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Familiarization Training

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  1. Familiarization Training NJ TAX-AIDE 2013 – 2014 SOMERSET COUNTY

  2. Purpose of this Training • Understand policy & procedures of AARP Tax-Aide Program • Understand what is expected of volunteers • Understand typical tax documents • Understand how to access & use TaxWise Online (TWO) • Understand how to prepare a simple tax return using TWO

  3. AARP Tax-Aide • Charitable, non-profit program administered by AARP Foundation • Free, nationwide confidential service • Help low- to mid-income taxpayers with special attention to age 60+ • Answer tax questions & prepare returns • Funded 1/3 AARP, 2/3 IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

  4. Mission of AARP Tax-Aide • To provide high-quality, free income tax assistance & tax form preparation to the greatest number of low- & moderate-income taxpayers which will produce the most beneficial result for the taxpayers we serve • No income or age limits • Only limits are on complexity of return

  5. National, Volunteer-Run ProgramTY 2012 National Statistics • Tax-Aide started in 1968 and is now the largest nationwide, volunteer-run free tax service • Taxpayers served: > 2.6 million • Federal Tax Returns prepared: 1.6 M • Clients got $1.3 B in refunds, $233M in Earned Income Tax credits • Volunteers: 36,000

  6. Somerset County Tax-Aide Program In Somerset County: • For 2012 tax season, we completed over 1,683returns at 6 sites (up 10% over 2011) • 100% e-filed on the computer • Hillsborough, Manville, Raritan, • Franklin, Bridgewater, Green Brook • Approx. 60 volunteers

  7. AARP Tax-Aide Counselors • Are trained • Become certified • Are assigned to a site • Provide free tax counseling • Report their service • Promote the program

  8. AARP Tax-Aide Counselors Are Trained • In Federal & NJ tax law • In computer tax preparation software (TaxWise) • Use personal or loaner computers • In administrative requirements • In use of appropriate reference materials • Publications, forms, schedules provided

  9. Publications & Tools • Volunteer Resource Guide (Pub 4012) • The “Bible” • Process-Based Training (Pub 4491) • Your Federal Income Tax (Pub 17) • NJ What’s In, What’s Out lists • Site Sign-In Sheet & Activity Report • Interview & Intake Sheets (Form 13614-C) • IRS 1040 Instruction Book • NJ 1040 Instruction Book & GIT Books

  10. Important Reference Websites • http://www.njtaxaide.org/tavolunteers/somerset • Somerset County website • http://taxprep4free.org • Training resources • Proficiency problem scenarios & refund monitors • Replaced older website: (http://www.njtaxaide.org/tavolunteers/) • http://www.AARP.org/tavolunteers/ • Volunteer portal includes news, cybertax notifications, links for administration for AARP Tax-Aide volunteers

  11. Confidentiality, Privacy & Security • Keep taxpayer info strictly confidential • Do not retain taxpayer documents • Do not leave computer unattended if it has taxpayer data • Most sites use TaxWise Online where data is stored on secure servers • Only 1 site still using TaxWise Desktop. All taxpayer info is deleted from computers by April 30

  12. Insurance Coverage & Liability • Travel accident insurance coverage if on Tax-Aide business • Insurance is supplemental to Medicare or its equivalent & covers medical expenses &/or death only. Does not cover personal property such as cars, computers, etc. • Notify district coordinator ASAP • By congressional law, counselors are not liable if they follow the rules

  13. Types Of Returns YouCan/Can’t Prepare • Prepare only those returns for which you have been trained & certified & which do not appear on the NJ “What’s Out” List • Refer taxpayer to experienced counselor if tax subject is in Training Module “Topics for Experienced Counselors “ or if you are not comfortable with a particular tax situation • Refer taxpayer to paid tax preparer if anything on return is Out Of Scope • Do not prepare a tax return when you suspect information is untruthful

  14. Counselor Certification Requirements • Pass IRS tests with grade of 80%+ (Volunteer Standards of Conduct – Ethics & Advanced level tests) • Open book • Demonstrate proficiency in preparing tax returns • Complete 4 problems (Baylor, Fleming, Sterling and a comprehensive problem tbd (focus on 2013 tax law changes) returns correctly • Sign Volunteer Standards of Conduct

  15. Getting StartedOverall Process & The Interview IRS FORM 13614-C INTAKE/INTERVIEW

  16. Overall Process • Client calls Tax Appointment phone line requesting tax help • Client is assigned to tax site coordinator/ volunteer via email • Tax volunteer calls client to set up appointment & reviews Initial Phone Sheet • Client arrives at tax site & completes Intake/Interview Form (Section A Pages 1& 2) • Tax return prepared, quality reviewed, printed and e-filed NOTE: Refer to Process Overview handout for more details

  17. Interviewing – The Key To A Good Return • Focus on interviewing throughout data gathering process • Also review prior year return for items such as last year’s income and deductions, carry forward loss, and refund applied to this year’s taxes • TaxWise software alone is not enough • Use Intake/Interview form for questions on filing status, dependents, Earned Income Credit (EIC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) as applicable • AARP policy mandates use of IRS Intake/Interview Sheet by Tax-Aide volunteers (Form 13614-C) • Use Volunteer Reference Guide – (IRS Pub 4012) decision trees and flow charts

  18. Effective InterviewingPub 4012 Page 4 • Speak clearly, simply, and loud enough • Build rapport • Have patience • Reassure the taxpayer (“I understand”) • Ask effective questions (e.g. - probing and open-ended) • Allow the taxpayer time to respond • Involve the taxpayer in the process

  19. Social Security Number (SS #) • Name/SS # must match Social Security Administration (SSA) database • If no SS #, taxpayer uses Form SS-5 to apply • Takes 6 weeks to process • Use appropriate verification documents to prevent processing delays or rejects • Social Security card • SSA-1099 benefit statement • SSA letter showing both SS # & name

  20. Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN) • Certain resident and non-resident aliens may not be eligible for a SS # • Need ITIN for federal tax reporting • Verify original copy of ITIN card or letter • Taxpayer is not eligible for Earned Income Credit (EIC) • ITIN return can be e-filed

  21. AARP Intake/Interview Form (13614-C) • Completed by client – Section A • Page 1 – General information about taxpayer, spouse & dependents • Page 2 – Summary of income, expenses & life events • Completed by preparer • Page 1 - Shaded section about dependents • Page 4 - Notes • Used by quality reviewer • Page 3, Part VII

  22. Intake/Interview Sheet - Personal Info,Marital Status & Household Info (P. 1)

  23. Intake/Interview Sheet – Income, Expenses & Life Events (P. 2)

  24. Intake/Interview Sheet –Life Events, Additional Info (P. 2)

  25. Intake/Interview Sheet – Quality Review Section (P. 3)

  26. Intake/Interview Sheet – Comments & Notes Sections (P. 4)

  27. Taxpayer Information • Information from Intake/Interview sheet & client interview • Input into TaxWise on Main Info Screen • Includes • Personal information for taxpayer & spouse • Presidential election campaign question • Filing status • Dependent information • Exemptions

  28. IRS Form 1040 • Everyone files a 1040 or a version of 1040 (1040A, 1040EZ, etc.) • Split up into 4 general areas • Taxpayer information • Income • Taxes & Credits • Payments/Refunds Due & Signature

  29. Form 1040 Taxpayer Information 2013

  30. Introduction To TaxWise Pub 4012, Section N

  31. TaxWiseTW Desktop or TWO • TaxWise forms-based software used for tax return preparation • Most sites will use TaxWise Online (TWO). One site might still use TaxWise Desktop • Familiarization training will use 2012 TWO software

  32. Logging on to TaxWise Online (TWO) Training • Use this URL to access TWO training website for familiarization training:https://twonline.taxwise.com/training/12 • Use client ID 2276756 • First time logging on, use your assigned ID as both User ID and Password. • All IDs start with SOMERSET • Last 2 digits are your student #

  33. TWO Initial Sign-In User Name set up by administrator Initially password is same as User Name

  34. TWO Password Change Request

  35. TWO Password Change

  36. TWO Main Screen & Starting a New Return Start a new return

  37. TWO Start New Return Enter SS # twice SS# in XXX-YY-ZZZZ format XXX=First 3 #s from problem YY=Student ID ZZZZ=4139 (EFIN)

  38. TWO Open Existing Return(Select SS #) Open an existing return by clicking on SS#

  39. TWO Open Existing Return (Enter SS #) • Open existing return by: • Click on Open return icon • Enter SS# Always click on Go to Tax Forms; never use Go to Interview

  40. TaxWise Refund Monitor & Navigation Tree Refund Monitor Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount & Refund Amount provide running totals Complete & Correct Form: Check Mark Incomplete or Incorrect Form: All Red or Red Exclamation Point State Forms Loaded when State is Selected

  41. Sample Intake/Interview Sheet

  42. Sample Intake/Interview Sheet (cont’d)

  43. TaxWise Main Information Screen

  44. Main Information ScreenBasic Information – TaxWise Tips • Enter names • Without punctuation marks (. , -) • Last name of spouse is only needed if different from taxpayer • Primary SS # is automatically populated • Spouse’s SS # must be entered • Enter zip code - TW populates city and state

  45. TaxWise Main Information Screen (cont’d)

  46. Main Information ScreenFiling Status – TaxWise Tips • Enter birth date as mmddyyyy (TW inserts slashes). Age is calculated • Check box for blind or disabled, if applicable. This is used to calculate standard deduction • Enter date of death (if taxpayer died in 2012 or 2013 only - since using 2012 software) • Check box to indicate who is filing return for deceased taxpayer

  47. TaxWise Main Information Screen (cont’d)

  48. Main Information ScreenFiling Status – TaxWise Tips • Donation for Presidential Election Campaign does not impact client’s refund/balance due • Click on box to choose filing status • For Married Filing Single (MFS) • Enter spouse’s name, SS #, & answer questions • For Head of Household (HOH) • Only enter child’s name and SS # if child is not being claimed as a dependent • For QW, must enter year of death (2010 or 2011, since we are using 2012 software) • For real tax returns TY2013, date of death of 2011 or 2012 to qualify for QW

  49. Gubernatorial Elections Fund Question – NJ 1040 Page 3

  50. TaxWise Main Information Screen (cont’d)