News for Your Week Ahead: October 29, 2021


This week, Roy Frick of the Maryland Society of Accountants Scholarship Foundation joined us to give an update on the MSA Scholarship Foundation, including how you can help the future of the profession.

Watch on YouTube.

Coming Up: On Thursday, November 4th, at 9 a.m., Walsh Trivia joins us to tell us all about our upcoming virtual trivia night!

Be sure to Like/Follow us on Facebook so you can catch MSATP TV live every week.

COVID Relief: IRS Helps Employers Wanting to Rehire or Retain Employees After Retirement Age |IR-2021-208

To help address COVID-related labor shortages, the Internal Revenue Service reminded employers that they generally will not jeopardize the tax status of their pension plans if they rehire retirees or permit distributions of retirement benefits to current employees who have reached age 59 ½ or the plan’s normal retirement age.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers, including governmental employers (such as public school districts), are looking for ways to encourage retirees to return to the workforce to fill open positions and experienced employees to stay on the job.

For more information, click here.

IRS, Security Summit Partners Remind Families to Make Online Safety A Priority During National Cybersecurity Month | IR-2021-209

The Internal Revenue Service reminded families, teens and senior citizens about the continued importance of protecting personal and financial information (.pdf) online. Although the IRS and its Security Summit partners continue making strides in fighting identity theft and fraudulent tax returns, help is needed.

The Security Summit works to protect taxpayers from criminals that file fraudulent returns for refunds. The Summit coalition includes representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors as well as state tax administrators and the IRS, which work together year-round to protect taxpayers.

For more information, click here.

Tips to Help Taxpayers Decide How and When to File an Amended Tax Return | COVID Tax Tip 2021-157

After filing their tax return, taxpayers may find they made an error or forgot to enter something on it. The IRS strongly recommends taxpayers use the Interactive Tax Assistant, Should I File an Amended Return? to help determine if they should correct an error or make other changes to the tax return they already filed.

For more information, click here.

Additional Hurricane Ida Relief From IRS; September 15th, October 15th Deadlines, Other Dates Further Extended to January 3rd For Other Parts of Mississippi; November 1st Deadline Still Applies to the Rest of the State | IR-2021-210

Victims of Hurricane Ida in parts of Mississippi now have additional time–until Jan. 3, 2022–to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

Following last week’s disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IRS is offering this expanded relief to those parts of the state newly designated for either individual or public assistance. Previously, the IRS had provided special relief to the entire state of Mississippi, generally postponing various tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines until Nov. 1, 2021.

For more information, click here.

Here’s How People Can Become an IRS-Certified Volunteer | Tax Tip 2021-155

The IRS and its community partners encourage people to make a difference in communities across the country by becoming an IRS-certified volunteer. These volunteers will help taxpayers file their tax returns during the upcoming tax season.

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offers free tax return preparation to eligible taxpayers who generally earn $58,000 or less, people with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers.
  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly is mainly for people age 60 or older. Although the program focuses on tax issues unique to seniors, most taxpayers can usually get free assistance. Many sites in the TCE program are operated through AARP Foundation Tax-Aide.

For more information, click here.

MVLS Updates For Our Community Partners

Criminal Record Expungement Training
Community advocates should be aware of recent changes to expungement law and where criminal records are found. Watch this presentation by MVLS and the Human Trafficking Prevention Project to learn about what you need to know.

For more information, click here.

REAL ID News and Fact Sheet
MVLS’ October Access to Justice – A Legal Tip Column for Marylanders in The Baltimore Times focuses on what you need to know about renewing your driver’s license and REAL ID. The column question is: I received a notice that my driver’s license was expiring, but when I went to the MVA to try to renew it, they turned me away because my name didn’t match exactly on all my documents. What do I do? Read our answer and other helpful REAL ID tips here. MVLS also had a REAL ID factsheet you can access here.

“MVLS Has Been a Godsend to Me” Video
MVLS recently recorded a video highlighting the importance of volunteering and the big difference it can make in the life of an individual with a legal issue. Sometimes it can be hard to identify a legal issue or where to turn for help. This 5-minute video shows the good that can come of reaching out for legal help. The video is available here.

National Estate Planning Awareness Week
This week just passed but it’s not too late to share with your community members and colleagues that everyone should do their estate planning regardless of income. For those that income-qualify, free legal assistance is available through MVLS. You can also share a talk from John Kern, MVLS Advance Planning Project Coordinator, that breaks down what estate planning is and why every family should do it. Every year the University of Maryland hosts a Wills Week and John is one of their featured speakers. His presentation is available here.

Baltimore City Launches Security Deposit Assistance
The grant program, which launched earlier this month, will provide up to $2,000 toward a renter’s security deposit based on their income. The grants, which are administered by the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success, are available only to low-income residents on a one-time basis. To apply visit www.bmorechildren.com.

Spanish Language Community Resource Guide
The Office of People’s Counsel has released its Spanish language community resource guide. This guide includes information about your rights as a residential utility consumer, information on how to get help with your utility bill, telephone discount programs, answers to frequently asked questions about utility issues, and more. The guide can be found here.

Medicaid Open Enrollment
Medicare open enrollment ends December 7, with plans going into effect January 1, 2022. During this period, older adults can purchase, change, or drop their Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug programs, or switch to Original Medicare. Insurers and scammers take advantage of this period to market their services. Keep yourself safe by following these tips:

  • Insurance agents are NOT ALLOWED to contact you unless you request an appointment first.
  • There is no incentive, gift, or benefit if you sign up before December 7. Agents cannot pressure you into enrolling today.
  • Agents cannot claim that Medicare endorses their plan.
  • You can’t keep a Medigap policy and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time – beware anyone who claims that you can.
  • Scammers can “spoof” numbers and make it look like Social Security is calling. Do not trust the caller ID. Do not give your Medicare or Social Security number over the phone, or your bank or credit card information.
  • Do your research – read the 2022 Medicare & You handbook or an insurer’s Annual Notice of Change and Explanation of Benefits to verify your coverage, benefits, and pricing.
  • Report Medicare fraud at 1-800-MEDICARE.
  • Speak to unbiased insurance counselors in your Maryland county. Click here to see a list of counselors.