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Tax season in now over for the regular 2014 tax year. Yes, there are still extensions but for many the taxes are paid or the refund has been requested. This was my fourth year working as a volunteer preparing tax returns and I prepared about 180 returns… more »

Explaining the American Opportunity Tax Credit

When I talk to a taxpayer about their return and the potential of claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) they often are confused about it, especially if the AOTC involves including scholarships in income. I've struggled with how to explain… more »

Marketplace Coverage Affordability Worksheet

Several exemptions are available for the Affordable Care Act. Many of the exemptions are simple and only require tax preparers to look up a value in a table. The exemption for income below the filing threshold is a simple one to look up. Similarly, in states like Texas, an exemption is available for household income below 138% of federal poverty level. One of the exemptions, however, requires some calculations. The calculations aren't particularly complex, but the tax preparer must look up at least four different items when calculating marketplace coverage affordability.… more »

Education Credits: Quirks and Questions

In many cases claiming the education credit for clients is relatively easy. If there are only taxpayer expenses, you only need to determine the amount of qualifying expenses (QE). In many cases that is reported on the 1098T. Add required expenses paid… more »

Don't Forget These ACA Exemptions

Everyone is talking about the challenges of ACA for tax preparers. Now that the season is well under way, the challenges may not seem that formidable. My experience is that most people have coverage or have exemptions based on filing threshold. … more »

Behind the AOTC Worksheet

Behind the AOTC Worksheet Introduction As a part of a campaign to increase awareness of education tax credits I created an AOTC worksheet. The Excel version of the worksheet is demonstrated in my article Amending for Education Credits , and includes the… more »

VITA: Day One

Wednesday was our first day of VITA locally. Taxpayers came in at a steady, but not fractic, pace. The slightly earlier opening of the program will help smooth out the demand for the first three weeks. As always there were a few unusual or new issues.… more »