Massachusetts Update – Week 7

Last week didn’t start out well, with the TaxSlayer outage last Monday that affected preparation of state returns. Fortunately, it cleared by Monday afternoon, but we’re well aware of the impact it had at your sites.

Helpful tips of the day (thanks to those sending them in).

  • TaxSlayer does NOT carry forward any federal or state TY2016 refund that was applied to the taxpayer’s TY2017 liability.  You need to enter these manually on the “Payments and Estimates” menu.  See the NTTC version of 4012, page H-32.
  • It’s easy to fall into the trap of “over-itemizing.”  Taxpayers bring in all sorts of information for itemized deductions, but their federal/state income is below the level where it helps them. Always take a look at their income (federal and state) to see if it makes sense to itemize BEFORE you do so (unless they’re required to itemize such as some MFS returns).  They may be disappointed you don’t use the information, but explaining the rationale usually helps.

The end of the season if fast approaching… we’ll have the state wrap-up meeting of District Coordinators the first week of May.  In preparing for that meeting, we’re looking for feedback in two areas:

  • What specific changes would you like to see in TaxSlayer, focusing on Massachusetts returns, for next year?  We’ll be submitting our prioritized recommendations to National in May and we’ll be using the state meeting to finalize the list.  So please send your ideas to your local and/or district coordinators so we have time to prepare and prioritize the list.
  • How can we improve training for next year?  Do we need more practice problems, problems that cover different aspects of tax law, more insight into tax law itself?  Again, please send your ideas to your local and/or district coordinators.

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