Will Biden’s Gas Tax Holiday Make a Difference?

Millions of tax returns have not been processed as the I.R.S. tries to clear its backlog. The agency is facing a larger-than-normal pileup of returns, the Treasury Department said, with more than twice as many awaiting processing “compared to historical norms at this point in the calendar year.”

Nearly four months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the West’s sanctions are looking shaky.

Efforts to curtail purchases of Russian fossil fuels appear to have boomeranged, at least for now, The Times’s Victoria Kim, Clifford Krauss and Anton Troianovski report. Europe’s embargo on Russian oil has yet to take effect. But China and India are buying roughly the same volume of Russian oil that would have gone to the West. Oil prices are so high that Russia is making more money now than it did before the war.

Adding insult to injury, some Indian companies are buying discounted Russian crude, refining it and selling some of the oil products to the United States, Britain, France and Italy at high prices, according to the Finnish-based Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

At the same time, some Western companies seem to be finding it difficult to cut financial ties to Russia. The hospitality giants InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt and Hilton have been given “D” ratings by a team of researchers who are tracking corporate exits from Russia. “It was disappointing to see that the hospitality group overall was so reluctant to make moves that the casual dining, fast food people were able to ultimately, grudgingly, make,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale University management professor who leads the team, told DealBook. “It’s not impossible for any of them. Marriott, in the hospitality space, was the perfect example.”

  • Marriott announced this month that it was suspending all hotel operations in Russia. Sonnenfeld’s team gives Marriott a “B” because it is “keeping options open for return.”

  • InterContinental, which owns 17 brands including Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn along with its namesake, has suspended new hotel openings and future investments. But its hotels under long-term management or franchise agreements have stayed open.

  • Hilton has said in a statement that it had taken steps to curtail its business in Russia and halt future development.

  • Hyatt’s chief executive, Mark Hoplamazian, said at a conference this month that the company wanted to be mindful of local laws when winding down businesses in Russia. “We have to take great care of how you go about organizing that because there’s a lot of scrutiny,” he said, according to The Points Guy. In statements, Hyatt said it was one of the first Western hotel companies to cut ties with the local owners of its hotels in Russia, though it said some may continue to use the Hyatt name.

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Some companies have described their exits as “suspensions,” even if they have no intention of returning. “They are concerned that if they walk away, they may be in breach of contracts of various kinds,” Andrew Kenningham, the chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, told DealBook.


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