Consumer Catch-up: IRS tax withholding changes, FDA changing drug labels, American Airlines handing out miles

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Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side have consumer stories you should know about for Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018.

IRS changes tax withholding

The Internal Revenue Service has new guidelines to help workers calculate how much of their paycheck is withheld as income tax.

Today the IRS posted new tables for employers. The organization is working to incorporate tax law changes from late 2017. The IRS said employers should start using the new withholding tables as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 15, 2018.

Right now, individual taxpayers do not have to make any changes. Those could come later this year.

Employees should start to see a difference in their paychecks next month. The IRS said many people will see a boost in their pay to reflect the new tax law.

Among the changes: tables show the increase in the standard deduction, repeal of personal exemptions, and some tax rate and bracket changes.

FDA changing drug labels for cough and cold medicines

The Food and Drug Administration is now requiring safety label changes for many cough and cold medicines. The goal is to limit use of prescription medicines with codeine or hydrocodone in children under 18.

As a result of the changes, these products will no longer be recommended for anyone under 18, but will be labeled for adult use only.

The FDA said new labels will also have more safety information for adults, including a prominent warning about the "risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death, and slowed or difficult breathing that can result from exposure to codeine or hydrocodone."

"Given the epidemic of opioid addiction, we're concerned about unnecessary exposure to opioids, especially in young children," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. "It's critical that we protect children from unnecessary exposure to prescription cough medicines containing codeine or hydrocodone. At the same time we're taking steps to help reassure parents that treating the common cough and cold is possible without using opioid-containing products."

There is no word when the new labels could be on store shelves.

Flight attendants able to give out frequent flyer miles

If you are experiencing troubles on a flight, you may soon be able to get additional frequent flyer miles on the spot as an apology. CNN Money reports American Airlines is working on a plan to give flight attendants the ability to hand out miles for any service problems.

In the past, only gate agents or reservation agents had this ability, requiring passengers to submit a complaint after their travel.

To CNN, American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said, "We wanted to provide this at the point of first contact. ...We want the customer to get off the plane feeling good about their experience."

Any additional miles will be added to a passenger's account via a flight attendant's tablet on board. Officials say the number of extra miles depends on the severity of the issue.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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