Employee Spotlight – Karen Keinsley

What year did you join Slattery & Holman?

Tell me a little about where you attended college and the degree(s) you earned? Any special accomplishments.
I attended IU Southeast in New Albany, IN.  I majored in business with a concentration in accounting.

What is your favorite thing about living in Indiana?
The people.  Hoosier hospitality really does make a difference.

Tell me a little about your family.
I have been married for 40 years to a wonderful man who is the most patient person I know.  We have two grown sons who are married and have blessed us with 5+ grandchildren.  Number 6 is due in November 2021.  We live on 13 acres in Madison County.  I grew up on a farm, so I enjoy being outdoors and everything Mother Nature has to offer.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
I don’t sleep much, so there’s not much extra time.

What is a new skill that you would like to master?
Sign Language

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?
3,644 miles – Fairbanks, Alaska

What question would you most like to know the answer to?
What do I want to be when I grow up?

What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?
I know how to ballroom dance.

What was the best compliment you’ve ever received?
A friend told me I was the nicest person they had ever known.

What is your favorite smell?

If you had a clock that would countdown to any one event of your choosing, what event would you want it to countdown to?
My last day on the earth.  Every day is precious, so I don’t want to waste them.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
Groundhog or raccoon

What was your first job?
Hostess at IHOP

If you could have any super power, what would it be?The power to help others know they are loved and that you don’t have to follow the crowd. It’s ok to just be yourself.

Big Increase in Child Tax Credit For 2021

An increased child tax credit is part of President Biden’s stimulus package to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic and stimulate the economy. This stimulus package, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, was passed by Congress on March 10, 2021, to provide lower-income parents with financial assistance and support various other efforts to stimulate the economy. Although the benefit of a tax credit traditionally isn’t available until after that year’s tax return has been filed, for 2021, the IRS will pay a portion of the credit in advance in the form of monthly payments from July through December. Details are as follows:

Additional Credit Amounts – Normally, the credit is $2,000 per eligible child. For 2021, it has increased to $3,000 for each child under age 18 (normally under age 17) and $3,600 for children under age 6 at the end of the year.

Refundability – A tax credit can be either nonrefundable or refundable. Nonrefundable credits can only offset a taxpayer’s tax liability, at most bringing it down to zero, while a refundable credit offsets the tax liability and any credit amount in excess of the liability is refunded to the taxpayer. Generally, the child tax credit is nonrefundable, but for 2021, it is fully refundable.

High-Income Phaseout – The credit is designed to only provide parents of lower incomes with a tax benefit. Thus, the credit phases out for higher-income taxpayers at a rate of $50 for each $1,000 (or fraction thereof) by which the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds the threshold.

Filing Status Threshold
Married Filing Jointly $150,000
Heads of Household $112,500
Others $75,000
  • Example 1: Jack and Jill have two children: Ella, age 4, and Joe, age 8. Their child tax credit for 2021 before the phaseout will be $6,600 ($3,600 + 3,000). They file a joint return and their MAGI is below $150,000, so they are entitled to the full $6,600. However, if their MAGI for 2021 were $170,000, they would have to reduce (phase out) the credit by $1,000 ($50 x [($170,000 – $150,000)/1,000]). Therefore, their child tax credit would be $5,600. 

Note: This phaseout only applies to the increase in the child tax credit. Families that aren’t eligible for the higher credit would still be able to claim the regular credit of $2,000 per child subject to the normal phaseout thresholds of $400,000 for married couples filing jointly and $200,000 for others.

  • Example 2: Using Jack and Jill from Example 1, they qualified for a credit of $6,600 before phaseout. If their MAGI had been $220,000, they would be completely phased out of the additional 2021 credit, but would still qualify for the normal $2,000 per child credit. Since their MAGI is below the regular $400,000 phaseout threshold, their credit for 2021 would be $4,000 (2 x $2,000).

Advance Payments – Under a special provision included in the new tax law, the Secretary of the Treasury has been charged with establishing an advance payment plan to get the credit benefit into the hands of taxpayers as quickly as possible. Under this mandate, those qualifying for the credit would receive monthly payments equal to 1⁄12 of the amount the IRS estimates the taxpayer would be entitled to by using information on the 2020 return. If the 2020 return has not yet been filed, 2019 information is to be used. If the 2019 return is used to determine the advance payments, the amount of the payments can be altered (either reduced or increased) when the 2020 return is filed. Initial advance payments are scheduled to arrive after July 1, 2021, and monthly payments will end in December 2021. Any balance of the credit due to a taxpayer would be claimed on their 2021 tax return.

  • Reconciliation on the 2021 Tax Return – The advance payments will reduce the child tax credit claimed on the tax return, but not below zero. If the aggregate amount of the advance payments to the taxpayer exceeds the amount of the allowable credit, the excess must be repaid unless the taxpayer qualifies for the safe harbor provision.
  • No Repayment Safe Harbor – The amount of the excess advance repayment is eliminated or reduced based on a safe harbor provision that applies to lower-income taxpayers. Thus, families with a 2021 MAGI below the applicable income threshold (see table below) will not have to repay any advance credit overpayments that they receive.
Filing Status Threshold
Married Filing Joint $60,000
Heads of Household $50,000
Others $40,000

Child’s Death – A child isn’t taken into account in determining the annual advance amount if the death of the child is known to the IRS as of the beginning of the calendar year for which the estimate is made.

Online Portal – The Secretary of the Treasury will establish an online portal for taxpayers to elect to not receive advance payments or provide information that would affect the amount of the advance payment, including the birth of a qualifying dependent, change in marital status or significant changes in income.

It will take the Treasury some time to initiate the advance payments, but if you have questions about the child tax credit, please give our office a call.

Entrepreneur Success Stories: Zapier

Success leaves clues.

Zapier is a software company founded in 2011 by Wade Foster, Bryan Helmig and Mike Knoop. Zapier provides a service that helps end users automate the integration of online applications. Let’s take a look at how this software integration company has taken the industry by storm.


Before becoming a company valued at over $5 billion, Wade Foster (CEO) and Bryan Helming (CTO) were members of a jazz quartet, playing gigs together in their hometown of Columbia, Missouri. In addition to their love for music, they discovered that they both had a passion for creating web applications and began working on projects together.

In September 2011, they came up with an idea that would change the course of their lives. They decided to start a company that helped end users integrate two different software applications. To help get their idea off the ground, they enlisted a third co-founder, Mike Knoop (CPO), and went to work.

They created the first iteration of their software application (known then as API Mixer) and entered a local start-up competition. Their idea won, and they knew they were onto something.

They continued to develop their idea and submitted it to Y Combinator, where they were initially rejected. However, Foster, Helmig and Knoop refused to take no for an answer and continued submitting their application to Y Combinator until they were finally accepted in 2012. At that time, the project included integrations with 34 applications. Today, that number is over 3,000 integrations, and they have more than 300 application partners.

During their early stage, they were able to secure $1.3 million in Series A funding from investors, and within two years, they reached profitability. This was the only venture capital funding that they’ve accepted thus far, though they have received numerous offers. Zapier went on to be named the #1 company in the early-stage category as evaluated by top venture funds in the industry.


Building a $5 billion company within a decade is no easy feat. Zapier’s success can be attributed to many of the decisions that the founders have made along the way.

Building Relationships with the Zapier User Base

Zapier believed that building relationships was crucial to helping cultivate their user base. Foster, Helmig and Knoop started by visiting online forums of larger software applications such as Dropbox and Basecamp, seeking users who were frustrated with their inability to use the functionality of one application along with another, often having to repeat the same tasks across applications. The Zapier team would reach out to these users and offer to help them resolve their issues. In the early stages of the company, this was how they generated their first customers. Customer service continues to be a foundational part of Zapier as a company.

Customer-Centric Values

As an employee of Zapier, each team member participates in the customer support function. Whether an employee is in HR or IT, the founders believe that hearing first-hand about how customers are experiencing the product and understanding their frustrations will help create a better product and experience.

Teamwork is Key

Zapier has been a remote company since its founding. With employees across the globe, it is important for them to be able to communicate with one another so that each team member is on the same page. They do this by sharing information across multiple channels and at multiple times to ensure that important ideas are communicated. Transparency is one of their keys to success.

Tell the Customer’s Story

Zapier has been very deliberate in how they reach out to current and potential customers. One part of their marketing efforts is sharing the success stories of their clients through their blog. Zapier interviews customers, identifies pain points that have been resolved through the application and uses this as a guide to assist other customers who might be experiencing the same issue.

Zapier’s attention to detail in addressing customer concerns has helped the company grow from its first customers in 2012 to its current user base of over 600,000. Their success demonstrates how dedicated client focus can have a huge impact on the bottom line.

If you have any questions about how to turn your business into a success story, please contact our office for more information.

SBA Raises Loan Limit For COVID-19 EIDL Loans to $500,000

As U.S. businesses continue to recover from COVID-19’s economic devastation, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is expanding loan opportunities. The agency announced that beginning in April, nonprofits and small businesses will be able to borrow up to $500,000 for up to 24 months. This expansion of the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program more than triples the existing limit of six months and maximum loan amount of $150,000.

In a news release announcing the change, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said, “More than 3.7 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which provide low-interest emergency working capital to help save their businesses. However, the pandemic has lasted longer than expected, and they need larger loans.”

Businesses that have already applied for a COVID-19 EIDL loan need not worry about reapplying, as all applications in process will automatically be considered for the increased amounts. Similarly, instructions will be published to allow those who have already been approved for a loan to apply for the expanded limits. A loan increase can be requested via SBA.gov, and an email will go out to all previously approved borrowers containing this information.

The COVID-19 EIDL program has been extremely successful, with over $200 billion in loans already approved by the SBA. Small businesses, including independent contractors and sole proprietors, have been provided 30-year maturity loans at a 3.75% interest rate, while nonprofits will pay 2.75% in interest.

Additionally, the SBA announced on March 12th that borrowers for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 EIDL loans, would be provided extended deferment periods. Although payments are not required until 2022, interest will still accrue on all outstanding loan balances, so borrowers may elect to begin making payments during the deferment period.

If you have any questions about the EIDL loan limit expansion and how it could affect your business, please contact our office.

New Tax Credit Covers Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccinations and Recovery

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) expands the tax credits available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRP). The ARP Act does not mandate that employers provide paid family or sick leave; however, tax credits for employers that choose to continue providing Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or Emergency FMLA (EFMLA) are available through September 30, 2021. The ARP extends a tax credit to employers who pay for leave taken by employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and recover from vaccination-related side effects.

For more details, click here to read the full IRS release. As always, we encourage you to reach out to us with any and all questions regarding this credit.

SBA Announces Changes to COVID-19 EIDL Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced a major update to the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. As of the week of April 6, 2021, the maximum loan amount for COVID-19 EIDLs will increase to $500,000.

Under the CARES Act, the EIDL program was expanded to cover eligible businesses experiencing substantial economic injury due to the pandemic. The act also relaxed a number of traditional EIDL loan stipulations, making COVID-19 EIDL loans more readily available.

This latest update from the SBA drastically expands both the maximum loan limit and the period of economic injury that is covered. Previously, the limit for COVID-19 EIDL loans was a maximum of $150,000 covering six months of economic injury. The new maximum loan amount will be $500,000 and covers up to 24 months of economic injury.

Loan applicants whose loans are already in process at the time of the EIDL expansion will automatically be considered for the new maximum limits. Additionally, current COVID-19 EIDL loan recipients will be able to request a loan increase. Borrowers should visit the SBA website for further guidance.

IRS Announces Individual Tax Deadline Extension

On Wednesday, March 17, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in conjunction with the U.S. Treasury Department, announced an extension of the federal income tax filing due date for individuals. Individual returns for the 2020 tax year are now due on May 17, 2021, rather than the standard date of April 15, 2021.
The IRS stated their intention to issue formal guidance on the extension soon. As of now, here are the details that we are aware of per the IRS news release:
  • In addition to a filing extension, any federal income tax payments owed for 2020 are also automatically extended to the new due date, with no penalties or interest.
  • The filing and tax payment extensions are applicable for self-employed individual filers.
  • Taxpayers who do not pay any amounts owed by May 17 will begin to accrue penalties and interest at that point.
  • There is no need to file for an extension or contact the IRS—this extension is automatic.
  • Individuals who need more time than the May 17 due date should file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to apply for an extension through October 15, 2021. This would result in an extension for filing; any payment due would still need to be paid by May 17 to avoid penalties and interest.
  • The extension does not apply to the April 15 deadline for first quarter estimated tax payments.
This extension only applies to federal income tax filings. While it is possible that states will follow suit with a due date extension, most states have not made formal announcements on an extended deadline.

American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was passed by the Senate on Saturday, March 6 and in the House on Wednesday, March 10. President Biden signed the bill into law on Thursday, March 11. Read on for details on the provisions included in the ARPA.

Individual Stimulus Checks

Estimated portion of the stimulus package: $422 billion

The ARPA includes another round of economic impact payments for people who meet certain income eligibility requirements. Single taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 will receive $1,400 and married taxpayers filing jointly who earn less than $150,000 will receive $2,800. The payments phase out at an adjusted gross income of $80,000 for single filers and $160,000 for joint filers. The bill also includes a payment of $1,400 per dependent. Payment amounts will be determined using 2020 tax returns if they have been filed and processed by the IRS; otherwise, 2019 returns will be used.

Federal Unemployment Assistance

Estimated portion of the stimulus package: $242 billion

The bill renews federal unemployment benefits at a lower level ($300 per month) through September 6, 2021. Additionally, it makes the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits non-taxable for households with incomes at or below $150,000.

Aid to Businesses

Estimated portion of the stimulus package: $47.25 billion

The ARPA includes funding for various industries hard hit by the pandemic, as well as a financial boost for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The funds are allocated as follows:

  • $15 billion for airlines and eligible contractors (must refrain from furloughing workers or cutting pay through September 2021)
  • $25 billion for restaurants and bars (includes grants of up to $10 million per entity to be used for covering payroll, rent, utilities and other operating expenses)
  • $7.25 billion for the PPP

Child Tax Credit

The ARPA makes a number of changes to the existing child tax credit, including:

  • Making the credit fully refundable for 2021
  • Including 17-year-olds in the definition of qualifying children
  • Increasing the amount of the credit for children over age 7 to $3,000
  • Increasing the amount of the credit for children ages 0-6 to $3,600
  • Directing the IRS to estimate each taxpayer’s child tax credit and pay it in advance monthly from July through December 2021

The increased credit amounts phase out at certain income levels ($75,000 for singles, $150,000 for married couples filing jointly and $112,500 for heads of household).

To facilitate distribution of the monthly estimated child tax credit payments, the IRS will create an online portal where taxpayers can choose to opt out of advance payments or provide information that modifies their payment amount.

Additional Tax Credits

The ARPA includes a number of additional tax credits:

  • COBRA continuation coverage – On top of the extended unemployment benefits, the ARPA includes a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums. This means that laid-off workers can maintain health insurance through their former employer’s plan at no cost. The subsidy covers the period from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.
  • Earned income tax credit – For 2021, the ARPA expands the EITC by making it available to taxpayers without children.
  • Child and dependent care credit – The bill makes this credit refundable for 2021 and increases the exclusion for employer-provided dependent care assistance for 2021 to $10,500.
  • Employee retention credit – The bill extends this credit, which was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, through the end of 2021. Additionally, it allows the credit to be claimed by eligible employers for paying qualified wages to employees.
  • Family and sick leave credits – The ARPA extends these credits, which were established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), through September 30, 2021. Additionally, it increases the limit on the credit for paid family leave, increases the number of leave days a self-employed individual can take, qualifies leave taken due to COVID-19 vaccination, creates a reset date for counting paid sick leave (March 31, 2021) and allows 501(c)(1) governmental organizations to participate.
  • Premium tax credit – The ARPA expands the premium tax credit for both 2021 and 2022, and adjusts the definition of an applicable taxpayer to include those who received (or have been approved to receive) unemployment compensation any time in 2021.

Aid to States and Cities

Estimated portion of the stimulus package: $350 billion

The bill allots $350 billion to assist state, local, tribal and territory governments in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, allocated as follows:

  • $195.3 billion to states
  • $130.2 billion to cities and counties
  • $20 billion to tribal governments
  • $4.5 billion to U.S. territories

Housing Assistance

Estimated portion of the stimulus package: $45 billion

The ARPA provides aid in the form of emergency rental assistance ($30 billion), funding for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks among the homeless ($5 billion) and mortgage assistance ($10 billion).

Aid to Schools

Estimated portion of the stimulus package: $170 billion

K-12 schools will receive $130 billion. The money is to be used to reduce class sizes, modify classrooms to enable social distancing, install ventilation systems, purchase personal protective equipment, hire nurses and counselors, and provide summer school.

Of the $170 billion, the remaining $40 million is earmarked for colleges and universities. The institutions are instructed to use the money to defray pandemic-related expenses and to provide emergency aid to students to cover expenses (e.g., food, housing and computer equipment).

Funding for Testing and Vaccinations

Estimated portion of the stimulus package: $60 billion

Of the $60 billion allocated in this area, $14 billion is designated for expansion of COVID-19 testing, including enhanced contact tracing, laboratory expansions and the creation of mobile testing units, and $46 billion is set aside for vaccination distribution and administration.







Employee Spotlight – Aaron B. Coers

What year did you join Slattery & Holman?

Where did you attend college?
I graduated from Indiana State University in May 1991.

Tell us a little about your family.
Jennifer and I got married in August 1994 after we had known each other for 11 months. I have two daughters, Morgan is 21 and a junior at Purdue majoring in Industrial Engineering, and Madison is 18 and a freshman at Hope College majoring in History. In August I will have a son-in-law, Adam.

What is your favorite activity?
I have been a Pacers season ticket holder for 11 years. I really enjoy attending the games with my family, but I enjoy going with anyone willing to go. Rumor has it I have been seen dancing on the Jumbotron during timeouts of games.  (Picture courtesy of USA Today)


Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii. The green mountains and dark blue waters are gorgeous.

What is a new skill that you would like to master?
I would love to be able to speak Spanish. I have been on 4 mission trips to Honduras and the Dominican Republic. I have really enjoyed my time being there, but it would have been so much better if I could speak Spanish.

What would you be doing if you were not working at Slattery & Holman?
I think I would enjoy being a college professor teaching accounting.

What was your first job?
Mowing yards during the summer. It was a good job. I was making on average $8 an hour when the minimum wage was $3.35.