John Woods, the State Coordinator, has provided the following guidance to Massachusetts AARP-Tax Aide volunteers:
Starting Date: We continue to recommend delaying the start of your season until at least Feb. 7th. Over the next week, we will be filing a limited number of returns to identify problems that exist in the production system that we could not detect with Practice Lab.
The Big Three: Over the past several weeks TaxSlayer has made progress against the three critical problems we identified last summer, for which we had no workaround. However, as of today, it is still not possible to create an accurate MA return for taxpayers who have the CB Credit. CB Credit returns should be put on hold until TaxSlayer corrects this problem. We will let everyone know as soon as the problem is fixed.
Disabled Returns: The problems with Code 3 disability payments appear to have been successfully corrected and now transfer to the state return correctly with no special action required.
Due Diligence: As volunteers helping Taxpayers prepare their return, we are not required to fill out the Due Diligence forms. However, the software requires those forms to be filled out to file the return. Suggested answers to the questions are supplied on the MA Website and on One Support. The answers are probably not too critical as I am told TaxSlayer intends to strip those forms from the returns before sending to the IRS. It is recommended, however, that those forms be removed from the print packets given to client, so there can be no confusion that the client is entirely responsible for the data of the return, and we are not taking responsibility for verifying it.
E-Filing: We have experienced a number of issues with E-Filing. In some cases the E-File is created but will not file. The occurs most commonly if Taxable Income (line 43) is zero (Deductions, Exemptions and Credits greater than AGI). We have found if one selects the rather counter intuitive “Mail Payment” for return type, even though there is no payment to be mailed, one can then E-File it.
For the equivalent issue with the state, select “Electronically filed return/payment mailed via check”.
Split Refunds: If one does a split refund on a federal return, depositing the refund into two or more different accounts, that is not picked up on the state return. The entire state refund fund is deposited into the first account listed.
4012 Update: The NTTC has issued a modified version of their annotated Pub 4012 (version 4 dated 1/28/2017). You can also find it in the Reference Material page under the AARP Tax-Aide header. If a Local Coordinator determines it would be valuable, he/she can have a copy made for the site and expense it.
MA Residents with RI income: It is not possible to prepare an accurate return for MA residents with RI wages. This relates to ability to take credit for RI TDI (similar to SDI). There is a report this was fixed but it has not been verified.