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About Ringers

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 09/15/1945

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    Horseshoes, Bowling, Blackjack, Cribbage, Teaching College Math, and....(yeah) accounting and taxes.
    Former ATX user for business since the Saber days of 1995 through 2012 and Pro Series since the Chipsoft days of 1988 for individual taxes. Now for 2013 I am using the Pro Series Power Tax Library for all returns. I love it!!!

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  1. Hi again, Drake experts! I don't like to be bothering you, but I value your opinion highly as I make the transition from ProSeries to Drake for 2018. I have converted all of my 2016 clients to Drake and I am now in the process of re-preparing each of my 2017 returns in Drake and then comparing the outcome to what 2017 ProSeries wound up with. It has been a great learning tool and I can already feel myself getting up to speed with Drake and even writing a few macros! A few days ago I was re-preparing a return for a client that had educational expenses for one of his dependents and also a 1099-Q from a Bright Start program. In ProSeries, there was an input screen for the 1099-Q which followed the format of the 1099-Q itself and also an input screen for the 1098 T information and a grid which let you enter other types of payments made for the student, both to and outside the institution. On the same screen was a checkbox to maximize the credit or deduction choice and also a table which listed why any particular credit could not be taken (income phaseout level, 4 years post secondary already taken, etc.). You also had the option of choosing the credit you wanted if you did not want to optimze it through the program. Everytime you changed income, the 8283 "optimize" box would come up to again go through the optimization. Also, the taxable portion of the 1099-Q, if any, was calculated and transferred to the 1040 and 5329, if applicable, without further input. The program also kept track of how many years the AOTC credit had been used for each dependent. In Drake, I had to answer the quesitons on the 8283, manually input the number of years for AOTC, put in "other" educational expenses, and then select which credit or deduction I wanted to use. Then, for the 1099-Q, I had to re-enter the expenses on the 5329 form to determine if any of the distribution was taxable. The re-entering of the expenses seemed to go against the "one-time entry" policy of Drake and the whole process seemed rather cumbersome, unlike what I had experienced with Drake in all of the prior returns. What am I missing? I just know there has to be a good explanation
  2. Ringers

    Finally switching to Drake

    Thanks Catherine. I prepare about 60% of my returns during the clients' appointment, and I don't want to appear to be fumbling around with the program while they are here. It doesn't inspire confidence, if you know what I mean
  3. Ringers

    Finally switching to Drake

    Thanks, Catherine! How long did it take you to get comfortable with Drake after ATX--2 weeks, 1 month, etc?
  4. Ringers

    Finally switching to Drake

    After 30 years of using ProSeries along with ATX until 2012 and then ProSeries alone through tax yar 2017, I am finally ready to make the switch to Drake. I have attended their seminars for the last two years and loaded up and played with the Demo, but have always gone back to ProSeries because of the deep discount they gave me on the most expensive package which brought it down to about $300 more than Drake from a list price of $6200. In 2018 the long waits on the phone and lack of instant chat and the overall ATTITUDE of the company (ProSeriesn not Drake) has really turned me off. I have downloaded the 2017 Demo, converted my 2016 files to 2017, and I am now reworking the 2017 returns in Drake and comparing them to the 2017 ProSeries returns. So far I am having pretty good success in learning the input screens, and I LOVE the macros and the amount of program control that I have. The only item I don't like so far is that I cannot see the depreciation on a schedule C or E without leaving the input screen and going into the View mode and then back again to the input screen to continue. Is there a reason that Drake does not put the calculated values for Depreciation or Auto expense or 1099-MISC values on the C and E input screens? Also, do any of you "old timers" have any tricks that helped you convert from form based to input screen entry? So far I have done about a dozen or so 2017 returns in Drake to compare them to the Pro Series returns that I filed for 2017 and I hope to do another 150 or so during the off season, but I am open to any suggestions. Thanks in advance!
  5. Illinois will give you a credit for taxes paid to another state of either the amount paid to the other state or the amount of tax Illinois would have charged on that income, whichever is less. Prepare a return for each state in which income is earned, but be aware that if the income is below the filing threshhold in any state and the state charges no tax, IL will not credit any amount and will tax that income at IL rates if the person is an IL resident or part year resident. If the wages all show on the W-2 as IL wages, then no other state return needs to be filed for those wages as they are all considered to have been earned in Illinois. Hope this helps. It is not exactly fair, but it is what it is.
  6. This year I'm sure we all have done at least one MLP 1065 K-1 from places like Energy Transfer Partners, Blackstone, etc. where the Schedle K-1 is marked "DO NOT USE-SEE SUPPLEMENTAL SCHEDULE" which makes the single K-1 become 4 or 5 K-1's, each with 85 line items. When it gets down to the codes v, t, x, and z, some of these K-1's have 6 lines with different descriptions labeled V1, V2,V3,...V6, etc. Has anyone come across a good index to all of these line items stating where they end up on the tax returns and if some of the codes are just pertinent to corporate filers, IRA custodians, etc? I would like not to have to enter any items that do not apply to the return at hand but also know what impact each of these obscure items has on the individual return without googling each descriptor. The general instructions on the back of the K-1 forms are too generic to be of much use. etp.pdf
  7. Ringers

    new laws - what are you doing?

    I am telling clients affected by the extenders that the Congress is responsible (hard to use the words "Congress" and "responsible" in the same sentence) for the VERY late passage of the extenders. As a result, the IRS has to revamp many of its forms to re-allow the deductions and credits to apply. Then, after IRS is done, the software companies have to reprogram their software to align with the revised IRS forms. I tell them that it is anyone's guess as to when the software will be updated to allow the credits and deductions that many of them have. I cannot at this time tell them for certain that the software will be ready before April 17th. So I give them a choice: 1. File your returns now based on the tax regs as of december 31, 2017, get your refunds, and then I will amend your Federal return for a flat fee of $50 to obtain your additional refund. I also, of course, tell them the approximate amount of their additional refund due before they make their decision. 2. Wait until the softward is able to process the e3xtended credits and deductions before filing with the option of filing extensions on or before April 17th. So far I have had all 3 affected clients take option #1, which is what I expected. No one wants to wait for their money because Congress had " other things to do" besides address the extenders before Dec. 31. Rant over!!
  8. Ringers

    Commute or Not

    I agree with Yardley, FDNY, and Abby--definitely commuting.
  9. If the mother's estate left the account to your client upon her death with an informal understanding that it was to be used to provide care for the client's brother, then the basis would be mothers DOD. If, howeveer, the fund was left to the client's brother for his care (or even in trust for the care of your client's brother), then I believe your client has another step up in basis as of his brother's DOD. With regard to tax bracket change, since the sale would result in LTCG, the gain would be taxed at capital gain rates, at lease on the Federal side. Depending on the state of residency, the amount of gain could affect the State tax bracket. Just my thoughts on the matter.
  10. Ringers

    Illinois Schedule SA

    ILLMAS: Anyone can use the SA, even a W-2 employee if he received a large bonus during the first half of the year, or he may have sold stocks for a gain during the first half of the year. Any aberration that would have had h8im receive more income in the period 1/1 through 6/30 than in 7/1 through year end would make filing the SA beneficial. LION: If you had more income after 7/31, the SA form would tax that at the higher rate. Income prior to July 1 would be taxed at the old rate of 3.75%; income after June 30 would be taxed at the new rate of 4.95%. Not using the SA form taxes all income at the blended rate of 4.3549%
  11. Ringers

    Illinois Schedule SA

    Thanks, Judy. Does anyone know about ATX and the IL SA?
  12. Ringers

    Illinois Schedule SA

    I use Pro Series and the users in their forum are having a hard time convincing the "powers that be" that the IL SA (Specific Accounting) form is a necessity for this year. IL raised its tax on 7/1/17, and the SA form lets you do a calculation at the old rate and new rate for half of the year and then combine the two instead of using the "blended" rate that the form uses to calculate the taxes. For tax preparers especially the form is an absolute necessity, as much of the income comes in during the first half of the year. What I would like to know is if ATX and Drake have the form in their programs. Perhaps we Pro Series users could parlay that knowledge and create a fire under Intuit programmers. Thanks much!!
  13. Ringers

    Charitable Contributions - Brand New Clothing Donated

    That is the exact method I have used over the years when new articles are purchased and donated to a 501c-3 (such as a Church) for distribution to the homeless, poor, etc. It has withstood 2 audits, so our thinking on the matter must be correct.
  14. Ringers

    Year End Tax Moves

    In Cook County Illinois as well as surrounding counties, property taxes are imposed in one year and billed in the subsequent year. In other words, the taxes imposed for the privilege of liviing in your home for they year 2017 are payable in 2018. If you sell your home on Dec 31, 2017 you have to provide the purchasers with the money to pay the real estate taxes that YOU incurred during the whole year 2017. Furthermore, if you were to sell yor home on Dec 31, that payment to the purchasers gets added on to the real estate tax you paid during 2017 to give you a 2017 deduction of two years of tax payments. Since prepayment is thus required in the case of a sale, I see no reason why prepayment is not an option at any time. Cook County only allows you to prepay 1/2 of your current tax bill, but the collar counties mostly allow full prepayment of an amount equal to the amount you paid during the current year. I have advised my non-AMT clients who can afford to do so to prepay as much of their property tax as the county will allow.
  15. Ringers

    back up

    When you plug the external hard drive into a USB port on your computer, the computer will assign it a drive letter. Then, in your backup program, just use that assigned letter as the destination for the backup. If you want to copy the returns instead of backing them up, select the files you want to copy by left-clicking them while holding dwon the control key (or you can select all of them by clicking on the first file and then, while holding down the Shift key, click on the last file). When all are selected, RIGHT-click to being up the menu and select "copy." Under "This Computer" or whatever the name of your Windows version's drive listing program, find the drive letter corresponding to your external hard drive, left'click to select it, and then RIGHT click to being up the context menu to select "Paste." Hope this helps.