Tax Time Tips

For us in the tax industry, January through April can be hectic. We at Taxware Systems want to help you have a smooth tax season. Here are some tips to help you and your clients file returns quickly and efficiently.

Gather Records: Before their tax appointments, remind your clients to bring in all applicable records for the year, including receipts, tips and records pertaining to deductions and tax credits claimed. If they purchased health insurance or received it from their employer, your client should receive a 1095-A, 1095-B or C.

Report All Income: The client will need to report all income from Forms W-2, wage and tax statements, tips if applicable, Forms 1099 and any other income, even if they do not receive a statement. If a form that affects income is missing, the IRS will notify the client of the error.

Use Direct Deposit and e-File: When possible, suggest to the client to use direct deposit combined with e-file. It is a fast, accurate and secure way to get a refund. With direct deposit, the IRS issues nine out of ten refunds in less than 21 days.

Weigh Filing Options: If your client asks about whether the standard deduction or itemizing is better for them, show them both plans thoroughly as applicable to their tax return. We also have a comparison tool in the Taxware Systems software that allows you to compare whether filing a joint return or a married filing separate return would be more advantageous for the client.

Review the Return: Mistakes on a return can slow down a refund. In the Taxware Systems software, any errors picked up by the validity check will be indicated in red or yellow and will be in list form. Red means that the return is likely to reject because of errors that will be tagged by the IRS, such as errors in basic information. Yellow indicates that there are warnings you should probably look into, but may not be immediately rejected, such as missing preparer or state information.

Questions? Feel free to contact us!

support@taxwaresystems.com

1-800-877-1065

Common Tax Mistakes

January through April can be a stressful time for us in the tax industry. We want tax returns to be done quickly and efficiently, but each return has its own complexities. To reduce stress and help tax professionals, here’s a quick guide to the most common errors on a tax return and how to avoid them using Taxware Systems’ software.

Social Security Numbers and Names: Some of the most common errors in a tax return are missing or wrong social security numbers and names. In the Taxware Systems programs, if a social security number is missing or does not have enough digits, the validity check on the Summary Menu will be red. That means that something in the basic information is incorrect, and the return will most likely be rejected. Make sure that the social security number and name on your client’s tax return matches exactly what is on the social security card.

Filing Status Errors: Another common error can be a filing status error; filing as head of household instead of single, for example. In the software, the filing statuses can be found under Basic Information Line [03]. If the filing status needs to be changed, click on the grey box with three dots next to the status and you will see the full list of options. Select the correct status by double clicking on it.

Math Errors: Most of the calculations are automatic with the Taxware Systems programs, but do make sure that the amounts you type in match the forms that your client provides.

Credits and Deductions: Many errors come about because of Earned Income Tax Credit, the standard deduction and the more complex credits. If you do need to fill out credits such as the EITC, Child Tax Credit or American Opportunity Credit, certain questions marked in red must be answered in the new due diligence found on the top left hand side of the 1040 line input. If the status of “Standard Deduction OK” needs to be changed, go to Line [25] Special Filing Categories and click on the grey box with three dots and double click on the status you need.

Note: If a return is rejected, correct the problem and transmit the return again. If a return has already been accepted with an error present, the IRS will correct simple math errors or notify you of a missing form. If there is a larger error, such as a filing status or a missing W-2, you will need to prepare an amended return.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us!

support@taxwaresystems.com

1-800-877-1065

A Guide to Amended Tax Returns

Whether a taxpayer has minor or major changes to a tax return that has already been filed, fixing the return can be complicated. Taxware Systems is here to help. Here is a quick guide to help you create an amended return using our software.

First, here are a few things you need to know:

When to Amend: You should amend a tax return when you need to correct a filing status, add or remove dependents or change total income. Another reason to amend would be to claim deductions or tax credits that you missed on the original tax return.

When NOT to Amend: Sometimes you do not need to amend the tax return. The IRS will correct some mistakes, such as math errors, for you. If you forgot a required form or schedule, the IRS will send you a notice about the missing forms.

Form 1040X: Use a Form 1040X to amend a tax return that has already been filed. The 1040X has three columns. Column one should have the amounts from the original return, column two should have the increases or decreases (changes) that you are making to the return, and column three should have the corrected amounts. Make sure to explain the reasons for the changes on the back of the form.

To learn more about amended returns, please visit

https://www.irs.gov/uac/tips-for-filing-an-amended-return

When you are ready to amend a return with the Taxware Systems software, pick the return from the Recall Current list and go to the Summary Menu. On the right hand side of the page, click on the [23] 1040X Amended button and instructions will appear.

Before you amend the return, make sure that the current data matches the return at the time it was originally filed. Once that has been verified, click on Save Current as Original. Then, make the necessary changes to the return. After the return has been adjusted, return to the amended instructions and click on Calculate/Adjust/Explain to write notes about the changes made on the return. Finally, print the 1040X. Note: An amended return cannot be electronically filed. You must file the return on paper.

Questions? Email or call us at

support@taxwaresystems.com

1-800-877-1065

 

Child Tax Credit: A Guide

This year the IRS has expanded due diligence questions concerning the Child Tax Credit to make sure that taxpayers and their children qualify for the credit. Here is a short guide to help tax professionals navigate this important credit.

Amount: The Child Tax Credit may help reduce federal income tax by $1,000 for each qualifying child claimed.

Additional Child Tax Credit: If the client qualifies for Child Tax Credit but gets less than the full amount, they could receive a refund, even if they owe no tax, through the Additional Child Tax Credit. This year, tax returns claiming Earned Income Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit that have refunds will be held by the IRS until February 15th.

Qualifications: There are many tests that the child must pass to qualify for the credit, including:

  • The child must be under age 17 at the end of the year.
  • The child must be the dependent and relative of the client.
  • The child cannot file a joint return for the year, unless they are filing only to get a refund.

There are several other qualifications as well. For more information on special rules and limitations for the Child Tax Credit, please visit www.irs.gov.

To find the expanded due diligence questions in the Taxware Systems software, fill out the basic information on a client and click “Line Input” on the left hand side. Once there, you will see the Form 1040. On the far left above the automatic calculations is a large button with Due Diligence and a red X. Click on the button and the questions that need to be answered will be in red. Once those questions are answered, a green check mark will appear if the client qualifies for the credit.

Schedule 8812: If the client qualifies to claim the Child Tax Credit, make sure to check whether they need to fill out Form 8812. The same also goes for the Additional Child Tax Credit; the client will need to fill out Form 8812.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us!

support@taxwaresystems.com

1-800-877-1065

 

 

Important Dates from the IRS

Hello!

Here at Taxware Systems, we want tax professionals to stay informed about the tax industry at large, including important information from the IRS that will help the tax season run smoothly.

The IRS recently announced that the official start date for 2017 filing season, and the day they will begin processing returns is Monday, January 23rd.

Note: There is no advantage to filing paper returns early in January because the IRS will start processing all returns at the same time.

The IRS also wanted to remind taxpayers that due to the PATH Act, a new law dictates that the IRS is required to hold refunds claiming Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15th. Please be patient; it will take several days for these particular refunds to be released and processed through various financial institutions.

We hope that this information is helpful as you prepare for another successful tax season.

logo-irs

Holiday Gift Giving and Taxes

During the holiday season, people often donate money, personal belongings or property to charity. Here are some tips that you can share with your clients to help them file their tax return.

Qualified Charities: The client can deduct gifts for a qualified charity. This includes churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies, even if they do not appear on the Select Check tool provided by the IRS. Note: Warn them to be careful of phishers posing as qualifying charities. Do not open emails from a “charity” that is not familiar, and do not click on any links in the emails. The Select Check tool should be able to help you confirm actual charities.

Keep Records of All Cash Gifts: Gifts of money include those made in cash, checks, electronic funds transfer, credit card or payroll deductions. Make sure they ask for written statements or bank records from the charity. The statement must show the name of the charity, date and the contribution amount. If there are payroll deductions, have them retain a paystub or W-2 form from their employer.

Additional Records: The client needs to get an acknowledgement from the charity for each deductible donation, cash or property, of $250 or more.

Year-End Gifts: Deduct contributions in the year that they are made. If the client charges a gift to a credit card before the end of the year, it will count for 2016. The same is true of a check mailed in 2016.

Special Rules: If they give a car, boat or airplane to charity, special rules apply. Be sure they fill out Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions, to report these gifts.

For more information about charitable donations, please visit

https://www.irs.gov/uac/about-publication-526 or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

New Wintax-1040: An In-Depth Look Part 2

W-2 Input

The W-2 Input page has been modernized. We have put special focus on the flow and tab order of the W-2 page.

The W-2 follows the IRS W-2 form. We have added the wizard mode button so that you can turn the wizard flow on or off any time, whether you are in edit mode or enter a new W-2 transaction.

w-2

Live View

This is the next evolution to our forms preview and constant calculations. Designed primarily for you dual or large monitor users, hitting the F12 key will open the live view window. This can be dragged to a second monitor or space on a large monitor.

For supported forms, this will then display the active form or schedule. As dollar amounts are changed and calculated the PDF will be instantly updated, giving you even more tax return information at your fingertips.

live-view-pic

Expanded E-File Tracking

We have enhanced our outstanding e-file tracking system even more. The new system will now handle an unlimited number of state records, integrate seamlessly with the client data grid and includes an A2A server database tab.

The new A2A server tab will show you a two week history of an individual tax return’s e-file A2A progress. Also, in these individual data records, acknowledgement files can be re-hung for download and processing. This can still be done through our website but can now also be done here without ever leaving the program.

e-file-tracking-1

I have just scratched the surface of the new program and its capabilities. Our posted video will give you a better overview of the new program, so we encourage you to check it out: http://www.taxwaresystems.com/productwintax.html.

We are excited about the new Wintax program. It opens the door to so many additional opportunities for future goals and tools.

Although we are very excited about the new program, we are also cautious. We will continue to support and enhance our legacy Wintax program.

The new program is in a pilot or test year and is limited in state support as well as native forms and schedules. The program natively supports CA, IL and UT and uses the legacy program to support all the other states and federal forms that are not native to the new system. However, most of the other federal forms and schedules are available by linking the new program to the legacy program in the Defaults and Settings page.

-Scott Dalton; Vice President of Taxware Systems

New Wintax-1040: An In-Depth Look

We have had a busy summer! We have added a lot of fantastic capabilities to the Income Tax programs. We appreciate your ideas and partnership continuing to help Wintax be the best in the industry. We have posted a video that shows you the great enhancements that have been made to our new next generation Wintax-1040 program:

https://youtu.be/xszthPHx81s

taxstart

Taking advantage of some of the latest programming tools available, we have rewritten our Wintax-1040 Income Tax programs. We wanted to develop dynamic systems with a more user-friendly experience but keep our existing tax return flow so that there wouldn’t be a learning curve.

We believe we have hit the mark with this new Wintax program and are excited for its launch!

The new programs have the same overall features, functionality, and great flow as the old programs. Don’t worry, we didn’t take any features out, but made some great additions to them that we know you will appreciate. Some of the new key features that were added include:

Enhanced Windows 10 user interface, fully maximized screen and overall more user-friendly experience. Defaults and Settings have been moved to their own page. For most clients, Taxware’s standard defaults are adequate and typically do not require adjustments.

Native Print Printing is even faster.

User Interface Scaling This can be done on any page by CTRL mousewheel up or down. You can also go to the Defaults and Settings page and use the scaling slider. The scaler will remember whatever it was set to last when you exit the program.

Easier Networking Available networked drop down as well as networking filter. The network name is now part of the operating system’s client storage and gets ported into the client and e-file databases. This means you can easily switch to another network client’s settings, and that you can also filter clients based on your network ID. If you are not networking, simply uncheck the “Enable networking user filter” selection and the “User Filter” goes away. Tax returns’ network ID gets set during new client or prior year recall but can be reassigned in the print configuration menu.

“Bread Crumb” Navigation is awesome! Now you can know where you are in the tax return all the time. What makes this feature really fantastic is that clicking the blue titles can also be used to go straight to a specific page.

E-file Validation is now native to the new program. The internal and IRS schema validation for the federal takes place during the loading of the validator. We also have color coding of the XML, copy and paste functionality, and search XML utilities.

E-file tracker has a new Station ID filter. If networking computers or station ID EROs that intend to share the program, a station ID can be entered and the new e-file tracker will filter their tax returns.

There are too many fun things to talk about regarding the new program, but I’ll talk about a few of the highlights. Note: We are not discontinuing our fantastic current legacy 1040 program, so if you are more comfortable using the legacy program it is also being added to and enhanced.

Client Selection Grid

We are really excited about the new, enhanced recall client page. On this page, clients can filter the tax returns to show only tax returns for the selected filter by clicking the filter buttons. The search options located to the left will search the filtered data set. This should make finding and working with your clients a lot easier and faster.

Also from this page, the new client wizard can be accessed to start a return by selecting the new client button located in the tool bar.

For clients that have been recalled into the current year, expanded client information can be accessed by searching for the client and hitting the F2 key or clicking the F2 button.

This page provides a quick snapshot of the tax return. Client basic information, direct deposit information, amounts refunded or owed, amounts billed and owed, and a quick summary of the electronic filing status of the federal and state returns is available. For electronically filed returns, acknowledgement files can be printed right from this expanded information page.

basicinfo

client-e-file

1040 Line Input

This page is the main launch point of the federal tax return and the federal form 1040 is the main design flow for this page. Constant total calculations are shown in the left panel. Forms and schedules used are displayed in the middle panel and those forms or schedules can be accessed by double clicking those forms.

The main forms and schedules item selections are found in conjunction with the line numbers of the 1040. We also added specific page access if that line is clicked with your mouse. We also included our Form Search capabilities that had previously only been available in our direct Forms and Schedules page.

lineinput

Renewing an ITIN: A Guide

Do your clients have ITINs, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers? The IRS issues an ITIN to those who need to file a tax return or report to the IRS, but who are not eligible for a social security number, and some of those ITINs expire at the end of 2016. If your client needs to renew an ITIN, complete an application this fall to avoid delays.

The following list includes what forms they will need to renew the ITIN:

Form W-7: The Form W-7 is the application for the IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The client must have identification documents with the form, but they do not need a completed tax return.

Proof of Foreign Status and Identity: Many forms fulfill this requirement, including:

  • Passport (This can be a stand-alone document for dependents with a U.S. date of entry. Otherwise, other identification from this list is required.)
  • National ID Card
  • Visa
  • U.S. Driver’s License or Foreign Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificate (Required for dependents under 18)

Other documents are eligible to show proof of foreign status as well. For a full list, please visit www.irs.gov.

Note: Only original documents or certified copies are accepted.

Dependent Requirements: If a client needs to renew an ITIN, they can renew their family at the same time. For dependents from countries other than Mexico or Canada or U.S. military members overseas, a passport with a U.S. entry date will work for identification. Along with the passport, dependent applications require:

  • U.S. medical records for dependents under age 6 or U.S. school records for dependents under age 18.
  • U.S. school records for dependents age 18 or over or a rental statement, utility bill or bank statement with the applicant’s name and U.S. address.

To claim certain credits and ensure a timely refund, make sure they renew their ITIN before filing taxes. For more information, please visit www.irs.gov.

logo-irs

EITC and Additional Child Tax Credit Delays in 2017

The IRS has announced new processing procedures involving the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit during the first few weeks of 2017, and during the latter half of 2016, the agency hopes to prepare taxpayers and tax professionals for this major change.

As part of the PATH Act passed in December of 2015, the new law mandates that no tax credit or refund for an overpayment for a taxable year shall be made to a taxpayer before February 15th if the taxpayer claimed Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit on their return.

This change will go into effect January 1, 2017, and may affect some returns filed early in 2017. This means that:

  • The IRS will hold the refunds on EITC and ACTC-related returns until February 15th. The agency will also hold onto an entire refund that falls into this category, rather than issuing partial refunds.
  • Taxpayers should file as normal, and tax professionals should submit returns as normal. The IRS will still be accepting and processing returns once the filing season begins; that process will not change with the new law.
  • The IRS still expects to issue most refunds in less than 21 days, though the IRS will hold EITC and ACTC refunds until February 15th and then begin issuing them.

With these new steps in place, the hope is that the law can help prevent identity theft and fabricated withholdings revenue loss as well as ensure that taxpayers receive the refund they are owed.

The IRS will continue to share information with taxpayers at www.irs.gov as information becomes available through the fall of 2016.

logo-irs