Friday, March 6, 2009

TaxWise gave us more information than we needed

We had a return for a taxpayer who husband was deceased in 2008, and prepared the reurn like we normally do for MFJ, marking the occupation of the spouse as deceased.

Just to be sure we were doing things by the book, I searched for help using the TaxWise Desktop Help system.

Imagine the surprise that on searching for topics related to deceased, I came across an item that described in great detail that it was necessary to file two returns that year. One for both spouses MFJ from the beginning of the year till date of death, and the other for the surviving taxpayer from date of death of spouse to the end of the year.

Astounded that I had never heard of such a thing before, I searched the web, and consulted the TaxWise Customer Support Line. The Customer Service Rep had never heard of that either - we all knew that we needed to file MFJ for the year of death with possibly QW in succeeding years, and here I was staring at something that seemed to run against everything I had learnt so far.

Well, on taking another look at the section of the help, I noticed Puerto Rico; so this appears to apply to Puerto Rico returns only, I went away wondering why I ended up on that page, and whether there have been other occasions on which we may have gotten irrelevcant instructions simply because of the excess information present that did not apply to us.

TaxWise Customer Service Rep was kind enough to walk me through the steps of correctly filling out the form. It turns out an additional piece of required information is the date of the death itself to be entered into a certain box on the MAIN INFO sheet, but unfortunately, after developing form blindness, it is easy to overlook that box.

The moral of the story? When something seems different from what you think you know about the situation, check that the instructions relate to you.

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