Trump appointees get tax bill
And more of the week's best financial insight
Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:
An insurer's AI blunder The makers of the insurance app Lemonade had to walk back claims it made on Twitter about its use of artificial intelligence to analyze claims, said Sara Morrison at Vox. The $6 billion online insurance company "prides itself on largely replacing human brokers and actuaries with bots and AI," by collecting massive amounts of data on its users. But in a series of tweets last week, Lemonade said it uses machine learning to "carefully analyze" videos that claimants send in for "signs of fraud," including through "nonverbal clues." Users were not pleased to hear that Lemonade "gathers more than 1,600 'data points'" about them. The thread "prompted people to ask if their claims would be denied because of the color of their skin," and how a bot could "decide they looked like they were lying." Lemonade later deleted the tweets and apologized.
'Plus-up' stimulus payments More than 7 million Americans are getting a "supplemental" check in addition to their third stimulus payment, said Rocky Mengle at Kiplinger. The Internal Revenue Service is issuing so-called plus-up payments to people who received less in their third stimulus check based on their 2019 returns than they "would have gotten if the IRS had based it on their 2020 returns." Plus-up payments are being sent to people who reported less income in 2020 than in 2019, as well as others who have had life changes — such as a new baby — that would increase their payments. One warning for those who got an extension on their taxes: Your 2020 return must be filed and processed by the IRS before Aug. 16, 2021, if you want to get a plus-up payment — so don't wait until the October late-filing deadline.
Trump appointees get tax bill Some of former President Donald Trump's political appointees have been "ordered to repay months of payroll taxes," said Brian Faler and Daniel Lippman at Politico, levies that Trump "had assured them would later be forgiven." Last fall, Trump issued an executive order "allowing employers to put off paying their workers' share of the 12.4 percent Social Security tax." Most private-sector employers rejected the initiative, but it was mandatory for federal employees making less than $4,000 per biweekly paycheck. Ultimately, those taxes were not forgiven. Most federal workers have a year to repay, but those who have left the government — including political appointees — are stuck with bills that have to be paid now.
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