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Tax Season Readiness Checklist

Review this comprehensive checklist to ensure your office is ready for the fast approaching 2018 filing season.

2018 Season: Key Dates, IRS Agency Delays, E-File Availability & Forms Release Schedule

Unexpected tax reform legislation has introduced uncertainty to the 2018 filing season, and are affecting the entire tax software industry. On January 4, 2018 the IRS announced that they will begin accepting tax returns on January 29, with approximately 155 million individual tax returns estimated to be filed this year. The tax deadline is April 17.

Owing to delays in final passage of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" and pending extenders legislation, we have adjusted estimated availability dates for some forms and e-file types. We encourage you to monitor the E-File Availability list and Forms Release Schedule for the latest information:

List of Pending Final IRS Forms:

Form Name Description
2220 Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Corporations
3468 Investment Credit
8606 Nondeductible IRAs
8827 Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax - Corporations
8835 Renewable Electricity and Coal Production Credit
8900 Qualified Railroad Track Maintenance Credit
8908 Energy Efficient Home Credit
8910 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
8911 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit
8917 Tuition and Fees Deduction
8936 Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit
1041-ES Estimated Income Tax for Estates and Trusts
1120-W (Worksheet) Estimated Tax for Corporations
5884-A Credits for Affected Disaster Area Employers
W4 W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate

The effect of these forms in the tax products:


  • Most of the forms listed above have either been released for data entry in a "Draft" state, or have not yet been released. These forms will have a "Draft" watermark displayed over the on-screen and the printed pages.
  • When the user attempts to print returns with these forms, the following message will display:
  • E-File has not been enabled on these forms as we are awaiting an update from IRS on the final format (schema) of these forms for e-file. Returns without these forms will be able to be created for electronic filing upon the release of those modules (see e-File Availability page link above for schedule). When a user attempts to create an efile with one of these forms, a dialog is presented listing the particular form that is not-enabled.

    Here's an example of form 3800, which is currently a draft. Note that the user is not able to mark the Federal 1041 box. Once the Final form is released and customers receive the updated form, the red message will go away and the user will be able to select the relevant e-file type.

*Exception: due to the non-impact of these tax law changes, we have enabled e-File of form 7004 (business extension) even though the form is still a draft. IRS is accepting extension requests. If the preparer believes the tax law changes will impact their estimated tax liability, they can override the calculation on line 6 of this form and select to pay any amount.


  • Most of the forms listed above have a watermark "Draft". Returns with these forms in them will allow e-File creation, after the module enabling e-file has been released (see Release notes and Module & Efile Availability support pages). The end-user is advised to manage the process of what changes might affect a particular taxpayer.

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.

Business Filing Deadlines

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

  • Regular C corporations: new deadline of April 17.

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

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Trump on December 22, 2017 had a few provisions that will impact 2017 tax returns.

  • Medical expense deduction AGI threshold temporarily reduced: The threshold to claim an itemized deduction for unreimbursed expenses paid for the medical care of the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse or dependents is reduced to 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AG) for all taxpayers for tax years beginning after December 31, 2016 and before January 1, 2019. The reduced threshold applies for both regular tax and alternative minimum tax purposes.
  • Bonus depreciation extended and increased to 100 percent; additional modifications made: The bonus depreciation rate is increased to 100 percent for property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2023. The rate phases down thereafter. Used property and films, television shows, and theatrical productions are eligible for bonus depreciation. Property used by rate-regulated utilities and property of certain motor vehicle, boat, and farm machinery retail and lease businesses that use floor financing indebtedness is excluded from bonus depreciation.
  • Election to apply 50 percent rate: A taxpayer may elect to apply the 50 percent rate instead of the 100 percent rate for property placed in service during the taxpayer's first tax year ending after September 27, 2017. The time and manner of making the election will be provided by the IRS. For example, a calendar year taxpayer making this election can apply the 50 percent rate to all qualified property placed in service in 2017 and ignore the 100 percent rate that would otherwise apply to qualified property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2018.

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

Tax Extenders Impact

President Trump on February 9 signed the Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L. 115-123) into law. The law contains many important tax provisions, including disaster tax relief and the extension of over 30 expired tax breaks. However, the majority of the tax relief included in the legislation applies for the 2017 tax year only.

The tax extenders included in the legislation, some with minor modifications, can be viewed here.

New IRS Security Requirements & Changes

As members of the IRS Security Summit, we are committed to protecting confidential taxpayer information. Our solutions are constantly striving to meet the recommendations and best practices set forth in IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.

ATX 2017 Security Updates
The initial release of ATX 2017 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.
  • Your 2016 password will not work for ATX 2017. Please update your password.

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

TaxWise 2017 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:

  • Your 2016 password will not work for TaxWise 2017. Please update your password.
  • 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.

States Forms and Refund Timing

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 blogs.

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.

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

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.

Click here for more information about Form 8867.

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 2017 software from the Solution Center

Instead of waiting on a disc in the mail, you can now download and install your 2017 software at your convenience. Simply click the appropriate link below to log in to the Solution Center and download your 2017 tax software:

Download Now - ATX 2017
Download Now - TaxWise 2017

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 2017:

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 2017 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 2017.

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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 2017 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 2017 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 2017 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 2017 on the ATX 2017 setup 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 2017 on the TaxWise 2017 setup 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 2017 software - setup your Admin username and password.

Get ready for 2018 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.