February 9, 2023

Paving the Payments Future
Proven payment technology helps businesses pay and
get paid so they can focus on what matters most.

Who has to file a tax return: It's not necessary for everyone. Here are the rules.

Not everyone is required to file taxes, but most Americans are and likely will file taxes.

Of the 176.2 million individuals and married couples who could file a tax return in 2020, about 144.5 million of them filed a tax return, according to nonpartisan Washington think tank Tax Policy Center. Whether you need to file your taxes depends mostly on your income, filing status, and age. In special situations, you may have to file a tax return regardless of your income, though. For example, if you have net earnings of at least $400 from self-employment, you’re required to file taxes.

Having said that, even if you’re not required to file a tax return, you may want to file to claim tax credits and overpayments that could result in money being returned to you.

Read more at USA TODAY

IRS Direct Deposit

This tax season, consider choosing #IRS Direct Deposit for your refund. It avoids the possibility that your check gets lost, stolen or returned to the #IRS as undeliverable.

Tax season is underway. Remember that e-filing and having your #IRS refund directly deposited into your bank account is the fastest way to get your money.

Jose L. Santiago

Public Affairs Specialist

Tax Outreach, Partnership and Education

Alternative Home Financing Can Be a Path to Home Ownership: PEW

Minnesota homebuyer navigates risks of a land contract

About 7 million U.S. homebuyers currently use alternative home financing—in which buyers make payments directly to sellers using instruments such as land contracts, seller-financed mortgages, lease-purchase agreements, and personal property loans. Although these arrangements may work for some homebuyers, they’re typically riskier and costlier than mortgages. In some instances, sellers do not give buyers the deed or title to the home until the final payment is made. This means that buyers can be treated like renters instead of homeowners and may have difficulty demonstrating legal ownership of the property. Additionally, these arrangements can muddy important issues such as whether the buyer or seller is responsible for home maintenance and repairs.

This 2nd in a series of interviews with alternative financing borrowers is with Joseph, who lives in a duplex in Minneapolis and financed his home purchase with a land contract (also known as a contract for deed). He has asked that his last name not be used.

Read more at The PEW Charitable Trusts

Can You Pay Your Car Payment with a Credit Card? (And is It Worth It?)

You can pay your car payment with a credit card if your lender allows you to or if you use certain third-party payment platforms. But many lenders don’t provide this option. And using a credit card to make a car payment might not make sense because of fees and potentially higher interest charges.

Let’s explore some of the different ways you might be able to pay your car payment with a credit card and see whether it could make sense for you.

Can you pay your car payment with a credit card?

Using credit cards for as many expenses as possible can be an excellent way to earn rewards on purchases you’re already planning to make. As long as you pay your balance off before the due date each billing cycle, it’s an easy way to collect points, miles, or cash back that you can redeem for travel, statement credits, and more.

Read more at YAHOO FINANCE

Black Families Fall Further Behind on Homeownership: PEW

Some cities and states are trying to boost Black homeownership, which dropped to a 60-year low even before the economic turmoil wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Black homeownership fell in 2019 to 40.6%, down from the 2004 peak of 49.7%. The rate has rebounded somewhat since then, but advocates remain dismayed at how, decades after the 1968 Fair Housing Act, Black families still struggle to become homeowners at the same rate as White peers.

“To see the Black homeownership rate lower than the generation before is shocking, considering what earlier generations faced,” said Janneke Ratcliffe, vice president of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.

Read more at The Pew Charitable Trusts

Dreher Tomkies LLP

IRS Tells Millions of Taxpayers to Wait to File Returns

What happened

The IRS is advising millions of taxpayers to hold off on filing their tax returns until the agency can issue guidance on whether state rebate checks issued in 2022 will count as taxable income. Last year, 19 states approved stimulus or rebate payments, and the IRS still hasn't figured out what tax treatment will apply to those funds.

So what

If you have already filed your 2022 returns, the IRS does not recommend changing your submission.

"The IRS is aware of questions involving special tax refunds or payments made by states in 2022; we are working with state tax officials as quickly as possible to provide additional information and clarity for taxpayers,” the IRS said in a statement. “There are a variety of state programs that distributed these payments in 2022 and the rules surrounding them are complex. We expect to provide additional clarity for as many states and taxpayers as possible next week.”

Read more at MOTLEY FOOL


Do you provide a product or service vital to the industry?

Become an 'AFSPA Endorsed Vendor'

As the digitalization of work expands, place-based solutions can bridge the gaps

One of the most striking developments of the last decade has been the rapid “digitalization” of work—and with it, an urgent demand for skill-building.

Digitalization is the infusion of digital skills (though not necessarily higher-end software coding) into the texture of almost every job in the economy. And it has inordinate power to both empower workers or divide them. That’s because gaps in access to digital skills engender disparate access to the nation’s best-paying, most desirable jobs and industries. Such gaps can spawn troublesome divides among not just people, but also places. Indeed, what is particularly concerning is the extent to which these divides have been playing out across the nation’s uneven geography of cities, towns, and rural communities. In fact, digitalization divides across and within places now stand as one of the nation’s starkest limits on opportunity.

Read more at The Brookings Institution

The Most Undervalued Housing Markets in the U.S.

Monthly costs start as low as 17% of local per-capita incomes.

During the earliest months of 2020, prior to pandemic-related lockdowns in the U.S., the housing market was continuing to gain strength on the back of a solid but slow-growing economy with low unemployment. In January of that year, thanks to a 30-year mortgage rate ranging from 3.6% to 3.7%, the median-priced home was more affordable than renting, fueling demand from renters eager to buy their first home.

With typical tenants paying 33% of their monthly per-capita income on rents and the average homeowner paying just 22% of their monthly per-capita income on mortgage payments, making the switch from renter to homeowner often made great financial sense.

However, by the end of 2022 as both mortgage rates and home prices continued to rise sharply, that payment ratio difference between owning and renting had flipped. While the share of monthly per-capita incomes paid by tenants to landlords rose just a few percentage points to 36%, for homeowners it jumped to 37%. 

Read more at USNEWS

'The tools to rebuild my life' | Goodwill, First Financial Bank partnership helping employees with financial literacy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the past two years, a partnership between Goodwill and First Financial Bank has been helping employees become more financially independent. 

The Financial Wellness Program is run out of the Goodwill Resource Center, located at 909 East Broadway next to the retail store. The goal is to connect employees with representatives from the bank to help make the process of opening a bank account and achieving financial goals more accessible. 

"Our goal is really to provide financial wellness to employees of organizations, such as Goodwill, to make sure they have access to banking and to our financial system," said Sabira Becirovic, with First Financial Bank. 

Read more at WDRB

Alternative Financial Service Providers Association
315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092