President Biden’s Build Back Better plan has hit a roadblock, and Senator Joe Manchin has already expressed his disapproval for the project. Moreover, there is more trouble in store with a recent statement by the U.S. Secret Service which said that more than $100 billion was stolen from the COVID-19 relief fund reports apnews.com
However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki underplayed the statement and said that the figures are based on old reports, and there is nothing new in the claims.
However, the Secret Service stood to its statement. The Secret Service told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the figure was deduced from Secret Service cases and data from the Labor Department and the Small Business Administration.
Is the Secret Service allegation of COVID-19 relief programs fraud correct?
On Wednesday, the agency spokesman said that it is not amending the statement though it clarified how this figure was arrived at. The Secret Service is not releasing a new report, but the figure was based upon data obtained from the Labor Department and the Small Business Administration.
Justine Whelan, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, wrote in an email on Wednesday and he said, “There isn’t a correction to be made, we just explicitly posted on the release’s webpage the same info we discussed yesterday,”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Secret Service just collated two old reports about the challenges involving small business loans and unemployment insurance payments. Psaki added that the two old reports talked about combined payments that include mistakes in over and underpayments, but it was a reference to two older IG reports.
However, the Secret Service did not include COVID-19 fraud cases, which the Justice Department has prosecuted.
$87 billion in unemployment benefits could have been paid improperly?
The COVID-19 relief programs were set up to help businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. However, Roy Dotson, the new national pandemic fraud recovery coordinator for the Secret Service, said that roughly 3% of the $3.4 trillion aid money dispersed has been stolen. He added that the sheer value of the money involved makes it very enticing for fraudsters. A significant portion of this fraud is related to unemployment payouts, and the Labor Department believes that $87 billion in unemployment benefits could have been paid improperly.
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Only 28% Of Americans View Economic Conditions Of Their Country As Excellent
The American economy has experienced much turmoil during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, according to the Motley Fool, the United States of America’s economy has come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic.
Of course, the pandemic sore the unemployment level in the year 2020 reaching a record high. In addition to this, finding work during this period has been extremely difficult. As such, the federal government issued various stimulus and COVID relief payments and credits and unemployment benefits to combat the effects of the pandemic.
The State Of U.S. Economy
Currently, the American economy is has a 7.5% inflation rate or consumer price index. This has surpassed the 40-year record high since 1982, that is, since last month. However, besides this – the unemployment rate has decreased, and it seems the United States of America is ‘getting back to work,’ and their country’s economy is starting to recover. However – a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that 28% of participants viewed the country’s economic conditions as good or excellent.
Why Such Economic Pessimism
It seems the supper high inflation rate leads most Americans to have such a negative view of their economy. Indeed close to 90% of participants viewed food and gas prices as higher than last year, 89 and 88 82 percent respectively.
Is Inflation Always Bad?
However, some economists argue that inflation, is at times, a sign of a healthy economy and does not always have to be viewed in a negative light. This is easier said than done though, with living costs increasing – consumers can feel the pinch in their budgets.
The argument, however, is that supply and demand determine the unit price. So if there is an increased demand – and supply does not necessarily change – unit price must increase. This means consumer price index increases or inflation. So an increase in demand could show people are buying more, and this might at least be the signs of a recovering – or active economy.
When supply chain issues are fixed – inflation should decrease. Furthermore, since December last year, unemployment is the lowest it has been since the start of the pandemic. So perhaps such an opposing economic viewpoint – can be replaced, which is realistic, in this light.
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Experts Predict Long Payment Delays From IRS This Season, Provide Few Tips To Speed Up The Process
The IRS faces an enormous backlog due to staff shortages amidst the pandemic, it has recruited new officials, but the challenge remains tough. IRS is yet to process millions of tax returns of last season. The IRS officials are crushed under a ton of paperwork; millions of taxpayers will file their returns this year. The authorities will need to devise a compact strategy to overcome the backlog. CNBC reports that IRS had 6 million unprocessed returns by December 31, this is large numbers, and 2021’s tax returns might take some time.
IRS Workers Are Sparse
Experts suggest various ways to slim the time lag between filing the returns and receiving the payments. CNBC reports that the IRS only had 15,000 workers to answer around 24 million customer calls during the first six months of 2021, one person for 16,000 customers. Experts suggest taxpayers avoid the paperwork to the maximum extent; filers can switch electronic modes to fast forward the documentation. Taxpayers need to use advanced features to process tax refunds and other pending payments quickly. The electronic method will ease the burden on IRS officials during data verification.
Taxpayers Should File Electronic Tax Returns
IRS quoted Erin Collins, the National Taxpayer Advocate; she said, “Paper is the IRS’s kryptonite, and the agency is buried in it. The IRS still transcribes paper returns line by line, number by number, they received around 17 million original paper returns last year, and the processing delays have run as long as 10 months.” The taxpayers need to recheck their tax returns thoroughly; the wrong information might lead to payment abortion and several lengthy delays. The officials, too, will have to go through the same twice or thrice, which makes the process more complicated.
The families who receive enhanced Child Tax Credit or Stimulus payments or both need to exercise extra caution while filing their returns; the IRS issued letters to provide data for the amount allocated. The beneficiaries for the remaining half of the Child Tax Credit payments or extra credit should give complete information in their tax returns. IRS has announced April 18 as the deadline; individuals need to complete the filing process before the date.
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2021 Tax Refunds Will Provide Additional Money To Low-Income Americans
The federal government introduced several relief programs to assist the sufferers of the pandemic. Millions of low-income families and individuals will likely return to their old living ways as the benefits have ceased. However, the tax refunds might bring extra money to several eligible households in 2022. IRS issued half of the Child Tax Credit to the families within the income threshold. The families will receive the remaining half after filing their returns. Many parents are eligible for additional checks after having a new child or a dependent in 2021. Cnet reports that the IRS will issue the suitable amount after information verification, eligible families will automatically receive the payments and tax refunds.
Families Will Receive The Remaining CTC
Families received $1,800 for each child below six and $1,500 for each between 6 and 17. Single taxpayers with annual income below $75,000 and married parents below $150,000 were eligible for the benefits. Cnet reports that the payments phase out at $220,000 and $440,000 for each. The families failing to receive the benefits last year due to incorrect data can avail themselves of the amount through their tax returns. Taxpayers can check their payment status through the online IRS portal. Last year, parents with an additional child needed to update their information to receive the credit.
Taxpayers With A Newborn In 2021 Will Receive Credit
Cnet reports that many families received overpayments due to data miscalculation; the IRS will claim back the payments or deduct the amount from the tax refunds. The parents with an income change need to update their information; the IRS will manage their repayments based on the new income. The parents with children turning 18 last year will have to repay the money to the IRS. The families with lower income in 2021 than in 2020 will also be eligible for the extra benefits.
The fate of the Child Tax Credit program is uncertain at present. The recent rejection of the Build Back Better bill shattered the hopes of millions of Americans. The CTC program offered valuable support to low-income families and allowed educational facilities for children below the poverty level. The cessation of the payments will lead to severe financial trauma.
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