Hello and Welcome to AARP Tax Aide Activity Reporting Training for Traditional System Users Before you continue with this training presentation it is critical that you are certain your site is by mol43932


More Info
									Hello and Welcome to AARP Tax Aide Activity Reporting Training for Traditional
System Users.

Before you continue with this training presentation, it is critical that you are certain
your site is using the Traditional Activity Reporting System and not the new Portal
Activity Reporting System.

If there is any question about which system is being used, please check with your

A different training presentation is available for users of the Portal Activity Reporting

This training presentation is approximately 15 minutes long and covers the
importance of capturing and reporting services provided to taxpayers

It describes each step of the Activity Reporting process, from the collection of
statistics at the site through the input, review and approval of statistics into the web-
based activity reporting system that resides on AARP Tax-Aide’s Extranet.

Your presenter is Stan Marshall, Regional Coordinator for New England, interim State
Coordinator for Rhode Island, ERO, Counselor and former Administration Specialist
for the State of Maine.                                                                     1
Activity reporting is the collection of tax return preparation and other service
counts delivered by AARP Tax-Aide volunteers.
These counts include the preparation of Federal, State and other Local Returns
along with Questions & Answers that do not result in the preparation of a tax
AARP Tax-Aide program sponsors require reports of both the number of returns
prepared and the number of taxpayers served. The reports are used by our
current sponsors to justify continued funding and to aid in securing additional
funding. The collected data also helps all levels of leadership better manage site
and program growth, effectiveness and future needs.

For the 2011 tax season, districts chose to use either the Portal or Traditional Activity
Reporting System. This decision was made at either the District or State level.
This chart summarizes reporting differences between the two reporting systems.
In 2010, all sites reported all activity the same way.
In 2011, a site’s designation as either an E-file designated site or a paper designated site as
well as the reporting system chosen determines the site’s reporting method.
Both Traditional and Portal E-File Sites are required to track Quality Review in TaxWise,
which is why you see red X’s next to “Manually Track Quality Review” for both Portal and
Traditional Users.
The key difference between the two reporting systems is that Portal Users will no longer
manually track any e-filed returns, while Traditional Users will continue to track all returns.
All Paper Designated Sites will continue to report as they did in 2010, regardless of which
system is being used.

As a Traditional Activity Reporting user, all returns must be manually recorded,
tabulated and reported by the site volunteers.

This includes all returns shown on this slide, regardless of whether the return was
prepared using TaxWise or is a pencil & paper prepared return.

Remember, record State or Local Returns only when they are prepared without also
preparing a federal return.

In addition to recording and reporting returns, site volunteers must also record and
report taxpayer assistance that is provided to taxpayers without the completion of a
return (also known as Q & A).

Only Paper-Designated Sites must record the Quality Reviewer’s initials on the Site
Sign In Sheet. A paper-designated site is a site that has the E-file indicator set to “No”
in VMIS and the Site Management System.

E-file designated sites must record the Quality Reviewer’s initials in TaxWise Preparer
Use Field #14 on the Main Information Sheet. If a return is prepared manually at an
E-file designated site, it is no longer required to record the Quality Reviewer’s initials
on the Sign-In sheet.
There are 3 monthly reporting periods during the tax preparation season and a
final reporting period that begins on May 1st and ends on August 31st.
A 5-day grace period runs from Day 1 through Day 5, following the close of each
reporting period. This grace period provides the local and district coordinators 5
days from the end of each activity reporting period to add, change, review and
approve their activity totals.

This slide summarizes the process and steps that Local Coordinators should
use to collect, tabulate and report their sites’ activities. There are three key
Step #1 – Collect Data. The collection of data at the site must be captured on a
real-time, taxpayer-by -taxpayer served basis using the Site Sign In Sheet (or a
modified version thereof).
Step #2 – Tabulate. It is recommended that the Site Sign In Sheets be collected
on a daily basis and tabulated at least weekly, if not daily, A Site Activity
Collection Template is available and can be used to complete the tabulation
tasks. The template is an Excel file that accompanies this training presentation
and is available on the Extranet.
Step #3 – Report Data. On either a weekly or monthly basis, the cumulative
monthly [aka month to date] totals for each type of activity are recorded in the
web-based Activity Reporting System. This system is only available through
AARP Tax-Aide’s Extranet.

Here is a sample of the Site Sign In Sheet for Traditional Activity Reporting System Users.

Traditional Activity Reporting System sites must track all returns and Q&A. It is also
important to know if your site is an E-file or Paper-Designated Site, as the requirements for
recording the Quality Reviewer’s initials differ.

E-file designated sites will NOT record Quality Review on the Site Sign-In sheet for ANY

E-file sites are, however, required to record Quality Review in the TaxWise software itself, on
the Main Information Sheet in Preparer Use Field #14.

The IRS will report to the AARP Tax-Aide National Office the number of Quality Reviews
recorded in TaxWise, and it is from only the IRS reported data that Quality Review
percentages will be calculated for E-file Designated Sites. The number of Quality Reviews
divided by the number of Federal Returns E-filed will produce the Quality Review percentage
that is documented for each E-file Designated Site.

Paper-Designated Sites will continue to manually record Quality Reviews in Column 6
for all returns prepared, and the Quality Review percentage for Paper-Designated Sites
will be calculated using the volunteer reported data.

Step #1 – Collect Data Daily With Site Sign In Sheet.
Record each taxpayer’s name on the Site Sign In Sheet and check the
applicable boxes to indicate the type of service provided.
Please, be sure to thoroughly review the instructions that are printed on the
back of the Site Sign In Sheet.
To better assist in understanding how to count activities, a separate reference
document with 12 taxpayer scenarios is available on the Extranet and
accompanies this training presentation.

Generally speaking, a taxpayer’s name should be recorded only once on the Site Sign In
Sheet, with the applicable services captured in the columns to the right of the taxpayer’s
name. Recording the taxpayer’s name more than once can result in an overstatement of the
number of taxpayers served. Because the counting of taxpayers served and the applicable
activities is not a perfect science, we ask that when in doubt to err on the side of under-
reporting vs. over-reporting.

Similarly, it is important that State or Local returns are only counted when they are NOT
accompanied by the preparation of a Federal Return that was site-prepared for filing. If a
Federal Return has been prepared, that taxpayer will already be included in the count of
taxpayers served. If they are also counted in the State/Local Only Return column, the
taxpayer would be counted twice.

If the site “prepares” a Federal return merely to allow TaxWise to generate the State Return
and the prepared federal return will never be filed, then the service should be recorded as a
State/Local Only Return.

Column #6 for the Quality Reviewer’s initials should be used only by Paper-Designated Sites.
Regardless of how many services have been provided to a taxpayer, only one Quality Review
per taxpayer should be recorded.

Here is an example of a partially completed Site Sign In Sheet for an E-file
designated site.
Note that the Quality Reviewer’s initials column is not populated with initials.
The full version of this Site Sign In Sheet Example, along with the
accompanying taxpayer scenarios that resulted in this output, accompanies this
presentation as a separate document and can also be found on the Extranet.

Here is an example of a partially completed Site Sign In Sheet for a Paper-
Designated Site.

Note that Quality Review IS populated with initials and that services are
recorded for every taxpayer. This is because a Paper-Designated Site typically
isn’t electronically filing returns and, therefore, must record all services

Step #2 – Tabulate Weekly.
 It is recommended that the Site Sign In Sheets be collected and tabulated at
least weekly, if not daily, and that the Site Activity Collection Template (an Excel
File that accompanies this training presentation, and is also available on the
Extranet) be used to complete the tabulation tasks.
Monthly totals for each type of service will be entered into the web-based
Activity Reporting System through the Extranet during the 5-day grace period
following the close of each monthly reporting period.

The Site Activity Collection Template offers Daily Tracking or Daily + Weekly
Tracking … or Weekly Tracking, to accommodate volunteers’ preferences.
The above sample shows the Daily + Weekly Tracking option. We think you will
find that these templates are easy to use and greatly simplify the task of
tabulating data, by automatically calculating and displaying the cumulative
monthly totals to be entered into the web-based Activity Reporting System at the
end of each reporting period.

Step #3 – Report Data – Monthly.
With monthly totals in hand, now it’s time to enter these totals into the Activity
Reporting System.
You may choose to enter monthly totals with more frequency than only once at
the end of the monthly reporting period, but you will simply be replacing your
prior entry with the most current cumulative, month-to date total. If you chose to
enter data more frequently than monthly, use the Save button to enter the data.
Only when your final, cumulative monthly total is entered, should you “Submit”
your report. Once you click the Submit Button, only District Coordinators and
Administration Specialists can edit the data for that monthly reporting period.

To access the web-based Activity Reporting System, you must log in to the
Once logged into the Extranet, you will find the Activity Reporting System listed
under Hot Topics on the Home Page.

Now we’ll walk through the Activity Reporting screens, beginning with the Local Coordinator’s

See Area #1 above and note that the Columns match exactly those on the Site Sign-In Sheet.

Area #2 – Year-to-date totals are displayed in the green highlighted boxes and represent the
cumulative sum of all entries you have made and saved for the current tax preparation

Area #3 – Note that you can print your Site Activity Report.

Area #4 - To enter cumulative monthly data, hit the “TAB” button on your keyboard to move
from field to field or use your mouse and place your cursor in the field you want to update.

Area #5 - The name of the site will appear by placing the cursor over the SIDN. Note that
only sites that are listed as active in the program’s database will be displayed and, similarly,
only sites to which you are assigned will be displayed. If you believe a site is missing from
your list of sites, contact your District Coordinator.

Area #6 - Definitions and Instructions for each of the types of activity being reported are
available by placing your cursor over the Yellow “I” buttons.

Please remember that the data you enter for each type of activity will REPLACE any prior
entries made earlier in the reporting period. For instance, if you have chosen to enter data on
a weekly basis during the monthly reporting period, you must enter cumulative monthly totals
each week. For instance, if your site prepared, and you entered 10 Paper-Filed Federal
Returns Current Year for Week 1, and then in Week 2 the Site prepared 5 Paper-Filed
Federal Returns Current Year, you must enter a total of 15 … your cumulative monthly total.
Do not replace the number 10 that is displayed from the prior week’s entry with a 5.

Area #1 above highlights the Save Button. Remember to click the Save Button after every
update session.

Area #2 – The Submit & Exit Button. Only when your final cumulative monthly totals have
been entered, do you click the Submit & Exit button. If you click the Submit & Exit button
prior to completing your cumulative monthly entries, only the District Coordinator or
Administration Specialist can edit data for the remainder of the monthly reporting period and
also after the close of the grace period.

Area #3 – The Reset Button. If you have updated your cumulative monthly totals, have not
yet clicked the Save Button and wish to revert to the previously saved entries - click the
Reset Button.

Area #4 – The Cancel Button. To exit the screen without saving your entries, click the Cancel
After clicking the Submit & Exit Button, the above message is displayed as a
 If you mistakenly clicked the Submit & Exit Button and have not completed your
final cumulative monthly data entries, click Cancel. By clicking Okay, you are
acknowledging that you have completed all entries for the reporting period.

District Coordinators are able to review, edit and approve all entries made by
Local Coordinators.
The approval process, however, is only functional during the 5-Day Grace
period that follows the end of each monthly reporting period.

This is the District Coordinator’s view of the Activity Reporting Screen
throughout each monthly reporting period. Note that the data for each site is
listed by Local Coordinator. For all of the sites under each Local Coordinator, a
current status is reported (see the areas marked #1 and #2).
In #1, you can see that you are viewing activity that has been saved but not
submitted by Local Coordinator Barbara. In #2, you can see that Local
Coordinator Ed has submitted his final monthly counts. Clicking the Recalculate
button will refresh the total activity counts for all sites supervised by the District

The Approve & Exit Button is visible only during the 5-Day Grace Period and is
only visible to District Coordinators.
After the District Coordinator has reviewed the monthly entries submitted by
each Local Coordinator, and made any required edits, he/she should click the
Approve & Exit Button.
After clicking the Approve & Exit Button, the District Coordinator will no longer
be able to edit any data for the prior monthly reporting period.
Only the Administration Specialist will be able to edit data after the District
Coordinator has approved the monthly entries or after the 5-Day Grace Period
has ended.

(As an Administration Specialist I looked for DC approvals in the Activity
Reporting System and followed up at the end of the grace period with any DC
who had not shown they had approved their data.)
After clicking the Approve & Exit Button, the above message is displayed as a
If you mistakenly click the Approve & Exit Button and have not completed your
final review and/or edits, click Cancel. By clicking Ok, you are acknowledging
that you have completed all entries and reviewed the data for the reporting

That brings us to the close of Activity Reporting Training for Traditional System
We highly recommend that you review both the Site Sign In Examples and
Frequently Asked Questions documents. The web version of the Frequently
Asked Questions document will be regularly updated throughout the activity
reporting season, based on your feedback and experiences.
For any questions or issues related to Activity Reporting, Local Coordinators
should contact their District Coordinator and District Coordinators should
contact their Administration Specialist.

Thank you for taking the time to view this training presentation and for all of your
effort in support of our program to assist taxpayers.


To top