House Oversight Committee says Michael Cohen will testify publicly on February 27

    Summary
    The House Oversight Committee announced Wednesday that it has rescheduled Michael Cohen's public hearing for 10 a.m. on February 27.

    Reporter: Trump's tweet is a lie

    Summary
    CNN's New Day talks to Maggie Haberman, one of the New York Times reporters who broke the story about the President's interactions with Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and officials concerning the investigations into the Trump White House.

    Coast Guard officer allegedly wanted to conduct a mass killing, had political and media hit list

    Summary
    A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested last Friday on gun and drug charges allegedly wanted to conduct a mass killing.

    The Democratic Party is getting less white, more educated -- and significantly more liberal

    Summary
    The early days of the 2020 presidential primary have shown the Democratic Party is in flux and having a robust debate about what its future will look like. And while that debate is centered on progressive policies like "Medicare-for-all," the Green New Deal and how much to tax the rich, it's being fueled by shifting demographics within the party.

    Texas prosecutors to review more than 1,400 cases involving Houston officer

    Summary
    With a Houston police officer under criminal investigation, authorities in Houston are reviewing more than 1,400 cases the cop has worked on during his 35-year career.

    India Catholic Cardinal Oswald Gracias ‘failed abuse victims’

    Summary
    Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai, did not tell police of a child abuse allegation.

    First Vatican summit on child sex abuse

    Summary
    Catholic bishops are meeting to discuss the church's response to the sexual abuse of children by clerics.

    Nestle and Epic pull YouTube ads over abuse claims

    Summary
    Several big firms pull ads after they appear next to sexualised comments left on children's videos.

    Hoda Muthana: Trump says IS woman barred from US return

    Summary
    Hoda Muthana, who was born in the US, regrets her actions and wants to return, her lawyer says.

    Jussie Smollett suspected of filing a false report - police

    Summary
    US police say Empire star Jessie Smollett is suspected of filing a false police report about an attack.

    At least 56 die in Bangladesh warehouse fire

    Summary
    At least 56 people have died and dozens more have been injured in a warehouse fire in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.

    Brit jailed in Dubai pleads to come home

    Summary
    A decorated former soldier has called on Britain to help save him from jail in Dubai where he has spent the past four-and-a-half months despite not being charged with a crime.

    Samsung unveils foldable phone - with eye-watering price

    Summary
    Samsung has unveiled its first foldable smartphone - the first device of its kind from a major phone maker.

    Vietnamese hairdresser giving out Trump and Kim cuts

    Summary
    Two unlikely style icons have emerged in Vietnam's capital of Hanoi, thanks to a barbershop giving out free Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un haircuts ahead of their summit next week.

    China backs 'ivory queen' jail term over 700 tusks

    Summary
    China has backed a 15-year jail term handed to a Chinese woman known as the "ivory queen", who was convicted of smuggling around 700 elephant tusks.

    Fire at Bangladesh Chemical Warehouse Kills at Least 56

    Summary
    The fire broke out at an apartment building that was also being used as a chemical warehouse, officials said.

    Donald Trump, Coast Guard, Jussie Smollett: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

    Summary
    Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.

    Church Sex Abuse Survivors Want Reform Now. Here’s Why That Might Not Happen.

    Summary
    As church leaders convene at the Vatican, they say that a diversity of views and legal and cultural barriers around the world, as well as denial, make one global standard impossible.

    A U.S. Ambassador Promises a Global Push to Decriminalize Homosexuality

    Summary
    The ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, the most prominent openly gay diplomat in the Trump administration, is leading the effort. Critics are skeptical.

    Venezuelans Fleeing Crisis Face Desperate Hike to 12,000 Feet

    Summary
    Venezuela’s economic crisis has set off a staggering exodus, with more than three million people leaving the country in recent years — largely on foot.

    Billionaire Branson hopes aid concert opens Venezuela's borders

    Summary
    Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson on Wednesday said he hopes a concert in Colombia aimed at raising money for crisis-wracked Venezuela will encourage the country's soldiers to defy orders from President Nicolas Maduro and let humanitarian aid cross the border.

    Venezuela's deputy U.N. military attache backs Guaido

    Summary
    Venezuela's deputy U.N. military attache, Colonel Pedro Chirinos, said in a video on social media that he has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president, increasing pressure on President Nicolas Maduro.

    Woman who joined Islamic State cannot return to U.S., Pompeo says

    Summary
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday a woman born in the United States who joined the Islamic State militant group did not qualify for U.S. citizenship and had no legal basis to return to the country.

    Fire kills at least 10 in Bangladesh capital, official says

    Summary
    A huge fire that broke out in a building in an old part of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, killed at least 10 people, a fire service official said on Thursday, and the death toll could climb further.

    Bolton says Venezuela U.N. military attache backs Guaido

    Summary
    U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser said on Wednesday that Venezuela's U.N. military attache has formally recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president, increasing pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

    Huawei CEO denies being part of effort to spy on U.S.

    Summary
    The head of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei denies being part of efforts to spy on the U.S. The Trump administration is reportedly thinking of banning Huawei products in the U.S. "CBS This Morning" co-host Bianna Golodryga traveled to China to speak with the CEO.

    Abuse survivors meet with Catholic leaders at the Vatican

    Summary
    A group of sexual abuse survivors met with top Catholic officials at the Vatican on Wednesday. Their meeting comes one day before Pope Francis hosts a summit with church leaders. Nikki Battiste reports.

    Young woman who married ISIS fighter won't be allowed back into U.S.

    Summary
    A former college student in the U.S. who ran away to join ISIS several years ago wants to come home. She and her family claim she is an American citizen, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that she has no legal basis to return to the U.S. Holly Williams has the latest.

    Cervical cancer could be eliminated in most countries by 2100

    Summary
    Following two recommendations could prevent millions of cases of cancer, researchers say

    What to know about China's Huawei — and its battle with the U.S.

    Summary
    The U.S. government accuses the Chinese tech giant of corporate espionage; American courts are set to weigh in

    UCLA's basketball team still trying to master the basics this late in season

    Summary
    It was 90 minutes of basketball basics. UCLA players broke into two groups, focusing on fundamentals and shooting drills that more closely resembled a summer workout than a late-season practice. By the time the session ended Monday, the Bruins might have felt as if they deserved Murry Bartow Basketball...

    After setback, Angels pitcher Nick Tropeano ready for rehabilitation to strengthen right shoulder

    Summary
    A year ago this week, right-hander Nick Tropeano was shaking off nerves. He was slated to start his first Cactus League game since 2016, and the matchup was significant to him. He had not been on the mound for the Angels in more than 18 months because elbow ligament replacement surgery cut short...

    Clergy would be required to report child abuse disclosed during confession under new California bill

    Summary
    A California state lawmaker introduced a proposal on Wednesday that would require clergy to report child abuse or neglect disclosed during confession. The bill is expected to inspire a moral debate at the Capitol about the right to private penance versus a desire to protect children, and will force...

    AIDS Healthcare Foundation sues L.A. over Hollywood project

    Summary
    Critics of a vast new development in Hollywood are suing the city, arguing that it violated the California Environmental Quality Act and other laws when city leaders gave the green light for the Crossroads Hollywood project. The Los Angeles City Council voted last month to approve the planned project,...

    Netanyahu embraces the ultra-right in effort to stop the left

    Summary
    In an effort to maintain power after elections in April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has persuaded three fringe parties of the extreme right to form an alliance by promising them two prime seats in a future Cabinet. One of the parties, Jewish Power, believes in Jewish supremacy and...

    AP Top Stories February 20 P

    Summary
    Here are the top stories for Wednesday, Feb. 20th: Trump says timing of Mueller report release up to new attorney general; GOP senator breaks with Trump over 'Emergency Declaration,' Severe winter storm hits Midwest; Meghan Markle has baby shower in NYC.

    Democrats prepare resolution to try to stop Trump's declaration of an emergency at the border

    Summary
    House Democrats will initiate action Friday to try to block President Donald Trump's declaration of an emergency along the southern border.

    He's used chemical weapons': Meghan McCain confronts Tulsi Gabbard over Syrian president

    Summary
    Meghan McCain didn't hold back any criticism of 2020 hopeful Tulsi Gabbard on Wednesday during an appearance on ABC's "The View."

    Ronaldo held scoreless in Madrid as Atletico beats Juventus

    Summary
    Atletico Madrid kept Cristiano Ronaldo in check on Wednesday, defeating Juventus 2-0 in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League

    Arrest made in 1973 killing of 11-year-old girl

    Summary
    Authorities have arrested a man on suspicion of killing a Southern California girl more than 45 years ago. James Neal, 72, was arrested in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in the death of 11-year-old Linda O'Keefe in Newport Beach. (Feb. 20)

    House Democrats To File Resolution to Block Emergency Declaration

    Summary
    (WASHINGTON) — House Democrats plan to file a resolution as soon as Friday that’s aimed at blocking President Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the Southwest border. That could set up a vote by the full House by mid-March. The clash is over a declaration that Trump is using to try spending billions of dollars beyond what Congress has authorized to start building border barriers. Passage by the Democratic-run House seems likely. The measure would then move to the Republican-controlled Senate, where there may be enough GOP defections for approval. Trump has promised a veto, which would be difficult for Congress to override. The plan was described by officials at three progressive groups who heard of them from congressional aides but were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.

    U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and E.U. Chief Conclude ‘Constructive’ Talks on Brexit

    Summary
    (BRUSSELS) — After the resignations of three of her party’s lawmakers over Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May came away from more talks on preventing the U.K. from crashing out of the European Union with both she and the EU’s chief deeming their meeting “constructive” Wednesday. No breakthrough was announced from the dinner meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels between May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. But a joint communique from the two promised their respective negotiating teams “would continue to explore the options in a positive spirit.” Since Juncker had said ahead of time he expected little to come from the meeting, their second this month, the characterization of it turning out to be constructive could be considered a decent outcome. “We’ve made progress,” said May. She and Juncker agreed to have another meeting before the end of the month. It could come as soon as an EU-Arab League summit in Egypt starting Sunday. May has been trying to persuade the EU to revise the draft agreement on Britain’s withdrawal because lawmakers in Parliament have refused to approve it. But the EU has steadfastly refused to reopen the 585-page legal text. The statement from Juncker and May said they discussed possible “alternative arrangements” and changes to an accompanying political declaration as potential options. Brexit is currently set to take place on March 29. The joint statement said negotiators from the two sides “will review progress again in the coming days, seized of the tight timescale and the historic significance of setting the EU and the U.K. on a path to a deep and unique future partnership.” At home in London, May took big hit. She lost three Tory legislators earlier in the day over her handling of the Brexit negotiations. They resigned to join a new centrist group. Still, it was Juncker who looked most beaten up when their meeting in Brussels started, with a band aid on his left cheek, the result of a bad shaving experience. “I don’t want you to think Mrs. May is responsible for this injury on my face,” Juncker said before welcoming the prime minister to Brussels during a stilted ceremony that did not include a kiss or a handshake like previous occasions. The stalemate over the divorce deal has raised fears of Britain leaving without an agreement on its departure or future relations with the EU, a scenario that could present severe economic disruptions for both sides. It has also raised the possibility of May’s government seeking to delay its exit to wrap up negotiations. “Time is of the essence, and it’s in both our interests that when the U.K. leaves the EU, it does so in an orderly way,” said May. The difficulties finding a proper way out of the crisis over Brexit has created Britain’s biggest parliamentary crisis in decades. Brexit-driven political cracks yawned wider Wednesday as three pro-European lawmakers quit May’s ruling Conservatives to join a new centrist group of independents who oppose May’s determination to take Britain out of the EU with or without a divorce deal. Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston resigned to join eight ex-opposition Labour Party lawmakers in an alliance dubbed the Independent Group. The defections mark the biggest shake-up in decades for Britain’s political parties. U.K. lawmakers object to a border provision between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland that would keep the U.K. in a customs union with the EU until a permanent new trading relationship is in place. May wants to change the deal’s phrasing to make sure that the mechanism to ensure an open Irish border after Brexit would only apply temporarily.

    ‘Not Here to Make Headlines.’ Meet the Lawmaker Quietly Unearthing Trump Scandals

    Summary
    President Donald Trump’s feuds with Democratic leaders regularly make news, but away from the spotlight he may have more to fear from the work of long-serving Rep. Elijah Cummings. The President’s Day weekend was bookended by two bombshells from the Maryland Democrat’s House Oversight Committee on Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels and the Administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. On Friday, the committee released evidence that two of Trump’s attorneys, Sherri Dillon and Stefan Passantino, may have lied to officials at the Office of Government Ethics about reimbursements to Michael Cohen for keeping Daniels quiet. On Tuesday, it released a report alleging that key Trump Administration officials had tried to rush a transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. “They are pulling the veil off of some very significant investigations that many of us didn’t even appreciate were there,” said Austin Evers, the Executive Director of the watchdog group American Oversight, of the Democrats on the oversight committee. In an interview with TIME this past December, Cummings emphasized that a key part of his role as chairman was to fulfill the constitutional mandate to be a check on the President. As a result, he said, he planned to hold the Administration accountable for any corruption that had gone unchecked when Republicans were in charge of the House. “I am not here to make headlines,” he said. “I am here to get people’s problems solved.” Veterans of the oversight committee say Cummings’ methodical and understated approach to investigating the Trump Administration is in line with the way he has conducted himself throughout his tenure in Congress. “His word was his bond,” said his former Republican Rep. Tom Davis, who previously chaired the oversight committee. “If he made a deal he knew how to keep a deal.” Davis also noted that the reports Cummings has produced are indicative of the way the oversight committee is expected to to do its job, even if they lack the theatrics of Congressional hearings that generally garner more attention. “It’s not in the public spotlight, but you get more substance out of the reports,” he explained. While the evidence in the report about Saudi Arabia reflects another way administration officials may have blurred the line between business and politics, it also illuminates another challenge the Trump Administration faces with a Democratic-controlled Congress: the threat from “whistleblowers.” It was people working inside the White House who were were alarmed by these actions and took their concerns to Congress which led to the report. “[The whistleblowers] have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes,” the report reads. “They have also warned about a working environment inside the White House marked by chaos, dysfunction and backbiting. And they have warned about political appointees ignoring directives from top ethics advisers at the White House who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump Administration officials to halt their efforts.” It is these admissions, say Kurt Bardella, a former Republican staffer on the committee who now identifies as a Democrat, that should worry the White House the most. These officials would never have felt comfortable bringing these grievances to a Republican-led majority, Bardella said, but the change of power offered them a safe space where they knew they could get answers. (Cummings noted that he had attempted to pursue such avenues of inquiry two years ago, but was promptly shut down by Republicans.) “One of the understated consequences of the new Democratic majority was that for the first time during the Trump Administration there was going be a place for government whistleblowers to turn to and provide information to Congress in a way that would result in actionable oversight,” said Bardella. “Whistleblowers can be the one thing Trump can’t control that would have a profound impact on this Administration.” Cummings’ office declined to say what was coming up on their agenda, pointing instead to the public hearing schedule. (Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is slated to testify before the committee on March 14, where he will be grilled about including a question about citizenship on the 2020 census). And the White House is also now facing several deadlines for document requests. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has until March 5 to produce documents from the past two years about the plan to transfer nuclear technology. Alan Futerfas, attorney for the Trump organization, has until Feb. 22 to provide documents about the payments to Cohen, which Cummings said in a letter the organization had previously ignored. And White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has until Feb. 22 to provide the documents the committee requested about Trump’s payments to Cohen. Explicitly unstated in those letters is that a failure to comply with these requests could produce subpoenas, forcing legal adherence. “If I were the Trump Administration these would be alarm bells,” said Evers. “[…] the oversight committee is way out ahead of any defensive oversight posture the administration might have thought it was already in.”

    Doing Physical and Mental Exercise When You’re Younger May Help Ward Off Dementia

    Summary
    Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease generally strike late in life. But researchers say that what you do when you are younger — including activities like reading and gardening — can affect your risk of developing these conditions. In a new study published in the journal *Neurology*, researchers in Sweden found that mentally stimulating activities and physical exercise can independently lower people’s chances of developing many types of dementia, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. The study included 800 women who were on average 47 years old at the start of the study, and researchers followed them for 40 years. At the beginning of the study, the women answered questions about their mental and physical activities. Mental endeavors included everything from reading to visiting a museum, attending a concert, playing an instrument, doing needlework, being part of a club and attending church. Physical activities included walking, gardening, playing tennis, cycling, swimming or participating in competitive sports. Based on how often they did these activities, the scientists ranked them as high or low participants. Six times over the course of the study, the women took cognitive tests to assess their mental acuity, and the researchers collected information on any dementia diagnoses during this time. The women who engaged in more mental activities lowered their risk of developing any type of dementia by 34% compared to those who reported doing fewer mental activities. And women who exercised regularly at intense levels several times a week had a 57% lower risk of developing a combination of Alzheimer’s dementia and dementia compared to those who exercised less. “We hope these results give people hope,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Jenna Najar, from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy. “Dementia is a growing problem in the world, and there is no treatment or cure for this disease. This study shows that it seems that mental activity is as important as physical activity to preserve or increase the chances of healthy aging.” Similar studies that have looked at the link between physical or mental activity and dementia have not usually included as long an observation period as the new analysis does. Most of those studies also start with people who were much older and who were potentially already affected by different types of dementia. In her analysis, Najar adjusted for the fact that some of the women in the study might already be experiencing early signs of dementia. She also found that exercise and mental activities lowered dementia risk independently of each other. The benefit of mental activities occurred regardless of how much physical activity the women did. And the same pattern held for exercise; women who were more active experienced benefit no matter how much mental activity they did. The results support the findings of another recent study: that while attaining more education isn’t necessarily linked to a lower risk of dementia, being cognitively active in mid-life and later — when aging-related dementia processes start — could reduce risk. Najar was not able to look at whether women who were highly engaged in both mental and physical activities had an even lower risk of dementia. (It’s possible that they might, she says.) She adds that her study only asked about the women’s activities at one point in time and assumed those patterns continued for most of their lives. Still, she says, the findings should give doctors more reason to discuss both mental and physical activities with their patients who are concerned about dementia — and start discussing them by midlife, years before the first signs might appear.

    Many Americans Are Shocked By Their Tax Returns in 2019. Here’s What You Should Know

    Summary
    As tax season starts to heat up, people with big plans for their tax refunds may be surprised to find they are receiving less money than in years past. The initial batch of tax refunds in the first two weeks of the season declined an average of 8.7% from last year as of Feb. 8, according to a report from the Internal Revenue Service. The average refund around the same time in 2018 was $2,135; this year, the number stands at $1,949. The changes likely stem from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law that passed in December 2017, significantly overhauling the tax code in the U.S. Among the changes were new tax brackets, standard deductions and expanded credits for families with children. Changes in the new tax law could lead to confusion as people try to figure out how much they will receive in their refunds, or if they owe money to the IRS. Here’s what you should know about what’s different this year. What changed with the tax code from last year? Because so many pieces of the tax code shifted, it’s difficult to tell why certain people are affected differently than others, according to tax specialists and financial experts. But one place where people are likely to feel an impact comes from changes to withholding tables, which are guides that employers follow to deduct the proper amount from each employee’s paycheck for income tax. Under the new law, many people saw less money taken out of their paychecks, which has led to smaller tax refunds. Other changes to the tax law include the implementation of higher standard deduction for single filers at $12,000 and married couples filing jointly at $24,000 and a higher child tax credit, doubling to $2,000 per child from $1,000 per child last year. The law also meant the elimination of personal exemptions and limits to itemized deductions, such as a newly introduced $10,000 cap on deductions at the state and local levels. Those most likely to feel the impact are people who did not change how much they wanted withheld from their paychecks in their W-4 forms. Further, it’s emerged as people get ready for tax season that about half of Americans don’t understand how the new law affects their tax bracket and about 28% are unsure about what exactly shifted under the code, according NerdWallet’s 2019 Tax Study. That lack of awareness on part of taxpayers over what to do with their forms is probably driving the lower tax refund average, says Andrea Coombes, a tax specialist and writer at NerdWallet. “Because employers have to change their withholding tables based on the IRS’s new rules, people likely would have been enjoying more money in their paychecks over the course of the year,” she says. “That, in turn, could mean a smaller refund now.” Who is most affected by tax changes this year? Those most at risk for receiving less money in their tax refunds are taxpayers who itemize their deductions and have no dependents, homeowners in high tax states and employees who have unreimbursed business expenses, according to Lynn Ebel, the director of the Tax Institute at H&R Block. Families with children under the age of 17 will likely get a higher refund, she says, because the child tax credit jumped in size under the law, to $2,000 per qualifying child plus a new $500 credit for other qualifying dependents. That the number of people who will receive lower-than-usual tax refunds will grow is quite likely, says Mark Jaeger, the director of tax development at the tax preparation firm TaxAct. “It’s a short window [the IRS] is reporting on, but it does seem like this is going to continue for at least this year,” he says. “Not everybody is going to see a tax decrease this year, but a majority should. It comes back to withholdings calculations.” Why do these tax changes feel so significant? The confusion over what people may or may not receive in their tax refunds contributes to a stressful climate, according to financial psychologist Brad Klontz. Money itself is already a significant stressor for Americans, according to the American Psychological Association, which found in a 2015 survey that money is the top cause of stress in the country. That pressure gets “exacerbated around tax season,” Klontz says. It’s still too early in the tax season to determine how many taxpayers are expected to receive a refund this year. The 2018 tax season saw about 70% of taxpayers receive a refund, according to the IRS. The average tax refund around the end of the second week of February was around $2,000 in 2017 and 2018. “It’s the one time of year where you’re forced to look at your financial life in great detail,” Klontz says. “People have a tendency to not think about it — one way to deal with stress is to be in denial about it.” This year could be a lot harder to deal with that stress, particularly if people receive notice that they owe taxes instead of a tax refund. Ashley Alt, an Illinois woman, told the New York *Times *she received a tax bill of $4,800 — far higher than the small amount she had expected to owe the IRS. Klontz says such people will feel the impact of tax season in a much more emotional way. What can you do about the change this tax season and next? The W-4 form allows taxpayers to tell their employers how much to take out of each paycheck for taxes. People can claim a number of allowances on the form, and the more they claim, the fewer taxes will be withheld, Coombes says. “If you got a big tax bill this year and you don’t want another one like that, you would use form W-4 to reduce your allowances,” she says. “Instead of five, claim one or two [allowances]. That will increase your withholdings over the year, and that will help you owe less next April.” People vary in terms of how they prefer to pay taxes and receive refunds. Some prefer to get a large chunk of money in their tax refunds, while others plan to receive $0 after having the right amount withheld all year from their paychecks, says Ebel. Others have said they prefer to owe small amounts to the IRS because they don’t want to give what they see as an interest-free loan to the government. No matter what outcome taxpayers desire, they have take steps to prepare themselves properly, according to Ebel. Ebel says that instead of preparing, many people took the “wait and see approach” this year due to confusion over how the new tax law would affect them. At H&R Block, which helps people prepare their taxes, the company tried to educate their clients on the changes to the tax rules starting last year. There are several tools taxpayers can use to figure out what they’re paying, such as withholding calculators, or taking a deep look at what you paid in taxes in previous years. “Taxes can be a source of panic for people,” she says. “It’s not the most fun or sexy thing to talk about or to have a good understanding of. Relying on the withholding tables was kind of a wake up call for people to be a little more proactive.” For those who get less in their tax refunds than in years prior, Klontz suggests shifting the mindset around what the refund even means. Receiving a couple thousand dollars can feel like a bonus — many people use that money to pay off debts, add a lump sum to savings or go on vacation. But it would help if people saw their refunds as just another paycheck, and not as extra money, according to Klontz. “It helps to understand that it’s not actually a bonus from the IRS,” he says. “It’s a return of your money because you were overpaying your taxes. You need a level of consciousness around it.”

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