May 3, 2016 – Season Updates, TaxSlayer, Practice Lab, Fact Sheet

Notes from IRS SPEC Employee and Partner Conference Call

Reporting source: United Way EKS-VITA Coalition

General notes:
  • VITA sites will be able to use TaxWise until ~November 9th (when the CCH contract expires). After the contract expires in November, sites will no longer have access to TaxWise Online
  • Pub. 4491 will only be available in electronic format (PDF) starting with the next year’s filing season
  • There may be a new tax law certification coming out for returning volunteers (that allows returners to re-certify in the new and updated tax law).
About the TaxSlayer version for VITA:
  • IRS contract with TaxSlayer is 5 years.
  • Software is compatible with: Windows 7, Windows 10, Microsoft Edge, Apple products, Macbooks, Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome.
  • Full and final version for VITA sites will be available at the earliest around Thanksgiving.
  • TaxSlayer will provide a Desktop product, Online product, and Self-Prep product. However, a VITA site can only choose ONE of those options to enable. In case of outages, a contingency program/plan (desktop) will be available.
  • There will be phone, email and chat help with TaxSlayer for VITA.
  • Yes, we can still do 1040NR and W-7 ITIN applications with TaxSlayer.
  • TaxSlayer can do any state returns. You can file state returns without a federal return.
  • The software looks a lot like the MyFreeTaxes interface, so appears very different from TaxWise. The “mode” for tax preparation was described as being “Forms and Interview-like” (where the “Interview” mode is called “Guide Me”).
  • We will be able to do prior year returns in TaxSlayer, but only for the tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016.
  • To amend prior year returns in TaxSlayer, we will have to re-input the data first using a copy or transcript of the return. Once the return is input, it can be amended within the TaxSlayer software.
  • Taxpayers cannot request copies of their tax returns from CCH. Taxpayer can go to IRS Get Transcript for more information about getting a transcript of previous year tax returns.
  • There will not be any carryforward data from TaxWise into TaxSlayer. We will have to enter all the taxpayer data in this initial year of using the new software.
  • Reporting capability in TaxSlayer will supposedly be similar to TaxWise. There will be a feature in the software to allow the partner to put in customized questions (like how we currently have the Prep Use form in TaxWise).
  • In the TaxSlayer Practice Lab, duplicated SSNs will not be an issue (you will not need to use a 6-digit practice lab user ID to make it unique).
  • Software training rollout:
    • SPEC will be trained in June/July
    • Local VITA partners will be trained in July/August
  • Fact Sheet – Transition to TaxSlayer

 


Accessing the TaxSlayer Practice Lab

Reporting source: IRS Oakland SPEC (Raquel)

 

BackgroundThe TaxSlayer Practice Lab is now available and can be accessed by using the following link https://vita.taxslayerpro.com/IRSTraining. The Practice Lab provides a simulated VITA/TCE learning environment in the TaxSlayer Pro Online software and is complete with learning tools and TaxSlayer support.

Action:  We encourage you to use the TaxSlayer Practice Lab to become familiar with its features prior to the roll out of  any formal training.   The software will allow you to prepare, edit and print returns. If practice tax return scenarios are needed please refer to the Publication 4491W, VITA/TCE Problems and Exercises or Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Training Scenarios.

Resources Available:

  • NOTE: Please use the generic password “TRAINPROWEB” to gain access to lab. You will be prompted to change your username and password once you are in the system.
  • The following link is a video that walks the user through creating an account and logging into the Practice Lab https://www.brainshark.com/taxslayer/vu?pi=zGJzLHdEJzQIFXz0 .
  • The Practice Lab includes instructional recorded videos that can be selected by topic.

TaxSlayer Practice Lab

  • Using the Practice Lab – An instructional document that will walk the user through creating an account and logging into the software.
  • Previously Identified Issues – A chart of issues and their current status, that have been identified in the software by the TaxSlayer Training Development Team.  To minimize issue duplications, please refer to this document before reporting any issues to TaxSlayer.  Reminder- This product does not contain all of the features and capabilities that will be available for the VITA/TCE program in 2017.

Contact Information:   We anticipate that you will have many questions in regards to the operation and functionality of the software, however please remember that this version of TaxSlayer is provided to allow you to familiarize yourself with the software.  The final version, to be released in November, will have some differences and additional functionality.

Thank you everyone for your continued support throughout this transition.

 

Sincerely,

Raquel Rangel

Stakeholder Relationship Tax Consultant