Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction when they file their federal tax return. However, some filers may be able to lower their tax bill by choosing to itemize when they file their 2017 tax return. Before making that decision, it’s a good idea to figure deductions using both methods and choose the method with the most benefit. The IRS offers the following tips to help taxpayers decide:
Taxpayers with Expired ITINs Should Renew Them Now to File Their 2017 Taxes
Taxpayers with an expired Individual Taxpayer Identification Number should renew it as soon as possible if they need to file a 2017 tax return. They can renew it by submitting a Form W-7. Tax returns with expired ITINs will face delays. Affected taxpayers may also lose out on key tax benefits until they renew their ITINs. It can take the IRS up to 11 weeks to complete an ITIN renewal during tax season.
By King T. Dalton, CPA and Founder of Taxware Systems, Inc.
This is a preliminary analysis of the new tax act that will affect 2018 tax returns, and is based on my understanding of the new law, which may need further clarification. The analysis is not intended to be complete, but to provide a guide to the significant changes. Taxware is working to update our Individual Tax Planning programming to incorporate the new law as much as possible.
The IRS requires that an 8879 be signed by the taxpayer before the 1040 can be efiled. Usually this would be a physical signature in person, but there are ways to do this without the taxpayer stepping foot into your office.
A great solution for remotely signing an 8879 is the Adobe Acrobat program. This is a free software that is most likely already on your clients’ computers and it now has the option to fill and sign documents electronically.
When tax season is over, we in the tax industry want to let everything go until extensions are due. While time off is often well-deserved, there are some easy things you can do to get your clients–and yourself–ready for next tax season well before January.
Life Changes: If your client lets you know about a life change, such as a change in marital status or birth of a child, let them know that such life occurrences may change their tax return significantly. Also, if they enrolled in the Marketplace for health care, remind them to report these life events to the Marketplace.
Itemizing: If a client might get a better outcome on their tax return, suggest that they itemize rather than take the standard deduction. Have the records ready to compare amounts and look for significant changes in those records.
Proforma: We at Taxware Systems provide a proforma program, a program that can greatly increase your speed and efficiency. The proforma is a list of questions that you can send your client about life changes, health care and past forms. You can send these questions to your client before the tax season starts, and it will give you a quick rundown of your clients’ needs to help you get more information for their return in advance.
Next Gen Program: While we are in the off season, be sure to take a look at our Next Gen 1040 program, with its new features and more user-friendly setup.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us!
In the tax industry, you could say that we have learned to expect the unexpected, especially with tax laws being updated consistently throughout the tax year. What about fires, power outages or even cybercrime? No one knows when disasters will strike, but as a taxpayer and a tax professional, you can be ready to combat problems and keep your important information safe.
Backups: Store paper client data and documents in securely locked areas. Make sure to have strong computer passwords to protect client information and be sure to back up your data daily on an external hard drive or in a cloud storage space in case of disaster such as flood, fire or power outage.
Avoid Scams: Phishing emails can look authentic, and people impersonating reliable agencies might threaten you or your clients into divulging personal information. Stand firm; if you receive an email from someone you are not familiar with, do not click on any links in the email. If you receive a threatening call, hang up immediately.
Document Valuables: Take photos or videos of the contents of your home or business, including equipment and storage areas. These visual records can help prove the value of lost items. They could help with insurance claims or casualty loss deductions on a tax return.
Emergency Plans: How well can your business come back after a disaster? Make sure to have an operations plan in place and review it annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. As you add employees or major changes occur, update your plans and inform your people.
For more information on how to prepare in case of disaster, please visit:
The tax deadline for most taxpayers was April 18th, 2017. If for some reason your client missed the deadline without filing an extension, here are some helpful hints about what to do next.
File and Pay: For a client who owes tax, let them know they should file and pay as soon and as much as possible to minimize penalties and interest charges.
File Electronically: E-file is the safest, easiest and most accurate way to file a tax return. The IRS will send electronic confirmation when it receives the tax return and issues nine out of ten refunds in less than 21 days.
Installment Agreement: Those who need more time to pay taxes can apply for a direct debit installment agreement, Form 9465. To find that form on the Taxware Systems software, go to the Individual Tax program, Forms and Schedules line  Installment Agreement and fill out the information there.
Refunds: File as soon as possible to get a refund. Clients who are not required to file may still get a refund if they had taxes withheld from wages or they qualified for certain credits such as Earned Income Tax Credit. Those who don’t file their return within three years could lose their right to the refund.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us!
If a client coming to your office receives a notice or letter from the IRS, your client might come to you for help, and you need to know how to respond. Here are some tips should your clients get a notice from the IRS.
Do NOT Ignore It: In most cases, notices from the agency can be addressed quickly and easily. It is important that the client replies right away if a reply is needed.
Follow Instructions: Read the notice carefully. It will tell you if the client needs to take action. The notices are usually quite specific about an issue with a tax return or account. The letter should give you the reason for the contact and instructions on how to handle the issue.
Correction Notices: If the IRS has made corrections to your client’s tax return, make sure to review the information provided by the agency and compare it to the original tax return. If the client agrees with the changes and there is no payment owed, there is nothing else that needs to be done. If your client does not agree with the changes, it is important that they respond. Follow the instructions on the notice for the best way to respond to the IRS.
The Premium Tax Credit: The IRS may send a letter asking your client to clarify or verify their Premium Tax Credit information. The letter may ask for a copy of Form 1095-A, a Health Insurance Marketplace Statement. You should follow the instructions on the letter. This will help the agency verify information and issue the appropriate refund.
No Need to Visit: Most notices can be resolved without visiting the IRS in person. If questions arise, call the phone number provided on the notice. Have a copy of the tax return and the notice when you call. Also, make sure to keep a copy of the notice along with the client’s tax records.
Watch Out for Scams: Don’t be fooled by people claiming to be the IRS through calls or emails; the IRS will contact you through postal mail first, not by phone. Be aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through email, text or social media.
For more tips and information about notices, please visit
We are consistently busy in the tax industry, and as a tax professional, just as you get over one hurdle you are prepping for another. April 18th will be here before long, but don’t be caught unawares. Here are some tips to help you wrap up a successful season.
Keep Records Safe: Store client data, paper tax returns and supporting documents in securely locked areas. Make sure to also have strong computer passwords to protect client information and be sure to back up your data daily on an external hard drive in case of disaster such as flood, fire or power outage.
Stay Informed: Here at Taxware Systems we want to make sure our clients are informed and up-to-date, not just with our software but with the tax industry in general. After tax season ends, we suggest checking emails, program updates and the IRS website for important information throughout the off season.
Deadlines: While the business returns and extensions deadline passed on March 15th, there is still time to prepare for the individual extensions by April 18th. Remind your clients not to wait until last minute to file and to bring all applicable documentation to their tax appointment.
Extensions: Make sure to file individual extensions by April 18th. If a payment needs to be made with the extension, you can do that by going to Forms and Schedules and filling out  Form 4868. Keep in mind that extensions allow the client more time to file, not time to pay. An extension will allow six months for the client to file.
Questions? Feel free to contact us!
At Taxware Systems, we want to help you get tax returns processed quickly and efficiently. Here are the top questions we’ve received during tax season and their answers.
Q: The 8863 amount is not appearing on the 1040! What’s going on?
A: The IRS has added new due diligence requirements recently, not just for Earned Income Credit but also for the American Opportunity Credit and Child Tax credits. The new due diligence can be found in the top left hand corner of the 1040 Line Input, line  Due Diligence with a red X if it is required. The questions that need to be answered will be in red. Once the questions are filled out, the box will have a green check mark if the client qualifies.
Q: How do I delete a form?
A: To delete a form that you do not need, simply go to Forms and Schedules and click  Clear Forms. Double click on the form that you do not need and it will disappear from the list.
Q: How do I e-File?
A: If you are using the A2A system, our standard way of e-filing, you can do that by clicking on  E-File in the Summary Menu. Then go to  Print 8879. After the 8879 is printed, the A2A E-File button will light up. Click on the button and a prompt will ask if you want to transmit. Click yes and that is all you need to do. You can check the status of the return by clicking on line  ELF Tracker from the main menu.
Q: When I make a change to my preparer or ERO information, it doesn’t reflect on the tax return…
A: Preparer and ERO information are set up outside of your tax returns and are often set up as defaults. To reflect a change made in the ERO or preparer information after starting a tax return, simply re-select the ERO or preparer on lines  and  of the basic information for that return.
If you have other questions, please feel free to contact us!
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