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In this issue:
- 2017 Software Releases
- Financial Planning Tools and Schedule D Tools
- IRS Warns Tax Professionals of New Scam
- Don't Forget the Saver's Credit
- Please Take Our Survey
2017 Software Releases
Most 2017 CFS programs have now been released. (For two exceptions, see "Financial Planning Tools and Schedule D Tools," below.) If you paid for CD shipping, by now you will have received a CD containing initial releases of your 2017 programs.
But why bother with CDs? Most of our customers have discovered the benefits of downloading their software from our website: eliminating the cost of shipping (and in some cases sales tax), and getting their software immediately, rather than having to wait for a CD.
To download CFS software:
- Go to www.taxtools.com and select Download Software from the Downloads menu.
- Enter your customer ID and zip code, then click the "Go to download page" button.
- Download and install your software, following the instructions at the top of the page. Note the yellow table beneath the instructions, which contains your license code(s). You can copy the license code from here and paste it into the program when you install it.
We also maintain links to past releases, in case you should ever need to download and install an old program.
Financial Planning Tools and Schedule D Tools
Financial Planning Tools and Schedule D Tools sometimes cause confusion because, unlike most of our other programs, they are not released at the beginning of the calendar year: Financial Planning Tools is generally released in March; Schedule D Tools is generally released in late April or early May. Also, both of these programs are licensed for one year and will expire unless they are renewed. It is important to keep these facts in mind when ordering, so that you order the version of the program that you need.
- Financial Planning Tools 2017 will be released in March and will expire on May 31, 2018. After that, you will no longer be able to enter new data; you will, however, be able to view and print data that has already been entered.
- Schedule D Tools 2017 will be released in late April or early May. It will allow you to enter transactions through June 30th of 2018 and generate reports for 2017 and previous tax years. A Realized Gains Report can be printed for the first six months of 2018.
IRS Warns Tax Professionals of New Scam
Last month we reported an IRS warning concerning a phishing scam targeting tax professionals with emails purporting to come from prospective clients. This month the IRS issued a new warning concerning another scam targeting tax professionals, this time with emails purporting to come from their tax prep software providers.
The scam email comes with the subject line, "Access Locked." It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been "suspended due to errors in your security details." The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an "unlock" link provided in the email.
However, the link will take the tax professional to a fake web page, where they are asked to enter their user name and password. Instead of unlocking accounts, the tax professionals actually are inadvertently providing their information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparersí accounts and to steal client information.
For more information, see IR-2017-39.
Don't Forget the Saver's Credit
The "Retirement Savings Contributions Credit," better known as the "Saver's Credit," encourages low- and moderate-income taxpayers to save for their retirement by offering them a non-refundable credit for their retirement account contributions. Unfortunately, according to a survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, the vast majority of taxpayers don't even know about it.
The amount of the credit is 50%, 20% or 10% of retirement plan or IRA contributions up to $2,000 ($4,000 if married filing jointly), depending on adjusted gross income. You can use the charts on this IRS web page to calculate the credit.
Or you can use the Federal/State Tax Planner in TaxTools. The Federal/State Tax Planner calculates federal and state income taxes for planning purposes, allowing you to project calculations for up to five years or compare up to five "what if" scenarios. It includes calculations for the Saver's Credit, as well as other federal and state tax credits.
The Federal/State Tax Planner is programmed with the latest federal tax data, as well as data for forty-nine states. It and other TaxTools modules are updated as necessary throughout the year to ensure that all of your calculations are as accurate as possible.
Please Take Our Survey
We take pride in our customer service and strive to handle customer questions and concerns courteously and efficiently. If you have recently called CFS customer service, you can help us continue to do our best by participating in a brief online survey. The seven question survey will take as little as a minute of your time and may help us improve the way we handle your next call.
To take the survey: select Customer Survey from the About CFS menu on our website, or click here. We especially appreciate your comments and suggestions.
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