The I.R.S. is warning of a messy tax season.
The agency, which has been hobbled by paperwork backlogs and short staffing, said tax filers should expect a lower level of service this year.
Treasury Department officials said the I.R.S. would struggle to promptly answer telephone calls from taxpayers with questions.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — The federal tax filing season will run from Jan. 24 to April 18 this year, the Internal Revenue Service said on Monday, warning in its announcement that staffing shortages and paperwork backlogs could make for a messy and frustrating experience for taxpayers.
In a briefing on Monday, Treasury Department officials said that the I.R.S. would struggle to promptly answer telephone calls from taxpayers with questions and that a lower level of service should be expected. They blamed Republican legislators, who have blocked efforts to increase funding at the agency, for the lack of resources.
The Biden administration has asked for an additional $80 billion over a decade for the I.R.S. to bolster its enforcement and its customer service capacity. That request is part of the administration’s Build Back Better Act, which is stalled in Congress.
Treasury officials noted that in the first half of last year, fewer than 15,000 employees were available to handle more than 240 million calls — one person for every 16,000 calls.
The tax season this year will be more complicated than usual because pandemic-related economic impact payments and child tax credit payments were distributed last year. Taxpayers will be required to report the amount of money that they received.
The I.R.S. is urging taxpayers to file their returns electronically, and said people should generally receive refunds within 21 days of filing.
Usually Tax Day falls on April 15, but it will be delayed for most tax payers to April 18 because of the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington. Filing deadlines for state taxes may differ.
Goli Sheikholeslami, the head of New York Public Radio, will become Politico’s new chief executive, Axel Springer announced on Monday.
Her appointment is the first big move by Axel Springer, the German publishing giant, since it bought Politico Media Group last year for more than $1 billion. As part of its ambition to become a force in the American news media, the company acquired Business Insider in 2015 and a controlling stake in the newsletter Morning Brew in 2020.
Jan Bayer, Axel Springer’s president of news media, said that Ms. Sheikholeslami would “further our vision to build the global news and information leader on politics, policy and regulation in power centers across the world.”
Politico Media Group includes Politico, which has a newsroom of nearly 400 journalists, and its tech news counterpart, Protocol.
“What I admire most about Politico is the tenacity that underpins the organization’s fearless, fact-based journalism and its successful business model,” Ms. Sheikholeslami said in a statement.
Ms. Sheikholeslami will start in her new role next month. She succeeds Patrick Steel, who stepped down as chief executive last year. She is making the move after two years as the chief executive of New York Public Radio, which owns WNYC, WQXR and Gothamist. It was a turbulent period for WNYC, which has had significant staff turnover and bullying complaints.
In an email to staff, the New York Public Radio board chair, Timothy Wilkins, said that Ms. Sheikholeslami had invested significantly in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the organization while also strengthening its financial position and increasing the size of the newsroom.
“And she did all this while leading through a pandemic — working with all of you to keep our audiences informed, connected and inspired during one of the most challenging times for our organization and our city and region,” Mr. Wilkins wrote.
Mr. Wilkins said the board would lead a national search for a new leader.
For much of the pandemic, shares of tech companies have shown impressive immunity to economic worries, soaring to new heights as Silicon Valley giants reported record earnings. That resilience appears to have waned.
On Monday, technology stocks, which have led the recent market downturn, fell as much as 2.5 percent on the Nasdaq. That fall has left that index, which is seen as a proxy for the tech sector, down more than 9 percent from a high in November, and within 1 percent of entering a correction, which is defined on Wall Street as a drop of more than 10 percent. A market correction is a key technical and psychological measure for Wall Street.
Many tech company shares, including ones that appeared to be early pandemic winners, have fallen far more. Shares of Zoom Video Communications, the virtual-meeting software company, hit a new 52-week low of $166 on Monday, and are now down more than 70 percent from their high of $588 in late 2020.
Companies that consumers turned to during lockdowns have also fallen. The video game publisher Activision Blizzard has seen its shares fall nearly 40 percent. Netflix’s stock price has fallen 24 percent from its high, and was off another $10 on Monday to just over $531. Even Tesla, which last week reported that its sales of vehicles rose 87 percent in 2021, far outpacing other automakers, has seen is stock drop nearly 20 percent from its November high.
Some investors sold off stocks for specific reasons. Zoom is facing concerns that usage will fall as people return to offices, as well as increasing competition from Microsoft and Google. Activision has been sued by California for discrimination against women employees and has faced allegations of workplace harassment, leaving in doubt the future of its chief executive and longtime leader, Bobby Kotick.
But a large part of the tech stock drop, and the recent reversal of the market in general, appears to be tied to the possibility that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates sooner than expected. Last week, the central bank released minutes from its December meeting that showed Fed officials are preparing to raise interest rates to tamp down inflation; many economists expect rates to be increased as soon as March. And although December’s overall jobs report was weaker than expected, it still showed a significant jump in wages for the past year, which also raised inflation concerns and could prompt the Fed to move quicker.
Rising interest rates discourage risk-taking by investors, which tends to hit tech stocks more than others. What’s more, many technology stocks trade at high valuation because of fast growth and expectations that they will produce significant profits in the future. But higher interest rates put future growth in doubt, and make those future earnings worth less to current investors.
Other areas of the market have also shown volatility. On Monday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose to nearly 1.8 percent, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. The S&P 500, a broad gauge of the market, fell more than 1.7 percent on Monday, nearly matching its drop of 1.9 percent for all of last week.
“There is a white knuckle fear on the Street around tech stocks,” said Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities. “Tech stocks have been on a bull run, and now Fed worries and the spiking 10-year yield are crashing the tech party with investors hitting the sell button and heading for the elevators in unison.”
Mr. Ives said that he thought the sell-off was just a pause, and not the end of a rise in tech stocks, but he added that investors should expected more volatility. “Put the seatbelts on,” he said.
The adjustment to higher interest rates isn’t bad news for all stocks. Shares of banks have been climbing, as investors anticipate their profits will grow.
Overall, the profit picture for corporate America remains quite strong. The bottom lines of companies in the S&P 500, which will begin to report fourth-quarter earnings later this week, are estimated to have risen nearly 22 percent in the final three months of 2021 versus a year ago.
Analysts, though, expect earnings growth for S&P 500 companies to drop to 9 percent this year, as the boost from government stimulus checks and a surge in consumer spending as pandemic restrictions end should all but disappear.
Delta Air Lines, which along with rivals canceled thousands of flights in the past month because of weather and Covid-related staffing problems, will be among the first large companies to report earnings on Thursday. On Friday, several large banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, are scheduled to report earnings for the last quarter of 2021.
Investors will get another update on the economy on Wednesday when the Labor Department publish its latest reading of the Consumer Price Index, which is being watched closely by policymakers as they decide how quickly to pull back on the central bank’s support for the economy.
The video game publisher Take-Two Interactive agreed on Monday to buy Zynga, a mobile game maker, for more than $11 billion, in a deal that unites the makers of Grand Theft Auto and FarmVille.
With the deal, Take-Two — known for producing games like Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K for traditional platforms like the Sony PlayStation console and personal computers — is acquiring a specialist in mobile and social gaming, with Zynga’s best-known titles including Words With Friends and other apps.
Adding Zynga’s stable of app developers is meant to help Take-Two roll out more smartphone versions of its popular titles. Zynga will also help Take-Two expand its revenue from so-called recurrent consumer spending, in which players pay for new content and upgrades within games.
The deal values Zynga at about $12.7 billion, making it one of the largest in the history of the video game industry, topping the purchase of Supercell by the Chinese internet giant Tencent in 2016 for $10 billion and Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in 2020.
The gaming industry has boomed during the pandemic, providing large tech companies with the cash to buy smaller rivals. It has also helped more troubled companies like Zynga, which found early success tying itself to Facebook with the mobile game FarmVille. The company stumbled as the mobile gaming industry shifted away from social media and toward apps like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush.
Zynga has laid off employees and cycled through executives over the years as it struggled to maintain relevance. It was still losing money — $42 million — in its most recent quarterly earnings report.
By contrast, Take-Two is profitable and has gone on a buying spree since the pandemic, adding a handful of smaller studios to its portfolio of games.
“This strategic combination brings together our best-in-class console and PC franchises, with a market-leading, diversified mobile publishing platform that has a rich history of innovation and creativity,” Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
Frank Gibeau, Zynga’s chief executive, said in a statement that combining the two companies would “allow us to create even better games, reach larger audiences and achieve significant growth as a leader in the next era of gaming.”
Under the terms of the deal, Take-Two will pay $3.50 in cash and $6.36 worth of newly issued stock for each Zynga share. That amounts to $9.86 a share, up 64 percent from where Zynga closed on Friday.
Google wrongly claimed attorney-client privilege to protect documents subpoenaed in a National Labor Relations Board case filed by former employees who say the company fired them because of their unionization efforts, a labor judge has ruled.
The administrative law judge, Paul Bogas, whom the N.L.R.B. appointed as a special master to review the documents, said in a report on Friday that “this broad assertion is, to put it charitably, an overreach.”
The ruling is the latest legal blow to Google’s defense against a complaint, brought by the labor agency in December 2020, that said the company illegally fired and surveilled employees who were involved in labor organizing.
A Google spokeswoman, Jennifer Rodstrom, said in a statement on Monday that the matter had nothing to do with unionization but was about employees breaching security protocols. “We disagree with the characterization of the legally privileged materials referred to by the complainants,” she said.
Judge Bogas ruled in November that Google had improperly characterized 71 of 80 documents sought by the former employees as privileged. The latest report covers around 200 additional documents pertaining to communications around Google’s hiring of IRI Consultants, a firm known for its anti-union work, as part of Project Vivian, an effort to fight labor organizing at the company.
Google must hand over nearly all of those 200 documents, Judge Bogas ruled. He also ordered the company to produce for his review more than 1,000 additional documents that it logged as privileged.
Google’s argument that it had the right to withhold the documents was not “persuasive,” Judge Bogas said, because IRI assisted Google with messaging that did not include legal advice.
In one document that the judge said did not pass muster for confidentiality, a Google lawyer explained that the company wanted consulting help for Project Vivian “to engage employees more positively and convince them that unions suck.” The lawyer provided a long list of areas where IRI could help, including “understanding the current sentiment around labor organizing/unionization efforts at Google.” The lawyer did not mention assistance with legal help.
In another document that Google claimed was privileged, a different Google lawyer offered public relations advice but not legal counsel. The lawyer proposed that the company find a “respected voice” to publish an editorial about what a union would look like in a tech workplace to discourage employees of Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Google from forming one. A human resources director said that she supported the idea, but that it needed to be done without Google’s fingerprints. IRI then sent a proposed editorial to the Google lawyer.
Judge Bogas also chastised Google for marking documents as privileged just because it copied in a company lawyer, even though the communication did not seek legal advice.
“A company cannot cloak a document in privilege merely by providing a copy to counsel,” the judge wrote.
The New York Times reported earlier that Google encouraged employees to aggressively mark internal communication as “A/C Priv,” which is shorthand for “attorney-client privilege,” in the subject line even if they are not seeking legal advice.
Google denied that was the case, and said it informed employees that they should do that only when appropriate.
The Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday named Jodie Ginsberg, a journalist turned news executive, as its new president.
Ms. Ginsberg, a former international correspondent and business journalist at Reuters, is the chief executive of Internews Europe, a nonprofit organization that supports independent media. She previously headed the Index on Censorship, a freedom of expression campaign group.
She will replace Joel Simon, who led the Committee to Protect Journalists for 15 years before announcing last year that he was stepping down. Founded in 1981, the organization defends the rights of journalists around the world.
“We wanted to find someone who had experience as a journalist and as an advocate,” Kathleen Carroll, the chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in an interview. “The two skills are different. You really need granular on-the-ground experience if you are going to be the head of an organization protecting journalists.”
Ms. Ginsberg, a citizen of Britain and South Africa who was also the bureau chief for Britain and Ireland during her 11 years at Reuters, is scheduled to start as the organization’s president in April.
“Journalists help hold power to account, expose corruption and injustice and shine a spotlight on the most important issues of our day — from health to climate to social change,” Ms. Ginsberg said in a statement. “For that, far too many face a growing threat of violence and harassment. I am determined to help reverse this trend and am honored to be leading CPJ at such a critical juncture.”
According to a census by the organization, the number of journalists jailed for doing their job hit 293 in 2021, a record. At least 24 journalists were killed for reasons having to do with their work last year, according to the group.
Audie Cornish, who signed off as a host of NPR’s news program “All Things Considered” on Friday, is heading to CNN’s new streaming service.
The longtime NPR star, who had been a host of “All Things Considered” since 2012 and was a 17-year veteran of the public broadcaster, will host a weekly show for CNN+, as well as contribute to the streaming service’s slate of live programming, the network announced on Monday. She will also appear on the cable news network during breaking news stories.
“I am very excited to join CNN and the CNN+ team,” Ms. Cornish said in a statement. “There are fresh stories to be told and new ways to tell them. CNN has a dynamic system of reporters and storytelling channels. I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
The move comes as the CNN president, Jeff Zucker, builds a roster for CNN+, which is scheduled to debut in the spring.
Ms. Cornish’s exit from NPR followed the recent departures of other prominent NPR hosts of color, including Noel King, who went to Vox Media, and Lulu Garcia-Navarro, who went to The New York Times. Ari Shapiro, Ms. Cornish’s former co-host at “All Things Considered,” observed on Twitter last week that NPR was “hemorrhaging hosts from marginalized backgrounds.”
“If NPR doesn’t see this as a crisis, I don’t know what it’ll take,” Mr. Shapiro continued.
Ms. Cornish addressed the issue in a Twitter thread on Thursday. “My path through public media and frankly journalism has of course not been all roses,” she wrote, adding that she had often been “the only person of color” covering events. She added that circumstances have changed over the years “for the better.”
Last week, CNN announced it had hired Alison Roman, the author of a popular cooking newsletter, to host a “highly opinionated and never finicky” cooking show for the planned streaming service. The network also announced that the actress and producer Eva Longoria would host a series in which she travels Mexico and explores the culinary culture there, similar to the CNN show “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Last month, the anchor Chris Wallace left Fox News to join CNN+.
Energy prices have soared across Europe over the past few months, straining household budgets and unnerving politicians. As the cost of oil and natural gas remain volatile, a policymaker at the European Central Bank has warned that the transition to a low carbon economy could lead to rising energy bills and faster inflation.
This could also force central bankers to rethink how energy prices are considered when setting monetary policy, Isabel Schnabel, a member of the central bank’s executive board, said in a speech on Saturday.
Some central banks, increasingly focused on the risks created by climate change, have set out plans to stress-test banks to see if their financial systems can withstand the risks from extreme weather and are analyzing the economy to calculate the costs of the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“While in the past energy prices often fell as quickly as they rose, the need to step up the fight against climate change may imply that fossil fuel prices will now not only have to stay elevated, but even have to keep rising if we are to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement,” which commits countries to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, Ms. Schnabel said.
Looking ahead, higher carbon prices, fewer investments in fossil fuel energy, and a period during which renewable energy production can’t meet demand will mean there is a risk of a “protracted transition period” when energy bills are rising, Ms. Schnabel said.
But governments shouldn’t roll back or slow down transition measures in the face of higher prices, she added. For central banks, the challenges posed by the green transition are “equally profound,” she said.
Central bankers tend to “look through” energy price shocks because the surges are usually short-lived. Also, policymakers don’t want to exacerbate the negative effects by raising interest rates and dampening demand, Ms. Schnabel said.
That is the case in the eurozone today, where the annual rate of inflation climbed to 5 percent last month, a record high. Energy prices were 26 percent higher than they were a year earlier.
The European Central Bank has held interest rates at record lows and made a plan to slow, but not stop, its bond-buying programs because it expects inflation to be once again below its 2 percent target by next year. Christine Lagarde, the president of the bank, has insisted that the surge in prices is temporary because, for one, energy costs will stabilize throughout this year, and so monetary policy needs to continue to support the economy.
But Ms. Schnabel said that the central bank’s forecasts depend on energy prices not contributing to inflation rates in 2023 and 2024 — something that would be “unusual.”
“The scale of the energy transition, and the political determination behind it, implies that these estimates could be conservative,” she said, adding that the energy transition poses “measurable upside risks” to the bank’s inflation projections.
If higher energy prices from the transition push up long-term inflation expectations and cause widespread demands for higher wages, or if higher carbon prices help increase economic growth and push up prices more broadly, then the central bank would need to act, Ms Schnabel said.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, asked the Federal Reserve in a letter sent Monday to release more information about a series of financial trades that several top officials made in 2020, when the Fed was actively propping up markets.
The Fed has become embroiled in a scandal over the transactions, which occurred in the months around its no-holds-barred market rescue at the outset of the pandemic, raising the possibility that policymakers could have financially benefited from the information they held and the decisions they were making. Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, has acknowledged that the trades were a problem and acted quickly to overhaul the central bank’s ethics rules.
But that has not stemmed the fallout. Mr. Powell, who was nominated for a second term as chair by President Biden, will almost surely face questions about the Fed’s ethics dilemma at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee. Ms. Warren, who sits on that committee, is pushing for more details about Fed trading activity and new ethics rules, according to the new letter, which she sent to Mr. Powell. Ms. Warren, who previously requested that the Fed turn over information and documents surrounding the trades, is asking the Fed to “release all available information about the trades” by next Monday.
Ms. Warren said in her letter that the central bank had failed to fully respond to her previous requests for information.
Ms. Warren, who has criticized Mr. Powell’s tenure as chair, has said she will not support his renomination.
Scrutiny of the 2020 trades has intensified after The New York Times reported last week that Richard H. Clarida, the Fed’s vice chair, failed to initially disclose the full extent of his trading in his original financial disclosure. Mr. Clarida amended his disclosures in late December, and the document showed that he had moved out of a stock fund as the markets were plunging during the pandemic. Three days later, he moved back into the same fund, just before Mr. Powell announced that the central bank stood ready to rescue markets.
Ethics experts said the new information called into question the central bank’s original explanation that Mr. Clarida’s transaction was a preplanned rebalancing away from bonds and toward stocks, and said more information was needed to understand the trades.
The new information “raises suspicions that the Fed may be failing to disclose the full scope of the scandal to the public,” Ms. Warren wrote. “I therefore ask that you respond in full to my request by January 17, 2022.”
Mr. Clarida updated his disclosures after noticing “inadvertent errors,” a Fed representative said last week, and the Fed’s ethics officer said the newly noted trades were “in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest.” Still, they have drawn scrutiny because the rapid move out of and back into a stock fund at a time of market tumult looked less like a rebalancing toward stocks and more like a possible response to market conditions.
“This revelation is just the latest evidence of a deep-rooted ethics failure at the Fed and the urgent need for a comprehensive information release about officials’ trading activity,” Ms. Warren wrote.
Airlines canceled thousands more flights in recent days as the industry tried to move past its holiday hangover.
Bad weather and coronavirus outbreaks among workers continued to disrupt schedules across the United States, but airlines have also called off many recent flights, in advance, so they can correct course at a traditionally slow time for travel without surprising customers with last-minute cancellations.
About 5,000 flights were canceled from Friday through Sunday, according to FlightAware, a data tracking service, with the daily number of cuts declining steadily over that period. Southwest Airlines suspended over 1,000 flights, more than any other carrier. SkyWest Airlines, which operates flights for several major carriers, and United Airlines each canceled more than 500 flights.
The turmoil began before Christmas, caused by bad weather in the West and staff shortages because of virus outbreaks among employees. Snowfall in the Northeast continued to wreak havoc at major airport hubs across the country into the first weekend of this month.
“Given the ongoing surge in Covid cases and related sick calls, we’ve been working with each of our major partners to proactively reduce our January schedules,” SkyWest said in a statement. The airline operates flights for United, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines and said the pullback is intended to “ensure we’re able to adequately staff our remaining flying as we work to recover in the coming weeks.”
After canceling flights at high rates over the holidays, JetBlue Airways said it would preemptively cut about 1,300 flights in the first half of January. Alaska said in a statement last week that it would slash about one in 10 flights planned for the month to gain “the flexibility and capacity needed to reset.”
As in many other industries, airlines are also contending with workers calling in sick at high rates as the Omicron virus variant spreads at astonishing speed.
“It has been one of the most difficult operational environments we’ve ever faced,” Allison Ausband, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, said in a statement last week apologizing to customers for the disorder.
To deal with staffing shortages, many carriers have started offering extra pay to those who were otherwise not scheduled to work. Southwest, for example, said last week that it was offering double pay for most of the month to employees who picked up extra shifts, incentives available to workers across its operation, including ground staff, flight attendants, customer service employees, flight schedulers and maintenance technicians.
The chaos comes at a frustrating time for the industry, which is preparing for a significant rebound this summer. That recovery rests largely on the hope that the pandemic will be mostly under control by then and that people will be more willing to travel internationally and for work.
On television, the pandemic is already over. In reality, it continues to wreak havoc on the entertainment industry.
The Golden Globes, which traditionally kick off the award show season, were not televised on Sunday night because of ethical issues surrounding the group that gives out the awards. The jump in coronavirus cases is also threatening the rest of awards season, which is about more than just self-congratulation.
The undercutting of an effective form of advertising comes at a time when the industry desperately needs it, and it has the movie business reconsidering its fate in a year that was supposed to signal a return of Hollywood’s glamour, Nicole Sperling reports for The New York Times. The Academy Awards remain scheduled for March 27, with nominations on Feb. 8, but there has been no indication what the event will be like.
If the Hollywood hype machine loses steam, it could prove devastating to the box office, which has struggled with each rise in coronavirus cases. The latest Spider-Man movie was a big success, but other big-budget films, like “West Side Story,” flopped. Pixar said last week that its latest film, “Turning Red,” would skip theaters and will debut exclusively on Disney+ in March, free for subscribers.
Movies with midsize budgets are particularly vulnerable, given their reliance on word of mouth and awards to spread awareness. In response, studios are experimenting with slowing theatrical rollouts, accelerating home streaming and holding more virtual screenings to court award voters.
“The movie business is this gigantic rock, and we’re close to seeing that rock crumble,” said Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. According to a recent study, 49 percent of prepandemic moviegoers are no longer buying tickets. Eight percent say they will never return.
Fed chair confirmation hearing: The Senate Banking Committee will begin to hold confirmation hearings for the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell. Mr. Powell is expected to face questions regarding the outlook on inflation and the Fed’s former permissive culture toward stock trading by policymakers.
Consumer Price Index: The Labor Department is set to publish its latest report on price increases, which is being watched closely by the Federal Reserve as policymakers decide how quickly to pull back on the central bank’s support for the economy.
Fed vice chair confirmation hearing: Lael Brainard, a Fed governor, will also face the Senate Banking Committee for her confirmation hearing.
Delta earnings: The airline is set to publish its financial performance report for the three months ending in December as it faces new staffing challenges posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Delta canceled more than 1,700 flights between Christmas Eve and New Year’s weekend.
Retail sales: The Commerce Department’s report on consumer spending in December will offer economists a snapshot of spending during the last month of the holiday season, as well as a sense of whether the Omicron variant affected retailers.
Bank earnings: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are set to publish their earnings reports for the fourth quarter. Analysts are expecting the banks to post strong profits, driven by investment-banking and strong capital markets.
This year’s tax filing season is likely to be another challenging one because of pandemic-related tax changes. But the first step for many taxpayers is simple: Check your mail.
The Internal Revenue Service is sending special statements to the millions of Americans who received monthly payments of the expanded child tax credit last year as part of the pandemic relief program. The agency is also sending letters to the people who got the third stimulus payment last year, reports Ann Carrns for The New York Times.
The advance payments of the child tax credit reflected half of a family’s estimated credit. To claim the other half, people must enter information from the I.R.S. statement on their federal tax return to reconcile the amounts. The document, I.R.S. Letter 6419, details the total amount of advance payments paid last year and how the amount was calculated.
A quick refresher:
Congress expanded the child tax credit for the 2021 tax year, providing as much as $3,600 per child, up from $2,000.
Half of the credit was paid in advance, divided into monthly payments delivered from July through December.
The aid went to families with about 61 million children, according to the Treasury Department.
The I.R.S. is also sending a second letter later this month regarding the third round of stimulus checks. The third batch of checks, of $1,400 per person, was sent beginning in March as part of the pandemic relief effort.
Most eligible people have already received the payments. But if you didn’t, or if you got less than the full amount, the letter — known as Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Statement — will help determine if you can claim the money as a “recovery rebate credit” on your 2021 tax return.
Filing season normally starts in mid- to late January, but the I.R.S. hasn’t yet announced when it will begin accepting returns. READ MORE
Just as the Covid-19 crisis made amateur epidemiologists of people trying to go about their daily lives, it also forced human resources professionals, especially those at small and midsize businesses, into a new focus on public health.
As companies weighed when to return to the office, whether to require coronavirus vaccines and what sort of exemptions from those rules to allow, it was often H.R. directors who were asked to lead those efforts. It was no longer sufficient for these professionals to manage the job satisfaction and career development of their colleagues. Suddenly, they were also charged with monitoring their health, safety and views on immunization.
The added dimensions of H.R. jobs are coming into sharper focus now, as more organizations put vaccine mandates into effect. About 17 percent of American employers were requiring vaccinations or negative virus tests for employees returning to the office, according to a Gallagher survey of more than 500 employers conducted between August and October.
Hovering over company conversations about vaccines is the additional consideration of whether to mandate booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not updated its definition of “fully vaccinated” but said that being “up to date” on vaccination includes a booster. Some state and local leaders like Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York have indicated that they plan to do so as well.
Then there’s the tug of war over return to office plans, with the pull of executives eager to see workers in person meeting the push of soaring Covid case counts. On top of that has come the challenge of retaining talent when workers are walking off the job, with 4.5 million leaving their roles voluntarily in November. The sources of stress, for some H.R. directors, seem to multiply by the month.