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… 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.

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 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).