Monday, December 22, 2008

Good practice tax case studies in the workbook

A great way to prepare for the Basic Certification Exam is to try to prepare tax returns for the five Basic Tax Scenarios in your 4491W workbook.

You've already done two of these scenarios--for college student Ashley Madison and for single parent Odessa Parks--back in our IRS training session during the fall term. But you were still using the 2007 version of TaxWise, since the 2008 version was not yet available.

The 2008 training version of TaxWise is now available and I would suggest you start by trying to redo the tax returns for Ashley Madison and Odessa Parks in TaxWise 2008. I will send you the information about your username and password by email.

Here is the answer key to all the workbook excercises, so you can see if you've done their returns correctly. Feel free to email me to ask me questions.

If you get "hooked" on doing taxes and want to do more returns, I'd suggest that you do the Bates and Clark returns next. The Bennett return is a "Comprehensive Basic" return, which you should save for last--"Comprehensive Basic" means that it includes just about every single Basic Topic in one return! If you can nail the Comprehensive Basic return, you will have a very solid running start toward doing well on the Basic Exam.

I will hold special drop-in practice hours in Olin 306 electronic classroom on Sunday January 4, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. where you can get help on TaxWise and tax law. I will also be available in my office by appointment before and/or after those hours. And, again, I'm really happy to answer questions by email.

This year, for the very first time, we are using the "On-Line" version of TaxWise, which means that you can practice using TaxWise even before you get back to campus. (In the past, we used a CD version of TaxWise, which could only be installed on Union College owned computers.) What's also nice about the on-line version is that if you are having problems, I can remotely enter your tax return and give your suggestions about what you might need to do differently. So, again, feel free to start working on tax returns in TaxWise now--and you can get a running start!

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