Tax Refunds Unaffected by “Shut Down”

This just in via email from IRS Newswire <irs@service.govdelivery.com>:

Issue Number: IR-2019-01

IRS confirms tax filing season to begin January 28

WASHINGTON ― Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.

“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324), and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations. Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.

“IRS employees have been hard at work over the past year to implement the biggest tax law changes the nation has seen in more than 30 years,” said Rettig.

As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.

The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.


Friday’s performance marked large rally

This just in via email from Oak Partners, Inc.   You can visit their web site at http://www.oakpartners.com/

For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1.86%, the Dow added 1.61%, and the NASDAQ increased 2.34%.[2] MSCI EAFE stocks also increased, posting a 1.42% weekly gain.[3]
While the results may not seem especially dramatic, the path to get there certainly was. On Thursday, January 3, domestic stocks plunged, as factory data and a tech warning spooked investors.[4] Then, the next day, the S&P 500, Dow, and NASDAQ each gained at least 3.3%.[5] Friday’s performance marked one of the largest rallies since the beginning of this bull market.[6]

What drove the market rally?

Two key events contributed to the huge jumps on Friday: 1) the latest labor report and 2) comments from the Federal Reserve Chairman.[7]

1. December’s labor report exceeded projections.

Many people expected that the economy would add around 176,000 jobs last month. Instead, the latest data revealed that the increase was actually 312,000 new jobs in December – drastically beating expectations.[8] Not only did last month’s labor report show more jobs added than anticipated, but wage growth and labor market participation also increased.[9]

Why does this data matter?

Investors have been very concerned that economic growth is slowing. This data helped quell worries that a recession is ahead.[10]

2. The Fed shared new policy perspectives.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the American Economic Association that the Federal Reserve understands the market’s worries and hasn’t predetermined its future interest rate hikes.[11]

Why does this update matter?

Some of the uneasiness the markets have shown recently are a result of concerns that the Fed is tightening monetary policy too quickly. Powell’s comments indicate the Fed is sensitive to economic conditions, an update that many investors wanted to hear.[12]


[1] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-04/all-the-days-are-big-days-for-stocks-as-bulls-bears-trade-blows?srnd=premium

[2] http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX®ion=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=%21DJI®ion=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO

[3] www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

[4] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[5] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[6] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[7] www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[8] www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[9] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[10] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[11] www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-st-rebounds-on-robust-jobs-report-dovish-powell-remarks-idUSKCN1OY154

[12] www.cnbc.com/2019/01/04/stock-market-investors-react-to-us-china-trade-talks.html

[13] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-03/asia-stocks-to-track-u-s-losses-on-growth-worries-markets-wrap?srnd=markets-vp

[14] www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks/wall-st-rebounds-on-robust-jobs-report-dovish-powell-remarks-idUSKCN1OY154


SS & SSI COLA Biggest in Seven Years

This just in from ACT@fifthfreedom.org:

Obligatory photo of shop kittie inspecting transformers while I try to get work done.

An informational alert prepared by Fifth Freedom

Information courtesy of the Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration has announced a 2.8% increase in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2019. This increase will benefit more than 67 million Americans. This cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is the largest in seven years.

The amount of the COLA is determined by inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The CPI-W is essentially a list of changes in the price of goods and services purchased by clerical workers, sales workers, craft workers, operative, service workers, or laborers. The CPI-W does not count purchases made by retirees or people not in the labor force.

Doug Schmidt
Executive Director
The Fifth Freedom Network
4606-C E. State Blvd., Suite 102
Fort Wayne, IN 46815
Doug@fifthfreedom.org
http://fifthfreedom.org
http://indianapop.org
http://jobdoozy.org

More Information

For more information, visit the Social Security Administration’s COLA page at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/cola/. For questions, please visit your local Social Security office. You can find addresses and contact information at http://IndianaPop.org.