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USA finance and payments news summary | 1 April 2022

Update:
USA finance and payments news summary | 1 April 2022

US finance and benefits feed: latest news

Headlines

- US Unemployment Ratefell to 3.6 percentin March with the economy adding 431,000 new jobs.

- To bring down gas prices, President Biden urges Congress toimplement penalties for companiesleaving permits on public lands untapped.

- Child poverty rates are on the rise as payments for the Child Tax Credit ended in December. Other federal programs may help fill gaps as families see incomes fall.

- 52m tax refunds worth $171bn issued so far, IRS says

- Artists and other creatives in New York and LA offered $1,000 stimulus checks

Information & useful links

Federal Tax Deadline: Monday 18 April, but some states have extensions

- How long does it take for a refund to be issued by the IRS?

- How can apply for an extensionfrom the IRS?

- What is the minimum income needed to be required to file a tax return in the US?

- What happens if I miss the tax-filing deadline?

- What qualifies you for the Earned Income Tax Credit?

- Some families can claim Child Dependent Care Tax Credit worth up to $8,000

Related news articles

Mexican economy seen growing 3.4% in 2022

What happens in with Mexico's economy can have a significant effect on the US, and the government has forecast economic growth of 3.4% for 2022, far below what the nation's President was aiming for, a finance ministry document showed on Friday, as Latin America's second-largest economy claws back losses from the covid-19 pandemic.

The ministry said in a published budget document that it expects the economy to expand by 3.5% in 2023.

'The persistent impacts of the pandemic on supply and demand imbalances, and the escalation of the geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine, have forced countries to adjust their growth expectations for this year,' the document says.

Watch out for filing errors in your tax return

Tax filing can always been a painstaking and confusing process, but this year's could be particularly time-consuming with some filers having to include stimulus check and Child Tax Credit information on their returns. However you should take the time to ensure that all the details submitted are correct to ensure that your filing can be processed swiftly. Furthermore, failure to provide an accurate return might mean you miss out on any support payments from the federal government that you have not yet received. 

Today might be the last day to trigger retirement support

The IRS has advised for some individuals who have turned 72 recently that today is the last chance to initiate claims for IRAs, 401(k)s and similar retirement plans in 2022, offering a substantial amount of support. For more information on how and when you can make a claim, follow the instructions from IRS News below...

2022 TAX FILING SEASON

Tax Deadline 2022: when is the last day to submit the documentation?

There's only around two weeks left to submit returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax season 2022 and avoid receiving a late charge from the agency. The IRS has confirmed that there will be no deadline extension on a fedeal level, but residents in some states have been issued an extension to help them deal with the fallout of natural disasters such as tornadoes and winter storms. 

We take a look at the deadlines for tax season 2022...

Read more

WORLD NEWS

Will oil companies to increase production as invasion of Ukraine limits global supply?

While gas prices have fallen by around eight cents over the last week, prices are still over a $1.30 higher than this time last year. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has placed further strain global oil supply, after disruptions from the pandemic and the corporate response had already sent energy prices soaring.

On Thursday 31 March, President Biden announced that he would sign an order that releases one million barrels of oil from strategic reserves for the next six months in an attempt to stabilize the price of gasoline for consumers. During the speech, the president also called on the oil industry to put the needs of their customers over their corporate profits.

The president urged Congress to pass a bill which penalized companies not for not producing on leases they hold on public land. This move has been questioned by environmentalists and the oil industry.. for different reasons. Read more.

US NEWS

How to renew Medicaid online: steps and requirements

Eligibility tends to vary widely by state but across the nation those who receive Supplemental Security Income through the Social Security Administration are able access Medicaid. There are two main categories of requirements that must be met to become eligible for Medicaid: financial and non-financial. For those who are looking to continue their Medicaid coverage, the process will look a little different depending on the state you live in.

Read our full coverage for more on applying for benefits or renewing them another year.

Will President Biden extend the student loan moratorium?

During a White House press conference today, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that no decideion has been made on a possible extension. An announcment should be expected soon as borrowers are expected to begin making payments again on 1 May.

Is there a gas shortage?

Crude oil stocks in the US are down around 14 percent compared to this time last year. When looking at gasoline for motorists, the figure is higher, increasing around 3.6 percnet over the last year.

However, last week production of gasoline fell by -750,000 barrels a day and if the trend continues and supply is not supplemented through imports, price could continue its upward trend.

It is important to note that while prices have stabalized at a rather high level and serious concerns over the supply of gasoline are still prevelent, the changes in price do not need to be so extreme. While, many may not like options like rationing the amount of gas each customer could buy, it may help to extend the current supply and keep prices relatively stable.

FINANCIAL NEWS

Gas stimulus check: what are the proposals and how much money would they put in your pocket?

In recent weeks the price of gasoline has soared across the United States as the steep inflation rates combined with the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to put the squeeze on motorists.

On 14 March the average price of a gallon of gas in the US reached $4.32, breaking the previous record. By 23 March that figure had dropped slightly to $4.24 but that remains around $1.37 higher than the average price one year ago.

As prices have increased, various policy proposals for a "gas stimulus check" to support US households have emerged. How much would they provide to drivers across the country? Read our full coverage to find out.

President Biden responds to March Jobs Report

Today, we learned that in March, our economy created 431,000 jobs.  Nice sound to it.  And we also learned that in January and February, our economy created 100,000 more jobs than had — we previously had thought.  That means that over the last three months, the economy has created more than a half million — more than 500,000 jobs a month.
 
Over the course of my presidency, our recovery has now created 7.9 million jobs — more jobs created over the first 14 months of any presidency in any term ever.  And that’s striking. 
 
But what’s even more striking is this: In March, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent, down from 6.4 percent when I took office about 15 months ago — the fastest decline in unemployment to start a President’s term ever recorded.  

Joseph Biden, US President

Black unemployment remains higher than pre-pandemic levels

The Center for Economic and Policy Research has reported that while the unemployment rate for many democratic groups has fallen bellow its pre-pandemic level, that of Black workers remains higher. Sitting at 6.2 percent, the rate is a little under double that of the national average. With such stark inequalities, lawmakers must ensure that there are ways to encourage labor force re-entry and investment in Black communiteis that were hit dispropartinatly hard by the covid-19 economic crisis.

Have wages kept up with inflation over the last year?

No. Across all sectors tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics only one Leisure and hospitality has seen wages keep up with inflation. Inflation has gone up around 7.9 percent in the last year, meaning that if wages do not increase alongside prices, the purchasing power of households tends to decrease. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all goods have increased 7.9 percent and that the average is skewed by some sectors like energy and food commodities that have seen sharp increases in price.

The largest gap between inflation adjusted weekly earning and actual weekly earnings tracked in March were seen in the following industries:

1. Information ($97 gap)

2. Financial activities ($69 gap)

3. Mining and Logging ($53 gap).

President Biden's message to fossil fuel companies

Our prices are rising because of Putin’s actions.  There isn’t enough supply.

And the bottom line is: If we want lower gas prices, we need to have more oil supply right now. 

For U.S. oil companies that are recording their largest profits in years, they have a choice.  One, they can put those profits to productive use by producing more oil, restarting idle wells, or producing on the sites they already are leasing — giving the American people a break by passing some of the savings on to their customers and lowering the price at the pump.

Or they can, as some of them are doing, exploit the situation: sit back, ship those profits to their investors, and — while American families struggle to make ends meet.

Joseph Biden, US President

2022 TAX FILING SEASON

How soon will I get my tax refund 2022?

The 2022 tax filing season kicked off 24 January and unlike the past two years the IRS is not giving you extra time to file. Millions have already submitted their tax declaration for the 2021 fiscal year but fewer than last year at this time.

Although not anyone’s favorite task, filing a 2021 tax return could bring households a much-needed boost to family finances. Several tax credits were increased and expanded to reach more Americans, but they can only be accessed if you fill out a 1040 Form and send it to the IRS.

Read more

Did unemployment rates increase or decrease over March?

April fool's day be damned, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released their summary of the US employment situation for March 2022. The standout information is the further decline in unemployment, now down to 3.6 percent, as well as as non-farm employment rising by 431,000 people, though this number was slightly down on estimates of 450,000.

Compared to a month ago, the signs are still positive for the US economic recovery. However, inflation is still at record levels and is yet to show signs of slowing.

US NEWS

Workers Compensation 2022: what is it and how can I apply?

Workers compensation, or workers comp, pays an employee’s medical bills and a percentage of wages, among other things, due to an injury or illness that occurs on the job or as a result of their job. Its “no fault” feature is a give and take between employee and employer, the employer agrees to pay, and the employee generally can’t sue for damages.

Rules vary from state to state for the number of employees a business has that will trigger coverage requirements, as well as how the coverage works.

Read more

Don't miss out on other tax credits for children and dependents

Families with children will need to file a 2021 tax return this year if they want to receive any money they are eligible for from the enhanced Child Tax Credit. When you are filing though, you will want to check out other tax credits that were beefed up under the American Rescue Plan.

One may be of particular interest to families that have older dependents as well as children they claim on their tax filing. Although the Child Tax Credit gives taxpayers up to $3,600 per child, the Child and Dependent Care Creditcould be worth up to $8,000 for a family with two or more children or dependents. Half that amount if they have just one.

US NEWS

Who is eligible for $1,000 check per month and how to claim?

A new type of 'stimulus check' scheme has been launched and eligible US residents needing support are heading online to find out what they need to know.

Daniela Barrera details who can receive the new $1,000 monthly cheque as part of a further economic relief to address the crisis continuing to be faced by many from the coronavirus pandemic.

March jobs report due Friday expected to show continued momentum

On Friday the US Labor Department will release the highly anticipated March jobs report. It last before the Federal Reserve policymakers meet in May, to decide on the next steps to be taken to control rising inflation.

At the last meeting the central bankers voted to raise interest rates by 25 basis points. But if the jobs report shows rising wages and strong job growth they may choose to hike rates by a hefty 50 basis points in May.

Its expected that job growth through March has continued at a brisk clip, and with the labor market so tight, wages too. The unemployment rate could drop to a new low of 3.7 percent.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

How can I check my first, second and third stimulus payment history?

AS USA's Will Gittins explains how to check how much you've received as part of three rounds of federal stimulus checks paid out in the US since early 2020.

US inflation jumped to 40-year high in February

The Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge spiked 6.4% in February compared to figures at the same time last year. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis registered core inflation rising 5.4% from the same period in 2021, the biggest jump going back to April 1983. Including gas and groceries, the headline PCE measure jumped 6.4%, the fastest pace since January 1982. Consumer spending rose just 0.2% for the month, below the 0.5% estimate.

Inflation figures are set to get even worse as February's figures don't take into account the economic effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

 

 

Pelosi rejects gas tax holiday

Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained why the idea of suspending the federal gas taxes will not reduce gas prices for consumers. Speaking at the Capitol on Thursday, Pelosi said a gas tax holiday wouldn’t help consumers in the long term as oil companies are not required to pass on the savings.

"Right now, we have the Putin price hike at the pump. And it is something that has to be addressed. The price of oil and gas at the pump went up when he started circling Ukraine. It's also beyond that too, it's also about stopping price-gouging on the part of the industry, it's about passing on whatever we can alleviate on the price at the pump to the consumer," she said. "It comes down to lowering costs at a time of inflation - that's a reality that must be faced. One of the things we are doing is passing the Competes Act - increase supply to lower cost. The main question was, 'Do you support a gas tax holiday?' - that is immediate and it has appeal, people understand it, that's there's going to be a reduction in the gas tax. That's the pro. The con is that the oil companies do not necessarily pass that on to the consumer. They haven't in the past. You cannot write a law that requires them to pass it on".

 

"

White House announces two-part plan to tackle gas price rises

In the last week the price of gasoline has levelled out across the country, but the average gallon remains far higher than it was even one month ago. This has had dramatic rammifications for everyone from individual motorists to large-scale companies, and threatens to curb the United States' economic recovery unless a solution can be found. 

On Thursday, President Biden unveiled a two-part plan to tackle the gas crisis, promising to move the country toward greater energy independence.

Oil falls $2 on reserve release

World stocks dipped further from recent six-week highs on Friday on worries about the Russia-Ukraine war and recession risks, and oil fell $2 a barrel on reserve releases.

European buyers of Russian gas faced a deadline to start paying in roubles on Friday, while negotiations aimed at ending the five-week war were set to resume even as Ukraine braced for further attacks in the south and east. The move on gas by Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to Western sanctions prompted Germany, the most reliant on Russian gas, to accuse him of 'blackmail' as it activated an emergency plan that could lead to rationing.

The war threatens also to disrupt global food supplies, with a US government official sharing images of what they said was damage to Ukrainian grain storage facilities. 

Oil prices continued to slide following an announcement on Thursday of huge releases from US strategic reserves and ahead of a Friday meeting of oil-consuming nations to discuss their own reserve releases. US crude futures fell more than $2 a barrel to $98.17 and Brent futures were also down $2 at $102.66 a barrel. Oil is on course for a 14% weekly fall - the sharpest in almost two years, after an earlier surge due largely to the Ukraine conflict had seen prices rise by more than 30%.

Investors are fretting over whether inflationary pressures will force central banks into aggressive rate hikes, potentially triggering recessions.

2022 TAX FILING SEASON

Earned Income Tax Credit 2022: what is it and how can I apply?

Low- and moderate-income workers could get some extra money back from Uncle Sam when filing their 2021 tax returns this year. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that is targeted at low- and moderate-income workers.

The value of the credit was enhanced for the 2021 fiscal year, at the same time more people can claim it, but they will need to file a tax return. The Earned Income Tax Credit reduces the amount of taxes filers owe and could even be collected as a refund along with other enhanced tax credits this year.

Read more

Taxpayers can request a six-month extension to file

There is an alternative option open for taxpayers who may be unable to file their tax return by this year's filing deadline -  Monday 18 April. Those who need more time to complete their return can request an automatic six-month extension to file (or a four-month extension for those who are currently out of the country). 

The quickest way to get an extension is through IRS Free File. Taxpayers can electronically request an extension on Form 4868. Filing this form gives taxpayers until 17 October 2022 to file their tax return. To get the extension, taxpayers must estimate their tax liability on this form and should timely pay any amount due - an extension to file a tax return does not mean individuals have more time to pay any taxes owed.

To get an extension, Form 4868 has to be filed electronically by 18 April.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

What is the most I can get from unemployment benefits in 2022?

Two years on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still taking an effect on people’s ability to work. Some of these Americans can claim unemployment benefits but the compensation that workers receive around the United States varies greatly.

The programs also have different restrictions on the types of workers eligible to file a claim depending on each state. Although unemployment insurance and compensation is a federal-state joint venture to safeguard individuals against financial distress and destitution for a limited amount of time after they become unemployed, beyond some basic federal mandates the states can run their programs with a fairly free hand.

Full story

Your tax refund: tips and tools

The deadline to file your taxes this year is just around the corner, and this tax season has been a little different: pandemic expenses, stimulus checks, changes to the child tax credit and new deduction rules could have an impact on your tax refund.

If you think you'll be getting a smaller refund this year than last, you're not alone. A recent Forbes survey found that 50% of taxpayers overall are expecting smaller refunds, and more than two-thirds of Americans with household incomes under $50,000 don't expect a refund this year or are unsure if they'll get one.

Read more

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's daily live blog on the latest finance news in the US, where the deadline for Americans to file their 2021 federal tax return is fast approaching. Most US taxpayers have until 18 April to file, but residents of Maine and Massachusetts have a day extra and there is a possibility for those who need more time to request a six-month extension. We'll also be looking at the state of rising gas prices in the country. According to the latest figures published by AAA, the price per gallon remains very high, but steady.

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