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Relief checks news summary | 28 March 2023

Consumer confidence is dropping as uncertainty clouds financial markets, and inflation continues in key sectors. Follow along for the latest finance news...

Inflation Relief: Latest Updates

Headlines | Tuesday 28 March

- Automation has increased during the pandemic, threatening already vulnerable workers 

- Consumer Confidence increases slightly in March 

- 2022 GDP figures will be released on 30 March 

- There is still time to avoid tax penalties by applying for a tax filing extension 

- First Republic Bank will purchase the now failed Silicon Valley Bank 

- More companies in the United States consider the four-day workweek 

- New Yorkers will have until 15 May 2023 to submit their tax refund 

Tax Information and Guidance 

- The difference between ‘accepted’ and ‘approved’ tax returns

- Requirements to receive over $10,000 for the CalEITC & EITC with my tax refund

- How to claim the CalEITC without a social security number

- Can you claim both EITC and Child Tax Credit?

Qualifying for Florida unemployment benefits

To qualify for Florida unemployment benefits, you must meet these criteria:

Loss of a job: You must have lost your job through no fault of your own. You must be totally or partially unemployed. Partially unemployed means your hours were reduced or you’re a part-time worker who can’t find additional work.

Previous earned money: You must have earned at least $3,400 before taxes in what is called the “base period,” which is the first four complete quarters beginning 18 months prior to your claim.

Seeking work: You must be able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work. This includes being able to get to a job and have child care if necessary.
Can you get unemployment if you quit your job in Florida? What disqualifies you from receiving benefits?

In Florida, if you voluntarily quit your job without good cause, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Good cause is generally defined as a reason that would cause a reasonable person to quit, such as unsafe working conditions, discrimination, or a significant reduction in pay or hours.

Employees that are fired for misconduct cannot qualify for unemployment benefits. Poor performance in work is not included as misconduct.

Read more
Why did French prosecutors raid Societe Generale and other bank headquarters?

Financial prosecutorshave raided the offices of large banks in Paris, including BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, HSBC, Natixis, and BNP subsidiary Exane, in connection with an investigation into tax fraud.

The raids in Paris come on the heels of the international financial upheaval caused earlier this month by the failure of two banks in the United States, and the takeover by UBS of embattled lender Credit Suisse of Switzerland.
How to receive up to six months of Social Security benefits in one lump sum

Under certain circumstances, it is possible to receive up to six months of Social Security benefits in one lump sum. This is known as a retroactive benefit payment.

This mechanism is available for people at full retirement age, but as AS USA's Oliver Povey writes, it could be detrimental in the long term

The smaller banks' loss is the big banks' gain

Bank customers moved their deposits to large companies from smaller ones amid a banking crisis that led regulators to seize two regional lenders in quick succession.

According to Bloomberg, data collected by the Federal Reserve showed that large banks gained $120 billion in deposits while their smaller counterparts lost $109 billion, Moody’s Corp. said in a research report.

Small banks’ total deposits fell 1.5% in the week through March 15 from a year earlier, the first annual decline since 1986.

First Citizens shares soar to record heights after buying Silicon Valley Bank

Shares of First Citizens Bank climbed to a record high on Tuesday, extending gains for a second day after scooping up the assets of failed Silicon Valley Bank.

Reuters Business reports that First Citizens, which has built a reputation of buying troubled rivals bought all of SVB's loans and deposits, giving the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp equity rights in its stock worth as much as $500 million in return.

SVB's collapse has triggered the worst banking shock since the 2008 crisis. Policymakers, regulators and central banks have emphasized that the turmoil does not signal another global financial crisis.
What happens if I miss the tax deadline?

There are only three weeks to go before the April 18 deadline to file your tax return. 

Extensions are available for eligible workers, such as those who were affected by recent storms, but what happens if a taxpayer does not submit their return on time?
Early retirement calculator: Average Social Security check at age 61

Month after month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues millions of payments to beneficiaries of the Social Security Program, who are mostly retired workers.

The exact amount of the check depends on a number of factors, including years worked and the recipient's age at retirement.

If you want to retire a little early, AS USA's Daniela Barrera tells us how we can figure out the average Social Security payment at age 61.
What can I and can’t I buy with food stamps?

Many SNAP households will experience a change to their benefit amounts. That’s because the temporary pandemic-related boost to SNAP benefits is coming to an end.

More than 41 million Americans receive food-buying benefits through SNAP. They rely on these benefits to put food on the table each month.

AS USA's Oliver Povey tells us about what people can and can't use these food stamps for.

Congress debating the future of SNAP benefits

More than 40 million Americans receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits- monthly assistance that helps low-income families buy groceries.

Congress boosted these benefits during the pandemic, but now, they are shrinking. The average SNAP recipient lost $90 a month at the end of February. The public health emergency is ending on May 11, but food costs are 10% higher now than they were last year.

Congress is now debating the future of SNAP. Republican lawmakers are calling for stricter work requirements, while Democrats say current funding levels are nowhere near adequate.
How can I apply for an ITIN number to apply for a tax refund from the IRS?

The IRS grants the ITIN to foreigners or residents of the United States, and this number allows non-residents and foreigners to comply with the required tax responsibilities in the United States, as well as receive refunds from the IRS.

AS USA's Daniela Barrera tells us more about what it is, and how you can obtain or renew it.
Experts warn that the pandemic accelerated workplace automation

Automation has increased as a result of the pandemic, posing a threat to an already vulnerable work force

AS USA's Maite Knorr-Evans writes about how placing technological progress and the interest of workers at odds is a false choice, and that we don’t have to make it.

Free assistance for tax filers

If you are feeling overwhelmed as you prepare to file your tax return before the April 18 deadline, you may be qualified for free assistance by IRS-accredited volunteers.

The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.

Find out if you are eligible for this service.

The Confidence Board says economy shows signs of a looming recession

The Confidence Board is a firm that provides economic insights from the consumer perspective to other companies and investors. 

The most recent report, released this morning, showed a slight increase in their Consumer Confidence Index®, which rose from 103.4 in February to 104.2 in March. However, another index they track, the Present Situation Index (PSI), which is "based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions," tells a different story. The PSI fell from 153 to 151.1, and the Expectations Index, which also includes "consumers’ short-term outlook for income," remained below 80 for the last year, which to this organization, points to a "recession within the next year."

Nearly a third of consumers reported that in the coming months, they thought they would spend less on travel and dining out. Considering that summer is just around the corner, this is a sign that households may feel the need to brace for an economic shock. Fear and uncertainty in capital markets can create a recession because when consumers feel that they should hold onto their money, the wheels of the economy start to slow.

Strong consumer spending can be seen before an economic recession

Liz Ann Sonders, the Chief Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab & Co, tweeted an interesting graph this morning that showed consumer confidence and spending before the 2008 financial crisis. In both 2006 and 2007, the "strength" of the consumer was strong in the build-up, signaling that some economists who think the people have to be struggling for the economy to fall into a recession may be mistaken. 

If the Fed's rate hikes, causes job security to falter, strength will decrease as the number of jobs available trends downward.

Consider the massive layoffs the tech sector has seen over the last five months. The labor market is still tight, which means many of these workers may be able to find another job... but as conditions soften, unemployment can become a reality for more people over an extended period of time. In many cases, this is what caused consumer strength to fall in 2008. Millions were unable to find work, and those who did, including public and private workers, saw incomes fall as budgets fell into the red.

US Consumer Confidence data, highly anticipated for investors, will be released at 10 AM ET.

Median home sale price increased in February

In February, the median selling price of homes in the US rose 2.7 percent to $438,200.  Compared to prices one year ago, prices have increased by 2.5 percent. This news comes as the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates in hopes of cooling markets, including those for housing. However, so far, rate hikes have not led to a major fall in prices. 

However, compared to November, when the median selling price reached $496,800, prices have come down.
2023 Tax season: Avoid common filing mistakes with these tips from the IRS

Tax season is well underway in the United States, with taxpayers having until 18 April to file.

This deadline has been pushed back for some residents in Alabama, California, and Georgia after natural disasters created hurdles for many to submit their returns on time. Taxpayers who feel that they made need an extension can also apply for one without penalty, and the IRS will push back the due date to 16 October.

To help taxpayers receive their refunds in a timely manner, the IRS has released some guidance to keep in mind to ensure they have a smooth filing experience. Check it out.
What are the reporting requirements for the new $600 income rule for third-party platforms?

Do you rent out a room in your house through Airbnb and receive payments of $600 or more? Do you make jewelry or knit scarves that you sell on Etsy? Do you receive payments for business through PayPal and Venmo? Well, then, you may want to find out more about the IRS’ new income reporting requirements that will take effect next year.

Under changes made through the American Rescue Plan, third-party retailers like Poshmark, Etsy, and eBay, as well as mobile payment services like PayPal and Venmo, will be required to send users a 1099-K if they receive payments of at least $600 in sales for goods and services. The threshold currently stands at a minimum of 200 payments totaling at least $20,000 to trigger the sending of a 1099-K by these companies.

Here's what you need to know about the new rule change...

Walt Disney begins layoff of 7,000 employees

Walt Disney has begun 7,000 layoffs announced earlier this year, as it seeks to control costs and create a more "streamlined" business, according to a letter Chief Executive Bob Iger sent to employees and seen by Reuters.

Major divisions of the company - Disney Entertainment, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and corporate - will be impacted, according to Reuters sources.

The entertainment industry has undergone a retrenchment since its early embrace of video streaming, when established media companies lost billionsas they launched competitors to Netflix.

They started to rein in spending when Netflix posted its first loss of subscribers in a decade in early 2022.

IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically for faster refunds

The IRS encourages taxpayers to file as soon as they are ready and choose direct deposit to receive any refund they may be owed

They say direct deposit is the safest and most convenient way to receive a tax refund. 

Taxpayers who file a paper return can also choose direct deposit, but it will take longer to process the return and get their money back.

More employers posting salaries for job openings

Employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts.

Following new legislation in New York City, California, Washington, Colorado, and elsewhere, employers across the country are becoming more transparent about pay in order to stay competitive with companies in states that require employers to post salary ranges, experts say.

A tight labor market and significant increase in remote work have also contributed to the rise.

When to file the 1099-MISC form

You need to file Form 1099-MISC for each person to whom you have paid during the year:

At least $10 in royalties or broker payments in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest.

At least $600 in:


Prizes and awards.

Other income payments.

Medical and health care payments.

Crop insurance proceeds.

Cash payments for fish (or other aquatic life) you purchase from anyone engaged in the trade or business of catching fish.

Generally, the cash paid from a notional principal contract to an individual, partnership, or estate.

Payments to an attorney.

Any fishing boat proceeds.

Hello and welcome to AS USA's live blog on inflation relief and other important financial news. 

The national tax deadline is Tuesday, 18 April, giving taxpayers a little under a month to submit their returns on time. We will bring you the latest from the IRS, focusing on how to avoid mistakes on your return to ensure you get your refund quickly. 

Last week, the Federal Reserve increased the federal funds rate, which will soon lead rates to increase across the market. Next week the unemployment report for March will become available, providing greater insights into the impact that rate hikes from the central bank are having on the economy. 

In the coming weeks we may also begin to hear news from the Supreme Court on their decision to approve or reject the constitutionality of Presidnet Biden's student debt relief program. The program would allow for up to $20,0000 in debt to be relieved for people who received pell grants and make under $125,000 per year. For those who make less than the income stated above but did not receive a pell grant, only $10,000 in debt relief is available.

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