Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

This year's tax season is shaping up to be a gnarly one. The IRS has agreed to give Americans an extra month to file their taxes — but that's barely going to be enough to help them and their accountants when it comes to navigating the new code.

Why it matters: The U.S. tax filing system is painful and complex — largely by design.

State of play: The new changes to the tax code include everything from health care costs to the child tax credit — all happening during a year when the pandemic caused millions of Americans to have more complex financial lives than usual, thanks to job losses, unemployment insurance, stimulus checks, and the like.

What they're saying: This year "really has been much more complicated" than usual, says Julio Gonzalez, CEO of Engineered Tax Services. "We weren’t sure if stimulus checks would be taxable. We had so many individual changes. It's been very challenging."

Details: The code changes need to be turned into explicit guidance from the IRS, and reflected in updated tax-filing software. None of that has happened yet.

  • The updated software is expected to arrive in the coming week, although that just applies to federal taxes. State and local taxes are still in a gray zone — and it's not even clear that all states will follow the feds' lead and allow an extension to May 17.
  • The extension gives accountants time to start reading through the new IRS guidance for 2020, to train up their staff, and to make good estimates for how much tax will be due.
  • While estimated payments for 2020 are due in May, final returns can now be filed in October, at which point there should be a lot more clarity at both the federal and state level.

The big picture: Tax filing can be simple, free, and automatic. Countries like the U.K. and Spain have "return-free filing" for most taxpayers where they don't need to file anything at all.

  • The government knows its own tax code and knows how much you've earned, which means that for most normal employees it should be able to work out how much they owe on its own.

There are two reasons why the U.S. is an exception:

  • Intuit, the parent company of TurboTax, has waged a hugely successful multi-decade lobbying campaign to prevent the government from making tax filing simple.
  • Some anti-tax Republicans think that simplifying the payment of taxes will make them less salient in the minds of voters, and thereby make voters less keen to cut them.

Go deeper

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The dispiriting housing boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's a discouraging scene: Bidding wars, soaring prices, and fears that homeownership is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans. We're in a housing frenzy, driven by a massive shortage of inventory — and no one seems to be happy about it.

Why it matters: Not all bubbles burst. Real estate, in particular, tends to rise in value much more easily than it falls. Besides, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, this "is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply."

Updated 6 hours ago - World

China's COVID vaccines have low efficacy rates, official says

China Centers for Disease Control director Gao Fu at a March event in Beijing, China. Photo: Han Haidan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's director said Saturday authorities are considering mixing COVID-19 vaccines because the country's domestically made doses "don't have very high protection rates," per AP.

Why it matters: The remarks by the Gao Fu at a news conference in the southwestern city of Chengdumark mark the first time a Chinese health official has spoken publicly about the low efficacy of vaccines made in China.