American Finances Updates: How to get Tax Refunds quicker, a $400 Gas Prices Check and a $350 Families Check

Even though the United States government is no longer sending out federal stimulus checks, there are still a number of benefits programs that will see Americans receive checks over the coming weeks and months. From a potential $400 Gas Prices Tax Rebate Check to a proposed $350 Families Check, there is good financial news out there.

In response to the rising gas prices, there are also other initiatives such as free gas or the suspension of state taxes on fuel.

Meanwhile, the IRS’ tax deadline is coming up and that means tax refunds are just around the corner. There are various tips to ensure your tax refund arrives quickly and isn’t delayed, with those tips outlined below in this live blog, along with all the other latest financial news.

The impact of an IRS tax extension on your refunds

This year’s tax deadline is April 18, but you can get an extension, done by submitting Form 4868 to the IRS either by paper or electronically. However, if you apply for a tax extension then this will push back the date when you are paid any tax refunds due.

Even with an extension, you also need to pay some amount of your taxes now. “An extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes,” the IRS explains. “You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by your regular deadline to help avoid possible penalties.”

You can read more here on the impact of an IRS tax extension on your refunds.

State taxes on gas are scrapped

Two states have taken important steps to help their residents deal with rising gas prices, as Georgia and Maryland have scrapped their taxes on fuel via temporary bills.

In Georgia, their gas tax of 29 cents per gallon has suspended and, in Maryland, their gas tax of 36 cents per gallon has suspended too. That is a much-needed boost for drivers at this time of rising gas prices.

Free gas available in Illinois

The generosity of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Willie Wilson is helping drivers in the Chicago area, as he has donated one million dollars’ worth of gas. Each vehicle can collect up to $50 at participating gas stations this week, with the initiative taking place on March 24.

You can read more here on the free gas in the Chicago area and on where to fill up.

Plans for a $400 Gas Prices Check

As a result of the rising gas prices, local politicians are looking for solutions and Democrats in California are discussing a possible 400 dollar tax rebate stimulus check, which will go to all Californians who pay state income taxes. With this, the idea is that it will offset the extra costs at the pump.

There is still some way to go for this to become a reality, however. “Our goal is to be able to do this in the spring, and all the folks here are going to be pushing really, really hard to make that happen,” California politician Cottie Petrie-Norris explained.

You can read more here on how the $400 Gas Prices Check would work.

Mitt Romney’s $350 Checks via the Family Security Act

Mitt Romney, the senator from Utah, has a proposal for a new stimulus check to be made available for American families, in order “to renew our commitment to families to help them meet the challenges they face as they take on most important work any of us will ever do-raising our society’s children”.

This hasn’t been passed yet, but this check, if it comes to fruition, will see eligible families with children up to five years of age get $350 per month, while families with children between the ages of six and 17 will collect $250 per month.

You can read more here on how the Family Security Act 2022 would work.

COLA 2023 adjustment already stands at 3.9%

The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 in the United States was a 40-year high of 5.9 percent due to the higher rate of inflation brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this percentage is set to drop in 2023 and the rate for the next year currently stands at 3.9 percent.

What does this mean? Well, it impacts various social security payments, since these increase in line with COLA. Such payments would still go up in 2023, but not by as much.

You can read more here on predictions for the COLA 2023 adjustment.

College Tax Credit 2022: What is the income limit for American Opportunity Tax Credit?

Another important tax break for families with a child or dependent who is currently studying in collage is the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).

It isn’t available for all, as it is designed to help those families who need the support, but it can see those who qualify claim a maximum credit of 2,500 dollars per year per eligible student. If the AOTC reduces the amount of tax owed to zero, eligible students can have 40 percent of any remaining amount of the credit refunded, but up to 1,000 dollars.

It is also explained in the IRS documentation that the amount of the credit is 100 percent of the first 2,000 dollars of qualified education expenses paid for each eligible student and 25 percent of the next 2,000 dollars of qualified education expenses paid for that student.

You can read more here on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the eligibility criteria and the income limits.

Claiming missed Child Tax Credit payments before the tax deadline

Child Tax Credit for 2021 was worth up to 3,600 dollars per child aged five and younger or 3,000 dollars per child aged between six and 17. Not everyone has claimed the amount that they’re owed, though.

There is still time to fix this before the tax deadline of April 18, 2022. You simply need to fill out Schedule 8812 (Form 1040).

You can read more here on how to claim missed Child Tax Credit payments before the tax deadline.






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