Need Help From the IRS? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Have tax questions or problems? You probably shouldn’t expect much in the way of help from the IRS these days, according to the latest report from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the agency. Some of the major findings: The IRS no longer helps elderly, disabled and low-income taxpayers prepare their annual returns. Ten years ago it prepared 476,000 such returns. Only 61 percent of calls to the IRS from taxpayers wanting to speak to someone were answered, …

Support for Obamacare Inches Upward

The Affordable Care Act has taken it on the chin recently, from its controversial role in the recent government shutdown to the website meltdown that came as the long-awaited health insurance marketplace opened on Oct. 1. Nonetheless, a new Gallup poll shows that public support for the law seems to be inching upward. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter. Obamacare still has its share of critics. The Gallup survey finds that 50 percent of Americans generally disapprove of the …

Don’t Trust the Government? Join the Club

Public trust in the government is near an all-time low – not exactly a shock for a survey taken during a shutdown of the federal government. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter. Only 19 percent of American adults trust the federal government to do what’s right just about always or most of the time, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. More than four-fifths of respondents said they are …

Government Shutdown Scams – the Latest Gotcha

The federal government shutdown has created new opportunities for scammers to revise some tried-and-true schemes — they pose as employees of Uncle Sam at a time when the real ones are on furlough. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter Some examples: 1. Scammers call warning that because of the shutdown, you need to immediately re-enroll in Medicare or risk losing benefits. You may be asked for personal information that needs “verification” or you may be directed to a website …

Does Congress Need Some Divine Intervention?

If YouTube and Facebook had an “Amen” button, Americans fed up with the government shutdown would probably be weighing in about this video of Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, pointing out lawmakers’ hypocrisy, unreasonableness, smugness and selfishness - all in one tidy prayer. There are plenty of furloughed federal workers, vacationers kept from shuttered parks and Social Security beneficiaries worried about having their checks stopped who would love to give lawmakers a piece of their mind about the political impasse over …

Shutdown Doesn’t Mean You Get a Break on Oct. 15 Tax Return Deadline

If you filed for a federal tax extension last April, you’ll still need to send in your return by Oct. 15, despite the government shutdown. And millions of you had better get busy. According to the IRS, as of the last week of September, many of the 12 million taxpayers who sought extensions had yet to file. (Of course, you needed to pay at least 90 percent of your estimated tax back in April to avoid any penalties.) Check out …