News Sparks: IRS Still Processing Last Year’s Tax Returns; Poland Continues to Legalize Denial of Responsibility for Holocaust; and “Thundersnow”

News Sparks: IRS Still Processing Last Year’s Tax Returns; Poland Continues to Legalize Denial of Responsibility for Holocaust; and “Thundersnow”

By Yehudit Garmaise

Short-staffed IRS Still Struggling to Process Millions of Last Year’s Returns

Although, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regularly enters it filing season with approximately 1 million unprocessed tax returns from the previous year, this year, US Treasury Department officials warn that the short-staffed IRS’s backlog is “several times” larger than usual. In fact, as of late December 2021, the IRS still had 6 million unprocessed individual returns, according to its website.

Pandemic-era stimulus payments have complicated processing efforts for the IRS, whose agents have been contending with a massive surge in taxpayers’ phone calls with filing questions. Last year, the IRS received more than from January 1 through May 17, 145 million calls, which was or more than four times its normal call volume.

The IRS will start to accept individual tax returns for 2021 starting on Jan. 24, and most taxpayers can file until the April 18 deadline. Despite warning of taxpayers of the challenges the IRS is facing, the agency said it expects most Americans to receive their refunds within three weeks, as long as taxpayers file electronically and set up to receive direct deposits.

Israel Defense Forces Undergoes Largest Re-arming in Years, To Prepare for Military Strike, if Necessary, Against Iran

As world powers continue, in Vienna, Austria, their ongoing diplomatic talks that try to persuade Tehrani officials to curb their attempts, which have included many threats to Israel, to build nuclear weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is not taking any chances.

If the peace talks result in no agreement or an agreement that Israel continues to find aggressive and threatening to the safety of Israeli citizens and visitors, Bennett told the Knesset on Monday that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was working intensively to prepare for a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In fact, Bennet said that the IDF and the country’s other security services were undergoing their largest re-arming in years.

Jewish Diplomat Fired for Calling “Stupid” a Law that Disallows Blaming Poland, in Any Way, for the Holocaust 

Poland’s foreign minister Zbigniew Rau fired Jaroslaw Nowak, a Polish diplomat, who is Jewish and was charged with improving relations with Jews worldwide, after he said that a 2018 law that does not allow assigning Poland any blame for the Holocaust, was “stupid,” which it obviously is, as the Nazis could not have murdered so many Jews on Polish soil without the cooperation of countless Poles.

Although Poles enthusiastically cooperated with the Germans in building and running at least 457 concentration camps that killed millions of Jews, just a few years ago, the Polish legislation originally imprisoned, for up to three years, anyone who “falsely attributed German crimes to Poland.” 

Polish legislators later removed the prison terms, however, any statements that claimed that Poland holds some responsibility for the Holocaust were banned, an idea that Nowak told the UK’s Jewish News “is one of the stupidest amendments that was ever done by any law.”

Last year, Poland also restricted the rights of Jews who were often Holocaust survivors to reclaim their property that was stolen by the country’s former Communist regime. 

“Thundersnow” Storms May Accompany Nationwide Record Cold Wind Chills

If you started your day today shivering, you were not alone. Today, 15 million Americans nationwide: from Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, the Midwest, New England, and the Northeast all woke up to wind chill alerts that were forecast to be as bitterly cold as 45 below zero: which are some of the coldest temperatures reported since 2019.

Although today, when the high temperature in New York decreases to 22 degrees, will be the coldest day of week, the air is expected to warm up, starting tomorrow.

In addition to the icy temperatures, 5 million Americans who live near lakes, such as the Great Lakes, were warned of lake-effect snow alerts, which combined with freezing temperatures could lead to heavy snowfalls through the end of Tuesday.  

The locations, such as Buffalo and Syracuse, that receive the heaviest lake-effect snow could receive up to 2 feet, as snowflakes may fall at a rate of three inches per hour in an unusual type of winter thunderstorm called “thundersnow,” in which, instead of rain, snow falls in a beautiful multi-sensory winter wonderland. 

Photo by: Flickr

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