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Thursday, October 30, 2014

2 things to do before we ship your TaxWise® 2014 software next month

1. Confirm your shipping address to avoid delivery delays 
Log in to the TaxWise Solution Center as an ADMIN user and click on the My Information tab to view your account information, including your Shipping Address.
a) If your shipping address is correct; no action is required.

b) If your shipping address is not correct, it must be updated on this screen by November 7th for the Nov shipment to deliver to your correct address.
We offer helpful resources if you need assistance logging in or
updating your information:
Instructions to reset your TaxWise Solution Center password
Quick Guide on Updating Account Information Online

ReminderYour account information must be maintained by you; Customer Care cannot modify your account information. Only Administrator (ADMIN) user roles can edit account information for main and sub-offices.

2. Verify that your computer meets the 2014 system requirements.
The minimum system requirements for TaxWise have changed so we encourage you to review them to ensure your computer meets the new requirements. The changes include:
  • Windows XP is no longer supported. The minimum system requirement for TaxWise 2014 is Windows Vista, though we recommend Windows 7 64-bit. TaxWise 2014 is also compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
  • Shipments of TaxWise 2014 will feature installation DVDs rather than CDs, which enables you to access all of our products on a single DVD. You can also download TaxWise 2014 from the TaxWise Solution Center.
If you need to upgrade your computer, CCH Small Firm Services has partnered with Dell to offer TaxWise customers discounted pricing on computers, accessories, and memory upgrades. Access the Dell offers here
The TaxWise 2014 software DVD includes access to our entire suite of software, including Client Accounting SuitePayroll Compliance Reporting and PaperlessPLUS. If you are not currently taking advantage of these integrated products with your tax preparation software, we invite you to evaluate them for free when you receive your software package to experience how they can benefit your business.

Bank Product and Fee Collect ending dates


(revised for new EFC stop date of Nov 3 and new TPG end date of Nov 1)

The banks' published ending dates are shown below.

The EFC stops sending efiles to IRS usually mid-November for 1040 and December for business, in conjunction with the IRS' preparation for the new filing year.   We will still allow you to retrieve acks past those dates.  IRS has not yet announced start dates for January efile, but we will update this blog as soon as those dates are finalized.


Republic Bank:  10/22/2014
                            rejected apps may be fixed and sent until Nov 3rd                        
Last day for Site Printed Checks:  5/31/2014
ACH Direct Deposits: 12/31/2014                               
Check Stale date:  checks expire 90 days after they are printed, or 6/30 for ones printed at ERO locations.  Once we start printing on 6/1 then its 90 days from print day or 12-31. 

TPG, 3Fund and FeeCollect: Ended Oct 20. We had posted a new TPG end date of Nov 1st, however the software will not allow you to efile the return.  There is a diagnostic stop in the return that will not allow efiles to be created at this point.  To change the software to allow the new TPG deadline of Nov 1 would require a software update that we could not get programmed/tested/deployed in time for the Nov 1st deadline.
                            rejected apps may be fixed and sent until Nov 3rd                        
Last day for Site Printed Checks:  10/31/2014
ACH Direct Deposits:    12/31/2014                           
Check Stale date:  90 days after printed date

Advent: 10/31/2014                        
Last day for Site Printed Checks:  12/1/2014 (option to change over to bank print)
ACH Direct Deposits:  10/31/2014                            
Check Stale date:  12/31/2014

River City Bank: 12/05/2014 **however, our EFC stops accepting apps 11/03/2014  
Last day for Site Printed Checks: 06/13/2014 
ACH Direct Deposits:  process manually throughout the year
Check Stale date:  June 16th

REFUND ADVANTAGE: 12/24/2014 **however, our EFC stops accepting apps 11/03/2014 
Last day for Site Printed Checks:   12/12/2014
ACH Direct Deposits: 12/24/2014                               
Check Stale date:   12/31/2014



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Louisiana- system upgrade Oct 27-Nov 5

LA Dept of Revenue notified vendors of their planned system upgrade.
The upgrade began Oct 27 at 5pm and ends Wednesday Nov 5.
During this timeframe, efiled returns and payments can be submitted, but will not be processed.  No acks will be sent until the upgrade is complete.  Returns and payments submitted during the upgrade will be credited with the original submission date once processing resumes Nov 5th.

TaxWise customers should continue efiling LA returns as normal, with no acks returned until after Nov 5th.


Monday, October 27, 2014

CCH Weekly Report -tax extenders Oct. 27, 2014)


CCH Weekly Report -tax extenders Oct. 27, 2014)

Tax extenders headlined the news during the week as 2015 looms with no action by Congress on the many popular but now expired tax breaks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicated that he wants to hold a vote on a package of expiring tax provisions as soon as the 114th Congress convenes in January if the GOP wins control of the Senate in the November elections. In other news, cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that affect pension plan dollar limitations and other retirement-related provisions effective January 1, 2015, were released by the IRS.

Congress

A proposal from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., to require a five-year spend down for donor-advised funds (DAF) could be modified before it is included in tax extender legislation (TAXDAY, 2014/10/24, C.2). According to a GOP staffer speaking before the D.C. Bar Taxation Section on October 21, lawmakers are concerned about the appearance of asset parking, and whether DAF managers or donors have actual control of investments. Camp’s plan includes a 20-percent excise tax on contributions that are not distributed within five years.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants to hold a vote on a package of expiring tax provisions as soon as the 114th Congress convenes in January, (TAXDAY, 2014/10/22, C.3). McConnell is optimistic that Republicans will hold the majority in the Senate following the elections and wants a clean slate to start the next session if he takes over as Senate majority leader. GOP legislators on several occasions have expressed the desire to add more business tax provisions to the extenders package and makes some provisions, such as the research tax credit, permanent. The lame-duck session, however, may not provide sufficient time to make changes and have it approved in time by lawmakers. Democrats would prefer to pass the extenders package approved by the Senate Finance Committee.


Treasury

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued reports finding:

Improvements are needed to successfully plan and deliver the new Taxpayer Advocate Service Integrated System (TASIS) (Ref. No. 2014-20-071; TAXDAY, 2014/10/24, T.2). The current automated tools that Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) employees rely on are obsolete, and the multiple technology platforms are costly and ineffective, according to TIGTA.

The Safeguarding Personally Identifiable Information Data Extracts (SPIIDE) Project team at the IRS continues to face challenges to timely implementation of the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutionRef. No. 2014-30-087 ; TAXDAY, 2014/10/22, T.1). TIGTA recommended that stronger management oversight is needed to ensure that the DLP solution meets its scheduled December 31, 2014 implementation date.

IRS

401(k) Plan Guidance/Target Date Funds. The IRS issued guidance enabling Code Sec. 401(k) retirement plans to offer target date funds that include deferred unallocated annuities, even if the funds containing the annuities are limited to employees over a specified age (Notice 2014-66, TDNR JL-2673; TAXDAY, 2014/10/27, I.1). Plans may use such target date funds either as a default or as a regular investment alternative.

The IRS provided interim guidance for determining whether a state or local government entity or a Code Sec. 501(c)(3) organization that benefits from tax-exempt bond financing will be considered to have private business use of its bond-financed facilities under Code Secs. 141 or 145(a)(2)(B) as a result of its participation in the Share Savings Program through an "accountable care organization" (ACO) (Notice 2014-67; TAXDAY, 2014/10/27, I.4). In addition, this notice amplifies Rev. Proc. 97-13, 1997-1 CB 632, as amended by Rev. Proc. 2001-39, 2001-2 CB 38, regarding certain management contracts that do not result in private business use.

PTIN Renewal Season. The IRS announced on its website that preparer tax identification number (PTIN) applications and renewals for 2015 are now being processed (TAXDAY, 2014/10/20, I.1). Preparers can renew their PTINS online or by filing a paper form.

Miscellaneous

In putting together his Tax Reform Act of 2014 Discussion Draft, Camp’s overall objective of was to simplify the federal tax code, according to Harold Hancock, a top Ways and Means staff member (TAXDAY, 2014/10/23, M.3). Speaking at the D.C. Bar Taxation Section’s review of the tax reform draft, Hancock emphasized that the proposal was strictly a "discussion draft." Hancock reported that Camp’s proposals were not complete; rather, Camp "simply ran out of time," especially in relation to C corporation reforms. Camp was focused on a 10-year window for business provisions, as opposed to a five-year plan, Hancock said. Questions of treating partners as employees for tax purposes and benefits, especially, is "a time-intensive slog," according to Hancock.

Doing nothing in an ever-transforming tax world may be increasing risk to the bottom line, according to Deloitte LLP (TAXDAY, 2014/10/24, M.2). In an October 23 webcast, Deloitte challenged tax professionals to challenge their current state and the status quo. Deloitte indicated that tax managers have to understand the full population of processes and tools currently in place in order to achieve transformation. That would include aligning value creators to opportunities identified and utilizing tax process maturity models to help guide the development of end stated goals. In addition, changes must include key representatives from throughout the tax function, prioritizing each identified roadmap thread using the following criteria: identification of "low-hanging fruit;" contribution to the overall strategic goals; initiates the progress toward change. Deloitte advised catalyzing behavior to execute strategic and financial objectives.

By Jeff Carlson, Stephen K. Cooper and Jennifer Cordaro, CCH New Staff

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Outstanding state acks (LA, and SC)

Updated 10-23-2014 at 3:30pm
These state acks are outstanding
LA individual
SC individual, Corp and S-Corp


Updated 10-20-2014 at 2:30pm
We have some states still with outstanding acks. GA business and individual, LA individual, and SC individual are the largest quantities

Updated 10-17-2014 at 5pm

The states of GA and LA have the highest number of outstanding state acks at this time.

Many other states also have outstanding acks and could take up to five days to post the acks.

Reminder that IRS was not accepting efiles the weekend before Columbus Day; therefore any efiles sent to SFS were held from Friday Oct 10th at 6pm until Tuesday Oct 14th at 8am.

Please use the Return Query tool on the support site to verify the return is still awaiting ack and to view the date/time when it went to the agency.  States frequently take 1-5 days to send acks, especially on this heavy volume deadline week.


NOTE: Be sure to track your e-filed returns and see the exact field causing the IRS reject. Click here for instructions

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Protection Plus new enrollment process; also Tax Prep Partner, Book orders, ACA, and Research information

Protection Plus New Enrollment Process
If you plan to offer your customers Protection Plus audit assistance service, you will be required to complete an enrollment process this year. The enrollment will take place on the TaxWise Solution Center if you only have one office.   If you have multiple offices, use the Central Office Manager (COM) to enroll.

How to access Protection Plus Enrollment 
Single Office Customers
  • Select the Home tab.
  • Select Protection Plus from the list of options on the left sidebar.

Multi-Office Customers
  • Log into COM.
  • Select the Offices tab.
  • Select Edit Office Info.
  • Select the Protection Plus from the drop-down.

If you’re interested in learning more about offering Protection Plus to your customers, visit http://www.taxwise.com/products/o-protect.aspx.

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Couple that with the need to get more done with less time while keeping costs in check puts you under tremendous pressure to remain competitive.
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Affordable Care Act
The majority of 1040 taxpayers will have to make 1 of 3 choices on their tax return this year to demonstrate compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Without their indication of compliance, they are at risk to be contacted by the IRS. Do you know the three options and are you ready to advise your clients on them?

Save on the ACA Research Bundle For a limited time, receive the Health Care Reform Online Library and handbook Affordable Care Act:Law Regulatory Explanation & Analysis for only$269

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Order Your 2015 Research Books Today
Choose from a number of resources for tax season relief, including Affordable Care Act: Law Regulatory Explanation & Analysis (2015) 
Learn More
IRS Representation Certification
Are you a licensed tax professional and want to represent your clients before the IRS? Learn how to represent IRS collection clients with confidence with our IRS Representation Certification program.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CCH Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Oct. 20, 2014)

Federal Tax Day - Current,M.1,CCH Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Oct. 20, 2014)

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that the federal budget deficit has dropped to $483.4 billion due to a combination of lower federal spending and higher tax revenues from the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts. The IRS, meanwhile, has updated its procedures for taxpayers who have not filed a required Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (FinCEN Form 114, are not under a civil examination or a criminal investigation by the IRS and have not already been contacted by the IRS about the delinquent FBARs.

Congress

Since its enactment in mid-1981, the research and experimentation (R&D) tax credit has been extended 15 times and has never been made permanent (TAXDAY, 2014/10/15, C.1). The Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted in an October 2 report that it expired at the end of 2011 and was retroactively extended by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240). Following the midterm elections, lawmakers, who consider the credit vital to a thriving economy and have been pushing for years to make it permanent, will reportedly renew it for two-years, in the so-called extenders package. While the credit is usually assumed to be a single credit, it actually consists of four discrete credits; a regular credit; an alternative simplified credit; a basic research credit; and an energy research credit. Whether it will be made permanent, remains up in the air, according to the CRS.

Lawmakers are also grappling with whether the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) should be extended, modified or remain expired (TAXDAY, 2014/10/17, C.1). While some members of Congress support extension or modification of the PTC, others say that the credit is not needed. Although the PTC has been important to the growth and development of renewable electricity resources, particularly wind, tax incentives for renewables may not be the most economically efficient way to correct for distortions in energy markets or to deliver federal financial support to the renewable energy sector, said the CRS.


IRS

Procedures for Delinquent FBARs Updated. The IRS has updated its procedures for taxpayers who (1) have not filed a required Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (FinCEN Form 114, (2) are not under a civil examination or a criminal investigation by the IRS, and (3) have not already been contacted by the IRS about the delinquent FBARs (TAXDAY, 2014/10/14, I.1). These procedures are for individuals who do not need to use either the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) or the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures to file delinquent or amended tax returns to report and pay additional tax.

Additional Relief/FATCA Withholding and Information Reporting. Treasury and IRS have provided additional relief with respect to pre-January 1, 2015, accounts and obligations for withholding agents, foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and payors that have withholding or information reporting obligations under the Chapter 4 (Code Sec. 1471 through Code Sec. 1474) (FATCA) regulations or the Chapter 3, Chapter 61 or Code Sec. 3406 regulations (the temporary coordination regulations) (Notice 2014-59; TAXDAY, 2014/10/13, I.3). The Treasury and IRS intend to amend the regulations to reflect this relief, but taxpayers can rely on the provisions in Notice 2014-59 until the regulations are issued.

Streamlined Procedures/Nonresident Taxpayer Compliance. The IRS has issued new streamlined procedures for U.S. taxpayers residing outside of the United States who have failed to report the income from and pay the tax on a foreign financial asset and failed to file an FBAR with respect to a foreign financial account and such failure did not result from willful conduct (TAXDAY, 2014/10/13, I.4). Under the procedures, negligent, inadvertent or mistaken conduct as well as conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the law’s requirements is nonwillful.

Streamlined FBAR Procedures/Resident Taxpayers. The IRS has issued new streamlined compliance procedures for resident U.S. taxpayers who failed to properly report a foreign financial asset, failed to file an FBAR and/or one or more international information returns with respect to the foreign financial asset as a result of nonwillful conduct (TAXDAY, 2014/10/13, I.5).

By Jeff Carlson, Stephen K. Cooper and Jennifer Cordaro, CCH News Staff

Monday, October 20, 2014

SFS Customer Care closing at 4:30pm Oct 21st

SFS Customer Care will close Tuesday, Oct 21st, at 4:30pm EST for a company event.
We will reopen the following day at 8am.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Boost your Tax Expertise with New NATP Partnership

10-16-2014      TaxWise Training Bulletin

Announcing New Partnership with NATP
The direct connection between tax compliance knowledge and software application allows you to boost your expertise and success. That’s why we recently formed a partnership with NATP to offer you, our customer, access to exceptional tax education courses to help you prepare for this upcoming tax season. Tax laws are constantly changing and tax preparation is increasingly complex. With today’s busy schedules, it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest updates and explore complex tax issues. This partnership will help you meet your educational goals and earn CPE through a wide variety of topics and delivery formats offered through the NATP Learning Center.

As an SFS customer, you will receive special pricing on NATP live webinars, on-demand webinars and self-study courses. Popular courses include:
  • The Essential 1040
  • Annual Tax Update
  • Ethics & Circular 230
  • Introduction to Tax Preparation
IRS Annual Filing Season Program
The IRS Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) is a new voluntary program offered to all tax professionals. Once completed, you will receive an Annual Filing Season Record of Completion from the IRS. Along with this, AFSP participants will be included in a public database of return preparers on the IRS website, scheduled to launch in January, 2015. With this credential, you will also be able to represent your clients before the IRS in matters related to professional tax returns you prepare on their behalf. Learn more about the program.

If you would like to participate, we now offer the IRS Annual Filing Season Program through our National Tax School. This package contains an Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR)a knowledge-based comprehension test, courses that coverother federal tax law topics; and ethics all delivered in an interactive audio visual course format.

Purchase the IRS Annual Filing Season Program bundle here.You will find the bundle on the Available Courses page of the website. Be sure to enter your CCH SFS Client ID and coupon code CCHSFS10 during checkout to receive your $10 discount.
Annual Seminar:
Connect With Us

Join us for a complimentaryLive Webcast where you will hear first-hand about how we are extending our solutions so that you can focus on your business and customers.
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Order Your 2015 Research Books Today
Be ready for tax season with our 2015 research books. Choose from a number of resources for tax season relief, including Affordable Care Act: Law Regulatory Explanation & Analysis (2015) and the U.S. Master Tax Guide (2015). 
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With the ExamMatrix EA Exam Review Course, you’ll have everything you’ll need to pass this comprehensive exam.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oct.15 - consider unlinking your states; transmit fed and state efiles at least two hours before deadline

Upcoming e-File Deadlines
October 15
E-file deadline for 1040 returns on extension

October 20
Last day to re-transmit timely filed rejected returns
We strongly encourage you to transmit your e-files at least two hours before the midnight deadline.
NOTE: Be sure to track your e-filed returns and see the exact field causing the IRS reject. Click here for instructions

Important e-Filing Tips
Run diagnostics to view diagnostic errors AND validation errors. Diagnostic and validation errors are two separate notifications that must be cleared to create the e-file. Learn more about these errors

Pick up your e-File acknowledgements (acks). Be sure to check for acks after critical deadlines. This will allow you to view and fix any rejects within the allotted time frame.

You can also schedule automatic ack retrieval through your TaxWise program. The Schedule Ack Retrieval feature allows TaxWise to automatically connect to the Electronic Filing Center and pick up any available acknowledgements. To learn more about this option, access Help in the TaxWise program.

Consider unlinking state returns from federal returns before transmitting the e-file. Linked state returns (with a separate e-file created) cannot be submitted until the federal return is accepted by the IRS, but unlinked state returns can be submitted at any time. The federal return is not required to be accepted before the state return is submitted for processing. For state MeF returns, TaxWise will default to linked. However, you may elect to send the state as unlinked by making a selection on the state form.

Extended Customer Care Hours
Customer Care hours will be extended on October 14th and 15th. We will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern on both days to assist you during the 1040 e-filing deadline. 
View Customer Care hours

Extended and Late Returns
Remember to keep TaxWise up-to-date as you prepare and e-file extended and late returns. You can easily check for updates using Get Program Updates and Get Module Updates on the Communications menu. Or download updates from theTaxWise Solution Center.