The AICPA and its members continue to be at the forefront of the financial literacy movement with free programs, resources and thousands of CPAs across all 50 states volunteering to help Americans with their financial understanding.
Paying taxes is probably low on the list of things that give Americans a warm-and-fuzzy feeling. But getting hit with a surprise tax bill when filing? That makes 34% of Americans feel concerned, 33% frustrated, 32% disappointed and 28% angry, according to a recent AICPA survey conducted by the Harris Poll.
Assuring the correct amount of taxes are withheld from your paycheck can go a long way toward preventing an unexpected tax bill – and the negative emotions that come along with it.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made changes to withholding in early 2018, and those changes were reflected in 2019 in a redesigned IRS Form W-4. Still, nearly half — 45% of tax-filing Americans — have no idea when they last updated their withholding.
Continue reading "To avoid tax surprises, update your W-4" »
It’s understandable that as most Americans focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of natural disasters may not be top of mind. However, with the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season expected to be more active than usual and tens of millions of Americans in a more financially precarious position over the last couple of months, it’s more important than ever to prepare. Recently published AICPA data found that 6 in 10 Americans (60%) say it is likely a natural disaster will impact them in the next three to five years. And while many Americans have taken at least one step to prepare, there are still more ways to help protect their finances and their families should disaster strike.
Neal Stern, CPA, member of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, spoke with AICPA Insights about emergency preparedness and the AICPA survey results.
Continue reading "AICPA survey highlights gaps in Americans’ disaster prep" »
The federal government is in the process of delivering cash to many U.S. citizens to help stimulate the economy, providing tax credits to individuals of $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers) plus $500 for each qualifying child.
For those struggling to pay bills or who have lost their jobs, these payments can help them stay afloat during these extraordinary times. But it’s also a potential windfall for scammers, who are continually trying to find new ways to steal from unsuspecting individuals.
“Scammers prey on people’s emotions and weaknesses,” said Howard Silverstone, CPA and American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Forensic and Litigation Services Fraud Task Force member. “Right now, people haven’t been going to work every day. They’re home with the kids. They’re stressed. They may have lost their jobs. They need that money. Scammers know this and are preying on it.”
Continue reading "Don’t get scammed out of your stimulus check" »
The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near-zero in an emergency move Sunday meant to make borrowing as cheap as possible as the U.S. economy feels the economic impact of the spread of the coronavirus (which causes COVID-19). The benchmark U.S. interest rate is in a range of 0% to 0.25%. The Fed also announced it will buy at least $500 billion in Treasury securities and $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities in the coming months as part of a quantitative easing program.
The reduction of interest rates, alongside the announcement of a $700 billion purchasing program, has not calmed investors. All U.S. indices opened sharply down Monday and continued to fall throughout the day, all closing down more than 10%. Though the economic impact of COVID-19 is concerning, the health and well-being of Americans and their families is a top priority. As a part of that well-being, there are steps Americans can consider to protect their financial standing.
Continue reading "What near-zero interest rates mean for your wallet" »
As a result of increasing fears about the impact the coronavirus may have on the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve announced an emergency cut to the target range for the federal funds rate of 0.5%. The new target rate is now 1% to 1.25%. This reflects the largest rate decrease in more than a decade and the first emergency cut since 2008.
Most Americans are primarily focused on the health and wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones during this time of uncertainty, and rightfully so. But it’s important not to overlook how the Federal Reserve announcement may impact their financial wellbeing.
Neal Stern, CPA, member of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, spoke with AICPA Insights about what the rate cut means for Americans’ finances.
Continue reading "What the emergency Fed rate cut means for your finances" »