Social Security Takes Center Stage in Alaska Senate Campaign

Social Security has become a hot issue in the Alaska Senate race, one of the battleground contests that will determine which political party controls the Senate. “Both of Alaska’s candidates for U.S. Senate know that the country’s Social Security system needs reform … but differ sharply on how they’d solve the problem,” Alaska Dispatch, on online news site, said in a Sept. 22 story. >> Sign up for the AARP Advocacy Newsletter Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has introduced legislation that would …

It’s Tax Day! Don’t Forget to File

If you’re rushing to get your taxes done before today’s midnight deadline, take some comfort that you’re not alone. The Internal Revenue Service expects to receive about 35 million returns in the last week or so before the filing deadline. At this point, the time for most moves to lessen your tax bite is long over, although even on this deadline day you may have one more opportunity. It’s still possible to make a 2013 contribution to a deductible individual retirement …

Social Security Halts Tax-Refund Grab to Recover Old Debts

Update: The Social Security Administration says it will immediately stop collecting old debts by grabbing taxpayers’ refunds. In a statement, Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of the agency, says: “I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department. “If any Social Security …

Same-Sex Couples Still Waiting for Equal Financial Treatment

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law that prevented same-sex spouses from enjoying federal benefits was unconstitutional nearly a year ago, yet the financial repercussions for these couples are still being worked through. Federal agencies have been updating their regulations to comply, and some have moved faster than others. And even among agencies that have acted, how they handle same-sex marriage differs. The IRS, for instance, says same-sex spouses now must file federal returns as joint filers or as married …

Spring Cleanout? Beware of Seasonal Scams

After a polar-vortexing bear of a winter, spring has sprung (finally!) – at least according to the calendar. So now’s the time to prepare for scammers who spring into action, trying these perennial ploys: Home Repair Scams They may promise deals on asphalt paving, roof work or other “needed repairs” they happen to spot from their pickups or by going door to door. But beware of any “con”-tractors who then request upfront payment under the guise of having to buy materials; …

IRS: Someone Will Be With You … Sometime Today

Hello, IRS? Is anyone there? That’s what you might be asking if you call the IRS with questions about your 2013 tax return. The agency says today starts one of the busiest weeks of the tax filing season for the IRS phone lines. So make yourself comfortable and settle in. You’re likely to be on hold longer than the 17.6 minutes customers waited last year to speak with someone. You think that’s bad? Some 20 million people, or 39 percent …