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Relief checks summary news: 24 march

Finance updates: latest news

US Finance: Latest Updates

Tax support: know your options

The Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) is a tool that provides answers to several tax law questions specific to your individual circumstances.

Based on your input, it can determine if you have to file a tax return, your filing status, if you can claim a dependent, if the type of income you have is taxable, if you're eligible to claim a credit, or if you can deduct expenses.

Check it out!

What is the 10-year rule for student loan forgiveness?

Eligible borrowers can have their student debt forgiven after 10 years through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

AS USA's Greg Heilman has the full lowdown on the scheme.

What are the most in-demand jobs in Texas?

In a 2020 report of Texas Growth Occupations, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) projected that between 2018 and 2028 the Lone Star State would add around 1.7 million new jobs. However, many of the fastest-growing careers in Texas have far surpassed the local supply according to the TWC which means excellent opportunities for those job-hunting with the right qualifications or trying to decide which future career path they should take.

The fastest-growing careers in Texas reflect several of those that will be in demand nationally such as software developers, financial managers and nurses, all of which will see growth over 30 percent. Here’s a look at the most in-demand jobs in Texas over the coming years.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen


Wall Street struggles in the red as concerns continue over banking sector and possible recession

After three days of testimony on Capitol Hill in front of lawmakers, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s assurances that the banking sector was secure and comments from other key US officials failed to completely convince investors. All three major Wall Street indexes started the day in the red and have been struggling to make it into positive territory.

Secretary Yellen allayed fears that the US government wasn’t considering guaranteeing all deposits with her testimony on Thursday saying: "We have used important tools to act quickly to prevent contagion. And they are tools we could use again... Certainly, we would be prepared to take additional actions if warranted." However, the mood has once again soured as investors fret about banks’ liquidity becoming a problem limiting lending and throwing the economy into a severe recession.

How high could unemployment increase in the US in 2023?

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee has released its quarterly economic outlook and projections, which forecast the median unemployment rate for 2023 to hit 4.5 percent.

Additionally, the Fed’s projections do not provide insights into how these various groups will be impacted by increases in unemployment spurred by rate hikes. Nobel Prize-winning economist, for those value mainstream credentials Joseph Stiglitz, has warned that young men of color, a group whose unemployment rate is already higher than the national average, could see worklessness rise by anywhere between fifteen to twenty percent given where the Fed has set interest rates.

Read more on how high the Fed believes unemployment could rise and the response from political leaders on the central bank's continued rate increases. 


Largest US banks tell staff not to make banking crisis worse

Reuters reports that the largest banks in the US including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Inc and Bank of America warned employees not to make the ongoing banking crisis any worse. Staff were told not to poach clients from smaller financial institutions under stress and not to discuss the ongoing troubles at competitors with potential clients.

"We do not make disparaging comments regarding competitors," JPMorgan advised employees in a memo Reuters had access to. "Never give the appearance of exploiting a situation of stress or uncertainty."

This came after two banks collapsed and other regional banks were put in distress as depositor pulled out their money over worries that their funds would not be protected that exceeded FDIC insurance coverage. US regulators have scrambled to reassure the American public that the banking system is safe and implemented emergency measure to shore up confidence.


Can you claim a student loan interest deduction on your taxes in 2023?

Student loan borrowers are allowed to deduct up to $2,500 in interest they have paid on their tax returns each year. They key word there being “paid”. Since March 2020, there has been a moratorium on interest accruing on most federal student loans and repayments. Those that have been making payments on federal student loans, have only been paying down the principal of the loan and not any interest since the forbearance program was started.

That means that for the whole of 2022, no interest was paid by borrowers on most federal student loans. However, those with private student loans and those with commercially held Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) may be eligible in 2023 to deduct some or all interest payments made last year. Here’s a look at the “student loan interest deduction”…



"The days of free delivery are numbered" for online shoppers

Free shipping has become ubiquitous for online shoppers as ecommerce retailer used the benefit as a way to attract new customers and create loyalty. Until recently, members of retailers monthly subscription services could enjoy the amenity, no-strings attached, at no cost beyond their membership fee.

However, times are changing as rising shipping costs are eating into retailers’ bottom line. Similar to airlines, they are beginning to charge for the extras or put more stringent conditions on customers to receive free shipping to shift the costs on to the buyer.

Amazon, which forced its competitors to follow its lead into the realm of free shipping, recently jacked its Prime membership fee $20 to $139 a year and began offering “same day” shipping in around a dozen cities. However, purchases must exceed $25 to qualify, otherwise customers will be charged.

Likewise, the giant online retailer’s grocery delivery service jacked the minimum purchase for free shipping from $35 to $150, otherwise customers must pay a fee that more than doubled to $9.95.

Amazon isn’t the only one though. The increased cost of shipping is forcing other retailers to reconsider how they provide free shipping to customers.

"The days of free delivery are numbered," Cambridge Retail Advisors managing partner Ken Morris told Reuters.

IRS Disallowed Credit: What to do if your claim for EITC is denied

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can put thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ pockets that qualify to claim it. The credit is aimed at low-income workers and their families possibly worth almost $7,000. However, the credit comes with strict rules on who is eligible and the amounts that they can claim.

The Internal Revenue Service warns taxpayers that they are responsible for making sure that everything on their tax return is correct, even if someone else prepares it for you. Mistakes could result in your refund being delayed, an audit or the tax agency denying some or all of a credit claimed.

In the event that the IRS finds that you sent an erroneous tax declaration, the agency will send you a letter to inform you. You will need to pay a penalty and any money, along with interest, that you may owe the IRS if reasonable cause does not apply

Read more for guidance if your EITC is denied. 

Top jobs in-demand in the US and why they’re in high demand

As the US job market continues to evolve, certain professions have become increasingly popular due to various factors, including changing demographics, evolving societal needs, and rapid technological advancements.

Discover the most sought-after jobs in America and learn about their salaries, number of professionals, age, gender breakdown and retirement age.


Tax benefits and credits for people living with disability

The IRS provides information on existing tax credits and benefits that may be available to qualifying taxpayers with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and businesses or other entities wishing to accommodate persons with disabilities.

The office provides a guide on tax deductions, income exclusions, and credits you may be entitled to. These benefits include Earned Income Tax Credit for parents of children with disabilities, adoption credit, and child or dependent care credit.


Yellen says that US regulators ready to take additional actions to protect bank deposits

We have used important tools to act quickly to prevent contagion. And they are tools we could use again. The strong actions we have taken ensure that Americans’ deposits are safe. Certainly, we would be prepared to take additional actions if warranted.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, speaking to House Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday
Will the bank collapse affect retirement accounts? What retirement accounts can suffer losses?

After the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, have retirement accounts and pension plans been affected? What will happen to them? We have the details for you...

What is the average Social Security check at age 66?

Retiring at 66 is the full retirement age for some Americans but for others they will need to wait longer to access their benefits without being penalized.

The retirement age when Americans can claim their full benefits has been steadily increasing. Currently, those who were born in 1960 and after will need to wait until they are 67 years old, and one month, to reach the full retirement age.

AS USA's Oliver Povey tells us more about what could happen to your benefits if you retire early

Tax season 2023: Can you report crypto losses on your taxes?

Crypto asset valuations can fluctuate wildly but the general direction over 2022 was down, way down. Those that dipped their toes into the developing market, and seasoned investors alike, may have lost a pretty penny or two.

Like any other asset or property, crypto assets are taxed by the IRS when you sell them and make a profit. The level that the earnings you made from the sale are taxed depending on the length of time you held the asset. Should you make money on them you will have to pay either short-term or long-term capital gains tax.

However, if you sold the crypto asset for less than you bought it for, you may be able to subtract it from your capital gains or deduct that amount from your taxable income, up to a certain limit the year that the loss was regisitered. Any amount above that limit can be carried over indefinitely until you have exhausted the full amount that you lost in the transaction. Here’s a look at how to report crypto losses on your taxes…


SEC warns investors about ‘Wild West’ crypto assets

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is warning investors about investment involving crypto asset securities, what the SEC chair has called a "Wild West" full of misconduct, issuing an alert that firms that offer crypto asst securities may not be complying with US laws. This comes after a series of crypto platforms have folded in recent months, most notably the FTX cryptocurrency exchange run by Sam Bankman-Fried, and a day after charges were filed against Justin Sun for fraud and illegally selling crypto securities along with eight celebrities who are accused of illegally promoted them.

“The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy continues to urge investors to be cautious if considering an investment involving crypto asset securities.  Investments in crypto asset securities can be exceptionally volatile and speculative, and the platforms where investors buy, sell, borrow, or lend these securities may lack important protections for investors.  The risk of loss for individual investors who participate in transactions involving crypto assets, including crypto asset securities, remains significant.  The only money you should put at risk with any speculative investment is money you can afford to lose entirely,” the statements from the SEC begins. Read the full investor alert warning…

Which celebrities have been charged by SEC for illegally promoting crypto?

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has announced charges against Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun and three of his companies for illegally selling crypto securities and fraudulently inflating the trading volume of them.

Eight celebrities have also been charged with illegally promoting the crypto assets Sun founded.

Among the celebrities charged are actress Lindsay Lohan and social media personality and professional boxer Jake Paul.

AS USA's Greg Heilman tells the full story.


Four-day workweek proves idea "less is more"

A new barrier is being broken in the workplace that has been in place since the 1938 when Congress established the 40-hour five-day workweek. What was considered something that would inevitably happen decades ago, is finally starting to become accepted, shortening the workweek even further.

The pandemic disrupted many aspects of life, but in that disruption came a new openess to expirement with our relationship to work. One of those was more large-scale studies on reducing the workweek to four days but paying workers the same.

Those trials for the most part have been successful, with 92% of 56 companies in the UK planning on continuing with the shorter schedule, 18 planning to make it permanent.

5 companies in the US that have a four-day workweek

The results are in! Many companies in the United States and abroad that have piloted the four-day workweek will not return to their previous schedules after seeing benefits for both staff and their bottom line.

In the United States, there are a growing number of firms offering a shorter workweek to make it easier for workers to balance their work and personal lives. By lowering the number of hours worked, companies have seen increases in productivity which can translate to greater profits or, in the case of non-profits, greater efficiency.

However, one detail overlooked in the discourse on the four-day workweek is the types of companies that make the switch and, subsequently, the workers that would be offered the benefit.  

Check out our full coverage for more details the companies offering a paid reduction in the workweek and the issues of unequal access to the benefit that has arisen. 


31 million families qualified for EITC in 2022, a nearly $7,000 tax credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable credit, meaning that once taxes owed are accounted for the remainder gets added onto a tax refund. The credit could be worth up to almost $7,000, but the amount varies depending on earnings and the size of the taxpayer's family.

Last year, the Internal Revenue Services reports that "as of December 2022, 31 million workers and families received about $64 billion in EITC. The average amount of EITC received nationwide was about $2,043."

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

The 2023 tax season is under way and filers have until Tuesday 18 April to turn in their federal tax declarations for the 2022 fiscal year. The same deadline applies to residents of California to file their state tax returns.

When filing your tax return, you should keep in mind that both the federal tax agency and FTB offer tax credits that could add thousands of dollars to your tax refund. One of them is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Golden State specific one is CalEITC. Put together, these two credits could be worth over $10,000. Here’s a look at what is required to claim the credit.

Here’s a look at the eligibility requirements and how much you can receive…


Daily finance news: welcome

Good morning! Welcome to the AS USA finance news live blog for Friday, March 24, 2023.

We’ll be providing you with updates on inflation relief measures in the US - and, what's next after the Federal Reserve updated its economic outlook and projections along with other financial news of the day.

With just under a month to go until the tax deadline in the States, we’ll also have the information you need on filing your return, and how you can take advantage of the tax credits on offer to US taxpayers.