A late start, stimulus payments that still need to be issued, 2019 returns not yet processed. These are just a few of the issues that could make for a stressful 2021 tax season.
Shares of ExxonMobil (XOM) closed down 4.81% today on a Wall Street Journal report that the Securities & Exchange Commission was investigating a whistleblower complaint alleging that the company overvalued assets in the Permian Basin oil shale geology. The whistleblower complaint alleges that during a 2019 internal assessment workers were forced to use unrealistic assumptions about how quickly wells could be drilled to reach a higher valuation.
The present--or more precisely the very recent past--didn't look so good this morning, January 15. U.S. retail sales declined by 0.7% in December and the Commerce Department revised November to a drop of 1.4%. The unadjusted blue of sales rose by just 0.6% year over year in 2020. That's the smallest gain in 11 years. Nobody expected the December retail sales numbers to be anything other than grim, however, and by themselves these figures wouldn't have been enough to dent stock prices. The market has a strong recent history of looking past any negative news in the present because with the roll out of coronavirus vaccines with future looks so promising. But the future also disappointed today.
Tax Season 2021 starts Feb. 12. The backlog for paper returns is large and likely to grow, so anyone. The IRS received roughly 16 million paper individual returns last year and as of Dec. 25 had a backlog of 6.9 million unprocessed individual returns.