American Finances Updates: How to get Free Gas, a $400 Tax Rebate and Romney’s $350 Check for Families

There is still a lot of financial support available in the USA this March, even if the federal stimulus checks have stopped. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away, it now no longer carries the same threat as it did, so many of the programs available now are for more general needs, such as helping citizens against the rise in inflation, the increase in gas prices and so on.

In this March 21 live blogwe outline the various initiatives to help with rising gas prices, such as a possible $400 gas tax rebate or the free gas on offer in Illinois. We also discuss the other main financial news and benefits updates from across the USA.

California lawmakers offer $400 gas rebate

In response to the rising gas pricesthere have been calls from Democrats in California for taxpayers to receive a 400 dollar tax rebate stimulus check, designed to help combat rising inflation and rising costs at the pump. That and other similar initiatives, such as Mitt Romney’s Family Security Act planare discussed in more detail below.

American Finances Updates: How to get Free Gas, a $400 Tax Rebate and Romney's $350 Check for Families

How to get free gas in Illinois

While Americans wait to find out if the $400 Gas Prices Tax Rebate will become reality, there is even some free gas available in Illinois. This is thanks to a generous donation from businessman and philanthropist Willie Wilson.

  • He is giving away one million dollars’ worth of gas up until March 24. The stations where you can get it are as follows:
  • Amstar, 368 E Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL 60615
  • Citgo, 9155 S Stony Island, Chicago, IL 60617
  • Marathon, 1839 E 95th Street, Chicago, IL 60617
  • Citgo, 1345 N Pulaski, Chicago, IL 60651
  • Gulf, 9901 S Halsted St, Chicago IL 60628
  • Mobile, 2800 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago. IT 60623
  • I love co, 7201 N Clark St, Chicago. IT 60626
  • P.O. Box, 4359 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641
  • Marathon, 340 Sacramento Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
  • Falcon, 43 North Homan, Chicago, IL 60624

Boeing stocks expected to fall after crash in China

With a Boeing 737 aircraft having crashed in Chinawith 133 people on board, pre-bell trading suggests that Boeing stocks will significantly fall.

This follows the controversy the company was involved in as a result of the Netflix documentary ‘Downfall: The Case Against Boeing’. The company could take another financial hit, even though it isn’t known yet what the problem was with the plane in China.

IEA on how to avoid a “crippling oil crunch”

According to Forbes, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has called on wealthy nations to take some precautions that would help decrease the “risk of a crippiling oil crunch” amid supply issues do to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Some measures include flying less, driving less, working from home and cutting speed limits on highways.

Used car prices surging

Americans are currently selling their used cars at a higher rate, higher price and faster than before. According to Labor Department data, used-car prices in the United States increased 41% from last year, while new car prices only went up 12%, as reported by Bloomberg.

Lifetime Learning Credit

Tea Lifetime Learning Credit is for qualified tuition and related expenses paid for eligible students enrolled in an eligible educational institution.

The LLC can help pay for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree courses, including courses to acquire or improve job skills.

There is no limit on the number of years you can claim the credit. It is worth up to $2,000 per tax return.

If your Modified Adjusted Gross Income is between $59,000 and $69,000 ($118,000 and $138,000 if you file a joint return).

COLA 2023 Prediction

Tea cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 in the United States was a 40-year high of 5.9 percent due to the higher rate of inflation brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this percentage is set to drop in 2023.

So far, following five months of the measuring period ahead of the January 2023 COLA for retirees, it currently stands at 3.9 percent – a decrease of two percent.

American Finances Updates: How to get Free Gas, a $400 Tax Rebate and Romney's $350 Check for Families

This is, however, a rise of 0.9 percentage points from February in the inflation index used to calculate the adjustment.

Read more about the COLA 2023 prediction.

IRS invites Americans to file their taxes online

Tea IRS is inviting US taxpayers to file their taxes electronically this year, and it will be processed promptly.

The agency says Americans should apply for tax refunds – if they are due one – by direct deposit.

Increase in mortgage rates reaches 2019 levels

Mortgage rates rose above 4%, which hasn’t happened since May 2019, as a result of the Federal Reserve moving to curb inflation.

The move ends the Fed’s pandemic-era easy money policy after the central bank announced it would raise interest rates for the first time since 2018

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.16% in the week ending March 17, compared to 3.85% the previous week.

Social Security payments with COLA 2022

There are millions of Social Security recipients across the USA who have begun to receive increased payments this year thanks to the 5.9 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase.

The most recent payments went out on March 16 to those retired born between the 11th and the 20th of the month. Anyone born from the 1st to the 10th has already had their money come through this March, while those with a birthday between the 20th and the 31st of the month will see their money arrive on March 23.

American Finances Updates: How to get Free Gas, a $400 Tax Rebate and Romney's $350 Check for Families

There are approximately 70 million Americans claiming Social Security payments, with the aforementioned 5.9 percent rise due to the COLA, which is a 1.3 rise compared to last year. Also, the maximum amount of money subject to the Social Security tax has also increased, going from 142,800 dollars in 2021 to 147,000 dollars in 2022. Social Security tax rates are staying the same, which is 6.2 percent for employees and 12.4 percent for self-employed workers.

Read more about the latest batch of Social Security Payments.

Mileage Reimbursement Rates

Tea Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the standard mileage rate for the use of an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes

Taxpayers are advised to apply for the standard mileage rate in the first year that they are using the car for business purposes. Then, they will have the option to choose between this rate and the actual expenses.

American Finances Updates: How to get Free Gas, a $400 Tax Rebate and Romney's $350 Check for Families

The new rates came into effect back on January 1, 2022, and they are related to the use of cars including vans, pick-ups and panel trucks.

Read more about the Mileage Reimbursement Rate in 2022.

IRS Tax Refunds

Many people across the USA will have been keen to get in their tax returns on time, knowing that down the line they are likely to receive a tax refund.

After all, the sooner that it is filed, the sooner you will get a refund. Since tax season got underway on January 24, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have returned at least 78 billion dollars to the US public.

American Finances Updates: How to get Free Gas, a $400 Tax Rebate and Romney's $350 Check for Families

In February 2021, the average tax refund was 2,880 dollars. However, this year it is 3,536 dollars on average. Therefore, the average amount received as a tax refund has increased 23 percent compared to last year.

Read moreabout IRS Tax Refunds.

Child Tax Credit

The expanded Child Tax Credit payments has now come to an end in the United States, having been made available during the second half of 2021.

Families were able to receive $3,600 for each child aged under the age of sixand $3,000 for each child aged between six and 17. There was then the option to either receive half of this money on a monthly basis, or it could be received as a full lump sum once the individual had filed their 2021 taxes.

American Finances Updates: How to get Free Gas, a $400 Tax Rebate and Romney's $350 Check for Families

However, this expanded program has not continued into 2022 after an agreement could not be struck across all Democrats to support Joe Biden’s Build Back Better initiative. In particular, Sen. Joe Manchin was the opposing vote that caused the plans for the expanded Child Tax Credit program to fall through.

Read more about the plans with Child Tax Credit.

Checks of up to $350 with the Family Security Act 2022

There has been a proposal from Mitt Romneythe senator from Utah for a new stimulus check to be made available for American families.

Through his Family Security Act proposal, eligible families with children up to five years of age would get $350 per month, while families with children between the ages of six and 17 would get $250 per month.

“Now is the time to renew our commitment to families to help them meet the challenges they face as they take on most important work any of us will ever do-raising our society’s children,” Romney said. It remains to be seen, though, if this measure will pass.

Read more about the Family Security Act 2022.

Interest rates

Given the way in which prices are rapidly rising in the USA, the U.S. Federal Reserve have taken the decision to raise interest rates for the first time since 2018 in a bid to bring things back under control.

The benchmark rate will be lifted by 0.25 percent by the US central bank, and they have warned that further rate rises could follow in the months ahead. This comes against the rise in inflation in the USA, which hit a 40-year high of 7.9 percent in February.


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