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.

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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.

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Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft

Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return to get a refund. This is a major issue that the IRS is trying to address, but they cannot win this fight alone. There are steps that you both as a taxpayer and a business owner can take to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.

How to Reduce Your Risk

  • Use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Also, use strong passwords and routinely change them.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  • Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure that your tax documents are secure.

If you believe you are a victim of tax identity theft, look for these red flags:

  • More than one tax return has been filed using your SSN.
  • You owe additional tax, your refund is offset or collection actions have been taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicate that you received wages or other income from an employer that you did not work for.

If you do become a victim of identity theft:

  • File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
  • Contact a major credit bureau, such as Equifax, Experian or TransUnion to place a fraud alert on your records.
  • Contact your financial institutions and close all accounts that were opened without your permission or tampered with by thieves.

If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of Tax Identity Theft, the IRS recommends:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice, and make sure to follow the directions on the notice. Messages and notices from the IRS will come through postal mail, not through email or phone calls.
  • Fill out Form 14039, the Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must paper file the return rather than e-File.
  • IP PINs: If you are a confirmed ID theft victim, the IRS may issue an IP PIN. The IP PIN is a unique six-digit number that you will use to e-File your tax return. Each year you will receive an IRS letter with a new IP PIN.

With your help, the IRS stopped 1.4 million confirmed ID theft returns and protected $8.7 billion in 2015. In the past couple of years, more than 2,000 people have been convicted of filing fraudulent ID theft returns. As taxpayers and tax professionals, let us do our part to help combat identity theft.

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Taxware Systems’ Bill of Rights

At Taxware Systems, we want you, the tax professional, to have all of the resources available that we can provide. We believe that you have certain rights and privileges you should be entitled to.

  1. The Right to Be Informed: At Taxware Systems, we are honest with you. We don’t just want to sell– we want to build a relationship with you. We want to make sure you know what’s going on not only with us and our software, but also what’s happening with the tax industry in general. As the tax laws change and programs are updated, we want to help you through the unknown.
  2. The Right to Quality Service: You deserve quality service, which means prompt, courteous and professional assistance. Here at Taxware, we have experienced support teams that take care of not just our software programs, but our people. We know that our clients are the reason we’re in business, and we thank you for that by having quality support ready to assist. Our sales representatives and tech support are here to help our clients finish their toughest returns and get their hardest questions answered.
  3. The Right to Be Heard: Everyone deserves to be heard and treated with respect, and at Taxware Systems we do our best to take our clients suggestions and concerns and implement or fix them in a timely manner. Even during peak tax time, we are working hard to make the program better and finding ways to make the tax season easier and more successful for our clients.
  4. The Right to Security: Taxware Systems has been in business since 1979, and even as we continue to grow, we have never bought or sold to another tax software company. We are based in southern California, and we do not rely on overseas support to help our clients. Client data is always confidential, and will never be shared or used for selling purposes.
  5. The Right to Resources: From tech support to online tutorials, videos and emails, we at Taxware Systems want you to learn how to use our programs so that you are comfortable and ready for the tax season. We have many kinds of training available, and we are here for you. If you have questions or need help, just ask!

Want to Learn More? Check out our video!

sales@taxwaresystems.com

1-800-877-1065

Tax Insanity: Taxware Systems Can Help

The definition of insanity is an interesting one; some people might say insanity is staying up until all hours of the night doing something that you enjoy. Another group might say insanity is having the courage to do something others are too timid to try.

Admit it, most of us fit into one or both of these categories, but when it comes to tax preparation business, we need to think seriously about another, more troubling type of insanity– doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result–and how it affects your office as a tax professional.

One example of this insanity would be being willing to wait three hours for technical support over the phone. Many times as I have gone to trade shows and various events, tax professionals have told me that it is too hard to change because it is time consuming or they are already too familiar with their old program, but in the same breath the preparers say they suffer from slow tech support who have them hold for three hours or more or never get a call back. With Taxware Systems, you will never be waiting on the phone for hours. Even in peak tax times you will always get an answer and be greeted with courteous, fast and friendly service. Added Bonus: In the same three hours that tax professionals are on hold with tech support from other companies, preparers can learn the Taxware Systems user-friendly software.

Another example of tax insanity would be pricing. While vendors often sell their software at a heavily reduced price or even give out their software for free, the question arises, “How are they making money?” The answer: hidden fees that you could be paying. They make their money in many different ways, including bank product fees, e-File fees, bank technology and support fees, among others. Added Bonus: Taxware Systems is proud to be one of the few, if not the only, tax software company that does not charge bank transmission, bank technology, support or other hidden fees.

One last example would be struggling with software. I have heard from several tax preparers that they don’t want to switch because they don’t want to figure out a new program, and yet these same tax professionals struggle because the program that they have does not have everything they need or they do not like how certain forms or schedules work with their current software. Here’s a tip: There’s nothing wrong with taking time to learn something new, and even though change can be scary, Taxware Systems will be there to help you through the learning curve. The program and our support team can take you from the beginning of a tax return to e-filing and printing. With our fast, user-friendly software and helpful tech support, you can’t lose. Added Bonus: Thanks to our brilliant team of programmers, we are taking a great program and making it better! With a brand new client grid, live preview of forms and schedules and side by side Taxware Systems and IRS validation among other features being tested in 2016, the improved software is bound to get returns done faster and you on your way to things you want to do.

So, instead of tax insanity and business anxiety, why don’t you give us at Taxware Systems a try? With our fantastic client support, no extra fees and a great program, we can help you have a wonderful tax season and beyond.

To find out more, give us a call at 1-800-877-1065 or email us at sales@taxwaresystems.com and we would be happy to help you!

Click here to check out our video!

5 Ways Taxware Systems Helps Tax Professionals

Running a business, especially a tax preparation business, can be daunting. Whether you’re a small office with a high volume of returns or a large service bureau with complex returns, or a combination of both, Taxware Systems is here to help.

Here are 5 ways we at Taxware Systems can help your business grow:

  1. Reduce Cost

Many software vendors offer their software for free, but they will be making their money in other ways: bank products, e-File fees, support fees and fees in the fine print of your contract are just a few examples. Taxware Systems is proud to be one of the few, if not the only, tax software company that does not charge bank transmission, support, or any “other” fees. The money that you are spending to get other vendors’ software for free will go directly to you, the tax professional.

2. Reduce Time

Taxware’s intuitive dual entry software decreases the amount of time it takes to complete a tax return, but it doesn’t stop there. With a brand new client grid, live preview of forms and schedules and side by side Taxware Systems and IRS validation being tested in 2016, the improved software is bound to get returns done faster and get you on your way to doing things you want to do.

3. Sanity

January through April is a crazy time for us in the tax industry. That’s why we at Taxware Systems have knowledgeable, confident technical support to help you answer questions on your toughest returns. You will not be waiting hours on the phone to get a live person; even our sales representatives are trained in technical support for greater customer satisfaction.

4. Security

Taxware Systems has been in business since 1979, and has never bought or sold to another tax software company. We are based in southern California, and even as our name spreads across the United States, we do not rely on overseas support to help our clients. We have one-on-one relationships with our clients and make sure that everyone is informed and up-to-date.

5. Ease of Use

Taxware Systems prides itself on a fast, user-friendly software. The software walks you through the beginning of a tax return all the way through e-filing and printing. Networking? Not a problem. Our staff can help you choose the best option for your needs. We also have free training and online tutorials to get your office up and running for the tax season and beyond.

Want to Learn More? Email or call us at

sales@taxwaresystems.com

1-800-877-1065

New Features Have Arrived!

The Taxware Systems software is being upgraded! Thanks to our brilliant team of programmers, we’ve taken a great program and made it better. We are really excited to show you some of the brand new features, including:

  • Brand new client grid: All the information you need in one place!
  • Adjustable screen size with a modern, clean look
  • Live preview of the form you are working on
  • Side by side Taxware Systems and IRS e-File validation

We also have…

  • No technology fees
  • No e-File federal or state tax return fees
  • All-inclusive package
  • The fastest, most practical program on the market

Click here to watch the video!

Questions? Email or call us at 

sales@taxwaresystems.com

1-800-877-1065

Top 5 Taxware Systems Tech Questions

Here at Taxware Systems, we want to help you finish your toughest returns quickly. To do that, we went straight to the source, our great tech support crew, to get your questions answered.

Q: How do I get acknowledgements?

A: Using the A2A system, acknowledgements can be retrieved using Get Acks from the Individual Tax Menu. After selecting Get Acks, the program will connect to the A2A server and download the acknowledgements. At this point you will be prompted by the program to print the acknowledgements. *For step by step instructions regarding IFA acknowledgements, please see the e-File tutorial found here: http://www.taxwaresystems.com/videos.html.

Q: How do I reprint acknowledgements?

A: You can reprint acknowledgements from the ELF Tracker. Once the Tracking Report is open, select the client whose acknowledgement you would like to reprint. The client’s detailed e-File information will be displayed on the right hand side, under the Expanded Information heading. Select the Fed Ack Name field. A button will appear on the right hand side of the field. Clicking the button will present a prompt to reprint the acknowledgement. The process is the same for state acknowledgements, except you will select the corresponding State Ack Name field.

Q: Where can I see the status of my e-Filed return?

A: We recommend always using the ELF Tracker on the Individual Tax Main Menu to track the status of your e-Filed returns.

Q: Where did my data go?

A: Check your data path in Data Folder on the Individual Tax Main Menu to ensure you have the correct data path. We recommend that you keep the default data paths that are already set up in the program, but if you are networking or have changed them, make sure to talk to your network administrator to find out what data path you are using.

Q: What does this rejection mean?

A: Go to the Summary Menu in the Individual Tax program and Validity Checks. If the indicator is red, it means that the return is likely to reject because of errors in places like basic information. If the indicator is yellow, it means that there are warnings that you should probably look into, but may not be immediately rejected, such as missing preparer information or missing state information.

Double click on the error that you see in the list and you will be directed to the form or schedule where the error was found. Once the error is fixed, it will disappear from the list in the Summary Menu. Continue down the list until your validity indicator is green. Once the indicator is green, the software has not detected any further errors.

Have More Questions? Please feel free to call our tech support team at 1-800-877-1065 and ask for any available technician. We would be happy to help you!

Bank Products and How They Work

Bank products, or refund transfers, can be confusing at times. Here at Taxware Systems, we want to make sure that the options available are clear to you as a tax professional. Bank products can be used as a tool to help you gain more clients, expand your business by offering more services and ultimately make you more money.

What is a bank product/refund transfer?

A bank product/refund transfer is a service that allows you, the tax professional, the option of having your preparation fees taken out of the client’s refund.

How does it work?

Money is routed from the IRS to the Refund Settlement Bank of your choosing, and then the bank distributes your preparation fees directly to you, the tax professional. Simultaneously, the bank issues the taxpayer’s refund via check, direct deposit, or prepaid card.

Are bank products mandatory?

No, but it can be a great option for your office and your clients.

How does it benefit me, the tax professional?

A bank product ensures you, the tax professional, will receive your preparation fees. It will also help you expand your business by offering more services than other offices, and free up your time to focus on gaining more clients rather than collecting payments. In addition, it will give you the opportunity to make more money.

How does it benefit my client, the taxpayer?

The bank product service makes paying for tax preparation fees that much easier. With this service, taxpayers that can’t afford to or don’t want to pay upfront for your services can still get their taxes done in your office.

How much do bank product services cost?

Contact the Refund Settlement Banks, as their disbursement fees may vary. Taxware Systems is proud to be one of the few, if not the only, tax software company that does not charge bank transmission, bank technology, service bureau or any “other” fees. The only cost is the refund settlement processing fee from the bank.

Which banks does Taxware Systems integrate with?

We integrate with Santa Barbara (SBTPG), Refund Advantage and River City Tax Division. For more information, please contact Taxware Systems at 1-800-877-1065 or the banks directly.

Santa Barbara (SBTPG):                  Refund Advantage:                                River City Tax Division

https://www.sbtpg.com/       https://www.refund-advantage.com    http://www.rcbral.com/

1-800-779-7228                           1-866-876-6648                                            1-270-547-5151

Have More Questions? Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-877-1065 and we would be happy to help you!

 

 

“What Does this Rejection Mean?” Reading Schema Validations

Have you ever wondered why your return is rejecting but your numbers and amounts are correct? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to read schema validations in the Taxware Systems software program.

To Read Schema:

  • Go to the Summary Menu page and Validity Checks. If the indicator is red, it means that the return is likely to reject.
  • Click on Validity Checks. Any errors picked up by the software 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.
  • Double click on an error in the list, and you will be directed to the page where the error was found. Once the error is fixed, the error will disappear from the list. Continue down the list until the validity indicator is green. Once the indicator is green, the software has not detected further errors, and you should be able to transmit the return.

To Read the X-Path:

On the validation page where the list of errors is located, click on the right hand top corner “Federal” or “Sate”. This is another type of validation called the X-Path.

Validation Error: The element ‘PreparerUSAddress’ in namespace ‘http://www.irs.gov/efile’ has incomplete content. List of possible elements expected: ‘AddressLine1Txt’ in namespace ‘http://www.irs.gov/efile’.

XPath: Return\ReturnHeader\PaidPreparerInformationGrp\PreparerUSAddress\
Location of error: Line number 40 at position 28.

The validation error in this example is saying that the preparer address is incomplete. To read the XPath shown above, you see that the information is in the Return (Tax Return), Return Header/Preparer Information Group (The preparer information is where the error is located generally), and preparer U.S. address (The preparer information where the error is actually located).

Once the error is found and fixed, the error will disappear from the error list, and then you can continue down the list until your validation indicator is green. When the indicator is green, you should be able to transmit the return.

Have More Questions? Please feel free to call 1-800-877-1065 and ask for any available technician.