Since the pandemic began, disruptions in business activity have varied greatly from region to region, and often from one week to the next, according to the severity of local COVID-19 outbreaks. Unfortunately, many of the official government statistics used to gauge the health of the U.S. economy are backward looking and somewhat delayed.
Have you received what’s known as “Form CRS” from your broker-dealer and/or registered investment advisor? If not, then sometime in July 2020, you likely will. A new requirement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the form is designed to help you clearly understand the nature and cost of services you receive from your financial professional. You do not need to take any action with the form; it is distributed purely for informational purposes.
Despite the financial challenges experienced by Americans as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. credit-card debt dropped to record levels in 2020, decreasing by almost $83 billion.1 This unprecedented drop was likely the result of individuals receiving financial assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and having access to more cash. Economic aid in the form of stimulus payments, suspended student loan payments, and broad state-sponsored unemployment benefits, allowed Americans to pay down their balances.
Due to the unusual conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic, the due date for individuals to file 2020 federal income tax returns and make tax payments has been postponed by the IRS from Thursday, April 15, 2021, to Monday, May 17, 2021. No interest, penalties, or additions to tax will be incurred by taxpayers during this approximately one-month relief period for any return or payment postponed under this relief provision.
This past year, scam artists have taken advantage of people’s concerns over the coronavirus pandemic to defraud them of money. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers reported losing more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019.
On Thursday, March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA 2021) was signed into law. This is a $1.9 trillion emergency relief package that includes payments to individuals and funding for federal programs, vaccines and testing, state and local governments, and schools. It is intended to assist individuals and businesses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and accompanying economic crisis. Major relief provisions are summarized here, including some tax provisions.
Stocks rallied by the end of the day last Monday, paring losses from a morning plunge. Strength in bank stocks and financials helped stem the tide as the other major market sectors generally sank. Investors were hit with news that a new strain of the COVID virus was moving rapidly through the United Kingdom, prompting a major sell-off in European stocks. Crude oil prices and Treasury yields fell, while the dollar advanced.
There are several things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Tech stocks and consumer shares opened last week on an upswing. Unfortunately, the rest of the market lagged. Investors faced the prospect of more stringent restrictions as COVID-19 cases continued to surge. The Nasdaq (0.5%) and the Russell 2000 (0.1%) posted gains, while the Dow (-0.6%), the S&P 500 (-0.4%), and the Global Dow (-0.2%) fell. Crude oil prices rose, although the energy sector dropped more than 3.5%. The dollar and 10-year Treasury yields declined. On the positive side, vaccines were rolled out in parts of the United States last Monday.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are an alternative to Original Medicare, offered by private companies that contract with Medicare to provide Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance benefits, and often include prescription drug coverage and extra benefits. Competitive bidding and changes in Medicare payments to these plans have led to improved benefits and a large increase in the percentage of beneficiaries who choose the private option.