May 24, 2016 – TaxSlayer FAQ from SPEC Headquarters

TaxSlayer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Reporting source: SPEC Headquarters (Atlanta, GA)

 

Background: The VITA/TCE software contract has been awarded to TaxSlayer, LLC. TaxSlayer will be the new software provider for the VITA/TCE Programs beginning with filing season 2017. Our primary focus is the 2016 filing season and to ensure our partners and volunteers that SPEC is prepared to provide the service and support needed.  However, since this announcement we have received feedback and inquiries asking about the impact this transition will have on the current way we do business.  Below you will find feedback to the most Frequently Asked Questions about the software vendor, TaxSlayer.

 

Contract

Question 1: In what way were the non-cost factors to the VITA partners considered?

Answer:  Award of the contract was made based on the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable competition that met the needs of SPEC goals and the VITA/TCE partners/sites/volunteers.

 

Question 2: Was the procurement strategy for this contract Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) or Best Value (BV)?

Answer: Award of the contract was made based on the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable competition. Which means any vendors whose proposal meets or exceeds all of the technical requirements and has the lowest evaluated price will receive the award.

 

Question 3: Who pushed for this strategy – IRS Procurement or SPEC?

Answer: The process used in the acquisition for a software vendor was in accordance with all applicable Federal laws, rules and regulations for government contract bidding.

 

Question 4: Were the standards developed too low, thereby allowing every software company that submitted a bid to meet the acceptable hurdle, leaving cost as the evaluation factor?

Answer: No. All proposals were evaluated based on their ability to meet or exceed all technical requirements. Failure to meet any of those requirements resulted in the proposal being determined technically unacceptable.

 

Question 5: What measures or standards will there be to monitor TaxSlayer’s built out of its infrastructure to accept the technological demands of the VITA program?

Answer:  The software may have changed but SPEC’s standards and expectations are the same.

SPEC will work with TaxSlayer, partners and volunteers to ensure the infrastructure and technological demands of the VITA/TCE program are met.

 

Question 6: What was the impetus behind the switch from TaxWise to TaxSlayer?

Answer: The contract with CCH-TaxWise will expire October 2016.  To secure a new contract there is an open competitive bidding process for any software vendor to submit a proposal. All proposals were evaluated based on their ability to meet or exceed all technical requirements and within the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable competition.

 

 

 

Question 7: Will customer service and support expectations be the same under the new contract?

Answer: Sites can expect the same or higher level of customer support from TaxSlayer.  They will provide help desk support to volunteers via toll-free number, email or chat.

  • Update: How will your customer support work? Will you have something that volunteers can count on when our sites are open on both sides of the country?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer will provide customer support via phone, email and chat services.  The prescribed                 hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8:00am ET – 12:00am ET; Saturday and Sunday 8:00am ET –                 8:00pm ET.

 

Question 8: We understand that this is a one year contract, with an additional four year option. Is this correct?

Answer: Yes this is correct.

 

Question 9: When will IRS decide to continue with the optional years?

Answer: Optional years are implemented annually.

 

Question 10: What happens if the IRS chooses not to continue the contract for optional years?

Answer: TaxSlayer is the software vendor for the next five years.

 

Question 11: Several retired IBM managers wanted to pass along that the Service Level Agreement in the contract should at 99%.

Answer: SPEC worked closely with Information Technology to develop the industry standards for the Service Level Agreement in this new contract.

 

 

Functionality

 

Question 1: Will the carry forward data from TaxWise go to TaxSlayer?

Answer:    Updated – No. Prior year data will not be available from TaxWise Online.

 

Question 2: Does TaxSlayer offer a Desktop version?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer will provide the following suite of products:

  • TaxSlayer Pro Online is a web-based professional application that is accessed via the internet.
  • TaxSlayer Pro is a client/server based professional application that can be run on a stand-alone computer or in a local network environment.
  • com is a web-based self-preparer application that can be accessed via the internet

 

Question 3: Does TaxSlayer only run on Windows Machines with Internet Explorer (IE)?

Answer:  No. TaxSlayer web based software is compatible with Microsoft IE 8.0 or higher, Safari Browser 5.1, Firefox Browser version 13 and Google Chrome.

 

Question 4: Will partners be able to access TaxWise from April 15th through December 31, 2016?

Answer: After November 9, 2016, users will not have access to their Client IDs in the TaxWise system.

 

 

 

Question 5: Will partners be able to access their own Client ID in TaxWise any time after December 31, 2016?

Answer: No. After November 9, 2016 users will not have access to their Client IDs in the TaxWise system.  Client IDs belong to TaxWise.

 

Question 6: Will there be collaboration with TaxWise to share tax data?

Answer: SPEC is working with Counsel and CCH-TaxWise to ensure taxpayer return data disclosure rules are not violated.  More information will be shared once logistics are completed.

 

Question 7: Will prior year taxpayer information roll over?

Answer: Yes. After the initial year, prior data will be available.

 

Question 8: Will TaxSlayer provide service in other languages other than English?

Answer: TaxSlayer has the ability to print in Spanish.

 

Question 9: Since TaxWise Desktop has data portability, we assume programs can back up and restore data to TaxSlayer.  Is this assumption correct?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer has a mechanism to allow returns prepared in TaxWise Desktop to be uploaded into the TaxSlayer database.

 

Question 10: Currently TaxWise Online does not allow for data portability.  We will need TaxWise to address access to prior year data, so data is available in TaxSlayer for prior year and current year tax preparation?

Answer:  SPEC is working with Counsel for guidance to ensure taxpayer return data disclosure rules are not violated.  More information will be shared once logistics are completed.

 

Question 11: When a data portability solution is achieved, will partners need to download and maintain copies of data securely?  Can the data be transferred directly to TaxSlayer or use IRS as intermediary to keep information more secure?

Answer: SPEC is working with Counsel for guidance to ensure taxpayer return data disclosure rules are not violated.  More information will be shared once logistics are completed.

 

Question 12: Will sites use prior year versions of TaxWise with Online or Desktop for the programs wanting to use it for stopped filers and amendments?

Answer: After November 9, 2016, prior year and amended returns must be filed using TaxSlayer software.

 

Question 13: If a coalition chooses to be an early adopter, will they be able to have combined data from TWO sites and any sites using TaxSlayer?

Answer: No. SPEC will not issue any data on returns prepared in the 2016 filing season using TaxSlayer software.

 

Question 14: Do early adopting sites need to convert an entire EFIN/SIDN to TaxSlayer?

Answer: Yes, the entire EFIN/SIDN must be assigned to software package. The same EFIN/SIDN cannot be used on two different software packages.

 

 

 

Question 15: Does TaxSlayer support 1040NR returns?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer products are capable of electronic return preparation for the 1040 series of forms which includes 1040NR, and 1040NREZ.

 

Question 16: Does the version of TaxSlayer that will be used for VITA only allow interview features or can we see the forms?

Answer: TaxSlayer software offers form based and interview based tax preparation features.

 

Question 17:  Will we have access to software for all states?

Answer: Yes

 

Question 18: Which editions of TaxSlayer will be available to VITA? (TaxSlayer has a classic edition and a Premium edition.)

Answer: VITA/TCE sites will use the “Classic” edition of TaxSlayer.

Question 19: Will users have unique logins as they do now in TaxWise?

Answer: Yes. The Online and Desktop products will allow the site administrator to generate user names and passwords for volunteer preparers.  The volunteer will be required to change their passwords on their first login.

 

Question 20: TaxSlayer shows the use of a flash drive for installations, updates, and return preparations. This won’t be used when IRS starts using it right?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro (desktop) does not require the use of a flash drive for installation, updates, and preparing returns.

 

Question 21:  What prior year software will be available to the partners to support clients?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro (Desktop) and TaxSlayer Pro Online will support the current year and three prior year versions of the software.

 

Question 22: Will TaxSlayer provide service in other languages?

Answer: No. TaxSlayer will provide customer service and technical support in English. But there will be the ability to print returns in Spanish.

 

Question 23: Will we be able to view federal and state returns at the same time or will we have to close federal to see state?

Answer: TaxSlayer products allow access to either the federal or the state at one time.  The preparer will have the ability to view a PDF of the return while navigating back through either the federal or state return.

 

Question 24: Does TaxSlayer anticipate any bandwidth/capacity issues with the addition of VITA customers?

Answer: No. SPEC will continue to work with TaxSlayer to ensure infrastructure and the technological demands of the VITA/TCE Programs are met. This is top priority.

 

 

 

Question 25: Will there be support for sharing templates and settings across multiple EFINS as is currently done in TaxWise?

Answer: The TaxSlayer Pro Online application does not have a sharing feature between locations. TaxSlayer is working with the transition team to ensure tax return templates and settings meet the needs of the sites.

  • Update: The TaxSlayer Pro Online application has a feature (Multi-Site Administrator) which has the ability to create templates and assign common settings to any sites that are assigned to them.

 

Question 26: With the online product, will sites be able to limit access to a specific IP address?

Answer: This is currently not a feature in the Pro Online application.

 

Question 27: Will all returns be visible to preparers or only returns created by the user or moved to the user?

Answer: Visibility of returns is controlled by security templates assigned to the user.

 

Question 28:  Will we be able to track all users associated with a return?  For example, if a return is started by one user and given to another to complete, will both usernames be associated with the return to track errors and respond to inquiries?

Answer: TaxSlayer has a comprehensive audit trail feature that tracks changes in the return which includes the preparer.

 

Question 29:  Will it support credit only filing for States?

Answer: Yes. The applications accommodate the ability to electronically file state returns that do not have a federal filing requirement.

 

Question 30: Will TaxSlayer handle city income tax returns for Michigan, New York and others?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer does support city income tax returns for a variety of cities.

 

Question 31:  If a VITA/TCE site choose to purchase software so we can stay with TaxWise, will the site be allowed to keep the same EFINs and Client IDs used now as well as will they have access to previous years’ information?

Answer: If a VITA/TCE site chooses to stay with TaxWise (CCH SFS), the site can keep their same Client ID and EFIN. Client ID is what allows users to have access to prior years and carry forward of data within TaxWise Online.

 

Question 32:  What is the workaround when web based software is not available?

Answer: Access to return preparation is interchangeable between TaxSlayer Pro Online and TaxSlayer Pro for any licensed site.  IRS Licensees will be allowed to switch between the TaxSlayer Pro Online and non-networked TaxSlayer Pro desktop versions.  This will allow the volunteers to continue preparing and transmitting returns in the event of an outage that necessitates the usage of the established contingency plan.

 

Question 33: Is there anything retained on computer when using the online version?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro Online does not retain any data on the computer being used to access the application.

 

 

 

 

Question 34: Is communication between computers and TaxSlayer servers encrypted and secure?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro uses 256‐bit encryption for saving returns and for all artifacts that contain, or potentially contain, Taxpayer Information (TPI).  TaxSlayer Pro Online and TaxSlayer.com are web based applications where all return data is stored on the secure servers hosted by TaxSlayer. 

 

Question 35: How is the return printed?  Is it PDF format or direct to the printer?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro Online utilizes PDF for printing.  TaxSlayer Pro allows you to select your printing options during configuration.

 

Question 36: With TaxSlayer, for how many years will we have access to the returns we prepared during the current tax season?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro and TaxSlayer Pro Online will support the current year and three prior year versions of the software.

 

Question 37: Will we be able to access prior years’ returns in TaxWise?

Answer: No, users will not have access to prior year returns in the TW software.

 

Question 38: Will there be access to multiple EFINS by a single user?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro Online and TaxSlayer Pro allow for the central transmission of returns for multiple EFINs at a single site or user.

 

Question 39: Does TaxSlayer offer more intuitive or embedded tax law assistance in the software?  Will there be assistance of any type where the volunteer won’t have to make as many decisions about the tax law as we do now in TaxWise?

Answer: TaxSlayer does have a feature which will guide you through the return. Tax law knowledge is still needed to prepare the tax return accurately.

 

Question 40:  How will the software protect our SIDNs? Is there any provision to protect our SIDNs so only the numbers we have are accurately being used in the software?

Answer: TaxSlayer does have an administrator feature that allows the site information and SIDN to be entered one time during the setup process.  The SIDN will flow from setup to each preparer and to the appropriate entries on the tax return.

 

Question 41: Will we still be using client ID numbers?

Answer: No. TaxSlayer does not use a client ID to sign into Pro Web product.

 

Question 42: As in TaxWise, you have an assigned admin rule.  How will that work in TaxSlayer? How many admin rules will it have?

Answer: There are preset security templates available.  The admin user will also have the ability to create their own security templates.

 

Question 43: What are the IRS defaults?

Answer: TaxSlayer will work with SPEC to determine the default for the Taxpayer Profile and Print Set features.

 

Question 44: Can defaults be shared with other software instances?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro Online has a Multi-Site Admin feature that will have the ability to login and create items such as taxpayer profiles, security templates, print sets, 7216 consents, custom questions and return tags; and assign them to sites associated with the Multi-Site Admin’s location.  TaxSlayer Pro (desktop) configuration items such as roles, print sets, 7216 consents, custom questions and return tags can be transferred to removable media and restored to other computers.

 

Question 45:  How are local defaults set (Form, schedule, worksheet specific items)?

Answer:  These will be defined in the Taxpayer profiles that are setup in Pro Online.  You will have the ability to modify the default TaxPayer Profile and/or create multiple taxpayer profiles that the preparers can choose from.  When a taxpayer profile is used, the preparer will complete the personal information and will then go through the entry screens that were loaded by the Profile.  Once they have completed the screens loaded by the profile, they can then enter anything else required by going to the 1040 and linking or by going to the section and utilizing the Enter Myself option.

 

Question 46: How are print defaults/packets set?

Answer:  The sites will have a pre-defined print set based on IRS guidelines, along with pre-defined TaxSlayer print sets.  Both products (Pro Desktop and Pro Online) have the ability to create user-defined print sets.

 

Question 47: What are the computer or program requirements to use TaxSlayer?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro recommends the following to run the software:

Minimum Requirements Optimal Performance
Computer Dual Core Processor Quad Core Processor
Memory 4 GB of Ram 8 GB of Ram
Disk Space 750 MB 1 GB
Operating System Windows Vista Windows 7 or 8 Professional
Removable Storage USB or Flash Drive for backing up data USB or Flash Drive for backing up data
Printer HP Compatible Inkjet Printer Display 100% HP Compatible Laser printer
Display 1024 x 768 1024 x 768 screen resolution or higher
Internet Connection High Speed Internet High Speed Internet
Browser Internet Explorer 8 Internet Explorer 11
Software Adobe Acrobat Reader & Microsoft.NET Framework 4.5 or higher Adobe Acrobat Reader & Microsoft.NET Framework 4.5. or higher
Drives 12x CDROM (for program installation)

TaxSlayer Pro should not be installed on any computers running Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP.

 

Question 48: Can desktop returns be moved to the online system?

Answer: No. Returns prepared in the desktop application cannot be transferred to the Pro Online system.

 

Question 49: How is user access controlled on the web based version?

Answer: On a site by site basis using TaxSlayer Pro Online each administrator will create usernames specific to their site. The software will use an authentication feature to provide an additional layer of security. The site administrator will have to determine and provide a security code that will be required for users to login to the site. The administrator will also have the ability to make the user inactive. All users will be required to either establish or change their password on first login.

 

 

Question 50: How is access to multiple software instances by a single user controlled/implemented?

Answer: A single user will not have access to multiple software instances. Each username established by an administrator is tied to the site.  If you have a user that volunteers at multiple sites, they will have multiple user names.

 

Question 51: If a taxpayer has used TaxSlayer in the past and seeks assistance at a VITA site, will their profile information be available in the software?

Answer: Returns prepared in the TaxSlayer.com (self-preparation) product will not be available via the Pro Online product. If the taxpayer comes into a VITA/Facilitated Self Assistance (FSA) site and chooses to prepare the return themselves, the information would carryforward into the TaxSlayer.com product.

 

Question 52: To reduce data entry, does TS have the capability for documents to be scanned and populated to the software?

Answer: This is not included in TaxSlayer tax preparation and electronic filing software.

 

Question 53: Is there any similarity between TaxWise and TaxSlayer in completing a return i.e. ACA?

Answer: TaxSlayer gives the flexibility of entering data using four input methodologies.  One of the methodologies will allow the preparer to work their way down the 1040 and navigate to the entry pages by clicking on the appropriate line of the 1040.

 

Questions 54: Is the software compatible with Chromebooks?

Answer:  Yes

 

Question 55: Since some states and cities have four year statutes could 2012 be added?

Answer:  No, TaxSlayer supports the current year and three prior years.

 

Question 56: Does TaxSlayer have codes / boxes to click to transmit data to the state returns?  I.E. clicking box one for a military / government 1099R to trigger a state deduction on the return.

Answer:  Necessary state information automatically carries over from Federal return to the necessary state return. Manual adjustments may need to be made inside state return for certain circumstances.

 

Question 57: Will sites require new client ID’s or EFIN’s?

Answer: TaxSlayer does not use a Client ID.  The sites will not be required to obtain a new EFIN

 

Question 58: Will there be the similar “What if mode” in either the desktop or online version?

Answer:  TaxSlayer does not have a “What if” mode.

 

Question 59: We had a delay in the ability to file state taxes as TaxWise didn’t have the return loaded.  What are you doing to ensure that this does not happen again?

Answer:  TaxSlayer has a structured state approval plan that allows states to be available prior to the start of each season unless the state(s) are delayed in releasing instructions.

 

 

 

Question 60: Can there be multiple templates for an EFIN – that is one for each SIDN? 

Answer: During the ordering process, each site will be required to have a unique EFIN.  Instructions for ordering will be delivered by the IRS.

 

Question 61: Will it be easier to submit state only returns than in TaxWise Online?

Answer:  TaxSlayer has an option during the e-file process to select “Send as State Only”.

 

Question 62: There is a publisher/subscriber relationship in TWO, is there something similar in TS? 

Answer: TaxSlayer has the ability to assign setup items to sites that are assigned to a Multi-site Admin during the ordering process.

 

Question 63: We have several sites with separate SIDNs and EFINs. Right now we can’t bring a past return to a different EFIN, will we be able to do that with TaxSlayer?

Answer:  No.  TaxSlayer 2017 will carry forward TaxSlayer 2016 data EFIN to EFIN.

 

Question 64: If we are preparing delinquent returns, will we be able to e file them?

Answer:  TaxSlayer supports e-file for the current year and 2 prior years.

 

Question 65: How will the State returns be handled through Tax Slayer?

Answer:  TaxSlayer Pro supports all Resident, Part Year, and Nonresident returns. State returns can be e filed with Federal return or as state only.

 

Question 66: We currently use software that allows us to process the client’s tax return immediately after processing, and we are notified right away that the return has been received at the IRS and accepted. Does Tax Slayer allow us to process the same way or will we be required to send the file for all returns at the end of the tax clinic?

Answer: TaxSlayer has the ability to submit one return at a time when it is completed or in batches based on the practices established at the site.

 

Question 67: Why do you not make the W-2 import function active for the version of TaxSlayer we are going to have to use?

Answer: This is not included in TaxSlayer tax preparation and electronic filing software.

 

Question 68: Does TaxSlayer have the equivalent of a return stage?

Answer:  Yes.  TaxSlayer allows the site administrator to create an unlimited number of Return Tags that can be used to manage returns at the site.

 

Question 69: In the 2016 tax year will we have simultaneous use of TaxSlayer Desktop and TaxSlayer Online under the same EFIN in the event on loss of internet or if the TaxSlayer server goes down (i.e. what TaxWise called alternative prep)?

Answer:  Yes. The desktop software will be used for the contingency plan.  Any returns created in the desktop application during a contingency situation will be transmitted and acknowledged using the desktop software.

 

Question 70: Will the software allow us to utilize the letters formats to generate letters to taxpayers when resolving issues that prevents e filing?

Answer:   TaxSlayer 2016 does not contain a client letter feature.

 

Question 71: Is there a way to disable to Interview mode in TaxSlayer?

Answer: There are 4 entry methods that will be available to the preparer.  Preparers will not be forced to use the Guide Me (Interview mode) unless the site administrator designates the input methodology.

 

Question 72: If we have multiple years i.e. 2013, 2014 & 2015, if we complete 2013 first can we carry forward the data in Tax Slayer for 2014, 2015?

Answer: Yes

 

Question 73: Will the desktop software automatically update when you open the program?

Answer:  Yes, as long as your computer is not restricted from downloading any type of updates.

 

Question 74: Will e file be available for previous year’s returns?

Answer: TaxSlayer supports current year and 2 prior years.

 

Question 75: When completing the F1040NR will the program know the tax treaties for the taxpayer?

Answer:  TaxSlayer will provide a training supplement that will describe how to select the tax treaties for the taxpayer.

 

Question 76: Will we be able to set certain defaults or highlight selected items in TaxSlayer to better deal with the issues encountered by our clients?

Answer: TaxSlayer allows the site administrator to create a profile to display specific entry screens to the preparer.  They do not have the ability to mark a specific entry point as required.

 

Question 77: Can returns be transferred to different usernames?

Answer:  No.  Any user that is allowed to see all returns will have access to returns in usernames that have been deactivated.  Return tags can be used to manage returns without moving them between users.

 

Question 78: Do you have to have Windows 10 to operate this program?

Answer: No. The system can operate in Windows VISTA, 7 or 8 Professional.

 

Question 79: Can TW Desktop bring in carry forward info?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer does have a feature that will allow TW Desktop users to carryforward data to TaxSlayer desktop software.

 

Question 80: What software do we use when we prepare returns year round?

Answer: You will be able to use TWO until the contract expires on November 9, 2016. TaxSlayer software will then be available late November 2016. However; MeF will likely not be available to e File so you’ll only be allowed to file paper returns until MeF resumes in January 2017.

 

 

Question 81: Will we be able to access TaxWise software for previous years in the event of amended return?

Answer: No. You will not have access to TaxWise online when the contract expires in November 2016.

 

Question 82: With TaxSlayer will we be able to do amendments for prior years?

Answer:  Yes. You can amend returns in the TaxSlayer software.

 

Question 83: Will TaxSlayer work with Microsoft Edge?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer will work with Microsoft Edge

 

Question 84:  Will TaxSlayer work with Apple products?

Answer: Yes

 

Question 85: Are return notes available in TaxSlayer?

Answer: Yes. The software does have a note feature.

 

Question 86: Can returns be transferred to different usernames?

Answer:  No.  Any user that is allowed to see all returns will have access to returns in usernames that have been deactivated.  Return tags can be used to manage returns without moving them between users.

 

 

Reports

 

Question 1: Programs currently use reports that help identify errors made by volunteers (and monitor for suspicious activities) and to report outcomes to funders and key stakeholders.  To what degree will TaxSlayer and TaxWise reporting be comparable?

Answer: TaxSlayer has a comprehensive audit trail feature that tracks changes in the return which includes the preparer.

 

Question 2: What fields from the 1040 and other forms will be available for data reporting?

Answer: SPEC is working with TaxSlayer to ensure reporting capabilities for the VITA/TCE sites are comparable to the reports we are using now.

 

Question 3: Will reports be available at both the aggregate and return level data?

Answer: SPEC is working with TaxSlayer to ensure reporting capabilities for the VITA/TCE sites are comparable to the reports we are using now.

 

Question 4: What reports and data extraction options are currently available in TaxSlayer?

Answer: SPEC is working with TaxSlayer to ensure reporting capabilities for the VITA/TCE sites are comparable to the reports we are using now.

 

 

 

 

Question 5: Because organizations have different data reporting needs, is there a system for extracting data from TaxSlayer for more complete data or are there smaller reports as currently in TaxWise?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro (desktop) allows authorized preparers the ability to create and run customized reports based of variable data field filters.  TaxSlayer Online reports allow customization based on variable data field filters.

 

Question 6: Return status reporting is an important data point.  Will it be available in reporting?

Answer:  Yes, TaxSlayer will have return status/stage information.

Question 7: Does TaxSlayer support relational EFIN option for generating reports across many sites?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer has mechanisms in place that will allow for reports to be generated across multiple sites.

 

Question 8: Are there custom fields within the software we are able to use to collect survey data and extract as part of data reporting? (Like Prep Use fields in TaxWise.)

Answer: TaxSlayer will be expanding on existing capabilities of capturing information that is not typically found on a tax return in a format that will be part of data reporting.

 

Question 9: Will the data collection reports generate in Crystal Reports (TaxWise now) Access or another system?

Answer: The TaxSlayer Pro (desktop) reports do not require access to a third party tool for report generation.

 

Question 10: Would reports be able to sort data by site ID even if site is part of a relational EFIN?

Answer: TaxSlayer has mechanisms in place that will allow for reports to be generated across multiple sites.  The web generated reports have the ability to be sorted by site.

 

Question 11:  Will programs have the ability to create their own data reports?

Answer: TaxSlayer Pro (desktop) allows authorized preparers the ability to create and run customized reports based of variable data field filters.  TaxSlayer Online reports allow customization based on variable data field filters.

 

Question 12: Will TaxSlayer allow the sites to generate the IRS Summary Reports that we were able to generate prior to last year? This year, we had to wait over a week after the season closed on April 18th to gather our data from SPEC Agent data e-mailed to us! Prior to last year, we could generate the reports ourselves.

Answer: TaxSlayer reports will be delivered with the 2016 software products and will be available to run “on demand” by the sites.

 

Question 13: Will it be possible for multi-site providers to be able to retrieve reports for all of their sites at once? Or will it still require individual site reports?

Answer: Multi-site administrators will have access to retrieve reports for all of their sites if the sites use a relational EFIN which requires the use of Consents.  Multi-site Administrators that do not use a relational EFIN will not have this ability.  Each site will have the ability to run their own reports.

 

Question 14: Will we be able to dump the data as we did years ago? 

Answer: TaxSlayer allows report information to be exported in CSV and Excel formats.

 

Question 15: Is there a way to print reports to show client data that we have used in the past?

Answer:  No. You will not have access to TaxWise online when the contract expires in November 2016.

 

 

Question 16: Will TaxSlayer provide reports for free file returns (FSA sites)?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer will provide reports for returns prepared in the self-preparation software.

 

 

Training

 

Question 1: How is this change of software going to affect the training that is already beginning?

Answer: There will be no impact on our current training plans for filing season 2016.

 

Question 2: The transition from TaxWise to TaxSlayer will require SPEC employee training, revision of Publication 4012 and 4491, etc.  How soon will SPEC employees receive training?

Answer: Development of training materials will be an ongoing process. All employees and volunteers should retain their current copies of Publication 4012 and 4491, for use during the initial phase of training. Training for SPEC employees will begin shortly after the 2016 filing season.

 

Question 3: How soon will we have information needed to train site coordinators on how to set up defaults, create user profiles, e-file, etc.?

Answer: Training for SPEC employees will begin shortly after the 2016 filing season.

 

Question 4: Will we have access to any version of TaxSlayer software prior to when it goes live in January 2017?

Answer: Yes. For the purposes of training, limited access will be provided.

 

Question 5: When will IRS start updating training and reference publications with TaxSlayer information and examples?

Answer: After the 2016 filing season.

 

Question 6: Will the IRS be able to print enough new training publications for all volunteers with TaxSlayer information?

Answer: TaxSlayer will provide electronic training publications for all volunteers.  We are still very early in the planning stages for training and all the needs associated. We will continue to keep our partners informed as logistics are resolved.

 

Question 7: Will there be a TaxSlayer practice version; that is, a Practice Lab?  Does TaxSlayer provide online preparer training? If so, when will the program be accessible?

Answer: TaxSlayer will provide a practice version of the Pro Online application that is comparable to the existing Practice Lab that is launched from Link and Learn platform.  TaxSlayer will be providing online preparer training.  The training platform and training delivery will be available during the month of May 2016.

  • Update: Practice Lab scheduled launch date is May 1, 2016 and state software will be included.

 

Question 8:  What training will be available from TaxSlayer?

Answer: TaxSlayer will provide web‐based tutorials, recorded sessions, live web based training, face to face sessions, and corresponding training guides to help users understand how to use the software to prepare quality returns.

 

Question 9: Will there be a training platform that we can use to create training returns?

Answer: No, there will not be a separate training platform.  The web-based training environment that TaxSlayer will be launching to work in conjunction with Link and Learn will allow all IRS volunteers to create training returns.  The training application mimics the live version of TaxSlayer.

 

Question 10: When will partners be trained on new software?

Answer:  Training for partners will be held August – September. Specific training delivery dates should be coordinated with your local SPEC relationship manager.

 

Question 11: Will the webinars be available if you can’t attend training sessions?

Answer: Yes. There will be recorded sessions available.

 

 

Transition Planning

 

Question 1: When is the deadline for notifying SPEC representatives regarding interest in testing TaxSlayer? How is the relationship manager notified of willing volunteer testers?

Answer: There will be many opportunities for employee, partner and volunteer engagement as we transition to TaxSlayer software. SPEC will solicit volunteers for transitioning activities throughout 2016.  Any volunteers or partners that are interested in participating will be vetted by relationship managers, territory managers and/or Area staff.

 

Question 2:  Will we get a Fact Sheet soon to delineate the differences between TaxWise and TaxSlayer?

Answer: Yes. TaxSlayer will be working with a transition team to create a crosswalk document. This information will be available after the 2016 filing season.

 

Question 3: Can we convert from TW online to desktop now, download data and upload it to TaxSlayer that way?

Answer: TaxWise Online users can not convert to TaxWise Desktop now in order to upload data from TY2015 to TY2016.

 

Question 4:  Can we use USB flash drives, encrypted drives to download data from TaxWise?  These options would prevent anyone who doesn’t have the password from accessing the data.

Answer: IRS does not support this approach because it presents several risks such as losing taxpayer data and adding an increased potential risk for identity theft. It puts the taxpayer at risk, the partner organization at risk for liability; the entire volunteer program at risk.

 

Question 5: Is the “self-help product” replacing “MyFreeTaxes”?

Answer: No. TaxSlayer.com which is the self-preparation application is another FSA option SPEC will offer.

 

 

 

 

Software Ordering

 

Question 1: Are we going to have a licensing agreement similar to what we have with TaxWise that would allow the exceptions to the original use of the software?

Answer: The exception policy is currently under review. As soon as we make a decision that information will be shared.

 

Question 2: What are the software ordering procedures?

Answer: The TaxSlayer software ordering process will follow our current procedures.

 

Question 3: We were a primarily TWO user which had to use TWD at one site where internet was not available.  Will that option be available in Tax Slayer?

Answer: TaxSlayer provides both a Professional Online and Professional desktop software.  The product choice will be made during the ordering process.

 

Practice Lab

 

Question 1:  When will the Practice Lab be launched?

Answer:  Practice Lab was launched on May 2, 2016.

 

Question 2: In the new TaxSlayer Practice Lab, there are no similar instructions on how to avoid duplication. Will duplicated SSNs not be an issue?

Answer:  Duplicating SSN’s is not an issue in the TS Practice Lab.  The only restriction is that a SSN cannot be duplicated within a user.

 

Question 3: Will the production TaxSlayer have the same user interface as the Practice Lab that was recently released to users?

Answer: Yes

 

Question 4: Is TaxSlayer able to create multiple accounts with the same email in TaxSlayer Pro practice lab? Answer: No.  Each user will need a unique email address to support username recovery.

 

Question 5: If we ask our SPEC Relationship Managers for the Practice Lab link, will we (Site Coordinators and Partners) already be able to start using the Practice Lab? Or will we require a special password?

Answer: Yes. You will be able to access the Practice Lab. A generic password will be included in the instructions.

 

Question 6: Can we use the actual 4491 to prepare returns in the Practice Lab?

Answer: Yes.  Also there are return scenarios included in the Practice Lab