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Tax Season Readiness Checklist

Review this comprehensive checklist to ensure your office is ready for the fast approaching 2017 filing season.

E-File and Module/Form Statuses

For the latest status information on e-file, modules and forms, please refer to the ATX and TaxWise support pages.

2017 Season: Key Dates

The IRS will begin accepting and processing electronic and paper returns on Monday, January 23, 2017. The deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

For more information about these dates, please visit the IRS website.

For answers to common refund-related questions you or your clients may have, visit IRS Answers Common Early Tax Season Refund Questions and Addresses Surrounding Myths.

PATH Act Update

Due dates for W-2s and 1099-MISC with nonemployee compensation returns have been moved to Jan 31, 2017 and there will be no automatic extensions. IRS has been working closely with the Social Security Administration to ensure data is ready to be received and shared with the IRS.

Expanded due diligence requirements:
Both the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) now have extended due diligence requirements to returns claiming either credit. More information is available here.

Effective in 2017, the IRS is mandated by the PATH Act to hold refunds for tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. The IRS encourages taxpayers claiming either credit to file their returns when they normally do, and that it is not necessary to hold their returns until after February 15. Additional information is available here.

Please note that while the IRS will begin to issue EITC/ACTC refunds beginning February 15, taxpayers should not expect to receive their refunds until the week of February 27 at the earliest. Additional information is available from the IRS website.

To learn more about this topic, check out this PATH Update Briefing available through CCH® IntelliConnect®.

You can also stay up-to-date on this topic when you purchase the CPE Link Tax Update Bundle.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Update

Action Applicable Large Employers - Including Those That Are Self-Insured Self-insured Employers That Are Not Applicable Large Employers Coverage Providers - other than Self-Insured Applicable Large Employers*
Provide 1095-B to responsible individuals Not Applicable** 3/2 3/2
File 1094-B and 1095-B with the IRS Not Applicable** Paper: 2/28
E-file: 3/31*
Paper: 2/28
E-file: 3/31*
Provide 1095-C to full-time employees 3/2 Not Applicable Not Applicable
File 1095-C and 1094-C with the IRS Paper: 2/28
E-file: 3/31*
Not Applicable Not Applicable

To learn more about this topic, check out this ACA Update Briefing available through CCH® IntelliConnect®.

You can also stay up-to-date on this topic when you purchase the CPE Link Tax Update Bundle.

Other form deadline extensions and penalty relief:

The IRS announced in November 2016 extended the January 31, 2017, due date for employers, insurers and other providers of health coverage to send individuals Form 1095-B (Health Coverage) and Form 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage). The new due date is March 2, 2017.

The IRS, however, has not extended the deadline for filing those forms with the IRS, or for Form 1094-B (Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns) and Form 1094-C (Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns). The deadline is February 28, 2017, for returns not filed electronically, or March 31, 2017, if filed electronically.

For more information, please click here.

Business Filing Deadlines

As mandated in the Surface Transportation Act of 2015, beginning in 2017, most business taxpayers will have new deadlines to file returns:

  • Form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income) and Schedule K-1s (Partner's Share of Income): new deadline of March 15.
  • Regular C corporations: new deadline of April 15.
    • NOTE: For C corporations with tax years ending on June 30, the filing deadline for their returns is still September 30.

For more information about these business filing deadlines, please refer to this Wolters Kluwer Tax Briefing.

New IRS Security Requirements & Changes

As members of the IRS Security Summit, we are committed to protecting confidential taxpayer information. We're upgrading our products to meet the recommendations and best practices set forth in IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.

ATX 2016 Security Updates
The initial release of ATX 2016 will require all users to establish a user account and password. Passwords must follow these guidelines:

  • All users to establish a user account and password. Passwords must follow these guidelines:
    • 8-20 characters
    • At least 1 UPPER case letter
    • At least 1 lower case letter
    • At least 1 number
    • At least 1 punctuation or special character (e.g. ? ! $ & * )
    • Spaces are allowed
  • Failed Login Restrictions: If a user becomes locked out of ATX due to inactivity and cannot login again within five attempts, the user must close ATX. Please note that while closing ATX will mean that any unsaved tax return data will be lost, this step is necessary to protect against potential data breaches.
  • Password expiration every 90 days: Users will be able to reset their own passwords.
  • Login will be required after 30 minutes of inactivity.
  • Login will be required every 24 hours.

Please check your ATX Release Notes and follow the ATX Blog for more information on the upcoming release of these features.

TaxWise 2016 Security Updates
This year, TaxWise will require all users (except the Training user and other users assigned to the Training security group) to establish a password associated with their user name. Passwords must follow the following guidelines:

  • 8-20 characters
  • At least 1 UPPER case letter
  • At least 1 lower case letter
  • At least 1 number
  • At least 1 punctuation or special character (e.g. ? ! $ & * )

Additional Security Changes:

  • User passwords will expire after 90 days. After this time period, you will be required to enter a new password for all users that follow the guidelines above.
  • Users are required to reenter their password after being logged into TaxWise for 24 hours regardless of activity.
  • Users are required to reenter their password after 30 minutes of inactivity in TaxWise.
  • Prior to tax season, the login page for TaxWise Online will be enhanced with the CAPTCHA feature. This feature helps to ensure a real person is logging in, and not a robot or malicious program. Watch for more information on this mandated feature soon.

New reCAPTCHA Process Introduced
Beginning January 13, customers who use the following products will see the reCAPTCHA security enhancement:

  • TaxWise Online
  • TaxWise Solutions Center (support.taxwise.com)
  • ATX Solutions Center (support.atx.com)
  • Central Office Manager (COM)
  • Online Check Printing (OCP)

For more information about reCAPTCHA, please visit the ATX or TaxWise support blogs.

States Forms and Refund Timing

With the opening of e-filing for tax year 2016, the ATX and TaxWise product teams continue working diligently to acquire the necessary approvals from various agencies. The implementation of new security measures at federal and state agency levels have proven challenging for the various jurisdictions, but the entire tax industry – both software vendors and preparers – have a vested interest in protecting taxpayers' personal information. Some states have been forced to delay approvals so that they comply with new requirements designed to safeguard critical data. As partners in that effort, Wolters Kluwer is working closely with revenue authorities across the country to expedite both requested changes and approval reviews so that our customers have access to the forms they need as quickly as possible.

Although the vast majority of forms and modules will be available as expected and in line with historical trends, we are aware that some of these products may be delayed. The following list will be updated as new information is received, but please consult the forms and e-file availability calendars noted in the ATX and TaxWise blog postings.

ATX Only: You can easily follow the blog from within ATX for further updates. Just click the Notifications icon in the ATX toolbar when the flag is red and you'll see the latest news and updates.

State Refund Timing and/or Forms Update

Refunds are expected to be released beginning March 1, and then staggered in two-week or one month intervals thereafter. Certain refunds, such as those that fit specific suspicion criteria and fall within certain dollar thresholds, will be redirected from direct deposit to paper check.


California has no plans to place a specific date or time frame-based hold on refunds, but the state's process for review of returns may delay the issuance of some state refunds


Refunds are expected to be released beginning February 1st, for both paper and electronic funds.


Forms for ATX and TaxWise are in the approvals process, but may be delayed past the start of e-file.


Refunds will be released once the return has been processed and cleared through Indiana's Identity Protection Program. With electronically filed returns, taxpayers should receive refunds within 14 days (assuming the return does not have a problem – math error, credit/deduction claimed that requires review, etc.). With paper filed returns, taxpayers should receive their refunds within 12 weeks. Refunds will be distributed both electronically and via paper checks.


Forms for ATX and TaxWise are in the approvals process, but may be delayed past the start of e-file.


Refunds are expected to be released beginning in January, and there are no changes to Kansas' refund process.


Louisiana is working through major design changes on both resident and nonresident returns. As of January 18, the final forms have been released by the Louisiana Department of Revenue. Both ATX and TaxWise are working diligently to finalize these forms.


There is no expected delay to the release of refunds.


The TaxWise module was delivered January 20. The TaxWise team continues working with the state as the Massachusetts Department of Revenue completes the migration to Modern e-File (MeF).


Michigan business forms (e.g. MBT series) have been released by the state. Because the MBT series was repealed in 2012 and is now used only for businesses with leftover credits, the Michigan Department of Treasury has previously announced that the filing volumes are expected to be extremely low for the MBT. ATX will make these forms available as quickly as possible after the approval process is completed.


Refunds will be issued after the return has been reviewed for accuracy.

Minnesota also has a Property Tax refund that is available to homeowner and renters. The majority of these refunds are issued July 1, August 1, August 15, and September 15.


The City of Kansas City (Missouri) does not plan to institute any significant changes for the 2016 tax year with respect to their processing of refunds.

For individual filers, refunds will be worked on a first-in, first- out approach. Missouri does not plan to delay the process for security reasons and will begin working the requests upon receipt. Except for first time filers with the City, the taxpayer has the option of requesting their refund either via paper check or via EFT transactions. However, first-time filers with the City will only have the option to receive paper checks for their refund request. As in past years, Missouri has built several safeguards into its process to help mitigate potential fraud, including not sending more than two refunds to the same address or bank account, requiring significant manual review for requests over a certain (undisclosed) dollar amount, requiring certification from the taxpayers' employers, etc.

As with individuals, business filers' requests for refunds will also be reviewed/worked on a first-in, first-out approach without any delay for security reasons. Business filers only have the option of receiving paper checks, and Missouri does not allow for electronic payments. As with individuals, Missouri has certain safeguards built into its system to mitigate fraud, including comparing refund amount with past refund request amounts for the same taxpayer, heightened scrutiny for larger dollar requests, etc.

New Jersey

Refunds are expected to be released starting the third week of February for both direct deposits and paper checks.

New Mexico

Electronically filed returns claiming a refund are processed in two to four weeks. A paper return takes eight to twelve weeks to process. Refunds are processed weekly either by direct deposit or paper check. New Mexico also has increased its enforcement efforts to combat fraud and identity theft, which could require additional documentation to verify a refund claim and increase the time it takes to process a tax refund.

New York

Refunds will begin being issued in late January.

New York has increased the use of two-dimensional barcodes on their 1040 forms series which has elongated the testing and review cycle. Until the process is completed for TaxWise, there will be a watermark on these forms. Please note that this mark will not prevent e-filing. TaxWise is approved for e-file and there is a preparer e-file mandate for New York returns.

North Dakota

North Dakota does not plan to hold refunds until a specific day. Returns will be processed as they arrive in accordance with the state's standards.


Ohio does not have any plans to hold refunds and are issued as they are processed.


Refunds will be let go throughout the year. Once a return is processed, the refund is issued within five business days. State law requires disbursements from the State Treasury to be in electronic form. If Direct Deposit information is not provided on the return, a debit card is issued. There are a few exceptions which allow for a paper check.


Oregon will begin releasing refunds on February 15th.


Utah will begin issuing refunds on March 1st unless it can do a match of the withholding reported by employers. This is the same process the state followed last year.


Vermont will begin issuing refunds on February 6th.


Virginia expects the 2017 refund return processing schedule to closely mirror the IRS' timetable. All refunds should be issued by either direct deposit or check. New for the 2017 filing season: the period to make a direct deposit once a refund is approved for release will be extended from 2 to 7 days.

Bank Product Check Printing

If you're offering bank product checks this season, the following steps will help guide you in setting up and printing checks for your clients:

  • First, determine if you are printing checks inside TaxWise desktop or online using the OCP (Online Check Printing) site:
    • If you use TaxWise Online, always use OCP for check printing
    • If you use TaxWise Desktop, you can view your check printer type by accessing the Partner Verification screen through these steps:
      • Login to TaxWise Desktop
      • From the main screen, click the TOOLS menu > Utilities Setup Assistant to move into the Utility Program
      • In the Utility Program, click the SETUP menu > Setup Assistant
      • Choose Partner Verification on the left menu
      • You will see the Check Printer type shown as desktop or online
      • Note: TaxWise Desktop users who print checks for multiple EFINs will always use OCP
  • Second, set up your printer:
    • In TaxWise Desktop, access the HELP menu chapters "How to run Align Checks" and "How to Print Checks"
    • For TaxWise Online and TaxWise Desktop users using OCP check printers, access the site ocp.cchsfs.com and login with the same login credentials you use for the support site, COM, or TaxWise Online:
      • When you first login, the site will guide you through configuring your printer
      • For other questions, access the HELP files on the OCP site or search the knowledge base for "OCP" for relevant articles
    • Note: If you are using Refund Advantage for your bank products, this bank handles all check printing from their website
  • How to determine if you have checks to print:
    • Once your bank acknowledgements have downloaded to you, print and view the acks. The ack will show the disbursement type, which will indicate if there is a check to print for the taxpayer. Note: You could receive several check print authorizations for the taxpayer
  • When you print live checks during tax season, make sure that:
    • The pre-printed number on the check stock matches the sequence number that is printed by the program
    • The dollar amount and authorized signature print in the correct place on the check
    • The taxpayer name, refund amount and date are correct

Important Update for e-Services Users

12/08/2016 IRS Update

In an era of increasing cybercrimes, the IRS must strengthen the security around our online tools, including e-Services, to protect taxpayers. As part of this critical effort, we are requiring certain e-Services users to validate their identities. Failure to validate your identity will result in your e-Services registration account being suspended for security purposes.

What is planned?
Starting the week of November 28, the IRS will mail letters via United States Postal Service to affected e-Services users. This letter will be your notification that you must validate your identity with the IRS. You will have 30 days from the date on the letter to validate your identity. However, please take immediate action upon receipt of the letter to avoid any possible delays that could lock you out of your e-Services account once the 30-days expire.

You must validate your identity using one of two options. The preferred option is to validate your identity online by registering for Get Transcript Online, which uses Secure Access to authenticate your identity. This option is solely to validate your identity through Secure Access. If you cannot validate your identity online, you may revalidate your identity by calling the IRS e-Services Help Desk. You must have a copy of the IRS letter you received when you call. You will have access to e-Services throughout the 30-day period.

Important: Do not try to use your IRS Letter 5903 security code as your authorization code for Secure Access. The Letter 5903 security code is only for those who call the e-Services Help Desk; not for those validating their identities online.

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11/21/2016 IRS Update

After meeting with industry representatives, the IRS has announced a modified play to re-authenticate only certain e-Services users for tax season 2017. Only users that use e-Services to retrieve taxpayer transcripts will be required to re-authenticate.

A letter will be mailed to the home address of the user and will contain a code that must be provided via phone to an IRS Assister who will ask a series of proofing question to verify the account. Letters will be staged over the next several weeks, and users will have 30 days to respond. IRS also anticipates that there likely will be more changes post filing season.

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10/14/2016 IRS Update

To ensure a smooth transition, the IRS has decided to delay the October 24 date for requiring e-services users to re-register and validate their identities through Secure Access authentication. In the next few weeks, the IRS plans to have discussions with key stakeholders affected by the e-services changes to discuss security protocols and next steps in this process.

A new implementation date has not been set. When a new date is set, the IRS will share the information widely with e-Services users.

The IRS is strengthening the e-Services registration process as part of a wider effort to ensure the protection of taxpayer data and IRS systems.

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The IRS is committed to protecting taxpayer and tax preparer information and maintaining the security of its systems. As part of that effort, the IRS is strengthening the identity validating process used to access certain self-help tools on IRS.gov.

Starting late October e-services users will be required to re-register using the Secure Access authentication process. Users must validate their identities through this process before they can access their accounts.

All e-services users will be affected by this change. Those who use e-services for TIN Matching only also must re-register. However, because there is no exchange of sensitive data, TIN Matching will use a more streamlined process.

Read more for additional details.

IRS Now Accepting ITIN Renewal Applications

IRS Now Accepting ITIN Renewal Applications
The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers affected by recent changes involving the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program that they can now begin submitting their ITIN renewal applications to the IRS. Read more about renewing your ITIN.

Note: ATX and TaxWise users have access to Form W-7 (required document for renewing an ITIN) directly through the software. When you use the W-7 form in your tax software to perform this function, you will ensure that it remains a part of your client's record.

Additional ITIN Resources:

Form 8867 Change

This year, the penalty for failure to file Form 8867 is $510 (increased from $505 for tax year 2015) The year-over-year penalty increase results from cost of living adjustments (COLA) for each of the three credits claimed (includes EIC, CTC, AOTC) and can result in a potential total penalty of $1,530.

Be sure to stay on top of changing tax law and regulatory impacts that could affect your clients. Our Research and Learning products offer a variety of training, certification and reference products that can help you deal with the ever-changing world of tax preparation.

Ensure Your Information is Up-To-Date and Your Account Remains in Good Standing

Be sure to verify and update your contact information via the Solution Center

We send many important and critical messages through email and physical mail throughout the year. Be sure your shipping/mailing address, email address and phone number are up-to-date to ensure your are in the loop when information needs to be communicated. Review the step below to review and update your contact information:

For ATX Users

Log in to the ATX Solution Center as ADMIN and click the My Office link in the left sidebar of the Home tab. There, you can review and modify each section of information as needed.

For TaxWise Users

Log in to the TaxWise Solution Center as ADMIN and click the My Information tab at the top of the page. There, you can review and modify your information as needed.

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Download your 2016 software from the Solution Center

Instead of waiting on a disc in the mail, you can now download and install your 2016 software at your convenience. Simply click the appropriate link below to log in to the Solution Center and download your 2016 tax software:

Download Now - ATX 2016
Download Now - TaxWise 2016

Please update your contact info through the Solution Center and update your email preferences to ensure that you receive these critical communications. The software packages below will not receive a software DVD for 2016:

For ATX Users

ATX Pay-Per-Return System (PRS), ATX 1040, ATX Total Tax Office and ATX Advantage packages will not be receiving a software DVD for Tax Year 2016 unless you separately purchased the optional disc.

For TaxWise Users

TaxWise Pay-Per-Return (PPR) and ProFiling packages will not be receiving a physical software DVD for Tax Year 2016.

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Ensure that you have a valid method of payment on file for transactional charges

Avoid potential interruptions during tax season by making sure that you have set up a way to settle transactional fees. A credit card or bank debit can be added to your account at the Solution Center:

For ATX Users

Visit the ATX Solution Center and log in as ADMIN. Simply click the Credit Card/ACH on file link in the left hand menu of the Home tab to update your Credit Card on file.

For TaxWise Users

Visit the TaxWise Solution Center and log in as ADMIN. Simply click the My Information tab and click the Modify link to update your Credit Card or ACH on file.

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Be sure to settle any outstanding charges on your account before tax season starts

Charges can be incurred for e-filing fees from individual, business, payroll and prior year returns.

Note: Customers may have their e-filing capability deactivated until any balance in excess of the $30 limit is settled. Visit the Solution Center to check your balance, make payments on account and review charges as they are posted.

For ATX Users

  • Pay online at www.myatx.com. Click Online Bill Pay under Account Services, and log in as ADMIN or another username with administrator rights.
  • Call 770-857-5100, opt. 2 with another form of payment.

For TaxWise Users

  • Pay online at support.taxwise.com. Click Online Bill Pay under Account Services, and log in as ADMIN or another username with administrator rights.
  • Call 770-857-5100, opt. 2 with another form of payment.

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Verify that we have your current EFIN information on file

IRS regulations require that we collect and retain proof of your EFIN. Learn how to update this:

For ATX Users

ATX Knowledge Library Answer ID 13729

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Submit your ERO bank or FeeCollect enrollment

Submit your enrollment through the Solution Center, then finish the process with your bank.

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Software Readiness

Make sure your system meets the minimum requirements for your 2016 software

Confirm that you meet or exceed system requirements. The minimum system requirements for ATX and TaxWise have changed so we encourage you to review them to ensure your computer meets the new requirements.

For ATX Users

ATX 2016 System Requirements

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Review the new features and functions

Review the new features and functions accessible via the HELP menu as soon as you receive your 2016 software.

For ATX Users

For ATX, be sure to use the Release Notes, Welcome to ATX, and Getting Started chapters of the HELP menu in your software. Refer also to the section What's New in ATX 2016 on the ATX 2016 set-up page.

For TaxWise Users

For TaxWise, be sure to use the Quick Reference Guide and the Getting Started chapters of the HELP menu in your software. Refer also to the section What's New in TaxWise 2016 on the TaxWise 2016 set-up page.

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Set up your usernames and passwords, preferences/default information, and client letters

Be sure to refer to the new IRS security requirements and changes, which safeguard both you and your clients.

For ATX Users

ATX - Expected form and e-file delivery dates are published on the support site.

For TaxWise Users

TaxWise - Expected module delivery and e-file delivery dates are published on the support site here.

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Review the IRS e-file prior year ending and new year starting dates

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Start this tax season with the best software package for your business

If you haven't considered the benefits of a more advanced software package, please review available offerings for ATX and TaxWise. Call your Account Manager to learn more and take advantage of special upgrade savings at 800-495-4626.

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Training & Tax Office Employee Readiness

Train your staff with one of these great CPE/CE options from Wolters Kluwer

First time access to your 2016 software - setup your Admin username and password.

Setup your authorized employees as users on the support site
Review these videos to learn more about this process:

Get ready for 2017 filing season with Tax Season Essentials
Designed as an interactive guide, Tax Season Essentials includes important news, tips, and resources to help improve your business while making tax season as smooth as possible.

Stay up-to-date with training resources designed especially for ATX and TaxWise.

Make the most of your software with information from our Education Library.

Let us help you find the right solution for your business!
800-375-9542 today.