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Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting expressed concerns that the weakening job market might hold back the recovery. But members were divided over whether the Fed should take additional steps to help the economy.
In June, the Fed agreed to end on schedule its program to boost the economy through the purchase of $600 billion in Treasury bonds.
Some members said the Fed should consider new stimulus measures if growth failed to pick up enough to “meaningfully” reduce the employment rate, according to minutes of the Fed’s June 21-22 meeting released Tuesday.
Others expressed concerns about inflation and said the central bank would need to take steps to begin removing its low-interest rate policies “sooner than currently anticipated.”
The minutes highlighted a division at the Fed between those officials who are most worried that the economy is growing too slowly, including Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, and some regional bank presidents who are concerned that the Fed’s policies will lead to high inflation.
Agency: 100,000 preparers don’t follow new rules
The Internal Revenue Service says 100,000 paid tax preparers who worked on 2011 returns did not follow new rules requiring them to register with the agency.
The IRS launched an initiative last year to better police a largely unregulated industry used by most taxpayers. All paid tax preparers must get an identification number from the IRS and provide it on returns they prepare. They will eventually have to pass a competency exam and get annual training.
The agency said it is sending letters to 100,000 preparers who signed 2011 returns but did not provide proper identification numbers.
Some 712,000 tax preparers have registered so far. The rules do not apply to certified public accountants, lawyers or enrolled agents because they already are regulated through their professions.
Country’s bond rating cut to junk
BRUSSELS — Moody’s Investors Service says it has downgraded Ireland’s government bond ratings to junk because of a growing risk the highly indebted country will need a second bailout in which private investors will be hurt.
The rating agency cut Ireland’s rating by one notch to “Ba1” from “Baa3” and kept a negative outlook. The downgrade follows a similar move on Portugal’s debt last week.
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