Tag Archives: Pro Desktop

Desktop: Change in password message

The desktop software was updated and added more clarity around the requirement for password expiration.  We also added a password expiration message that will notify the user with each login that their password will expire beginning within 14 days of expiration.

Blog Posted 06/20/2017

 

IRS Quick Alert: Extended Maintenance Window – MeF Production

The MeF maintenance build window is being extended on Sunday, June 18, 2017. The system will be unavailable from 1:00 a.m. until noon Eastern.

The build will deploy critical system updates. This extended window affects the MeF Production Environment.

 

How does this impact you?  You will not be receiving acknowledgements on any files you send us during this IRS MeF maintenance window.  Once the IRS restores their processing, we will also resume ours.

Blog posted 06/12/2017  5:28 PM EDT

IRS Newswire: IRS Warns of New Phone Scam Involving Bogus Certified Letters

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details.

In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim is also warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.

“This is a new twist to an old scam,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”

EFTPS is an automated system for paying federal taxes electronically using the Internet or by phone using the EFTPS Voice Response System. EFTPS is offered free by the U.S. Department of Treasury and does not require the purchase of a prepaid debit card. Since EFTPS is an automated system, taxpayers won’t receive a call from the IRS. In addition, taxpayers have several options for paying a real tax bill and are not required to use a specific one.

Tell Tale Signs of a Scam:

The IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do:

The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov. Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.

 

Blog Posted 06/15/2017   10:56 AM EDT

Support Line: Active Fire Drill — Update 8:50 AM EST

Update:  8:47 AM — The fire drill has concluded and the support team is available.

~~~~  Original Post ~~~~

A fire drill has been activated.  The phone lines may be active, but there will be no reps available to take phone calls until the conclusion of the fire drill.  The blog will be updated at the conclusion of the fire drill and reps are once again available to take phone calls.

Note:  In the event of a real emergency, the blog and message center will be updated throughout the emergency if possible.  This DOES not impact the availability of the software.

Blog posted 8:40 AM EDT

Desktop Users: It is almost time to change your passwords

You may begin seeing prompts to change your password for the usernames you have created in the desktop application.  This is part of the IRS Security Working Group requirements.  You will see the following prompt:

Blog Posted 06/13/2017    10:29 AM EDT

VITA/TCE Support Phone Lines — Update 11:40 AM EST (Resolved)

Update 11:40 AM:  The VITA/TCE Support lines are full functional and available for inbound calls.

~~~~   Original Blog Post ~~~~

The VITA/TCE support lines are currently not taking inbound calls due to an internal network outage.  This outage DOES NOT impact the Practice Lab or the Production site.

Blog Posted 06/12/2017  11:30 AM EST

IRS E-News: Missouri Storm Victims Tax Relief

Tax Relief for Victims of Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding in Missouri

MO-2017-01, June 6, 2017

Missouri — Victims of the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that took place beginning on April 28, 2017 in parts of Missouri may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.

The President has declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Missouri. Following the recent disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced today that affected taxpayers in Missouri will receive tax relief.

Individuals who reside or have a business in the following counties: Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Stone, Taney, and Texas may qualify for tax relief.

The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after April 28, 2017, and before August 31, 2017, are granted additional time to file through August 31, 2017. This includes the estimated tax payment due on June 15, 2017 and the quarterly payroll tax returns due on April 30, 2017 and July 31, 2017.  Affected taxpayers that have an estimated income tax payment originally due on or after April 28, 2017, and before August 31, 2017, will not be subject to penalties for failure to pay estimated tax installments as long as such payments are paid on or before August 31, 2017.

If an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date that falls within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate the penalty.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

Covered Disaster Area

The counties listed above constitutes a covered disaster area for purposes of Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(2) and are entitled to the relief detailed below.

Affected Taxpayers

Taxpayers considered to be affected taxpayers eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts are those taxpayers listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(1), and include individuals who live, and businesses whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c) are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area and any individual visiting the covered disaster area that lost their life or was injured as a result of the disaster are entitled to relief.

Grant of Relief

Under section 7508A, the IRS gives affected taxpayers until August 31, 2017, to file most tax returns (including individual, corporate, and estate and trust income tax returns; partnership returns, S corporation returns, and trust returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; and employment and certain excise tax returns), that have either an original or extended due date occurring on or after April 28, 2017, and before August 31, 2017. Affected taxpayers that have an estimated income tax payment originally due on or after April 28, 2017, and before August 31, 2017, will not be subject to penalties for failure to pay estimated tax installments as long as such payments are paid on or before August 31, 2017 The IRS also gives affected taxpayers until August 31, 2017 to perform other time-sensitive actions described in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2007-56, 2007-34 I.R.B. 388 (Aug. 20, 2007), that are due to be performed on or after April 28, 2017, and before August 31, 2017.

This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns, (that were required to be filed on or after April 28, 2017, and before, August 31, 2017 in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56. The relief described in section 17 of Rev. Proc. 2007-56, pertaining to like-kind exchanges of property, also applies to certain taxpayers who are not otherwise affected taxpayers and may include acts required to be performed before or after the period above.

Unless an act is specifically listed in Rev. Proc. 2007-56, The postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1098, 1099 series, or to Forms 1042-S or 8027. Penalties for failure to timely file information returns can be waived under existing procedures for reasonable cause. Likewise, the postponement does not apply to employment and excise tax deposits. The IRS, however, will abate penalties for failure to make timely employment and excise tax deposits due on or after April 28, 2017, and before May 15, 2017, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by May 15, 2017.

Casualty Losses

Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either the year in which the event occurred, or the prior year. See Publication 547 for details.

Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. For details, see Form 4684 and its instructions.

Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on a 2016 return should put the Disaster Designation, “Missouri, Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding,” at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund.

Other Relief

The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers. Taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation  “Missouri, Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, and Flooding” in red ink at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as appropriate, and submit it to the IRS.

Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case. Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS website, irs.gov, or order them by calling 800-829-3676. The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 800-829-1040.

Blog Posted 06/12/2017     7:59 PM EST

MI Acknowledgements — Updated information from Michigan

Update 06/06/2017  3:32 PM EDT

We received notification that Michigan has resolved their issues processing returns and have returned to normal processing.

~~~  Original Blog Post (but with corrected post date of the 5th)

We received the following information MI -1040 MeF processing Notice

Michigan is currently experiencing issues processing returns retrieved from the IRS since May 31st.  They hope to have the issues resolved by Tuesday, June 6th.

Blog Posted 06/05/2017   5:01 PM EDT

Illinois Acks

We received the following information from Illinois:

They are working a backlog of returns waiting to go through their ACK program.  Returns and payments that have been submitted on time will be considered timely.  We will handle any rejected returns with payments as exception items.

 

Blog posted 04/18/2017  11:23 am EST

Desktop: Closeout Procedures

For VITA/TCE sites using the TaxSlayer Desktop product, they must back up their data before the end of the filing season to ensure the carryforward tax return data is available filing season 2018.  In addition, this can be used for any site running the TaxSlayer Desktop product to create a disaster recovery backup.

To complete this task, you will need a removable storage device, such as a flash drive or portable hard drive, for each computer you wish to backup.  Each device should have sufficient free space to store the entire TaxSlayer folder on the drive.

NOTE: CD/DVD cannot be used; the storage device must connect via USB.

The following steps can check TaxSlayer folder, file size:

  1. Open the File Explorer
  2. Double click on the C: drive (or drive where the software was loaded)
  3. Find the TaxSlayer folder and select it
  4. Right click on the TaxSlayer folder and a menu will appear
  5. Click on Properties
  6. This will show you the size of the TaxSlayer folder

Perform these steps with each Workstation to move files to the Transmitting Computer:

  1. Make certain that no returns are open in TaxSlayer on any computer
  2. Insert the storage device into a USB slot
  3. Make note of which drive letter is assigned to the storage device
  4. Start TaxSlayer and login to the 2016 TaxSlayer program
  5. Open the Utilities Menu – option 8
  6. Open the Program Backup Utility – option 5
  7. Make sure the Backup button is selected
  8. In the Target Drive drop down list select the drive letter assigned to your storage device
  9. Click the Start button
  10. When the backup is complete, the message “Backup Complete” will be displayed
  11. If any other message is displayed, repeat steps 1-10 until the “Backup Complete” message is displayed

From the Transmitting Computer:

  1. Upload all files from each workstation to the main transmitting computer
  2. Make certain that no returns are open in TaxSlayer on any computer, especially if you are using a server connection at your site
  3. Insert the storage device into a USB
  4. Make note of which drive letter is assigned to the storage device
  5. Start TaxSlayer and login to the 2016 TaxSlayer program
  6. Open the Utilities Menu – option 8
  7. Open the Program Backup Utility – option 5
  8. Make sure the Backup button is selected
  9. In the Target Drive drop down list select the drive letter assigned to your storage device
  10. Click the Start button
  11. When the backup is complete, the message “Backup Complete” will be displayed
  12. If any other message is displayed, repeat steps 1-10 until the “Backup Complete” message is displayed
  13. The USB device with taxpayer data must be secured and encrypted to prevent data loss per Quality Site Requirement #10, Partners and IRS certified volunteers are required to protect physical and electronic data gathered for tax return preparation both during and after the filing season

Removing/Uninstalling TaxSlayer Pro:

  1. Open task manager
  2. Click on the Services tab
  3. Right-click on “TaxProgram2016” and select “Stop”
  4. Open your Control Panel
  5. Locate Programs and Features
  6. Select Uninstall a Program
  7. Select your 2016 TaxSlayer Pro
  8. Click Uninstall
  9. Navigate to the drive where the TaxSlayer program was installed and delete the TaxSlayer folder

Secondary Backup Drive:

If you utilized the secondary backup drive, make sure you delete all information on the secondary backup drive and empty your recycle bin.

IRS Computer Depot Laptops:

Follow the procedures in Publication 4473, IRS Computer Loan Program – Welcome Package, for additional guidance on “Deletion of Software on IRS Computers”.  Whether using the TaxSlayer Online or Desktop product on IRS loaned computers, it is imperative to use the “disk wipe” procedure outlined Publication 4473, prior to returning the laptop to the Computer Depot.  In addition the TaxSlayer software and taxpayer data on non-IRS loaned computers, provided by sites or personal, should be wiped of taxpayer data after the site closes.