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… 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.

New Information Available

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue recently published the 2018 Draft Form 1 instructions.  We’ve added a link on the Reference Material page.  The instructions include information about the impact of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – so that’s useful for everyone to read.

Tax-Aide has posted its Tax-Aide Scope Manual for Tax Year 2018. Volunteers can find this in the volunteer portal library. Note that this is subject to update. All Tax-Aide sites should have a copy of the Scope Manual available (hardcopy or electronic).

TaxSlayer has been updating its software as additional forms are approved by the IRS. Please remember to check their blog frequently for information about these updates and any associated issues.


IRS Form 6744 – VITA/TCE Volunteer Assistor’s Test/Retest

The IRS issued a correction/clarification for Advanced Scenario 8, Roberta Wilson.  Please make the following pen and ink changes to page 87 of your document or print this corrected page 87 and replace the original.

Product Alert:

Purpose: Notify employees, partners, and volunteers of errors identified with Advanced test, Scenario 8 – Roberta Wilson.

Issue: The following changes were made to the Interview Notes in the Advanced test, Scenario 8 – Roberta Wilson.

Changed from: Roberta claimed EIC for Jacob 2 years ago, but he only lived with her for two months and the credit was disallowed.

Changed to: Roberta claimed EIC for Jacob on her 2015 tax return, but he only lived with her for two months and the credit was disallowed.

Changed from: Roberta had wage income of $45,000 in 2018.

Changed to: Roberta had wage income of $35,000 in 2018.

Use the updated information in order to respond accurately to the test questions for this scenario. Corrections are already reflected in the Link & Learn certification test.

IRS E-File System

The IRS announced their annual Modernized e-file system shut down to enable them to perform maintenance and reprogram the system for the upcoming tax-season.  See the release here.  The system will be shut down for all e-filing on 17 Nov 2018.

If you need to e-file any returns (tax years 2017, 2016, or 2015) – the taxpayer must paper file them after 17 Nov 2018 until the system is re-opened (no date announced).