MLA Newsletters

2021 Tax Tips Brochure

June 2021 Newsletter

Additions to the June 2021 Newsletter:

Helicopter View of Meals and Entertainment (2021-2022)

Check the table below for what you can do in 2021 and 2022 as the law stands now:

Amount Deductible for Tax Years 2021-2022





Restaurant meals with clients and prospects


Entertainment such as baseball and football games with clients and prospects


Employee meals for convenience of employer, served by in-house cafeteria


Employee meals for required business meeting, purchased from a restaurant


Meal served at chamber of commerce meeting held in a hotel meeting room


Meal consumed in a fancy restaurant while in overnight business travel status


Meals cooked by you in your hotel room kitchen while traveling away from home overnight


Year-end party for employees and spouses


Golf outing for employees and spouses


Year-end party for customers, classified as entertainment


Meals made on premises for general public at marketing presentation


Team-building recreational event for all employees


Golf, theater, or football game with your best customer


Meal with a prospective customer at the country club following your non-deductible round of golf


More on Expanded Child Tax Credit for 2021 Only

Taxpayers who have qualifying children under age 18 at the end of 2021 can now get the full credit if they have little or no income from a job, business, or other source. Prior to 2021, the credit was worth up to $2,000 per qualifying child, with the refundable portion limited to $1,400 per child. The new law increases the credit to as much as $3,000 per child ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021, and $3,600 per child ages 5 and under at the end of 2021. For taxpayers who have their main homes in the United States for more than half of the tax year and bona fide residents of Puerto Rico, the credit is fully refundable, and the $1,400 limit does not apply.

The maximum credit is available to taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income of:

  • $75,000 or less for single filers and married persons filing separate returns
  • $112,500 or less for heads of household
  • $150,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return and qualifying widows and widowers

 Above these income thresholds, the excess amount over the original $2,000 credit — either $1,000 or $1,600 per child — reduces by $50 for every $1,000 in additional modified AGI. The original $2,000 credit continues to be reduced by $50 for every $1,000 that modified AGI is more than $200,000; $400,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

Advance child tax credit payments

From July 15 through December 2021, Treasury and the IRS will advance one half of the estimated 2021 child tax credit in monthly payments to eligible taxpayers. Eligible taxpayers are taxpayers who have a main home in the United States for more than half the year. This means the 50 states and the District of Columbia. U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to have a main home in the United States.

The monthly advance payments will be estimated from their 2020 tax return, or their 2019 tax return if 2020 information is not available. Advance payments will not be reduced or offset for overdue taxes or other federal or state debts that taxpayers or their spouses owe. Taxpayers will claim the remaining child tax credit based on their 2021 information when they file their 2021 income tax return.

How to Keep Tabs on Your Credit Reports

Last spring, in response to the coronavirus crisis, the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – began offering consumers a free credit report every week at The bureaus recently extended the period for you to see weekly reports for free through April 2022.  (Free reports are typically available once every 12 months.)  Regularly checking your credit reports is important in case a lender or other provider furnishes erroneous information to the bureaus, the bureaus mix up your file with that of someone else, or an identity thief opens fraudulent accounts in your name.  If you find a problem, contact the lender or company that provided the faulty data and file a dispute with each credit bureau that is reporting it.

Ask Terry

Calculating a Safe Harbor for 2021

Question:  I have been taking required minimum distributions from my retirement plan for a number of years, and I generally have an annual taxable income of more than $150,000.  As a safe harbor, I pay estimated taxes equal to 110% of the previous year’s taxes.  Will that rule still apply when I pay estimated taxes for 2021?  I will be basing those estimated tax payments on 2020 income, which was considerably lower than usual because I did not have to take an RMD.

Answer:  The safe harbor rule to avoid penalty will work for 2021, but it can be both an opportunity and a trap for the unwary.  The rule calls for paying 100% of the previous year’s tax liability and bumping up that percentage to 110%, if your adjusted gross income is more than $150,000.  Although that is sufficient to avoid penalties and interest, even in 2021 when your income will rise (at a minimum by the amount of your RMD), you are likely to owe money to the IRS next April.  You can take advantage of the float, but don’t get lulled into forgetting you will owe more tax.  I suggest putting aside what you’re likely to owe so that you’re prepared when the tax bill comes due.  If you know your income will rise primarily because of the RMD, you could also estimate how much more you should pay each quarter this year.   Another option is to have the taxes withheld from your RMD, which you can do anytime during the year, even Dec. 31, and still not incur a penalty.  You could also use the RMD to make a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA.  Up to $100,000 can be donated this way each year tax-free.  As of 2021, RMDs are not required before age 72.

December 2020 Newsletter

February 18, 2021

Earlier this month, the IRS issued notices to approximately 260,000 taxpayers stating they haven’t filed their 2019 federal tax return.

These notices, referred to as CP59 notices, are issued yearly to identified taxpayers who have failed to file tax return that was due the prior calendar year (Tax Year 2019).

Due to pandemic related shutdowns, the IRS has not completed processing all 2019 returns at this time.

Therefore, the CP59 notices should not have been sent because some portion of the recipients may actually have filed a return that is still being processed.

People who filed their 2019 return but nevertheless received the CP59 notice, can disregard the letter and do not need to take to take any action. There is no need to call or respond to the CP59 notice because the IRS continues to process 2019 tax returns as quickly as possible.

The IRS regrets any confusion caused by this mailing.

The IRS encourages those who have yet to file their 2019 return to promptly do so.

Here are reasons people should file a 2019 tax return; Economic Impact Payment, tax credits available for some.

Addition to June 2020 Newsletter - RMD

Want to put your RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) back?  This year, and only this year (we hope), due to COVID-19, you can if done by August 31, 2020.  Great news from IRS!

Here’s the scoop:

Normally, once you hit (age 70 ½ old rules) age 72 (new rules) you have to start taking a RMD each year from your IRA’s (and usually 401k’s).  Children or others who inherited an IRA, must take RMD’s regardless of age.  The CARES Act said you don’t need to take RMD’s for 2020.  But what if you already took it?  Normally, once per year, you can have IRA money and put it back within 60 days.  But when the CARES Act waiver came along it was already over 60 days for some people (such as me) and so we thought we were out of luck.  But new IRS Notice 2020-51, now says we can put back into IRA these dollars that were taken, even if more than 60 days have passed.  And we can do this for several distributions (not just once in this year) as long as they are put back by August 31, 2020.

In addition, the IRS has recently expanded COVID eligibility for loans from IRA’s and 401(k)’s and payback.

Also note our article in our newsletter about Roth conversions.

And remember you can send money directly to a charity, if in RMD age, and it never is included in your taxable income.

If you have questions about any of these items, please contact us.

Important Reminder - From the U.S. Department of Treasury website:

COVID-19 Scams

If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond.  These are scams.  Please contact the FBI at so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.

Fraud involving payment of Federal taxes should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

March 23, 2020



Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced the creation of the Iowa Small Business Relief Fund at her press conference on March 23, 2020.  This program will provide relief to small businesses that have suffered business disruption due to COVID-19.  Grant funds of $5000-$25,000 will be available to businesses that employed from 2 to 25 employees prior to 3/17/2020.  If you get a grant, you automatically qualify for a deferral of payment of state withholding and sales tax until July 31, 2020.  For all other employers, you may be eligible for deferral of the same taxes within this application process.

There will be one application for both and will be available on the Iowa Economic Development website ( 8 a.m. on March 24, 2020.  The deadline for filing the application will be March 31, 2020.

The Iowa Workforce Development is allowing delay until July 31, 2020 of unemployment tax payments for the first quarter of 2020 for employers with fewer than 50 employees.

There may be more funds available in the future according the Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

March 18, 2020


Many of you have felt an immediate economic impact as a result of the closures and limitations caused by the recent Disaster Declaration due to COVID-19.  We are monitoring the various government websites with all of you in mind.  The following information may be helpful:


  • For employees and employers that have suffered layoffs due to closures or slowdowns, Iowa has relaxed some rules for filing a claim for unemployment.
  • Employees making a claim can get benefits within 7-10 days, and do not need to search for other work.
  • Employers will not have their experience rating affected if the reason for the claim is identified as directly or indirectly caused by the COVID-19 disaster.

You can visit for more information.

  • For those of you with business in Iowa, the Iowa Economic Development Authority has set up a page on their website for Iowa Business Recovery Assistance.  They are gathering information via a survey to guide them in their public policy actions.  Please follow the link (  to take the survey, and get our area of Iowa on the map.
  • There is also a section that discusses SBA Disaster Loan Assistance.  

You can visit or email


  • Nebraska has waived some requirements for unemployment claims filed between March 22 and May 2, 2020
  • Job search requirements are waived
  • Payments can be paid in the first week of eligibility
  • Charges to employers for their employees’ claims will be temporarily waived if related to COVID-19.

You can visit for more information.

South Dakota:

  • South Dakota Reemployment Assistance has provided several scenarios in which an employee may receive benefits due to COVID-19.

You can visit SD Department of Labor and Regulation, for more information.

December 2017 Newsletter

June 2018 Newsletter

June 2019 Newsletter

Tax-Saving Tips - August 2019

2019 Tax Tips Brochure

Tax-Saving Tips - May 2020

June 2020 Newsletter

October 2020 Newsletter

2020 Tax Tips Brochure