Author Archives: Stephen Ohlemacher

Things to Know about Social Security at 80: Overhaul Time?

Social Security turns 80 on Friday, and the massive retirement and disability program is showing its age.

Social Security’s disability fund is projected to run dry next year. The retirement fund has enough money to pay full benefits until 2035. But once the fund is depleted, the shortfalls are projected to be enormous. Read More

Republicans Critical of Obama’s ‘Amnesty Bonuses’

Millions of immigrants benefiting from President Barack Obama’s executive actions could get a windfall from the IRS, a reversal of fortune after years of paying taxes to help fund government programs they were banned from receiving.

Armed with new Social Security numbers, many of these immigrants who were living in the U.S. illegally will now be able to claim up to four years’ worth of tax credits designed to benefit the working poor.
For big families, that’s a maximum of nearly $24,000, as long as they can document their earnings during those years. Read More

Social Security Closes Offices as Demand Soars

The Social Security Administration has been closing a record number of field offices because of budget constraints even as the demand for services soars, according to a congressional report being released on Wednesday. As a result, seniors seeking information and help from the agency are facing increasingly long waits, in person and on the phone, the report said. Read More

Shutdown causes IRS to delay tax filing season

Here’s more fallout from the government’s partial shutdown: Early tax filers will have to wait an extra week or two to get tax refunds next year. The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday, October 22, it will delay the start of next year’s filing season by up to two weeks to give programmers time to finish updating the agency’s computers. Read More

Social Security disability on verge of insolvency

Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security’s disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency. Read More

IRS eases liability rule for spouse’s tax debt

The Internal Revenue Service is making it easier for some “innocent spouses” to escape responsibility for the tax debt of their husband or wife. Read More

Inflation change could cut Social Security

Once considered untouchable, Social Security is now in play in the debt-ceiling
negotiations. And that could mean higher income taxes for many U.S. families in addition to shaved benefits for tens of millions of retirees as they age. Read More

New tax law packed with obscure business tax cuts

The massive new tax bill signed into law by President Barack Obama is filled with all kinds of holiday stocking stuffers for businesses: tax breaks for producing TV shows, grants for putting up windmills, rum subsidies for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

There is even a tax break for people who buy race horses.

Millions of homeowners, however, might feel like they got a lump of coal. Homeowners who don’t itemize their deductions will lose a tax break for paying local property taxes.

The business tax breaks are part of sweeping legislation that extends… Read More

Social Security needs small ‘tweaks’

Social Security faces a $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years, but a new congressional report says the massive gap could be erased with only modest changes to payroll taxes and benefits.

Some of the options are politically dangerous, such as increasing payroll taxes or reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients. Others, such as gradually raising the age when retirees qualify for full benefits, wouldn’t be felt for years but would affect millions . . . read more Read More

Nearly half of US households escape fed income tax

Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it’s simply somebody else’s problem.

About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization. . . . read more Read More

IRS: Online tax filers can get refunds in 10 days

Want a quick tax refund? File your federal return online and have the refund deposited directly into your bank account.

The Internal Revenue Service launched its online filing system Friday with a promise that people who do their taxes electronically will get refunds in as few as 10 days.

For those who file paper returns, refunds are expected to take four weeks to six weeks, said David R. Williams, the agency’s director of electronic tax administration . . . read more Read More