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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prepare for ACA tasks related to the tax return


Prepare yourself and your employees for ACA questions by doing these tasks before season starts:
  • Communicate with your tax clients now, so they bring all necessary paperwork to the tax preparation appointment (such as 1095-A forms they receive from Marketplace insurance)
  • Train your staff on ACA implications using our webinars, IRS resources or other training resources
  • Purchase printed or online research materials for your staff
  • Familiarize yourself with the new ACA forms and instructions, which are included in the 2014 software being shipped in late November
  • Access the new ACA discussion forum on the support site Community Board for best practices and knowledge share from other preparers

Efile tips- verify fees/IRS shutdown schedule/PTIN renewal

Important e-Filing Tips
Efile tips- verify fees/IRS shutdown schedule/PTIN renewal

IRS 1040 & Business e-file shutdown/cutover schedule (all times are eastern time zone)
Click for details >>

Verify your fees
On the launch page of the TaxWise Solution Center, look for the My Account section and then click Review Fees. After logging in, you’ll go directly to the fee page where you can review fee amounts in our records. If you offer settlement solutions (Fee Collect, Fee Collect PS, or ERCs), click “Settlement Solutions” on the left menu bar to view fees.  If you have questions about your fees, click the link at the bottom of the fee page to email Account Management.

Note: If you have multiple locations, the Main Office used COM (Central Office Manager) to setup its locations. Only the Main Office Administrator has the ability to review and update fees. 

PTIN Renewal
Preparer tax identification number (PTIN) applications and renewals for 2015 are now being processed. Anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation must have a valid 2015 PTIN before preparing returns. All enrolled agents must also have a PTIN.
Access the IRS website for PTIN renewal steps >>
E-filing Prior Year Returns
Remember to keep TaxWise up-to-date as you prepare and e-file prior year returns. You can easily check for updates using Get Program Updates andGet Module Updates on the Communications menu. Or download updates from theTaxWise Solution Center.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

PPACA Repeal Could Be Tied to Budget Reconciliation, GOP Senator Says,(Nov. 18, 2014)

PPACA Repeal Could Be Tied to Budget Reconciliation, GOP Senator Says,(Nov. 18, 2014)

Senate GOP lawmakers will likely call for a vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) as part of budget reconciliation legislation, according to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Speaking on CBS News’ "Face the Nation" on November 16, Lee said a vote on full repeal of the PPACA will cause the president to veto the measure and explain to voters why he supports an unpopular healthcare law.

"I think there will also be a number of efforts to change it. Among other things, I think very soon we will see a vote to repeal the medical device tax in Obamacare," Lee said. "And I think we may see a number of other votes on other provisions as well, such as the rule moving the work week down to 30 hours, which is hurting poor and middle-class Americans disproportionately, possibly a vote on repealing the individual mandate and some other provisions."

Other congressional Republicans have hinted to national media outlets that they would allow the federal government down by forcing the president to veto budget legislation that includes a repeal of the PPACA. The last time the government closed was for 16 days in October 2013 when GOP lawmakers refused to fund implementation of the health care law. Currently, the federal government is operating on a continuing budget resolution that expires on December 11.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, should develop their own replacement legislation for the PPACA and vote on it. Rather than blame the president for a lack of progress on immigration and other domestic policy problems, Republicans should try negotiating with Democrats to find solutions, said McCaskill, who was also a guest on the program.

"I am tired of the politics of let’s just blame the president," McCaskill stated. "We need a policy partner here to compromise and find consensus. I think that’s what this election was about."

By Stephen K. Cooper, CCH News Staff

Monday, November 17, 2014

CCH Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Nov. 17, 2014)

CCH Weekly Report from Washington, D.C.,(Nov. 17, 2014)

Lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill following the midterm elections with their focus on tax-extender legislation, although negotiations continue to resolve differences regarding what to include, which provisions may be made permanent and how long to extend certain provisions. The IRS, meanwhile, issued final regulations designed to prevent taxpayers engaging in all cash D reorganizations from using the basis from a nominal share of stock to claim "inappropriate" losses. The Service also released regulations on filing claims for refunds of an arbitrage rebate overpayments and clarified the transition relief it provided earlier in 2014 for the one-rollover-per-year limit on rollovers from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that begins for the 2015 tax year.

Congress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., kicked off a very short lame-duck session with a plea for Senate lawmakers to take care of critical business over the coming weeks, naming passage of an extenders package as must-do legislation (TAXDAY, 2014/11/13, C.1). McConnell said that the essential items for legislative action were one of the things discussed at the White House on November 7. "It was a productive meeting. There’s a lot both parties can accomplish together over the next couple years. I hope that happens. I’m optimistic but working together requires trust," he said. For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that he had no intention of obstructing Republicans, a tactic he often accused the GOP of implementing, while they hold the majority.

Making some tax extenders permanent could harm chances for passage of a larger deficit-cutting, comprehensive tax reform bill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters on November 13 (TAXDAY, 2014/11/14, C.1). House and Senate lawmakers are currently working on a bill to retroactively extend a group of nearly five-dozen tax provisions for businesses and individuals. "We have to reform the tax code. But when you make so many things permanent in a bill like this, you diminish the leverage," she said.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said veterans with military health benefits should not be counted toward the small business coverage requirements mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148) (TAXDAY, 2014/11/12, C.1). The House will pass the Hire More Heroes Bill of 2013 (HR 3474) in January to ensure that businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will not face a penalty if they hire veterans with coverage under TRICARE or the VA, McCarthy explained in a blog post on November 10.

Business expenses for companies that sell medical marijuana should be deductible for tax purposes, House Ways and Means Committee member Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said at a November 13 press briefing (TAXDAY, 2014/11/14, C.2). The lawmakers want to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I or II drugs, thereby removing those businesses from restrictions under Code Sec. 280E.

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah said on November 12 that, with the majority in hand, Republicans now have the opportunity to repeal and replace the PPACA (TAXDAY, 2014/11/13, C.2). The soon to be chairman of the Finance Committee cited a "flawed website launch, failed state exchanges, burdensome mandates, mass cancellations of coverage and countless other broken promises paid for by Medicare cuts and a trillion-dollar tax hike," as clear signs that the PPACA is ineffective.

Treasury

The rate of business return e-filing still lags behind the rate for individual return filers (Ref. No. 2014-40-084; TAXDAY, 2014/11/11, T.1). Employment tax returns provide the most significant opportunity for growth.

IRS

IRA Rollovers. The IRS has provided transition relief from the requirement that an individual can only roll over funds from one IRA to another during a one-year period (IR-2014-107, Ann. 2014-32; TAXDAY, 2014/11/11, I.2). The new rules will apply beginning in 2015 and will not apply to distributions from an IRA made in 2014.

Minimum Essential Coverage. An individual who has minimum essential health coverage (MEC) through an Exchange and is eligible for the Code Sec. 36B insurance premium tax credit will not be treated as eligible for other MEC merely because the individual became pregnant and, as a result, qualifies for pregnancy-based coverage from Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (Notice 2014-71; TAXDAY, 2014/11/10, I.8). However, an individual who enrolls in the pregnancy-related coverage will have MEC and will lose eligibility for the credit.

Annual Filing Season Program. IRS officials speaking at a IRS webinar encouraged tax return preparers to participate in the agency’s voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) (TAXDAY, 2014/11/13, I.3). The IRS launched the AFSP after a federal appeals court struck down the IRS’s registered tax return preparer program.

Miscellaneous

In the days following the midterm elections, elected officials and pundits alike have singled out tax reform as one of the few issues capable of uniting a Republican Congress and Democratic administration. According to the Reforming America’s Taxes Equitably (RATE) Coalition, they are right: "Tax reform has support from both sides of the aisle and on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Tax reform is something that can, and should be done early next year," said RATE Coalition Co-Chairs Elaine Kamarck and James Pinkerton, in a memo they are circulating (TAXDAY, 2014/11/14, M.2). "We believe that the sentiments voters expressed last Tuesday clearly showed an appetite for pursuing consensus and getting things done," Kamark and Pinkerton wrote.

By Jeff Carlson, Stephen K. Cooper and Brant Goldwyn, CCH News Staff

Friday, November 14, 2014

An Introduction to iFirm’s Small Firm Management solution

Practice Management Redefined
It is with pleasure that I introduce you to CCH iFirm Small Firm Manager. With over 10,000 users worldwide, Small Firm Manager is a tried-and-true practice management software solution, designed to help you take control of your business on a simplified, integrated, online platform.
Keeping track of filing deadlines and optimizing workflow efficiency is a challenge a lot of your peers face, especially during tax season. I'd like to invite you to view our introductory video and sign up for an exclusive, free demo of Small Firm Manager to see how our product is helping tax professionals like you overcome these challenges:
  • Automate workflow
  • Simplify Timesheets
  • Offer value-based pricing
  • Centralize your contacts
We at Wolters Kluwer, CCH Small Firm Services strive to remain at the forefront of developing best-in-class tax and accounting solutions for our customers. With input from your peers, we have built a solution that we know will help you recognize increased efficiencies in your business — start exploring!
Best regards,
Jairam Padmanabhan

From The Desk Of

Jairam PadmanabhanVP & General Manager, Collaborative Solutions

To learn more, watch the short introduction video or schedule a
one-on-one demo by calling us at 800-829-5945
One of our Software Consultants will be happy to speak with you. 

Disabling SSL 3.0 in all products


Disabling SSL 3.0

Kbase Answer ID 15025   |    Document ID   |    Published 11/10/2014 02:49 PM   |    Updated 11/10/2014 03:22 PM
At Wolters Kluwer, CCH, the safety and protection of our customers' data is a top priority. We understand that our customers use a variety of operating systems and browser versions; however like all software solution providers, minimum standards must be met. The minimum baselines for operating systems and browsers can be found on our Support Site link to System Requirements at http://www.taxwise.com/products/sys.aspx
Google and Microsoft have published recent security knowledge articles addressing a vulnerability referred to as "Poodle" referenced here: http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2014/10/this-poodle-bites-exploiting-ssl-30.html and here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/3009008.aspx . We would encourage all of our customers to read these articles and take any appropriate action required on their part.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to work diligently to support modern security protocols, and strongly recommend that you update your software as appropriate. Note that in the very near future we will  begin to disable SSL 3.0 in all of our products.

Note that Windows XP and IE 6 utilize SSL 3.0, but neither of those meets our minimum system requirements. 
Planned date for disabling SSL 3.0 in the Electronic Filing Center is Friday 11-14-2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Only 2 days away – ACA Webinar: Learn the Essential Elements of the Complex ACA Individual and Employer Mandates

Only 2 days away – ACA Webinar: Learn the Essential Elements of the Complex ACA Individual and Employer Mandates

Don't forget to register for the upcoming ACA WebinarOnly 2 days away!
Learn the Essential Elements of the Complex ACA Individual and Employer Mandates
ACA is the largest change to the tax code since the 1986 Tax Reform Act. Most of your clients will have a reporting requirement around ACA. What is their requirement and what are your compliance obligations as their tax preparer?
This two-hour program will provide an up-to-date review and analysis, addressing the latest changes and essential information including answers to questions such as these:
• What rules apply to individuals in 2014?
• Will penalties be due?
• Who are "small employers" and what must they do in 2014 and 2015?
• How do the rules punish small employers trying to help certain employees?
• What will be the compliance obligations for tax preparers?
All of that said, there are central elements to the Act that undoubtedly affect your clients that you must understand — and the sooner, the better!
Be prepared with our upcoming ACA Webinar:
Affordable Care Act -
Understanding the Individual and Employer Mandates

Presented by Steven G. Siegel, J.D., LL.M. (Taxation)
Date:  Friday, November 14, 2014
Time: 1 pm Eastern
CPE:   2 Credits
Cost: $129 includes 30 days streaming of the recording


Other Recommended ACA Resources for You:
CCH Reference Book - Affordable Care Act - Law, Regulatory Explanation and Analysis
Limited Time Offer - use Code USTP-BXYY9755 to get 15% OFF. 
View and Purchase.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

4 Tips to Get Ready for Tax Season

You now have access to TheTaxBook™ Quick Reference Guides
Receive 15% off retail pricing on TheTaxBook Deluxe and 
1040 Editions.
CCH research provides exceptional electronic access to answers on all tax-related issues but sometimes you just want a book with answers to your most common questions.
To bring to you a full selection of options to address your research needs, we have partnered with Tax Materials, Inc. to offer you quick reference guides for the upcoming tax season. This partnership will round out your tax research library with reference guides in a tabbed fast-answer format together with the U.S. Master Tax Guide for a more detailed analysis.
As an SFS customer, you will receive 15% off the retail price on TheTaxBook Deluxe and 1040 Editions. Click the links below for more details and to purchase.
4 tips to get ready for tax season
  1. Get your reference books ready
  2. Many tax professionals rely on books to provide a concise, easy-to-understand topical summary of key tax laws and rules for tax preparation and to share with clients. 

    Limited Time Offer - use Code USTP-BXYY9755 to get 
    15% OFF tax research books now. View a list of our most popular books.
  1. Get your professional designations
  2. Enhance your professional standing and better market your business when you get your designations: Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) , Enrolled Agent (EA) or IRS Representation.
  1. Learn about ACA
  2. ACA is the largest change to the tax code since the 1986 Tax Reform Act. Most of your clients will have a reporting requirement around ACA. What is their requirement and what are your compliance obligations as their tax preparer?

    Be prepared to answer these questions and more with our upcoming ACA Webinar: 

    Affordable Care Act - Understanding the Individual and Employer Mandates.Friday, November 14th, 2014, 1 p.m. Eastern. 
    Get details.
  1. Get up-to-date on Federal Update Courses
  2. Whether you're a live event or a self-study kind of learner, we have options to fit your preference. 

    For a list of courses click here.



Join Us for Live Webcast 
Shannon Bond, VP & GM of TaxWisewill discuss the 2014 season and integrated solutions. Reserve now.

Software Ships This Month
Verify that your computer meets the2014 System Requirements here.

Education and CPE
Get access to more than 300 web-based self-study CPE courses on a wide range of topics from the CCH® Learning Center. Practical guidance and practice aids help you apply the knowledge gained. 

Purchase courses individually and get 15% off with coupon code USTP-BXYY9755 Or purchase an annual subscription and take as many courses as you wish! 

Call your Account Manager to become a subscriber today


New! Education Library
The Education Video Library features short instructional videos designed to help you work with your TaxWise software. Each video guides you step-by-step through important program features. Stay tuned to future email bulletins for a link to the videos.


Complimentary TaxWise Software Webinars
Do you need current training on your TaxWise software? We are offering a series of webinars throughout the year. Click the link below to view available webinars, dates and times. 
Register Here

2 things to do before we ship your TaxWise® 2014 software this 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.

CCH Tax Briefing: 2014 Year-End Planning,(Nov. 11, 2014)

CCH Tax Briefing: 2014 Year-End Planning,(Nov. 11, 2014)


The CCH Tax Briefing, 2014 Year-End Planning is designed to bring you up to speed, in summary style, on 2014 year-end tax strategy essentials:
  • "Hot"areas for 2014 such as implementation of Affordable Care Act mandates, the "repair" regulations, the net investment income tax, the additional Medicare tax on earnings, the current uncertainties surrounding"extenders" legislation and more.
  • Tax strategies in light of post mid-term election results.
  • Checklists covering new and traditional income deferral/acceleration pointers, deduction and credit timing considerations, and life-cycle events.
  • "Planning Notes" and "Strategy" recommendations that supplement each area discussed.