Get your calculators ready: tax season is here.
Backlogs. The IRS is still working through millions of returns from 2020. And this is all brought on by worker shortages, underfunding, and new pandemic-related programs (like child tax credit payments). The Biden admin has called it “unacceptable.” Now, today marks the first day you can officially start filing your 2021 tax returns. And you may want to hop to it: rumor has it the early bird gets the early refund. For those who like to live life on the edge, you’ve got until at least April 18 to get it done.
Parents who’ve received any child tax credit should be prepared to spend a little more time filling out their tax forms — so save the mail the IRS sends you. The same applies to those who’ve received their March stimulus check. For any entrepreneurs out there, we’ve got you covered. But be aware that mistakes can slow your return. So can a bigger refund (rude). But filing electronically and setting up direct deposits could speed up the process. Questions? The IRS has free resources available for help. But maybe stay away from calling — considering the IRS reportedly only answered 11% of 282 million phone calls last year.
Taxes are just another example of how the pandemic has upended everyday life. And the government is still trying to play catch up.
Russia. Over the weekend, the UK accused the Kremlin of planning to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine. Things between Ukraine and Russia have been tense lately. More than 100,000 Russian troops have been gathering along Ukraine’s borders — and the threat of invasion continues to grow. Ukrainian officials reportedly say the Kremlin’s been working to promote discord. Now, this is the second time in a week that a Western nation has accused Russia of crossing a line. The US also says the Kremlin was trying to sabotage its neighboring country by sending in operatives. And has moved to reduce staff levels at the US Embassy in Kyiv — telling nonessential staff and family members to head home. World leaders have been warning Russian President Vladimir Putin of “severe economic consequences” if he steps out of bounds.
The CDC. Last week, officials published data that shows Pfizer and Moderna boosters are 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations from Omicron. The variant has played a role in a major COVID-19 surge around the world — with the US seeing record levels of hospitalizations and about 2,000 deaths per day. Good news: the US is on track to pass the peak as soon as next month. And in some states, that's already happened. In the meantime, experts are saying 'vaccines help' — even if breakthrough infections are more common.
Lauren Smith-Fields. Her family is planning to sue Bridgeport, CT police. Last month, the 23-year-old Black woman died in her apartment after a date with a white man she met on Bumble. The cause of death has not been determined. But her family is planning to sue police, accusing them of being “racially insensitive” in handling her case. They apparently say police didn’t do a thorough search of the apartment. And that two weeks later, they did another search, finding a condom and pill in her apartment. Police say the investigation remains “open and active.” It comes as the FBI also has an update on the case of…
Gabby Petito. On Friday, the FBI said that ex-fiancé Brian Laundrie admitted killing the 22-year-old white woman in a notebook uncovered near his remains. Petito’s family thanked the FBI for its support. The Laundrie family’s lawyer said they hope the families can “begin to heal and move forward.”
Skimm More: Gabby Petito's case opened up the conversation around missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls around the country. Here's what you need to know.
Thierry Mugler. Yesterday, the iconic French fashion designer died at age 73. Mugler's creations helped redefine the female silhouette in the late '80s. And his pieces made headlines with celebrities from Cardi B to Kim Kardashian to Beyoncé. Tributes poured in for the ballet dancer turned fashion designer, including from Brian Atwood who remembered Mugler as a "visionary.
Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Kate Gilhool, Julie Shain, and Mariza Smajlaj
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