US stimulus checks: news summary for 13 April

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Third stimulus check live updates: is a fourth payment coming, expected dates, plus-up payments, tracker

US stimulus checks: latest news live - 13 April 2021

Headlines:

- Fourth stimulus check: where does Joe Biden stand? (here's where)

- Third stimulus check: $372 billion has now been paid out to 156 million recipients in latest round

- US stimulus model inspires French minister for European version

- Veterans still awaiting third stimulus check should receive money by Wednesday, IRS says

- G20 finance officials poised to back a $650 billion stimulus boost in the IMF's emergency reserves

- Track your stimulus check using the IRS' Get My Payment tool (more info)

- US covid-19: 31.3 million cases / 562,533 deaths (live updates from JHU)

Scroll through our related articles:

Military veterans should receive stimulus checks today

US military veterans who receive VA disability or pension benefits should receive their $1,400 stimulus checks over the next few days as payments start going out today, 14 April. Most of those payments will be made automatically by direct deposit into individuals' bank accounts.

Information regarding Economic Impact Payments for VA beneficiaries who do not regularly file tax returns will be available in the Get My Payment tool at a future date.

IRS

IRS Free File can help low earners file their 2020 tax return

Low- and moderate-income individuals and families, especially those who don't normally file a tax return, can use IRS Free File to prepare their own federal tax return, e-file it and get a refund – for free.

Free File offers free access to brand-name tax software to anyone who earns $72,000 or less. Over 2.96 million individuals and couples have used this online service so far this year to file returns and get their share of these valuable benefits.

Available only at IRS.gov, Free File offers people experiencing homelessness, students who are now on their own, low-and moderate-income families and others a fast and easy way to access these benefits. All anyone needs to reach Free File is access to a computer or similar device. No computer? No problem. IRS Free File products support mobile phone access too.

Child tax credits to start arriving in July - IRS

According to a report from CNN, the head of the IRS, Charles Rettig, has said the agency will start the process of issuing stimulus-enhanced child tax credits to millions of US families in July.

"We fully expect to launch in July. We expect to launch with payments going out on a monthly basis," Rettig said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing

Biden mulls gas tax hike

Joe Biden told lawmakers at a White House meeting on Monday he was open to raising the gas tax by 5 cents to pay for his infrastructure bill, an ABC News reporter said on Twitter, citing comments by Democratic US Representative Donald Payne.

Payne, who attended the meeting, also said Biden is open to instituting a user fee on electric vehicles, the ABC News reporter said.

FTC issues advice about new stimulus check scam

There have been many scams taking advantage of uncertainty regarding stimulus check delivery and how to cash payments and the FTC has issued a warning about a new target for online scammers: a funeral expenses scheme. 

Fourth stimulus check: senators say current round "won't last three months"

As calls for a fourth stimulus check - or a recurring payment being touted by some lawmakers - gather pace, experts assess why another round of payments is a matter of vital importance to millions of US citizens in a CBS report.

"Almost 6 in 10 people say the $1,400 payments set to be included in the rescue package will last them less than three months," a group of 21 senators wrote Joe Biden in a letter dated 30 March. 

US consumer prices increase solidly in March

US consumer prices increased by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March and underlying inflation picked up as more parts of the economy reopened thanks to increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus.

The consumer price index jumped 0.6% last month, the largest gain since August 2012, after rising 0.4% in February, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.3%.

The so-called core CPI nudged up 0.1% in February.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the overall CPI advancing 0.5% and the core CPI climbing 0.2%.

IRS issues reminder about dependents

One of the principle difference between the latest round of stimulus checks and previous issues is the inclusiuon of a broader range of recognized dependents. However, as the IRS points out, these must be immediate family.

Stimulus Checks

What ID can I use to cash stimulus checks?

If you want to cash your stimulus check you can do so at banks even where you are not an account holder or member, but you will need to bring ID.

Read more

Private debt collectors coming for stimulus checks 

If you have unpaid private debts that are subject to a court order, your $1,400 stimulus check could be garnished.  Because the American Rescue Plan Act was passed using budget reconciliation a provision to protect the one-time direct payments for people in those circumstances could not be included. Some states have stepped in to enforce their own rules to make it so the money cannot be taken. CNBC will tell you if your state is on the list

Amazon undervalued? 

Amazon has greatly benefited during the year-long pandemic as people had items shipped to their home to avoid going out. But a lot of that growth came from people working online, with many of the services that kept people connected using the Amazon Web Services.  

Long-time tech analyst Brent Thill has crunched the numbers on Amazon, and could make a strong case on the tech giant being 70% undervalued at current valuation levels. Or looked at a different way, the company could someday have a market cap of $3 trillion as opposed to the $1.72 trillion it sports today.  

"Our sum-of-the-parts analysis shows ~70% upside over the next three years [for Amazon], driven by Amazon Web Services and Advertising,” Thill told Yahoo finance. For the rest of the interview click here

US NEWS

FDA calls for pause in J&J vaccine rollout: live updates: vaccine in the US | Rate, where, when...

Tune in to our live vaccine feed for coverage of the press conference from the White House on the pause in the J&J vaccine rollout.

White House issues statement on J&J vaccine suspension: it will not have "significant impact" on vaccine rollout 

The White House says that the FDA/CDC announcement calling for the temporary pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "will not have not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan." 

"Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date," said Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator on the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, in a statement. 

"Based on actions taken by the President earlier this year, the United States has secured enough Pfizer and Moderna doses for 300 million Americans. Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines. 

"This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office—and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated. We are working now with our state and federal partners to get anyone scheduled for a J&J vaccine quickly rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine." 

Form more on what is happening with the vaccination rollout follow out dedicated  Covid-19 and vaccine in the US: live updates 

Stimulus spending looking brighter 

Mastercard’s latest SpendingPulse report compares March 2021 to last year shows that although the virus hasn’t been stamped out, the consumer spending picture has changed dramatically.

The report shows more than 26 percent growth in total retail sales a year after the start of the pandemic. Two of the standout numbers are 60 percent growth in apparel and a staggering triple-digit 106 percent surge for jewelry. 

“We are certainly rebounding from the dark days of the pandemic,” Mastercard Senior Adviser Steve Sadove said. 

Spending at department stores is flat compared with two years ago but up over 100 percent from last year. But the big winner has been ecommerce with sales 56 percent higher year-on-year.  

“We’ve seen eCommerce go from 12 percent of retail to close to 20 percent of retail. And what’s happening is that despite the opening of more stores, you’re seeing a continued momentum on the eCommerce side of the business,” Sadove said. 

IRS looks set to start the Child Tax Credit on-time 

IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig had expressed doubts about whether the agency would have the resources to get the enhanced Child Tax Credit program up and running on-time. The enhanced tax provision could see families receiving up to $300 per child per month in direct payments.

Another part of the program required setting up an online portal so that taxpayers could adjust their eligibility status for the credit. According to Sarah Ewall-Wice from CBS the agency will meet the 1 July deadline. 

IRS will get stimulus of its own 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday that the Internal Revenue Service budget would increase by $1.2 billion or 10.4% under President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget request. This would be welcome news for an agency that is currently understaffed.  

IRS officials have said that more than a decade of reduced or stagnant budgets have left the agency with 15,000 fewer revenue agents than it had in 2010. This has forced it to reduce the number of audits it conducts and let significant tax fraud go undetected. 

The agency for its part said in a report in the autumn that the percentage of filers who get audited substantially increases in line with income. For example, 8.16% of taxpayers with incomes of $10 million or more get audited compared with generally less than 1% for incomes below $1 million.

How to pay for next the stimulus bill: American Jobs Plan 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has proposed a global minimum corporate-tax rate, calling for an end to what she termed a “race to the bottom”.  US multinational companies book 50% of profits in 2018 in lower-tax countries, up from under 10% n 1960.

That means the IRS misses out on nearly $65bn in tax revenue a year according to one estimate. America now takes in less corporate tax as a percentage of GDP than almost any other country in the OECD. 

Read more at the Economist 

Check

How to contact IRS for missing stimulus check 

It can be frustrating when looking for answers and you want to talk to a real person, either face to face or over the phone. If you have questions regarding stimulus checks the Internal Revenue Service says "Do not call the IRS."

If you are looking for a missing stimulus check the IRS is only providing one route to get the information you seek. Read here to find out more.

Stimulus in EU awaiting ratification 

The European Union’s 750 billion euro ($881 billion) economic recovery plan was agreed on last summer, however unlike in the US the bill is still awaiting ratification by several members.

Poland is one of those members and the stimulus debate is threatening to tear apart the three-party alliance that makes up the government. Poland would receive €58 billion ($72 billion) from the stimulus deal.

Biden stimulus puts wind in Gov. Newsom’s sails 

Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall for his handling of the covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions that he has put into place. He drew especial ire of the public when he failed to follow his own lockdown rules by attending an event at a fancy restaurant the French Laundry. 

However, unlike the last governor that was recalled who had to make budget cuts, Newsom will have a flood of federal cash to shore up California’s budget. Will it be enough to get him back in the good graces of voters who say he’s out of touch?

Behind on filing 2020 tax return? Apply for extension with IRS 

If you need more time to file your taxes you can ask for an extension until 15 October. However the IRS advises that you will need to do so by 17 May, along with the following: 

- An extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes.

- You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by your regular deadline to help avoid possible penalties. 

- You must file your extension request no later than the regular due date of your return, this year 17 May.

American Jobs Act: Biden’s next stimulus bill 

Infrastructure: $621 billion 

Housing Infrastructure: $650 billion 

Care economy: $400 billion 

R&D, manufacturing and training: $580 billion 

Tax overhaul 

The White House plan calls for roughly $2 trillion in new spending over eight years. The plan raises the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. 

Responding to climate change 

Much of Biden’s spending package focuses on green infrastructure and job creation. retrofitting homes and public infrastructure will reduce the billions of dollars in damage caused by climate disasters.  

Worker rights 

Biden’s plan places a heavy emphasis on creating union-backed jobs and calls for passage of the Pro Act to strengthen workers’ rights to organize. 

For a more detailed look check out this article at The Washington Post 

VP Kamla Harris on next stimulus bill: American Jobs Plan 

Vice President Kamala Harris pitches the White House infrastructure plan writing an op-ed in USA Today, here is a little excerpt: 

Throughout our nation's history, often in times of war or economic crisis, critical investments have driven much-needed job creation — leaving both our nation's infrastructure and our nation's workforce stronger. 

Recently, President Joe Biden announced the American Jobs Plan. Through a historic investment in our nation's infrastructure — one that will rebuild our nation and strengthen our economic foundation — this plan will create millions of jobs. In fact, this plan represents the biggest American jobs investment since World War II.

With stimulus money and vaccines, a look at post-covid consumer behavior 

With the US administering on average over 3 million shots per day of the covid-19 vaccine, the nation is nearing almost a quarter of the population fully vaccinated. This has led to a reopening of the US economy with people visiting stores and travelling more.  

Some economists are predicting a major boom that could last for years. Even so, the global health crisis will continue to shape consumers' mindset and their purchases for the foreseeable future. 

Melissa Repko, of CNBC, breaks down four predictions of post-pandemic trends, based on surveys and reports by experts here

IRS

Would the fourth stimulus check be taxed by the IRS?

The federal government has sent out $3,200 in stimulus payments over three different rounds to eligible adult Americans since the pandemic began. Even though payments in the third round haven’t finished going out there are calls for additional stimulus payments.

Little is known about the exact details around the proposal for a fourth stimulus check, would it be recurring, how much would it be, would it be taxed?

Find out more about a possible fourth stimulus check here.

Who qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit in Biden's stimulus plan?

A valuable tax credit expansion was included in the American Rescue Plan that taxpayers may want to look into. Some changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit are for 2021 only but more people will be able to take advantage of it. The EITC was expanded by decreasing the minimum age for childless claimants from 25 to age 19 or for a student to age 24, or age 18 for a qualified former foster youth or a qualified homeless youth. 

The maximum credit is increased for a childless claimant from $543 to $1,502, and the amount of the income at which the credit is maximized is increased from $7,100 to $9,820. The phaseout amount is increased from $8,880 to $11,610. 

A permanent change to the credit increases the investment income test from $3,650 to $10,000 for 2021 and is adjusted for inflation after 2021. The credit is also allowed for separated spouses if certain requirements are met. 

Find out more about how to qualify for the EITC from ProPublica. 

Child tax credit in stimulus bill will be prone to fraud 

Republicans previously expanded the child tax credit in their 2017 changes to the tax law. Likewise there are calls from some GOP lawmakers to expand the credit further. But many Republicans take issue with the specific provisions in the relief law, which passed Congress without any support from GOP lawmakers. 

Two US Representatives on the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady and Mike Kelly wrote a letter to the White House to express their concerns. They said that the credit has a history of having a high improper payment rate that stems both from errors and fraud. "A new, monthly payment system will likely lead to an increase, rather than a decrease in improper payments," the lawmakers wrote. 

The first advance direct payments on the tax credit from the new tax provision are supposed to go out in July. However, the IRS must first set up the program and online portal before that can happen. 

Missing your stimulus check or didn’t get the right amount?  

The IRS does not want you to call if you are having problems with your stimulus check. The tax agency has provided the Get My Payment tool to help taxpayers track their Economic Impact Payments, the official name for the stimulus checks. 

However before you check, you might be wondering why you are missing stimulus money. Check below to find out some of the reasons you might not have gotten all the money your thought you were due. 

US stimulus will be a boon for trading partners 

The US is set to be the engine of global economic growth this year on the back of stimulus and the covid-19 vaccine rollout. According to the IMF the US economy will grow 6.4% this year, its strongest growth in decades. That's faster than the 5.1% growth it was projecting just two months ago and nearly double the growth rate it predicted in October. The IMF now expects the global economy to grow by 6% this year, up from 5.5% forecast in January.

One of the biggest beneficiaries will be Vietnam, which was well positioned after the trade war with China caused US  companies to search for suppliers outside of China.

1

Pushing for a fourth stimulus package

As we've reported, the IRS has issued 156 million payments in the third round of direct stimulus aid, with 25 million people this week in line to receive the $1,400 checks. But some lawmakers are pushing for a fourth round of stimulus aid that would effectively send recurring payments until the pandemic ends.

So far, the federal response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has delivered $3,200 to each eligible adult: $1,200 via the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act in March 2020; $600 in a December relief measure; and $1,400 under the American Rescue Plan signed in March by President Joe Biden. 

Aimee Picchi reports for CBS News on what is behind the next stimulus push.

Stimulus bills are a 'punishment'?

Brian Tyler Cohen is struggling to buy the argument from Tenessee's Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn.

"She thinks passing bills allocating funding for relief checks, vaccine distribution, and school re-openings is 'punishment'," he questions.

Have a listen and make up your own mind.

Stimulus vs inflation

It’s inevitable that the forceful fiscal stimulus and exceptionally loose monetary policy currently in place will result in higher inflation.

But, say Rikkert Scholten and Bob Stoutjesdijk, portfolio managers in the Robeco Global Macro Fixed Income team, the impact will be temporary.

“There are a number of very strong secular forces keeping inflation in check.”

Tune in to hear why they’re not falling for the inflation fearmongering.

Biden's paid family leave plan to offer more support

President Joe Biden is expected to propose paid family leave as part of a revamp of the nation’s “care infrastructure.” Polls have shown that a majority of Americans support paid family leave, and more than 200 businesses last month formally urged Congress to enact it. While several states have either passed or implemented paid family leave legislation, the United States is the only high-income country without a policy at the federal level. 

A new Stanford study has answers to a key question at the heart of the debate: Are businesses hurt when workers take time off with pay to care for a child or ailing family member?

Bitcoin, pandemic and the stimulus checks

Bitcoin has seen its value skyrocket during the pandemic, partially on the back of spare money from stimulus checks over the year. However, that investment will need to be reported to Uncle Sam for tax purposes. 

Even though you can buy things with bitcoin, it's not the same as cash. At least not in the eyes of the IRS. Virtual currencies are taxed as property, or as an investment, when you sell them. And using them to buy something counts as selling. If you're paid in bitcoin, on the other hand, that will be treated as taxable income to you.

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

What to know about $3,600 Child Tax credit: dates, eligibility, amount

What might be one of the most consequential features of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill enacted in March could be the changes to the Child Tax Credit. The changes are currently only applicable to the 2021 fiscal year but Democrats are looking to make the revamped provision permanent later this year.

The enhanced Child Tax Credit will no longer require households to earn at least $2,500 to begin to see the benefits from the credit. This will mean that families who have no income will be able to take advantage of the tax provision.

This could see US child poverty nearly halved and bring some financial stability to many families raising children through periodic direct payments similar to how the stimulus checks were sent to eligible households.

We provide a guide to what you need to know.

Post stimulus payments, Americans still struggle

While the number of Americans struggling to put food on the table and pay bills fell last month, new data shows that millions are still feeling the financial effects of the covid-19 pandemic.   

The third round of stimulus payments started landing in bank accounts mid-March, so it’s not surprising that the number of Americans who sometimes or often do not have enough to eat on a weekly basis fell, from 10.7% to 8.8% at the end of March.

But that still leaves about 18 million adults who are going hungry, a figure that is much higher than the number of Americans who said they didn’t have enough to eat prior to the start of the pandemic in 2019, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

CNBC reports on the continued struggle by many

More stimulus: American Jobs Plan

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are meeting with four Republicans and four Democrats on Monday afternoon to discuss his American Jobs Plan. The meeting will be the first time Biden sits down with lawmakers to discuss his proposal that aimed at improving the nation's infrastructure and shifting to greener energy over the next eight years. 

The group is made up of  lesser-known but influential lawmakers from both parties who have a history of working on infrastructure and sit on the committees that will shape the proposal as it moves through Congress. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday the President is willing to negotiate on the scope and price tag of the proposal as well as how to pay for it. 

Millions still haven't claimed stimulus checks

The IRS reached out to locate millions of taxpayers whose income is below the threshold requiring them to file a tax return during the fall. The IRS still hasn’t located around 8 million people who were eligible for the first two rounds of stimulus checks, and foreseeable the third.

Many of these “Non-Filers” are homeless or low-income households who can only claim their stimulus money by filing a tax return in 2020. 

FEMA accepts covid-19 funeral reimbursement applications

Families who lost loved ones to covid-19 can now apply to receive $9,000 to retroactively reimburse them for funeral costs. That relief maxes out at $9,000 per funeral and $35,500 per applicant if they were responsible for multiple funerals, but FEMA says not everyone will receive the maximum amount. 

The federal agency is budgeting $2 billion for the program with money from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. If you’re eligible, FEMA says the money will either get sent by a check in the mail or by direct deposit. 

For more information you can check the dedicated FEMA website 

2021 TAX FILING

When will the IRS send unemployment tax refunds in May?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has said that most taxpayers won’t have to do anything to get back money paid in taxes on unemployment compensation in 2020, they should receive and automatic refund starting in May.

Although the tax agency hasn’t announced an exact start date, it will continue to process returns for taxpayers through the summer. The IRS will do recalculations in two phases, starting with tax returns eligible for the up to $10,200 exclusion and then married couples filing jointly eligible for up to $20,400 along with more complex returns.

Greg Heilman looks into what has been said.

Fourth stimulus check needed by most by summer 

So far, the federal response to the economic crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic has delivered $3,200 to each eligible adult: $1,200 via the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act in March 2020; $600 in a December relief measure; and $1,400 under the American Rescue Plan signed in March by President Joe Biden.  

Despite those stimulus payments and federal pandemic unemployment benefits many Americans are still struggling. 21 Senators are pushing for recurring stimulus payments stating the Almost 6 in 10 people say the $1,400 payments set to be included in the rescue package will last them less than three months." 

Recovery rebate discrepancy? The IRS explains

Taxpayers who receive a notice saying the IRS changed the amount of their 2020 credit should read the notice. Then they should review their 2020 tax return, the requirements and the worksheet in the Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR instructions.

Here are some common reasons the IRS corrected the credit:

- The individual was claimed as a dependent on another person's 2020 tax return.

- The individual did not provide a Social Security number valid for employment.

- The qualifying child was age 17 or older on January 1, 2020.

- Math errors relating to calculating adjusted gross income and any EIPs already received.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Third stimulus check: who is getting extra money, why and how much?

There was much talk of a third round of stimulus checks they weren’t authorised until tax season was well underway. This meant that the IRS had to go off the information the agency had available when they issued the payments which could’ve been a 2019 tax return. As the IRS processes the millions of tax returns it’s receiving daily, the agency is adjusting for the difference between 2019 and 2020 filings.

The IRS is now sending supplemental 'plus-up' payments to the stimulus checks already sent out for taxpayers that are newly eligible or that were due a larger stimulus check. In the fourth batch of payments the tax agency sent out an additional 1 million of these payments. The IRS will continue to send out these supplemental payments weekly as it continues processing tax returns from 2020 and 2019.

Find out more in our helpful guide.

The IRS is contacting taxpayers about missing stimulus funds 

A year into the pandemic, some Americans are still confused as to why they received less stimulus check money than they anticipated and, in some cases, no money at all. If that’s you, there’s good news: A recovery rebate credit on this year’s tax return will let you submit your claim for those funds.  

The three rounds of stimulus checks are tax credits paid out in advance.  You can claim any money missing from the first two rounds for up to $1,200 and $600 per eligible American on your tax return for the 2020 fiscal year. The current $1,400 stimulus checks are an advance payment for the 2021 fiscal year. 

Beware that the IRS has the final word on how much you will receive.

Stimulus check latest updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog on Tuesday 13 April.

We'll be with you throughout the day bringing you all the latest information, reaction and breaking news related to both the third stimulus check, which sees qualifying Americans get up to $1,400, and also on the possibility of a fourth, potentially recurring direct payment which is currently being debated.

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