This message is from John Woods, State Coordinator.
Over the past 24 hours I have spoken to many of the district coordinators about the season in general and the ACA crisis in particular. Quite frankly, I have no more hard data than any of you do. However, here is my take and my advice.
Reading between the lines, I believe a problem with handling the ACA was introduced last Wed. Initially some combination of TaxSlayer, IRS, and the National Office thought it would be quickly resolved, and focused on doing that, and did not broadly communicate the issue. On Monday it became clear that at least some portion of the problem had not been resolved. At which point everyone realized the problem we are all seeing was rapidly expanding. Thus yesterday’s “emergency stop filing ACA” bulletin. My best guess is they do not have a great handle on exactly when it is working and when it is not. I have no doubt they are working hard to determine that and to also develop fixes.
My advice for now, is hold all returns which involve ACA. Advise clients, with ACA that their returns will be held for a few days while corrections to the ACA software are being made and that you will notify them if after those corrections are made their return is materially affected.
I would not spend much effort going back in to returns presently held, or filed in the interim period right now. I expect it will be much easier to analyze them in a few days, when we get a better description of what exactly the problems are.
A few sites are hand checking the ACA calculation, and if accurate on the paper return, paper filing. That is permitted, but may not be better than waiting on a correction , which will be no doubt forth coming.
With respect to the frustration you are experiencing I share it. I admire the restraint most of you have shown, in voicing it, recognizing that for the rest of this season, nothing big is going to change. Nothing strategic from the top can be implemented quickly enough to make a difference. While we will get support at the margin, such as the analysis of the ACA issue, what successes we have are going to come site by site working through the issues return by return. I admire your tenacity.
Thanks for all you do for TaxAide and especially all you do for our clients.
John Woods, State Coordinator Massachusetts Tax-Aide