10 February Update

Most sites kicked off their season this past week. The first week is always challenging and this year was no exception. We received a few questions/comments, so today’s post responds to those.

Schedule C. The IRS released guidance on the QBI deduction and any returns you were holding pending that can now be efiled — but be sure to reopen each return to ensure the calculations are updated. There are two very useful documents in the Volunteer Portal libraries for sites preparing Schedule Cs – Schedule C Guidelines Release 3 and the QBI Deduction Update.

Rejects.  Any ERO who gets an IRS Reject R0000-905-01 should notify his/her DC immediately so we can get it resolved.

Health Care.  A taxpayer who has health care coverage or a valid exemption for all months without insurance is considered to have full-time coverage – so you should check that box in the federal health insurance section.  You no longer need to file a Form 8965 if the taxpayer has a valid exemption for all months without health care coverage, but be sure to document this on the taxpayer’s Intake sheet.

Massachusetts Estimated Payment Vouchers.  You can find the Massachusetts estimated payment vouchers in the State section, under Miscellaneous Forms.  Be sure the click “Yes” in the first drop down menu, otherwise the forms won’t print.

Pub 17 (2018) and Massachusetts Form 1 NR/PY (2018) Instructions have been posted online. Links to these are on the Reference Materials page.

The DOR hasn’t approved the printed forms (Form 1, etc) — that’s why they’re still watermarked “Do Not Mail.”  We have not heard when they will be approved.

Print Sets

We’ve been getting some questions about print sets.

We are not setting up a standard Massachusetts print set for TY2018.  There are four print sets incorporated into the TaxSlayer system: Quality Review, 2018 Taxpayer Copy Print, 2018 Paper File Copy, and PY Taxpayer Copy Print that are sufficient for most situations.

  • Quality Review is used for the QR process at a site.
  • 2018 Taxpayer Copy Print is the standard package to print a file copy of a return for a taxpayer.  It includes a “stacked” version of the 1040 (both pages on a single sheet of paper) and all six schedules (Schedules 1-3 on one page, 4-6 on another).
  • 2018 Paper File Copy is the print set to be used if the taxpayer needs to mail in his/her return.  The 1040 and Schedules 1-6 are printed on separate pieces of paper as required by the IRS.  Remind the taxpayer that they shouldn’t cut the pieces of paper down to smaller size than a standard 8.5 x 11 pieces of paper.
  • PY Taxpayer Copy Print is the print set to be used to prior year returns.

Individual sites can, but are not required to, set up their own custom print sets.

If a site sets up its own custom print set, please remember that, per AARP Foundation Tax-Aide guidelines, all custom print sets must include the three consent forms (grouped together and titled Custom Consent(s) in the print set menu) in the print set.

 

 

Updated TY2018 Information

We just added some updated documents in the reference material tab.

  • Mass Manual Addendum – January 2019 This augments the Oct 2018 version of the manual
  • Massachusetts Tax-Aide Scope TY2018  This document augments the national level scope document that is available on the Volunteer Portal (libraries tab) with Massachusetts unique requirements.
  • Massachusetts TaxSlayer Intake and Manual Entry Worksheet (24 Jan 2019) This is a tool with three purposes: serve as a Massachusetts Intake Sheet, ensure preparers make the required Massachusetts manual entries, and track the Massachusetts taxability of the taxpayer’s IRA distributions.  It’s useful to fill this out for each taxpayer, then use the Worksheet to complete the Massachusetts return and do the required quality review. When complete, it should be included in the taxpayer’s envelope with the other tax documents.
  • Taxable IRA Distribution Worksheet for MFJ Returns  (24 Jan 2019)  This is a tool track the taxability of a taxpayer and spouse’s IRA distributions.  It only needs to be used if it’s a MFJ return and both taxpayer and spouse took IRA distributions and each contributed to an IRA while Massachusetts residents. When complete, it should be included in the taxpayer’s envelope with the other tax documents
  • Worksheet to Calculate the Taxability of 2017 State Refunds that include a Circuit Breaker Credit (21 Jan 2019)  This worksheet should be used to determine the taxability of a 2017 Massachusetts refund that includes a Circuit Breaker Credit.  See the worksheet for the conditions when this is required. When complete, it should be included in the taxpayer’s envelope with the other tax documents
  • Massachusetts Optional Sales Tax Tables  These tables are excerpts from the 2017 and 2018 1040 Schedule A Instructions  — but in a much larger font.

Massachusetts updated the Lowest Cost Bronze and Second Lowest Cost Silver Plan calculators for TY2018. See the right hand sidebar for a direct link to these. You will need these if you need to do an affordability calculation on the federal return when the taxpayer(s) do not have full year health insurance or another exemption.

Massachusetts updated the Schedule HC instructions with new Massachusetts health insurance affordability guidelines.  Not only are the numbers in Tables 1-4 updated, the assignments of counties to regions in Table 4 has changed as well. So a heads up if you need to do these calculations.

if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please let us know.

TaxSlayer Online Configuration

The Setup Guide for TaxSlayer Pro Online (TSO) – TY2018 was just posted to the Tax-Aide volunteer portal libraries.  All site administrators should download and review the document carefully.  Even if you are continuing from last year, it’s important to verify that your configuration is correct because things have changed.

All administrators (returning and new) should have access to their software now — if not, please let us know immediately.

The only configuration item we are pushing down from the state level is the custom credit asking about the Circuit Breaker (this is the same as last year).

Individual administrators must add questions to identify the quality reviewer and site at which the return was prepared (only for those sites working together under one license).

We are not creating a Massachusetts unique print set – those that are built in (quality review and taxpayer copy) should be adequate for most needs. However, administrators can create custom print sets if they so choose.

Workbook Answer Key and New Worksheet

We just posted two new documents:

An updated Massachusetts TaxSlayer Worksheet (2018) (found in the Reference Material tab) to capture those items that require special Massachusetts treatment. The worksheet is dated 14 January 2019.

The 2018 answer key for the Massachusetts basic, intermediate, and comprehensive returns (found in the Volunteers Only tab), which is also dated 14 January 2019.  Thanks to those who helped validate the answer key…..it was a lot of work to complete all 21 problems after TaxSlayer released the Massachusetts software on 3 January and we really appreciate those who helped out.

Updated Documents Posted

We posted two updated documents today.

  1. Massachusetts TaxSlayer Worksheet TY2018.  [Found in the Reference Material tab]  This is a tool with three purposes: serve as a Massachusetts Intake Sheet, ensure preparers make the required Massachusetts manual entries, and track the Massachusetts taxability of the taxpayer’s IRA distributions.  It’s useful to fill this out for each taxpayer, then use the Worksheet to complete the Massachusetts return and do the required quality review. It should be included in the taxpayer’s envelope with the other tax documents.  Please note that once we see the final version of Massachusetts 2018 software, we might need to make additional changes.
  2. Massachusetts Training Workbook Answer Key (TSO2017).  [Found in the Volunteers Only tab]  The answer key for the Burns and Hudson problems was corrected to move the MA Bank Interest entry, form 1, line 5a, from Burns to Hudson. This was a typo and the answer was entered in the wrong column of the spreadsheet.

If you have any comments on the Worksheet, training practice problems, or answer key – please let us know. Note that we are drafting an errata and clarification sheet for the practice problems.  You can always reach up by commenting on this post (comments are not published) or via the contact us tab.