The Buzz On Business
LET US KNOW HOW YOU COPE WITH COMMUTING COSTS: Gas prices keep rising with no end in sight, and there aren't a lot of options for local jobs. If you're a commuter who is stuck between the high cost of driving and a lack of other options, The Bee wants to hear about your frustrations and what steps you've taken to make it work. Contact Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer at 578-2331 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your situation. Responses may be used in an upcoming Bee story.
IRS OFFICES WILL HELP LOW-INCOME PEOPLE GET ECONOMIC STIMULUS CHECKS: The Internal Revenue Service will open some 320 offices Saturday to help low-income people, including some retirees and veterans, get the checks for which they are eligible under the economic stimulus act passed by Congress in January. The tax agency said Monday that community and advocacy groups such as the AARP and United Way of America also will make a special effort Saturday to ensure that people who don't ordinarily file tax returns don't miss out on the payment. Under the stimulus act, people are eligible to receive at least $300, with married couples getting at least $600. Many households can get an additional $300 for each qualifying child younger than 17. But people must file a tax return to receive the payment, raising concerns that those who don't usually need to file will be overlooked. The IRS said this week that it also is mailing out packets to 20.5 million people receiving Social Security and veterans benefits with information on filing a return. The IRS offices that are open Saturday will offer assistance in preparing the Form 1040A needed for those filing a return solely to receive the stimulus payment. IRS field officers will visit nursing homes and similar locations to prepare returns. To qualify, people must have at least $3,000 in earned income and certain benefits from Social Security, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement. A list of IRS offices and partner sites providing assistance is available on the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov., or by calling the IRS hot line, 800-906-9887. Saturday, people can call 866-234-2942 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
NETFLIX DEALING WITH DELIVERY DELAY: Online DVD rental leader Netflix Inc. is suffering a technology breakdown that's knocked out its Web site, inconveniencing its 7.5 million subscribers. The outage could mean some customers will have to wait longer than usual for their next rentals. Company spokesman Steve Swasey said the trouble blocked access to Netflix's Web site Monday. He said DVDs that normally would have been mailed Monday may not go out until today because the problem also has hobbled some Netflix distribution centers.
BEE NEWS SERVICES
38: Percentage of female employees in the United States who say they heard at least one sexually inappropriate comment in their workplace last year, nearly double from 2006, according to a survey conducted by Novations Group
45: Percentage of male U.S. employees who said they heard at least one sexually inappropriate comment in their workplace in 2007
33: Percentage of full-time, commuting U.S. workers who say their commute to or from work has been affected by "severe weather" in the past three months, according to a survey conducted by Kronos, The Workforce Institute and Harris Interactive
23: Percentage who arrived late to work as a result
16: Percentage who left early
20: Percentage who lost pay because of their affected commute
JOHN MacINTYRE, UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE