tax Credit that could see families receiving up to $1,800 in direct payments before the end of the year.

Congressional Democrats convinced the Biden administration to greatly expand the number of families and the amount they can receive under the tax provision. However, when speaking to Congress the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) chief, Charles Rettig, expressed doubts about the ability of his agency to roll out the full provisions within the timeline stated in the law.

Full story.

How are you using your stimulus check?

Why is the IRS still processing stimulus checks for low-income Americans?

Fox - Tens of millions of low-income Americans are still waiting for their stimulus check to arrive weeks after President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Although the Social Security Administration sent the IRS missing files that have been delaying payments for about 30 million people on Thursday, some Social Security recipients say they have not yet received the direct cash payments worth up to $1,400.

House Democrats say that Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul – who was nominated by former President Donald Trump – is to blame for the delays, which "defied congressional intent and imposed needless anxiety and pain on taxpayers."

IRS

Tax Filing 2021: will IRS extend the deadline again?

With many millions of direct deposits from President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package already having arrived in the bank accounts of Americans, the Inland Revenue Services have confirmed that they are extending the period of filing for 2020 tax returns.

The original date for filing your taxes was 15 April 2021 but the deadline has been extended to 17 May in order to "help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic."

Once this change to the date was announced, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig issued a statement:

"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities.

"Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to."

For more on filing tax returns: tax filing 2021

Doubts over fourth stimulus check

A fourth stimulus check may not happen at all. Whether or not Democrats decide to move forward on the bill without bipartisan support, experts aren’t convinced a fourth stimulus check will be included anyway. Americans may have to accept that another direct payment won’t happen, explains Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, who says priorities will probably lie elsewhere in the Build Back Better plan.

"These packages will be designed to address long-term economic problems such as infrastructure, climate change and the skewed income and wealth distribution," Zandi told Fortune. "I wouldn’t consider these packages as fiscal stimulus, designed to support the economy in the short-term […]. I don’t think there will be a fourth round of stimulus checks."

Certainly, the increasingly optimistic economic outlook in the US means there may not be the same appetite for a fourth check as for the third - a direct payment which itself only got through after eligibility was narrowed to bring more moderate Democrats, such as Senator Joe Manchin, on board.

Fourth stimulus check update: could it happen in April?

Nearly 130 million third stimulus checks have so far been distributed as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief package, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said in a statement last week.

In all, around 160 million households in the US are to receive a check, with qualifying individuals getting a direct payment of up to $1,400 and extra credits of $1,400 also available for dependents of any age.

But as the process of distributing stimulus checks - officially known as Economic Impact Payments or EIPs - continues, talk is already turning to whether or not Americans can expect to receive a fourth such check, too. Indeed, it had started well before Biden signed his stimulus bill into law three weeks ago.

Read the full story.

Third stimulus check: why is my payment being mailed by post?

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: why is my payment being mailed by post?

Approximately 15 million paper stimulus checks were sent out by mail last week. Your $1,400 stimulus payment could arrive in the mail either as a paper check or as a prepaid EIP debit card.

Find out more here:

Low earners face having electricity cut off

Millions of Americans could have their electricity cut off due to mounting unpaid bills, according to MPR News. As part of President Biden's American Rescue Plan, $4.5 billion was designated towards the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps families to meet costs associated with home utility bills, energy crises, weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs.

Millions lost their jobs during the pandemic which saw unpaid bills more than double to an estimated $27 billion in arrears, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association (NEADA). Many have yet to receive the one-time LIHEAP payments to help pay their utility bills and in the meantime, could have their power switched off.

Find out more about LIHEAP and how you can apply here:

Biden hoping $4trn infrastructure bill will be passed by the summer

President Biden is set to unveil details of a major infrastructure package which will include large-scale investment into road, rail infrastructure, tax reforms and record spending on climate change. More will be revealed during his visit to Pittsburgh tomorrow but according to AP White House reporter Jonathan Lamire, Biden is keen to ensure that his infrastructure package passed by the summer.

Those on Social Security benefits experiencing delays receiving their stimulus checks

Around 30 million people who are receiving Social Security benefits (Social Security or Supplemental Security Income) may not have received their $1400 stimulus check yet. This was due to a mix-up between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the IRS. The SSA has finally forwarded the necessary data to the tax agency so those delayed payments should start to go through soon. Approximately 127 million Americans have received their stimulus payment, either by direct deposit or a paper check or EIP debit card mailed through the post.

The latest update on the SSA website says: "Please refer to the IRS' website for the latest information about economic impact payments (EIP). Please do not contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) with questions about EIPs. Our representatives do not have information to answer your EIP questions. The IRS, not SSA, processes all EIPs."

Joe Biden's $1.9tn coronavirus relief package broken down

Here is a brief summary of where President Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan will be spent, in a graphic courtesy of Financial Mail.

$1,400 third stimulus check: do I qualify for a direct payment?

US NEWS

$1,400 third stimulus check: do I qualify for a direct payment?

Third stimulus check, who qualifies and who doesn't

Around 160 million Americans will receive a stimulus payment of up to $1,400 in President Biden's $1.9tn coronavirus relief package but some people will not be eligible for one...

Read more:

 

Who are the rich who Biden wants to pay more taxes?

US NEWS

Who are the rich who Biden wants to pay more taxes?

In Pittsburgh tomorrow, Joe Biden is set to outline some of the details of a new $3 trillion infrastructure package which will include a tax reform which will see increases on wealthy Americans and corporations.

Read more:

Schumer Details Federal Relief Plan for independent venues

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer explained the benefits which are now available to New York’s live venues and artists through the American Rescue Plan. The $1.9tn coronavirus aid package includes economic relief for struggling independent live venues, movie theaters and cultural institutions; increased COBRA health insurance benefits, and additional federal relief for gig workers and others in non-traditional employment in New York.

Sanders blasts "rigged" US economy

Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders has spoken out about the poverty gap in the US which has widened during the pandemic. President Joe Biden is expected to announce details of tax rises for top-earning individuals and corporations in Pittsburgh tomorrow.

Sanders tweeted: "Over the course of the pandemic, tens of millions of Americans are out of work. 10 million are behind on rent. 22 million say they don't have enough to eat. But in America today, a handful of billionaires are now $1.3 trillion richer. This is what a rigged economy looks like".

Congress would supports a fourth stimulus check

Plans for a fourth stimulus check are gaining support from Congress, Baller Alert reports. While many Americans still haven't received their stimulus payment from the latest round of aid as part of the American Rescue Plan, a number of Democrats continue to push for a fourth check which would be recurring paymentsuntil the pandemic has waned.

Newsweek report that 64 lawmakers are urging for a fourth stimulus check with recurring checks to follow. Earlier this month, 11 Senators, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, called for Joe Biden to extend unemployment indefinitely on top of the signing off on more checks.

 

First $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits is nontaxable

A new provision included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, means that the first $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits is not subject to tax. The IRS has asked taxpayers, who are on benefits and who have already filed their 2020 tax return, NOT to file an amended return. The IRS will issue further guidance shortly.

For those who haven't filed yet, the IRS will provide a worksheet for paper filers and work with software industry to update current tax software so that taxpayers can determine how to report their unemployment income on their 2020 tax return.

 

Still missing your stimulus check?: Check the status of your stimulus payment

The IRS Track My Payment Tool is now available for this latest third round of stimulus payments, which allows you to check the status of your payment and confirm your payment type (paper check, EIP card or direct deposit).

If you are due to receive a payment by mail, then there is probably no need to panic if you haven’t received one yet, since the IRS only began sending them out a few days ago. Best just keep an eye on your mailbox over the coming days and weeks.

If you were due to receive a payment electronically, it might be that the IRS doesn’t have your updated bank account information. You can also check on the Track My Payment Tool what bank details the IRS has on file for you.

If your bank details are correct, then it might be worth contacting your bank to see if they have a payment record for you. If not, then you should contact the IRS to see what has happened with your electronic payment.

If you are a recipient of social security assistance, then you will have to wait a bit longer as the IRS has not begun sending payments out to this group as of yet, with more updates expected.

"Unbanked and underbanked" paying massive fees to cash stimulus checks

Citing a report by the Gothamist, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has highlighted that:  "unbanked and underbanked families are having to pay absurd fees just to cash and use them."

"We need postal banking because it is immoral how expensive it is to be poor in the U.S," she tweeted.

According to the Gothamist article: "More than three million New York City residents are getting Economic Impact Payments through the American Rescue Act signed by President Biden this month. Most are receiving direct deposits to their bank accounts, and a batch of payments were sent this week as debit cards and checks.

"But for an estimated 350,000 city households who don’t have bank accounts, paper checks are an added expense. In New York state, check cashing businesses can charge up to almost 2.3%. Experts say that’s a real burden on low-income people, those least likely to have a bank account, or what’s known as the 'unbanked.'"

More then 50% of Americans use stimulus checks to pay debt

According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 50% of Americans have used their stimulus checks to pay off debts. Around 130 million people have now received their stimulus checks...

Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi believes there won't be a 4th stimulus check

Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi has said he believes that the Biden administration will not issue a fourth round of stimulus checks. His comments come ahead of Biden's plan to unveil his $3trn Build Back Better plan, which will focus on infrastructure investment. Economists say Biden has shifted its focus to longer-term goals to overhaul the economy and revitalize the workforce.

“These packages will be designed to address long-term economic problems such as infrastructure, climate change and the skewed income and wealth distribution.”

“I wouldn’t consider these packages as fiscal stimulus, designed to support the economy in the short-term. I don’t think there will be a fourth round of stimulus checks.”

Homeless eligible for stimulus check

Some people experiencing homelessness are eligible for stimulus checks and SafeHorizon has shared information on how these people can obtain a  $1,400 payment. The deadline for this process is 17 May...

The entire purpose for replacing lost income with direct rental assistance, thousands of dollars in stimulus checks, and unemployment compensation that pays more than work itself, was so people could pay their bills."

Senator Pat Toomey (Rep.), on the extension of the he eviction moratorium

Biden to explain funding of $3 trillion infrastructure plan on Wednesday - White House

US President Joe Biden will outline how he would pay for his $3 trillion to $4 trillion plan to tackle America's infrastructure needs on Wednesday, the White House confirmed on Monday, a proposal likely to include tax increases first laid out on the campaign trail.

Biden will lay out the plan, which is aimed at rebuilding roads and bridges as well as tackling climate change and domestic policy issues like income equality, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"The president has a plan to fix the infrastructure of our country ... and he has a plan to pay for it," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She did not elaborate, but some economists and analysts say the proposal may include the biggest overall tax increase in decades.

While campaigning for president ahead of the November 2020 election, Biden proposed rolling back corporate tax reduction and increasing taxes on the wealthy.

The plan is likely to trigger heated debate among congressional Democrats and Republicans on taxes and spending, just weeks after Biden used narrow Democratic majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives to gain approval of a $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus bill.

Biden has in the past ruled out raising taxes on individuals making less than $400,000. Other voices in his party have called for a "wealth tax," and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week floated the idea of a tax on miles driven. Studies show a major injection of spending is needed to rebuild America's crumbling roads, bridges and airports.

Biden's legislative effort is expected to be split into two parts, an initial package that deals with traditional transportation projects, and a second that addresses domestic priorities, such as universal pre-kindergarten, national childcare and free community college tuition, White House officials say.

(Reuters)

Washington

Third stimulus check missing: why it could be taking longer and when to expect it 

The IRS is sending out the third stimulus payments at a swift clip with 127 million so far, with millions more to go.

Most people don’t need to do anything but wait for their third stimulus payment to show up in their bank account or in the mail. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is using the information that the agency has on file to distribute the $1,400 direct payments to Americans. But there in may lie the crux of the problem. 

Read why you might still be waiting.

The IRS is letting Americans deduct covid-19 expenses 

Americans can get a tax break in the 2021 filing season for masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and other personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of covid-19.  The tax code lets taxpayers deduct medical costs that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income each year. Taxpayers who itemize on their taxes can take advantage of this but expenses reimbursed by insurance aren’t eligible. 

To find out more read the full story from Market Watch.

Stimulus checks behind bump in US economy

As the US economy begins to feel the wind in its sails from the third round of stimulus checks, will growth continue or is another round of stimulus needed as congressional Democrats are urging. Listen to Matthew Luzzetti, Chief US Economist from Deutsche Bank explain.

Stimulus check live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome as we begin our daily live blog on Tuesday 30 March providing you with updates on the third round of stimulus checks, which is being sent out as part of Joe Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan coronavirus relief package.

We'll also be bringing you updates on a possible fourth stimulus check, and information on other economic-aid measures in Biden's bill, such as an enhanced child tax credit and supplemented unemployment benefits.

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