On The Money: Taxpayers slow to file as they grapple with tax law | Schiff says Dems to charge ahead with Trump probes | Feds charge Avenatti with trying to extort Nike | Yellen sees no recession in sight

Happy Monday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL--Taxpayers slow to file as they grapple with Trump tax law: Many taxpayers are filing their taxes later this year than they have in the past, as they navigate the first filing season under President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems want tougher language on election security in defense bill Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE's tax law.

"We're a little behind where we'll typically be," Andy Phillips, a director at the Tax Institute at H&R Block, told The Hill.

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Tax preparers said that some people may be nervous about filing their taxes this year because of worries they are getting a smaller refund. Preparers are also are spending more time on each return, to make sure clients fully understand how they are affected by the new law.

Additionally, preparers expect that there will be an increase in people filing extensions this year -- particularly business owners who qualify for a new deduction.

The IRS released data on Thursday finding that the number of tax returns the agency has received through March 15 is down by about 1.9 million, or 2.5 percent, compared to a similar point last year. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda explains why here.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

 

LEADING THE DAY

Schiff says Dems to charge ahead with Trump investigations: The head of the House Intelligence Committee said Monday that Democrats have every intention of charging ahead with their investigations into the Trump administration following special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's conclusion that Trump's team did not conspire with Moscow to sway the 2016 election.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff: I 'hope to hell' I would have voted to impeach Obama if he had committed same actions as Trump Nadler: Giuliani trip to Ukraine shows 'crime in progress' is being committed against American democracy Scuffles break out at Schiff appearance MORE (D-Calif.) said Democrats are especially keen to answer lingering questions about Trump's financial dealings, including those with Russian figures.

"Even if they didn't rise to the issue of a crime, it nonetheless could pose a great compromise of our national security," Schiff told a small group of reporters in the Capitol.

What Democrats are looking at: Among the issues at the top of their interest list are allegations that Trump sought to expand his business empire in Russia throughout the 2016 campaign; that he violated campaign finance laws by securing hush payments to a pornographic actress during the campaign; and that his son, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpMelania Trump's 'Be Best' hashtag trends after president goes after Greta Thunberg Trump Jr. blasts Time for choosing 'marketing gimmick' Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year White House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' MORE, was open to offers from Russian figures for "dirt" on Trump's opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOlympic figure skater Michelle Kwan makes Iowa appearances for Biden The Memo: 2020 Democratic tensions burst to surface The 'Green' new deal that Tom Perez needs to make MORE. The Hill's Mike Lillis has more here.

 

Federal prosecutors charge Avenatti with fraud and extortion: Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, has been charged with bank fraud and extortion, federal prosecutors in California and New York announced on Monday.

Avenatti was arrested the same day in New York, according to multiple reports.

The frequent critic of President Trump had earlier announced a press conference for Tuesday "to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by Nike" on Twitter.

Prosecutors in the two states had leveled separate charges against Avenatti. The New York charges relate to allegations Avenatti had threatened to harm Nike using his public profile unless the shoe and apparel company paid him $10 million. The Hill's Zack Budryk breaks it down here.

 

Yellen sees no recession in sight, says rate cut may be needed: Former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWhat economic recession? Think of this economy as an elderly friend: Old age means coming death On The Money: Rising recession fears pose risk for Trump | Stocks suffer worst losses of 2019 | Trump blames 'clueless' Fed for economic worries MORE said on Monday that she does not foresee a recession based on recent moves in the bond market, and that the markets may be indicating the need for an interest rate cut.

"I don't see it as a signal of recession," Yellen told a Credit Suisse conference in Hong Kong when asked about the yield curve inverting. An inverted yield curve is often a leading indicator ahead of a recession, with long-term yield rates falling below short-term ones.

Yield curves, she added, tend to be more flat than they were in the past, so an inversion may not carry the same significance it once did.

"Yes, growth is slowing, but I don't see it slowing to a level that will cause a recession," she said. "In fact, it might signal that the Fed would at some point need to cut rates, but it certainly doesn't signal that this is a set of developments that would necessarily cause a recession."

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The German family that owns Panera Bread and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts will donate millions of dollars to an unspecified charity after discovering the family's collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, according to multiple reports.
  • Two major health groups are backing taxation policies intended to keep kids from drinking soda and other sugary beverages that can contribute to health problems.