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Finance and money news: news summary 23 February

Breaking news and latest information from filing season 2022, including Social Security payments, the IRS tax return backlog and tax refund status.


- Russia-Ukraine crisis weighs on US stock markets which recorded another day of loses

- Dow Jones Industrial Average down nearly nine percent compared to this time last year.

- White House expected to release an executive order this week that will impact those that hold cryptocurrency. What will it contain?

- IRS releases guidance on how to report income generated from cryptocurrency and other digital currencies in time for tax season.

- Many expect smaller returns compared to last year as many tax benefits have expired.

- States expand school lunch programs and other child nutritional programs as children return to the classroom.

- Mortgage rateswill lock in, why is this happening in February?

Helpful links and information

- Do SNAP benefits expire or roll over month to month/year to year?

- How long does it take to receive your tax refund?

- What is Topic 152 on your tax return?

- With inflation still on the rise, many wonder if extra SNAP benefits will be distributed in February. What is the status?

- Which credit cards have low interest rates?

- Rental assistance still available in some states for tenants and landlords.

Related News


Sanctions on Russia will affect US consumers too

The US and its allies will be imposing more sanctions on Russia after it invaded Ukraine early Thrusday morning. The administration has been trying to prepare the US public for the knock-on effect they could have on gas prices. After Russian troops began their assault the price of a barrel of oil crossed the $100 mark for the first time in seven years.


The cost of food delivery from restaurants going up

When restaurants were forced to close their doors at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic providing delivery services kept many afloat. Even though customers can now return to eateries, many like the comfort and convenience of having restaurant food at home.

This has created a problem for establishments. Its costly and requires more resources to deliver food, cutting into thin profit margin to the point of operating at a loss. As a workaround, restaurants are now setting different pricing for deliveries and in-store purchases.For the time being customers are tolerating the increased prices but with inflation taking a bite out of household finances, how much longer has yet to be seen.

Do SNAP benefits expire? How can I cancel my SNAP benefits online?

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is one of several programs administered by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service agency. SNAP benefits are managed by each state’s public assistance agency and although similar, each state has its own rules.

Likewise, the name of the program and the state agency that recipients need to contact can vary depending on where you live. This can make it confusing for the over 41 million people across the United States who receive nutritional assistance through SNAP as of 2021. 

Here’s a look at some of the basics when it comes to your benefits.


Enhanced tax credits for 2021 fiscal year could result in tax refund for non-filers

Depending on your earnings, age and filing status, as a US taxpayer you may not be required to submit a tax return. However, it may be in your best interest to file even if you aren’t required to.

In March 2021, Democrats passed a sweeping covid-19 relief and stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan, which enhanced several tax provisions. Those changes could benefit a large swath of the American public, especially those who struggle to make ends meet.


Russia-Ukraine tensions push Wall Street down

Worries about an imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces pushed the three major indexes down again on Wednesday. Both the Dow and Nasdaq posted their fifth straight day of losses, down 1.4% and 2.6%, respectively on Wednesday. The S&P 500 was down 1.8% at the closing bell having fallen the last four trading sessions. Energy was the only market that made gains on Wednesday.


Climate change and Build Back Better

Rep. Shaun Casten highlights how the Build back Better plan, or any bill really, needs to be passed to prevent climate change going unchecked.

The article says: "The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years."

The Build Back Better plan has been held up in Congress for months as Democrats cannot get the votes needed to pass it, despite having a majority.

What is the Crypto executive order that Biden will address this week?

It was reported in January that the Biden administration was preparing an executive order to study cryptocurrencies with the aim of developing a government-wide framework to regulate digital assets. The executive order would also mandate government agencies investigate the possibility of launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC) issued by the US Federal Reserve.

Read more


Crisis in Ukraine having big effect in the US

Both Russia and Ukraine are also large agricultural suppliers, sending grains to Central Asia and the Middle East. Disruptions in commodities could send global food prices higher, putting pressure on U consumers.

Another big effect is the price of oil, which touched $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. This was when Russia occupied the Crimea.

We will have a mor ein depth piece of oil, Ukraine and the US later today.


Rep. Jayapal tweets link to child poverty article

The head of the prgressive caucus, Pramila Jayapal, repeated her endorsement of the expanded Child Tax Credit while sharing a link of an NPR article.

The article attacks the lack of funding for chidlren in the US (only Turkey has less per chidl funding out of developed nations) and says a reason could be because of how children cannot vote.

Do food stamps roll over at the end of the year?

Each months millions of households, around 9.2 percent, receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. For those who find themselves with a SNAP balance remaining at the end of the month, fret not, the balance will carry to the next month.

If SNAP benefits go unused for more than nine months, the payments will be automatically canceled. The benefits will not be deleted all at once. Rather, the funds will be taken out nine months after they were deposited.

Read more


Expiration of advanced payments has drastic impact for low-income families

Last year the American Rescue Plan introduced monthly Child Tax Credit payments for the first time, providing a monthly direct payment worth up to $300 per child from July to December. However, after Congress was unable to extend the programme, the monthly payments were not continued into 2022 and figures show that it has brought about a considerable rise in the number of US children living in poverty.

There are some efforts in Congress to see the monthly payments reinstated, but as of yet there is no legislative proposal that has received enough support to pass the Senate. 

IRS tax refunds 2022: What is tax topic 152? Will I still get my refund on time?

Most filers have until 18 April 2022 to get their paperwork sorted and their tax returns for 2021 filed. If you utilised e-filing to submit your returns you’ll be able to check the status of your submission within 24 hours on the agency’s “Where's My Refund?” tool. However some filers who are expecting a refund from the IRS have received a message entitled Tax Topic 152. 

What does this mean, and what should you do if you receive one?

Read more


How does the Child Tax Credit affect your tax filing?

There were various forms of financial support offered by the federal government during 2021. Stimulus checks and the advanced Child Tax Credit payments were designed to insulate Americans from the economic consequences of the pandemic and there could be more support on offer if you claim it in your tax return this year. Eligible families have only received half of their Child Tax Credit allowance for 2021; here's how to claim the rest...


Budget Committee Chairmen Sanders speaks to job losses seen in the US because of private equity takeovers

These three companies control nearly one-fourth of votes at shareholder meetings, leveraging their power to influence CEO compensation, stock buybacks, environmental commitments, mergers, and pension benefits.

In addition to the Big Three, a small handful of Wall Street vulture funds – so-called “private equity” firms – also have an enormous control over industry after industry after industry.
Budget Committee Chairmen Bernie Sanders speaks to job losses seen in the US because of private equity takeovers

Over the past two decades, private equity takeovers have slashed nearly 1.3 million jobs and shut down nearly 20,000 stores in the retail industry – including Toys R Us, Payless, and Dollar General.

Let’s talk about housing. Last year, a small number of Wall Street firms and other extremely wealthy investors bought about one out of every 7 homes in some of the largest cities in America and now own over a million apartments, hiking rents by as much as 30 percent and neglecting needed repairs and the safety of tenants.

Bernie Sanders, US Senator from Vermont

Child poverty increases after child tax credit payments end

Studies released in late 2021 found that the child tax credit, distributed from July to December made important dents in rates of child poverty in the United States. However, now that the payments that have ended, around 3.7 million children have fallen back into poverty. The Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, published a report that showed an increase in the child poverty rate from "12.1 percent in December 2021 to 17 percent in January 2022 — the highest rate measured since the end of 2020."

Families will still be able to claim half of the value of the credit when parents or guardians file their taxes, but at this point Congress has passed no bill to extend the credit's 2021 structure.

Do food stamps roll over at the end of the year?

Each months millions of households, around 9.2 percent, receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. For those who find themselves with a SNAP balance remaining at the end of the month, fret not, the balance will carry to the next month. Read more for information on the historic SNAP benefit increase that became permanent in October 2021.


IRS facial recogntion to continue

Two weeks after dropping a controversial facial recognition plan, the IRS has given new details about how it plans to replace the system. In a statement on Monday, the agency confirmed that all users of the IRS.gov website will be able to opt out of biometric data collection, offering video interviews as an alternative for this year’s filers and promising a shift to the government-run authentication system Login.gov service in the future.

“[A] new option in the agency’s authentication system is now available for taxpayers to sign up for IRS online accounts without the use of any biometric data, including facial recognition,” the statement said.

“This is consistent with the IRS’s commitment earlier this month to transition away from the requirement for taxpayers creating an IRS online account to provide a selfie to a third-party service to help authenticate their identity.”


Increases in rents could lead to major increases in the Consumer Price Index

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that rental increases around the country could lead to a jump in the Consumer Price Index. Around the country many tenats are seeing increases in their rents and with wages stagnant and costs overall trending upward, purcahsing power is decreasing.


Is a bipartisan Child Tax Credit solution possible?

When he failed to pass the Build Back Better bill before Christmas, President Biden was criticised in some quarters for a perceived unwillingness to search for a bipartisan solution to the logjam.

It meant that the expanded Child Tax Credit, so crucial in lowering the rate of childhood poverty last year, expired after the December payment. Already some organizations are tracking increases in child poverty and many families are hoping that Congress will come to an agreement on an extension. While some Republicans are opposed to an extensions, others like Mitt Romney have put forward their own version of the credit and is interested in working with his Senate collegues to move the bill forward.

How long does it take for taxes to process?

Have you filed your taxes? Are you now desperately waiting for the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and related systems to process them? If so, you are not alone, with millions of Americans having the same query.Allow us to provide some clarity on the whole situation.


Biden adminstration holds event to discuss plans to support families

The Administration officials highlighted President Biden’s plans to make the largest investment in child care and preschool in the nation’s history, saving most working families more than half of their spending on child care and expanding the number of high-quality child care providers. The President’s plan would also enable states to deliver two years of free pre-school for every 3- and 4-year old in a setting of their parents’ choice – from public schools and child care providers to Head Start. They reiterated that early learning experiences help children succeed later in life; research shows that every $1 invested in high-quality early childhood care and education can yield $3 to $7 over the long-run, as children do better in school, are more likely to graduate high-school and college, and earn more as adults.

White House , United States

Good morning from the team at AS USA and our financial aid blog!

We'll be bringing you all the latest news and information on tax season 2022, including information on IRS delays, the child tax credit, and other benefits and credits that you should keep in mind when submitting your return.