Weekly Digest – November 24 2021
In honor of the US Thanksgiving holiday this week, we are keeping this short. We’ll be back with a longer edition next week.
The Friday after Thanksgiving – Black Friday – is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. But millions of people are joining Buy Nothing groups that connect people who need things with people who want to give those things away. Items in these groups include food, furniture, children’s toys, phone chargers, and household décor. One of the largest of these groups, the Buy Nothing Project, has been around since 2013 and hit 4.27 million members in August with the intention of reducing household waste. People in these groups post items they want to give away or lend to others as well as items they want. Selling, trading, and bartering are not allowed. While searching in these groups is time-consuming, and the timing may not always work out, these groups can be a great way to circumvent inflation and supply chain issues.
THE AMERICAN RECOVERY PLAN ACT (ARPA)
Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments
The expansion of the child tax credit, including the monthly advance payments, is set to expire at the end of 2021. However, President Biden and Congressional Democrats are pushing to extend this for another year as one of the components of the Build Back Better Act currently being debated. The 2022 extension has some changes from the 2021 version. For example, when the 2022 tax return is filed in 2023, a family may be able to calculate the amount they receive to be based on either their 2021 or 2022 income. In addition, if their 2022 income is within the phase-out limits, the amount of advance payments they receive which they would not have to repay will increase. However, none of these changes are guaranteed until or unless these provisions are signed into law.
As a reminder, if you want to opt out of the December payment, you must opt out by November 29. Check out the IRS FAQs where you’ll find everything you need to know about opting out in Section J.
According to a November 19, 2021 update from the IRS on its operations, the agency is now opening mail withing normal timeframes. Any tax returns received by April 2021 that had no errors have been processed. However, the IRS still has 5.9 million unprocessed individual returns. The IRS may require 90 to 120 days to issue refunds for tax returns that require review or that contain errors. If you’re still waiting for your refund, you can check the IRS Where’s My Refund tool. Amended returns may take more than 20 weeks to process instead of the usual 16 weeks.
THE GREAT REASSESSMENT
If you’re one of the millions of people who recently switched jobs or is considering switching jobs, make sure you don’t leave retirement savings behind in a company pension plan. You have several options to make sure you don’t lose those funds. You may be able to keep the funds there. You can also roll those funds into a new plan with your new employer, or you can roll those funds over to an individual retirement account (IRA). Rollovers must be performed through the plan administrators or you may be hit with penalties and additional taxes.
REMOTE WORK OPTIONS
In 2015, Lazlo Bock wrote the book Work Rules!, which laid out a set of best practices for creating workplace culture. He has now updated those for the remote work world. In brief, his five rules for the remote world are as follows. 1. Make work purpose driven. 2. Trust your people more than feels comfortable. 3. Learn in the small moments. Send people – and yourself – small nudges. 4. Provide clarity. Be more decisive than feels comfortable. 5. Include everyone. Take a long hard look in the mirror.
According to a new survey of American workers, 83% say a shorter workweek would help with the burnout that more than half of them are feeling. Several companies in the US are joining others around the world in a six-month pilot program to test a four-day-workweek. A key to success is to empower employees to develop their own solutions to getting the same amount of work done in fewer days.
- IRS resources for stimulus payments:
- IRS information about the Advance Child Tax Credit Payments
- The best source for up-to-date and accurate health information is the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Entrepreneur put together a listing of free tech resources for remote work
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has warnings about COVID-related scams
- Fast Company has a listing of the best productivity apps for 2020
- PC Magazine explains how to carry your vaccination card on your phone
- How to create a strong password
We sincerely hope that you and your family are well and remain well. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are all in this together!