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News of interest to ARCRA members

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  • 03/23/2021 10:15 AM | Anonymous

    The IRS has extended the filing deadline for individual Federal 2020 tax returns and the payment date for any 2020 taxes owed from April 15 to May 17, 2021.

    This extension applies only to individual taxpayers (filing separately or jointly) and does not require a request for an extension.

    The postponement does not apply to estimated tax payments first due on April 15, 2021 for the 2021 tax year. Some tax experts feel that the failure to delay the first quarterly payment largely nullifies the benefit of the extension for those who pay estimated taxes. In most cases, the tax return for 2020 generally has to be completed before estimated payments for 2021 can be calculated. However, if an individual needs to delay paying a large amount of taxes to the IRS for 2020, they could still complete, but not file, the return prior to April 15 in order to see the estimated taxes for 2021.

    Though many states are mimicking the federal change, the IRS extension does not apply automatically to the deadline for filing state taxes. Make sure that you know your state’s deadlines.

    This date change was just announced by the IRS and they plan to issue formal guidance in the near future. Consult with your tax advisor and/or do your own research on which options are best for your federal and state 2020 tax filings.


  • 03/23/2021 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    We all know that things happen that can damage or destroy your homes-natural disasters, fires, broken pipes.  Some can pose a risk to the safety of our family.  Check out these nine tools you can buy to avoid or minimize fires, leaks, floods or the impact of natural disasters:

    1.  Smoke detectors - Having a working smoke detector is the most basic safety measure everyone should take to protect your family and your home.  According to Red Cross, having a smoke alarm can cut the risk of dying in a fire in half.  

    2. Fire extinguishers - Smoke alarms alert us to the fire and a fire extinguisher can help us fight a small fire. Note the adjective...small fire.  According to the Red Cross, if the fire extinguisher does not immediately put the fire out, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE IMMEDIATELY.

    Read the full list here from www.cnet.com


  • 03/17/2021 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    On March 17, the IRS told financial institutions that the initial distribution of the American Rescue Plan stimulus payments would be made according to a bank industry group in a story in the Washington Post.  This initial distribution will include 90 million direct deposits totaling $242.2 billion.. The IRS will then mail an additional 150,000 checks a.

    Following the deposits, the IRS mailed an additional 150,000 checks with a pay date of March 19, totaling $442 million.  These payments will be sent via USPS as a check or debit card.

    You can check the status of your stimulus payment by using the “Get My Payment” tool at irs.gov, which is available in English and Spanish.  

    Click here and get answers to other questions about the stimulus payments from the Washington Post.


  • 03/12/2021 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    AARP Foundation Tax-Aide helps seniors free of charge with tax preparation assistance, especially individuals over 50 or who have low to moderate incomes. You can find Tax-Aide volunteers across the country. They have been trained to understand the latest changes and additions to the tax code. Tax help is provided through a variety of ways to ensure safety due to COVID-19 spread and volunteer availability.

    You can get more information at 1-888-227-7669 or at http://www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaide AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in conjunction with the IRS.

    Click here to get started


  • 03/02/2021 1:46 PM | Anonymous

    Celebrating your 65th birthday doesn't mean you have to stop working.  Many retirees pursue a second career, doing what they love best in the job.  Some retirees turn their hobbies or avocations into a second career.  Other retirees reinvent their careers to influence younger generations, becoming mentors and "wisdom workers," who train, coach, and work with those new to the field. 

    While some older workers need to keep working to cover living expenses like food, rent and health care, others keep working because work brings them pleasure and they enjoy the the challenges work presents.  In fact, individuals age 75 and over, are the fastest-growing group in the labor force.

    Read more at the Washington Post

  • 02/18/2021 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    As dangerous winter weather continues to plague most of the country, the American Red Cross urges everyone to stay safe and stay at home if possible, and offers these steps to follow:

    GET RED CROSS READY Make sure you have enough heating fuel on hand. Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. Check on relatives, neighbors and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone. Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing.

    Don’t forget your pets. Bring your companion animals indoors. Create a place where your other animals can be comfortable in severe winter weather.

    Read all the cold weather tips from Red Cross

    • Treating frostbite and hypothermia
    • Generator safety
    • Power outages
    • Frozen pipes
    • Home heating safety

    People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

  • 02/11/2021 10:32 AM | Anonymous
    The American Red Cross has developed its Virtual Family Assistance Center (VFAC) to help Americans struggling with loss and grief due to the pandemic. Part of The Red Cross Integrated Condolence Care Program, VFAC offers special virtual programs, information, referrals and services to support families in need. Go to https://www.redcross.org/virtual-family-assistance-center.html to check it out.

    In addition, the Red Cross is offering suggestions to help people cope:

    • Stay informed through trusted resources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
    • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
    • Maintain social connections through phone calls or video chats to feel less isolated.
    • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
    • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
    • Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as fear, anger, frustration and anxiety.
    • More tips are available at the Virtual Family Assistance Center.

    If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


  • 02/11/2021 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    Fiscal Year 2020, from July 2019 through June 2020, began with Hurricane Dorian and wildfires in California and ended with an unprecedented pandemic changing almost all aspects of our everyday lives. It was an incredibly busy year with a tremendous amount of work delivered by our dedicated Red Crossers.

    Please take a moment to review the FY20 Annual Report, now posted on redcross.org under “Publications,” featuring all lines of service, as well as sections specifically focused on COVID-19 and innovation.

  • 01/12/2021 2:31 PM | Anonymous

    With COVID-19 vaccines a reality in 2021, all of us are making plans to travel this year and in the future.  As you start making your plans make a commitment to traveling with a  conservation mindset.

    A conservation mindset means stepping off the beaten path and lingering longer, respecting cultural differences and investing in the communities we visit, reconnecting with nature in the wild spaces around us, supporting organizations that are protecting the planet, and finding ways to reduce our carbon footprints. Nat Geo Travel suggests that you can start by stargazing (and counteract light pollution), embrace diversity outdoors (and support parklands), embark on a heritage journey (and support historic landmarks, buildings, and districts), and help your grandkids become explorers (take them with you and share your adventures).  

    Click here to get more ideas from Nat Geo Travel.

  • 01/04/2021 2:31 PM | Anonymous

    Add your oral history from your Red Cross service during the Vietnam War to the Vietnam Oral History Project.  

    The Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University is the country’s largest center and archive devoted to the collection, preservation, and dissemination of the history of the Vietnam War. With nearly 30 million documents, hundreds of thousands of photographs, slides, manuscript collections, audio and video recordings, memorabilia of the war, etc., the VNCA is the nation’s preeminent place for Vietnam War studies. Founded by Vietnam veterans in 1989, the VNCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, as well as an academic unit of Texas Tech University. The Center is currently collecting Vietnam War-related materials, including oral history interviews with participants of the war. The Oral History Project is headed by Dr. Kelly E. Crager, a military historian who specializes in interviewing Vietnam veterans. You can reach Kelly at kelly.crager@ttu.edu or by phone at 806-834-4834.

    The Vietnam Oral History Project With Dr. Kelly Crager

    Dates offered: Thursday January 7 and January 14, 2021

    Time: 5 pm EST, 4 pm CST, 3 pm MST, 2 pm PST

     Here is the link to access:  VBC—ARCOA—TTU Vietnam Center & Archive Event
    Monday, January 7 & 14, 2021, 5:00pm (ET)
    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6402618738

    Meeting ID: 640 261 8738 (no password)

    To learn more about the VNCA, visit the homepage: www.vietnam.ttu.edu. From this site you can access over 8 million documents in our collection, as well as the photographs, 1,400 oral history interviews, etc., in addition to learning more about conferences, educational initiatives, building campaign, and other activities.


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