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AICPA Tax Division annual CD.

Each year, members of the AICPA Tax Division's Member Tax Practice Improvement Committee help compile information for a CD-ROM (CD) that contains a wide variety of useful information for tax practitioners. The CD can be a quick resource for numerous items tax advisers use in managing their practices. Many practitioners--even those who may use the CD regularly to obtain copies of checklists, organizers, etc.--are likely not familiar with the array of information it contains.

Background

The CD began several years ago as an additional way to distribute the annual Tax Practice Guides and Checklists. However, over the years, the CD has evolved to include other items. For 2003, the CD is divided into three main sections: Checklists and Practice Guides, The Tax Adviser Archives and Other Tax Section Materials.

Checklists and Practice Guides: This section contains organizers that can be printed for use in preparing different types of returns, including those for estate tax, gift tax, tax-exempt organizations, individuals, fiduciaries, partnerships, corporations and qualified retirement plans. The organizers can be given to clients to guide them in gathering needed information to complete a return. These organizers are available in both Adobe Acrobat[TM] and Word[TM] formats; the latter allows for customizing the organizers and/or emailing them directly to a client.

Several samples of practice management forms are available on the CD, such as a new client welcome letter, tax permanent-file contents, engagement letters, carryforward schedules, transmittal letters and filing instructions. These are also available in both Adobe Acrobat[TM] and Word[TM] formats.

This section also includes tax form preparation guides, on topics such as employee use of company vehicles, comparison of business entities, generation-skipping transfer tax, S corporation shareholder basis schedule, passive activity checklist and Sec. 704(b) practice guide. These guides contain worksheets, checklists, tables and other important information.

The last segment in this section contains preparation and review checklists. Tax advisers can customize items on these checklists to meet their specific practice needs. The checklists are easy to edit and customize when opened in Word[TM] format. There are checklists for a variety of returns, including estate tax, gift tax, exempt organizations, individual, fiduciary, partnership, S and C corporations and employee benefit plans.

There are also a number of miscellaneous practice guides on the CD; topics include:

* Oil and gas practice guide.

* IRS examination guide.

* State and Local Tax Technical Resource Panel (TRP) practice guides.

* S Corporation Taxation TRP practice guides.

* Confidentiality privileges for taxpayer communications.

Additionally, several new practice guides will address many of the issues practitioners face; these new guides include: (1) practice management; (2) managing busy-season product flow and quality control; (3) accrual-to-cash planning; (4) conversion to paperless filing; (5) tax planning for divorce; (6) electronic filing; and (7) community property tax planning issues.

All of the information listed above will also be available online at www.cpa2biz.com/ResourceCenter s/Tax/AICPA+Tax+Section/default .htm. Tax Section members will be informed how to obtain password-secured access to these valuable products as the items become available.

The Tax Adviser Archives: New on the CD this year is archived editions of The Tax Adviser; the full text is available for the January 2003 December 2003 issues. This is a bonus for AICPA Tax Division members that will allow them to print any item from an issue in a more legible format than simply photocopying. This is a more professional way to send an article to a client or referral source who might have an interest in a particular topic and an excellent way to reference past issues without having to store hard copies. In the future, the Tax Division hopes to include more than one year of issues, so that practitioners have greater access to older articles.

Other Tax Section Materials: The final section includes articles, reports and tables on topics such as (1) simple employee plans and simple plan law changes; (2) rate and withholding changes caused by the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003; (3) practice guide on total compensation packages; (4) e-commerce tax brochure; (5) Internet taxation for exempt organizations; (6) designing benefit plans to attract and retain employees; and (7) IRA law changes.

This edition of the CD contains the following new items:

* New laws offering relief to terrorist attack victims.

* Significant recent developments in estate planning.

* Difficult questions on private foundations.

* Sec. 401(k) practice plan guide.

Conclusion

Overall, the new CD contains a wide variety of useful information. It is an excellent source for forms, checklists, preparation guides and research. It contains guidance on many items tax advisers encounter at various times during the year, all in one convenient place. Exhibit 1 on p. 752 presents an adapted version of the CD's "Frequently Asked Questions." FROM ANN MOORE PUCKETT, CPA, BKD LLP, BOWLING GREEN, KY
Exhibit 1: Tax Practice Guides and Checklists CD--frequently
asked questions

Getting started Tax Practice Guides and Checklists is
 not a software program: there is no need
 to install/copy entire contents onto a
 hard drive. This CD is a storage
 medium--all PDF files can be accessed
 directly off the CD (saving hard-drive
 storage space).

System requirements

RAM Windows 95-16MB with nothing running;
 32MB if running mail applications, word
 processors, etc.

 Windows 98/XP/2000--32MB minimum
 required; 64MB recommended.

To use auto-run feature Windows 95/98/XP/2000 operating system;
 if Adobe Acrobat 4.0 has never been run
 on the PC, accept the license agreement
 that will "pop up" on first
 installation. Adobe Acrobat Reader
 is free.

To view PDF files Acrobat Reader 4.0 has already been
 installed on disk; if an error message
 is encountered when attempting to print
 PDF files, the user might need to
 uninstall earlier versions of Acrobat
 Reader that were installed on the PC.

To access Word files Word 97 or higher or an alternative word
 processor is needed to read such files;
 Word files are accessed by opening Word
 and then opening files stored on the
 CD while it is in the CD drive. (All
 Word files are stored in a folder called
 "Word" located at the CD root
 directory.)

Potential error messages/questions/troubleshooting

Due to the various configurations of PCs in operation, a user may
encounter some error messages.

Auto-run feature Even if the Windows 95/98 operating
 system is installed on a PC, same
 computers have a virus protection option
 selected to prevent auto-run of CDs. If
 a user installs the CD and is not
 automatically taken to the opening
 screen, do the following:
 * Exit or minimize Acrobat Reader.
 * Go to My Computer.
 * Right-click on the CD drive that
 contains the disk (it may have a
 PDF icon).
 * OPEN or EXPLORE (do not Auto-Play) the
 CD to find the PDF files.
 * Click on PDF files from there.

Printing questions/problems When printing a PDF file, an error
 message appears, such as "ACORD32 caused
 a page fault in module Acord32.exe."

 Uninstall Acrobat Reader Version 3.0 or
 whichever earlier version is running on
 the PC. There is a conflict between the
 different versions.

 Can all files be printed at once?

 No, files must be printed one at a time.

 The printing is poor--words running
 together (e.g., no word or letter
 spacing); strange formatting problems.

 The system may be trying to process too
 much data of one time. Close other open
 programs and re-boot the computer. Or,
 the particular file is too large for the
 printer memory; print it out in
 sections. (for example, for a 20-page
 file, print out the first 10 pages, then
 the remaining pages.)

Windows 3.1 Can a user access files on the CD with
 a Windows 3.1 operating system?

 Yes, if the Adobe Acrobat Reader is
 installed on the PC. The latest version
 for Windows 3.1 can be downloaded free
 from www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/-
 readstep.html. Check the box to include
 the search plug-in. The latest version
 of Acrobat for Windows 3.1 is Version
 3.01. The auto-run feature will not
 function on Windows 3.1 PCs. Use the
 Windows File Manager to run the
 START.PDF file on the CO, or Program
 Manager to run Acrobat, then select the
 START.PDF file on the CD.

Network installation Can the CD be installed on a company's
 network?

 Yes, but the CD was not designed for
 this purpose; the network administrator
 would have to be versed in installing
 such program files on the network. Do
 not install the "autorun.inf" file on
 the network and, in the Acros folder,
 only install the "Help" file on the
 network. Acrobat Reader 4.0 would also
 have to be installed on users' desktops.

For problems accessing files on the CD, please call the AICPA's Member
Satisfaction Team at (888) 777-7077 or email memsat@aicpa.org and
place "Tax Practice Guides and Checklists" in the subject header.


Editor's note: Mr. Holub is the former chair of the AICPA Tax Division's Tax Practice Management Committee. Mr. Muirhead is the Chair of the AICPA Tax Division's Member Tax Practice Improvement Committee; Ms. Puckett is a member of that Committee.

For more information about this column, contact Mr. Holub at (813) 222-8555 or stevenh@apcpa.com, Mr. Muirhead at (307) 265-4311 or tcmuirhead@pmch.com or Ms. Puckett at (270) 781-0111 or apuckett@bkd.com.

Co-Editors:

Steven F. Holub, CPA

Aidman, Piser & Co. Tampa, FL

T. Chris Muirhead, CPA

Porter, Muirhead, Cornia & Howard Casper, WY
COPYRIGHT 2003 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Author:Muirhead, T. Chris
Publication:The Tax Adviser
Date:Dec 1, 2003
Words:1571
Previous Article:Current developments.
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