A bipartisan group of senators try two relief bills. The lawmakers released two companion proposals designed to provide economic relief during the pandemic. A $748 billion plan would provide enhanced unemployment benefits, a second round of small business relief, and billions of dollars for education, transit agencies, hunger relief, and vaccine distribution. A second measure includes $160 billion in state, local, and tribal aid as well as liability protection for businesses. But roadblocks remain. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’ll block any bill that does not include both enhanced unemployment benefits and another round of stimulus payments to individuals. And it remains unclear whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will let the Senate vote on the two bills.
Progress on the omnibus spending bill. House and Senate appropriators say they may wrap up a compromise $1.4 trillion spending package for this fiscal year as soon as today. Without it, the government would shut down after Friday. McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they want to add the coronavirus relief legislation to the spending package.
Will any tax extenders ride on the year-of-year bill? Politico reports that tax writers are quietly circulating a list of expiring tax provisions they’d like to see added to any spending/pandemic relief bill. Prognosis uncertain.
Win big at the casino, lose big with the IRS… A Connecticut man avoided federal income tax on his business income and gambling winnings for tax years 2012 through 2016. The US Department of Justice says he concealed more than $1 million in gambling income from his tax preparer and failed to pay $821,415 in federal income taxes. He’s agreed to cooperate and pay his bill, plus all interest and penalties.
Do you know how much the IRS withholds from your paycheck? According to an American Institute of CPA survey, 45 percent of workers don’t know how much tax they’ve asked their employers to withhold from their paychecks. The IRS offers an online tool to help workers conduct a “paycheck checkup” to make sure the withholding is correct. But few use it.
Brazil heads toward a “fiscal abyss.” The country’s legislature has postponed debate on a bill to extend emergency aid to 30 million of Brazil’s poorest families, but the assistance ends December 31. Public finances are stretched thin and it is not clear how Brazil would fund additional spending. The payments reportedly are helping preserve the popularity of controversial president Jair Bolsonaro who is widely criticized for bungling the nation’s COVID-19 response. More than 181,000 have died from the pandemic.
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