HPL#11

  • Based on the incorrect data that the Marketplace sent out to MANY TP’ers

    If someone comes in with a 1095-A, ask if they have an online sign-on to Healthcare.gov.  

    1. If they do, have them sign on to see if they have the message that their 1095-A is incorrect
      1. If they do not, prepare the return normally
      2. If they do, prepare the entire return, have it QRed and put it on hold until they get the corrected 1095-A.  When they get it, the return should take less than 10 minutes to complete
    2. If they do not, go to https://www.healthcare.gov/taxes/tools/silver/
      1. Find out the cost of the second lowest price silver plan
        1. If it agrees with that listed on their 1095-A, prepare the return normally
        2. If it does not, prepare the entire return, have it QRed and put it on hold until they get the corrected 1095-A.  When they get it, the return should take less than 10 minutes to complete
    3. In either event, alert them to the possibility that they will receive a corrected 1095-A.  If they do, they will need to return so that we can determine whether they will need to file an amended return.
    4. We may also try having the TP’er call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596  to request assistance.
    5. ***We may try to set up a computer and ask our amazing CF’s to monitor helping TP’ers with an online signon to help them go online and check if there is a problem on their 1095A.****
  • On Wednesday we filed 65 returns and helped a total of 104 people. Good job!
  • If you are NOT certain  where an entry goes or what to do with a tax form that does not look familiar,  GET HELP.
  • Please download this file which is the latest ACA Exemption Code Table for your p4012
  • Be on the lookout for possible EIC even if the client does NOT have children.
  • If there is a W2 and a box 12 code D, complete the f8880 to determine if a retirement credit applies. Box 14 FRS amounts DO NOT qualify for this credit.
  • Since Larry is on a 2 week cruise, I have been doing the efile submissions. We had 2 rejects. One was easy to fix with just a minor W2G mistype that I could correct and resend. The other was a dependent SS# issue that we will work out next week.
    • personnel out->sub
  • Jan(AM)/Judith(PM)->Betty will sub
  • Susan(AM)->Ellen will sub
  • Tom, Wes and Pat were originally to be out but now appear to be in??? Is that correct? Let me know.

FYI:This season, I have reduced our appointment load from 10 each hour to 9 to give us some breathing room, avoid backups , reduce frustration when the network slows, and allow us to take some walkup clients. Now you sometimes get a brief break in-between clients, and to avoid a backlog disaster if I cannot get a sub if one of us is out. Every week we have several people gone and I cannot always get subs. The other benefit is we seem to be finishing our client list just a bit after 6, rather than pushing the 7 pm closing of the library when we are more prone to make mistakes. We have also been able to free up more people to QR to help you with complicated returns and complete a return quicker.

  • this is the time of year we will get more complicated brokerage statements.
  • we have NOT been scanning the statements as TWO is still not accepting the pdf files and besides, it takes lots more time to scan.
  • remember to go through 1099B’s with a fine tooth comb. Use your highlighter.
  • there are many sub total and total lines. If you are using subtotals, be sure everything adds up in the end, use code M and attach the relevant 1099B page copies to the 8453 after checking the box on the top of sch D pg 1 in TWO.
  • markstein

HPL#10

Just received this message about a problem with some f1095A’s. We will put together a plan to help our clients check their status.

Date:      February 20, 2015

To:         All Tax-Aide Volunteers

From:     Marcy Gouge, Assistant National Director, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide & Pete Freiermuth, Chair NTTC

SubjectCyberTax TY2014-08: Critical News released today regarding completing tax returns which have ACA issues

Critical News released today regarding completing tax returns which have ACA issues:

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) have released the attached news alert which announced that a significant number of the form 1095-A sent at the end of January contained a critical error.  This information affects only taxpayers who had Federally-facilitated Marketplace coverage in 2014 and used tax credits to lower their premium costs.

Key Elements of Attached Alert:

  • The original version of the form 1095-A issued to taxpayers who purchased insurance from the Insurance Marketplace listed an incorrect “benchmark plan premium amount”.  Corrected forms are being prepared and will be sent to these taxpayers;
  • About 20 percent of the tax filers who received these forms, or approximately 800,000 (< 1% of total tax filers) are affected by this error;
  • Based on preliminary estimates, CMS believes that approximately 90-95% of these tax filers who received incorrect forms haven’t filed their tax return yet.   For those who have not filed, CMS is advising them to wait until the first week of March when they receive their new form or go online for correct information before filing.
  • For those who have filed their taxes — approximately 50,000 (< 0.05% of total tax filers) – the Treasury Department will provide additional information soon.

 What this means for Tax-Aide sites:

  • Counselors should tell affected taxpayers that CMS advises them to wait to file until they receive the corrected form;
  • Tax sites should wait to prepare Amended returns for those who have already filed and might have an incorrect form to wait for further direction as noted.
  • Taxpayers can find out if they are affected by logging in to their account at www.HealthCare.gov. They will see a notice message that will let them know if their form was or was not affected.  When their corrected form is ready they will receive a message.
  • If a taxpayer does not want to wait to file, there are two options:  1) They can go to the above website to find a research tool to find the lowest cost Silver plan that applied to their household in 2014, or 2) They can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to request assistance.
  • It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to obtain the corrected form or to get assistance from CMS, not the counselor’s responsibility. Questions about this Cybertax should be sent to OneSupport Help Center.

============================

The CMS Blog: What Consumers Need to Know about Corrected Form 1095-A

FEBRUARY 20, 2015

Last year, millions of Americans used advance payments of tax credits to help lower the cost of their monthly health insurance premiums. Now that tax season is here, individuals and families enrolled in a health plan through the Marketplaces will need to provide some basic information about their health insurance when they file their tax returns.

If you signed up for coverage through the Marketplace last year, you should have received a statement in the mail in February from the Marketplace called a Form 1095-A. This statement includes important information you need in order to complete and file your tax return. One piece of information included in your 1095-A is the premium amount for the “second lowest cost Silver plan” in your area. This premium amount represents the benchmark plan we use to determine the amount of premium tax credit you were eligible to receive.

Your 1095-A form should have arrived in your mailbox in February. Most consumers can also download a copy of their 1095-A through their HealthCare.gov account. We have been urging consumers to check the information on their forms – such as the number of people in your household – for accuracy. People who find errors on their form can contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to find out how to request a corrected form.

About 20 percent of the tax filers who had Federally-facilitated Marketplace coverage in 2014 and used tax credits to lower their premium costs – about 800,000 (< 1% of total tax filers) – will soon receive an updated Form 1095-A because the original version they were issued listed an incorrect benchmark plan premium amount. Based upon preliminary estimates, we understand that approximately 90-95% of these tax filers haven’t filed their tax return yet. We are advising them to wait until the first week of March when they receive their new form or go online for correct information before filing. For those who have filed their taxes — approximately 50,000 (< 0.05% of total tax filers) – the Treasury Department will provide additional information soon.

It’s important to note that this issue does not affect the majority of Marketplace consumers and only affects people who signed up through one of the 37 states using HealthCare.gov. About 80 percent of Marketplace consumers who received a 1095-A from the federal Marketplace do not have affected forms and should go ahead and file their annual tax return. Additionally, this issue does not mean that consumers received the incorrect amount of tax credit throughout the year. It’s also important to note that this does not affect the vast majority of tax filers who will just need to check a box on their tax return to indicate that they had health coverage in 2014 either through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans care, or other qualified health coverage programs.

Our priority is to make sure people with affected forms are alerted to the issue and are made aware of the steps they need to take. If your form was affected, you will receive a phone call from the Marketplace by early March, in addition to letters and emails with additional information about the status of your form.

Marketplace consumers concerned about the status of their 1095-A forms should take the following actions:

You can find out if you are affected by logging in to your account at HealthCare.gov. You will see a notice message that will let you know if your form was or was not affected. A majority of tax filers with Marketplace coverage through HealthCare.gov that received a 1095-A– about 80 percent – will find that their form was not affected by this issue and will be able to file their taxes with their current form.

Wait to file if your form was affected. It’s best to wait to file your tax return until you receive your corrected 1095-A Form from the Marketplaces. New forms are being sent from the Marketplace beginning in early March. When your corrected form is ready, we’ll also send a message to your Marketplace account on HealthCare.gov.

If you need to file now, use our tool. If you can’t wait, and want to find the correct amount of the second lowest cost Silver plan that applied to your household in 2014, you have 2 options: 1) You can use this tool to find that amount, or 2) You can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) and they can help.

As soon as we discovered the error, we immediately began examining who was affected, how to communicate about the error, and how to make the corrections process as simple as possible for consumers. We are committed to making sure that consumers who need corrected forms are contacted with updates and will receive new forms quickly. We are focused on making sure that every Marketplace consumer understands how taxes and health care intersect and if they need to get a corrected form, the steps they need to take.

Consumers with questions or who want to learn more are encouraged to visit http://www.healthcare.gov/taxes. Representatives at the Marketplace Call Center are also standing by to answer consumer questions. The call center is open 24/7 at 1-800-318-2596.

HPL#9

  • Please remember to use the online tools for simplified pension exclusions and ACA exemptions. Use the links from the desktop on the IRS laptops. If anything creates confusion or an ACA penalty is indicated (due to a month being checked with no insurance), get help so we can work out the situation as a team.
  • This interesting situation was written about in TVOG (A national Forum for AARP counselors-TaxAide-Volunteer Operations Group)

The responsibility for any tax due on a scholarship is that of the student, not the parents even if the student is their dependent. Conversely, if a person is claimed on someone else’s return then whoever claims him or her is eligible for an education credit. If the parents don’t claim the child, then he or she is eligible for an education credit but still has to file as “can be claimed” and is not eligible for a personal exemption.

  • One more thing to think about. Another variable to try with Ed Credits is to NOT use an Ed Credit but making the expenses an Ed adjustment, this will reduce household income and may increase PTC making this strategy beneficial.
  • Out–>in Feb 18

Jerry(all Day)–>Judith (AM)

Wes(PM)–>Karen Rose(PM)

Rachel, Susan, Sonny–>Ellen (AM) Rich (AM)

  • All of our appointments are now booked until near the end of March!
  • I really appreciate everyone picking up the slack with several of us out last week.
  • Today, I was a canoe guide for a National Geographic film team filming a TV show for their channel to be aired in the fall. They had about $10,000 worth of equipment in the canoe and we managed to keep it all dry and saw LOTS of manatees.

IMG_1284

HPL#8

Results from our first week of tax work: 100 efiles.

Some resources for you to use:

    • -Check out the other links tab on the menu bar. These online tools are very good. Please familiarize yourself with ACA Affordability Calculator and the Florida Silver/Bronze Plan Calculator.
    • The DROPBOX tab links to a location where you can download files.
    • Download: 03.ACA Workflow.pdf  This file will give you a logical way to approach how to determine if health insurance is affordable or not.
    • When using the ACA worksheet in TWO, if you check a box for ANY month, that means a penalty will be assessed. You can see that amount at the bottom of the worksheet. DO NOT check a month without insurance if it will be covered by an exemption or is unaffordable.
    • Feb 11: Jerry is out. Mark is out and Skeeter will sub.
    • Still 1 volunteer short this week with a full schedule of appointments. In fact our appointments are already filled through March 11th!

I have come down with the cold going around citrus county. May not make it to HPL on Wednesday. Barry
brain_full

HPL#7

You were fantastic in getting through our first day. Lots of new stuff, some complicated issues due to ACA, but we never fell behind.

On Saturday we have a full schedule from 10-4:30.
Please be at HPL by 9:30 to setup and be ready to go by 10.
Saturday Volunteers:
CF’s:
Susan, Rachel, Pat and Rich

Counselors:
Rebecca, Jen, Shirley, Judith, Catherine, Karen, Larry, Barry, Hanh

We really need 1 more but this is it so far! Be ready to rock and roll.

ramsey

HPL#6

Question came up today at Floral City about “can we e-file prior year returns?”

We can efile current year and two prior tax years. To be safe, we had the TP mail the returns, which in this case was good. I called CCH tonight, and the rep said that at the moment prior year returns are not being accepted due to an unresolved issue, and that if we would have tried to e-file, we would have gotten an error message. She said CCH is expecting to resolve this issue soon, and that an announcement would probably be posted on their blog at that time.
We also had numerous returns that when we tried to create the e-file, it was not allowed, and the status was “E-file not created”. Sometimes multiple e-file tries and much waiting time worked, sometimes not.

Also, every few minutes try using F5 to refresh so the system does not time out.

Also a reminder about persons filing just for identity theft reasons. If they $0 AGI, the system will not allow you to e-file. Insert $1 directly on Page 1, Line 8 Taxable Interest, and the return will e-file.

HPL#4

Please use the DropBox Tab in the menu bar above, or the links below,  to download several important resources:

01.New Chart of Federal Poverty Guidelines needed for ACA

02.TY2014 Counselor Procedures

 

An important reminder: our client ID is 219907 at HPL

If you were in the review class, your same password that you used in class should work.

If you were not in the review class your user name is your first password then you will be forced to change it.

 

HPL#3

Hi

Our appointments for our first week (Wednesday and Saturday) of the tax season are FULL!! Sharpen your pencils and put fresh batteries in your calculators!

Each week, please check the tab for the current Tax-Alerts, they are required reading of all Tax-Aide volunteers.

1.  As an experiment, our district will participate in the Out of State Return Prep Pilot Program.  Last year we reported preparing 67 state returns but, of course, the stats don’t include how many taxpayers with state reporting requirements we turned away.  The pilot program will allow us to assist taxpayers from Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  I know you work with taxpayers from other states but, for ty2014, these are the only states in scope.  Lets get a week under our belt before I give you more information about the process.

2. The suggested FL1 method of handing underpayment penalties now ensures we alert our taxpayers that they may be assessed a penalty and that we stay in scope. If there is a potential penalty, Form 2210 will be added to the tree automatically and turn red.  After adding the actual amount of ty2013 tax on Page 1, Part II, line 8, look at Page 2, Part III, Line 17.  If there is a penalty, tell the taxpayer the amount then go back to pg 1, Part II, and replace the actual ty2013 tax on line 8 with $1.00..  This will eliminate the penalty and Form 2210 will not be transmitted to the IRS.  

3. For a number of years, we have said that direct deposit to a savings account is out of scope.  It turns out that that is not correct.  We can do direct deposit to a savings account.  The rules are the same as for a checking account – we either need to see the routing and account numbers on a check or on a bank letter, etc.

4. Please try to get to HPL early as the first day is ALWAYS kind of chaotic.

Thanks

Barry