Why tax refunds may come a bit later in 2023
Waiting for a tax refund for your 2022 tax returns? For many, tax returns this year may end up smaller, and beyond that, payments could get delayed as well. Folks looking to get their refunds quickly should sign up for IRS direct deposits, which the Agency states are the fastest way to get your money. The IRS also notes that those without checking accounts still have direct deposit options.
Still, even if you sign up for direct deposits, the funds may come a bit later than hoped. Among other struggles, the Internal Revenue Service has been swamped with backlogged returns in recent years. Social distancing measures struggle to fill open positions, and tax policy developments, among other factors, have constrained the IRS’s ability to deal with its current workload.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS workforce shrunk. In recent months, a tight labor market has made it even harder for the Agency to fill vacant positions and expand its staff. Roles as a clerk or tax examiner start at only about $15 an hour, and many organizations competing for workers have been willing to pay more. In many places, retail and fast food jobs now offer wages competitive with what the IRS can pay.
In May 2022, it was reported that the IRS had sought to hire 5,500 processing staffers but fell 3,400 short. Yet even while shorthanded, the IRS has managed to work through a large chunk of its backlog. Still, the Agency relies on arguably outdated technologies, and the American tax code is already infamously complex. As a result, paperwork may continue to pile up.
Want to ensure your returns get processed ASAP? Make sure to double-check your math and eliminate any potential errors. Yet, with so many updates to the tax code this year, largely because pandemic-related stimulus measures expired, more folks may make mistakes. Unfortunately, even if your tax return is perfect, confusion elsewhere could slow down refunds.
Expert tips for starting seedlings indoors
To ensure a productive harvest, gardeners in northern climates must start certain vegetable seedlings indoors four to eight weeks before the last frost. Here are a few tips for getting a head start on your garden.
• Buy seeds from a reputable seller
• Use a specialized seed-starting mix
• Purchase or reuse containers with proper drainage
• Plant seeds at the depth listed on the seed packet
• Prepare for some losses and plant more seeds than you need
• Water frequently but sparingly to keep the soil moist but not water-logged
• Use heat mats and tray covers to speed up germination
• Place sprouted seedlings in a sunny location or under grow lights
• Promptly transplant seedlings that outgrow their original pots
• Once the seedlings are big enough, gradually introduce them to outdoor temperatures to get them ready for transplanting
Growing plants from seed take time and dedication but are extremely rewarding.
4 steps to help you choose the right camp
Although there are still a few months left in the school year, it’s time to start thinking about where to send your child to camp on summer break. Follow these steps to choose a camp to make your child’s summer enjoyable and memorable.
1. Determine your needs
Would you prefer to enroll your child in a day or summer camp? Does your child need to be dropped only off for a few days, or must they be there for most of the summer? These two questions will help you narrow down the list of potential camps.
2. Talk to your child
Your child knows best what they want. For example, ask your child what activities they’d like to try this summer, like cooking, archery, and science experiments. The activities offered can vary greatly from camp to camp.
3. Narrow down your options
Research and identify camps that meet your needs and will appeal to your kids. Rule out camps that are too far away or don’t fit your budget. Don’t hesitate to contact the organizers for more information.
4. Ask your child to make the final decision
Unless only one camp meets your requirements and matches your child’s interests, make a list of possible choices. Invite your kid to make the final decision.
Don’t wait until the last minute to register your child for a camp. Spots fill up fast!
5 interior design tips to make your windows look bigger
If your home doesn’t have large picture windows, here are a few tips to make your modest windows look larger.
1. Hang the curtain rod strategically. If you want your window to appear taller and broader, install the curtain rod about four inches above the window trim. Moreover, the curtain rod should extend about eight inches off the window frame on each side. This will trick the eye into thinking the window is bigger than it is.
2. Invest in high-quality drapes. Choose a high-quality fabric made of thick, sturdy material to help hide the line between the wall and the window. Patterned fabrics also draw the eye upwards, making the window look taller.
3. Paint the wall around the window a dark color. If the window frame is white, painting your walls white may make it fade into the background. Consider painting the wall surrounding your window a cool, dark color to make it pop.
4. Put up a large mirror. Hang a large mirror on the wall across from the window to let more light into the room. This will give the illusion of a bigger window.
5. Place low furniture around the window. Place small or low-profile furniture pieces near the window when decorating your space so the scale tricks the eye.
Visit several interior design stores in your area to find suitable drapes for your home. You may also consider ordering custom window coverings for an upscale look.
Men’s spring fashion: ready to elevate your wardrobe?
Winter is finally coming to an end! The warmer weather often brings a desire to try something new. Does your wardrobe need an update? Are you wondering what styles and fashion trends are in for spring 2023? Here are some ideas to inspire you.
Made of soft, neutral-colored, lightweight fabrics, casual suits are stylish without being stiff. The wider trouser leg creates a refined yet slightly rebellious look, especially if you swap the belt for a cord. Complete the outfit with a loose, unstructured jacket for a chic, relaxed look.
Shirts, jackets, and jeans made from deliberately distressed — faded, frayed, or ripped — are back in full force this year. Do you want to exude masculine energy but like unconventional fashion? This trend is perfect for you.
This absorbent material isn’t just for towels and robes. During the pandemic, designers discovered terry cloth (ideally recycled) is an ultra-comfortable material. Dare to try it for pants or shirts?
This fun trend consists of wearing stereotypical cowboy clothes and accessories in bold, bright colors with sequins. Get ready to turn heads!
Visit your local menswear store to create flattering spring outfits. Don’t be afraid to ask a stylist for personalized advice.
Spring cleaning: 5 fabric care tips
While spring cleaning your home, don’t forget about textiles. Here are a few tips for cleaning your quilts, bedspreads, curtains, cushions, duvet covers, and more.
1. Before putting any textiles in the washing machine, shake out all the dust and debris or vacuum them. This will make cleaning more effective.
2. Metal accessories such as zippers can damage delicate fabrics. Don’t take any chances! Wash your delicates in a separate load. Also, place particularly fragile fabrics, like lace, in a mesh laundry bag.
3. Use a mild detergent, and don’t use bleach which can discolor your fabrics.
4. Wash your fabrics in cold water on the delicate or normal cycle. Follow the care instructions on the label whenever possible.
5. The drying method you use depends on the fabric type. You can generally use the dryer for heavy-duty textiles. However, hang other materials to air dry before steaming or ironing them.
If you have any items with special cleaning needs, bring them to your local dry cleaner.
March 19-25: National Poison Prevention Week – Steps to take when poisoning is suspected
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has this important information for you.
If you suspect a child or adult has ingested poison, remain calm first.
- Call 911 if the victim has collapsed. If the victim is not breathing, call 911, then give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- If the victim is awake and alert, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. It is open 24/7.
- Be prepared to give the victim’s age and approximate weight.
- Describe the substance. Read from the container if available.
- Never make the victim vomit unless instructed to do so by Poison Control.
- Give your address and phone number. Stay on the phone for instructions from the emergency operator. The specialist may need to call you back.
- Medicines: Turn on a light when you give or take medicines. Read medication directions. Keep medicines in their original bottles. Store them in a safe place where they can’t be reached by children or teenagers.
- Household cleaners and chemicals: Keep chemicals, cleaners, and beauty products in their original containers. Always read the label before using it.
- Never mix cleaning products together. Doing so could produce toxic gases. Wear clothing that covers the skin when you spray pesticides or other chemicals.
- Open the windows and use a fan when using chemicals in the house.
Protecting young children
- Keep drugs and chemicals in childproof cabinets that children can’t reach.
- Don’t take medicine in front of children since they often try to copy adults. When giving children medication, never call it “candy.”
- Caution guests are not to leave drugs where children can find them. Don’t leave your own next dose on the counter.
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