WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service says late changes to federal tax laws should mean only a short delay for most taxpayers to file their 2012 returns.
The agency said Tuesday that more than 120 million taxpayers -- about 80 percent of all filers -- should be able to start filing their federal returns on Jan. 30. Others will have to wait until late February or March to file because the agency needs time to update and test its systems.
Those who will have to wait include people claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits. The filing season had been slated to start Jan. 22 but was delayed because of the big tax package passed by Congress Jan. 1.
Hints at full Afghan pullout: The Obama administration says it might leave no troops in Afghanistan after December 2014, an option that defies the Pentagon's view that thousands of troops may be needed to contain al-Qaida and to strengthen Afghan forces. "We wouldn't rule out any option," including zero troops, Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, said Tuesday. "The U.S. does not have an inherent objective of 'X' number of troops in Afghanistan," Rhodes said. "We have an objective of making sure there is no safe haven for al-Qaida in Afghanistan and making sure that the Afghan government has a security force that is sufficient to ensure the stability of the Afghan government."
Pays $5.28M to former prisoners: A defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to torture detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison has paid $5.28 million to former prisoners held there and at other U.S.-run detention sites in Iraq. The settlement marks the first successful effort by lawyers for former inmates at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers to collect money from a U.S. defense contractor in lawsuits alleging torture. Another contractor, CACI International of Arlington, Va., is expected to go to trial over similar allegations this summer.
AIG weighs suing U.S. over bailout: AIG is considering today whether the company should join a lawsuit against the government that spent $182 billion to save it from collapse. American International Group Inc. said its board of directors will weigh whether to take part in a shareholder lawsuit against the U.S. over the government's $182 billion bailout of the New York-based insurer. If AIG decides to join the complaint, which seeks $25 billion in damages, it would pit the company against the government that in 2008 kept it from buckling under the weight huge losses on mortgage-backed securities and other toxic assets.
U.S. consumer debt rises: U.S. consumers borrowed more in November to buy cars and attend school, but stayed cautious with their credit cards. The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that consumers increased their borrowing in November by $16 billion from October to a seasonally adjusted record of $2.77 trillion. Borrowing that covers autos and student loans increased $15.2 billion. A category that measures credit card debt rose just $817 million.
Numerous domestic workers: The UN's labor agency says at least 52.6 million people worldwide are domestic workers, most of them women caring for others' families and households without adequate legal protections. In its first such report on the size of the domestic workforce, the UN Labor Organization calls the estimate, based on 2010 data, a minimum figure that is likely to be tens of millions of people higher due to underreporting by countries. The agency's report today says the figures exclude domestic workers below the age of 15 who are considered children, and were last estimated to number 7.4 million in 2008. It says 83 percent of domestic workers are women -- often vulnerable to abuse -- and 90 percent lack the general labor protections enjoyed by other workers.
Jeep Grand Cherokee cleared: A U.S. safety agency has cleared the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee after an investigation into possible engine fires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating 107,000 of the SUVs in July after getting complaints about power steering hoses coming loose and leaking fluid onto the engines. But the agency closed the probe last month and said the problem didn't pose a serious safety risk. During the investigation, the agency found 24 cases in which hoses had blown off their fittings. The problem was traced to a defect inside the hose that was fixed at the factory shortly after the SUVs went into production. The agency says none of the leaks caused crashes or fires, and it's unlikely that leaking fluid would reach any ignition sources.