Lawmakers were finally able to pass a bill that helped the country avoid the fiscal cliff — an event that was expected to send the U.S. back into a recession. “The one thing that I think hopefully in the new year we’ll focus on is seeing if we can put a package like this together with a little bit less drama, a little bit less brinksmanship, not scare the heck out of folks quite as much,” said President Obama, in an address following the passage of the bill.
- In a late-night vote on Tuesday, the House passed a bill — sent over from the Senate in the initial hours after the new year — that helped the United States avert the dreaded fiscal cliff. The bill delays budget cuts for two months and Bush-era income tax cuts are unaffected for individuals earning less than $400,000 or couples earning less than $450,000.
- Avid savers can start making contributions in their retirement accounts for the 2013 tax year (if you expect to have earned income this year). In 2013, the contribution limits for many retirement accounts, including traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs and 401(k) plans, have increased — meaning you can save more in these accounts.
- Regulators are about to finalize a $10 billion settlement with 14 banks, which have been accused of unfair foreclosure practices that may have led to a large number of evictions, according to the New York Times. Under the settlement, $3.5 billion will be returned to people who already lost their homes.
- Americans should begin watching out for tax documents in the mail and prepare financial records for the upcoming tax season. Employers have until the end of the month to send out your tax forms — they usually come in late January but don’t be surprised if they arrive sooner.
- As we’ve said earlier, consumers could encounter fees for using their credit cards in certain states starting this month. According to consumer advocacy group Consumer Action, retailers in 40 states could begin imposing credit-card surcharges beginning Jan. 27.