Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chat session with my Tax Software Support Agent

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You have been connected to Ryan P..
Ryan P.:  Hello Nicholas, welcome to H&R Block Tax Product Support! Please allow me a few moments to review the information you have submitted to us.
Ryan P.:  did you complete the interview?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Tax software keeps flipping an answer on my 1099-G form from Yes to No. The question: Did you itemize your deductions in 2013? When I first enter the 1099-G line, the check box for 2013 California Tax deductions is correctly indicated as itemized, but when I hit Next it says "Since you claimed the standard deduction in 2013, your refund won't be taxed." At the same time it moves the X for the itemized question from the Yes box to the No box.
Ryan P.:  I understand the software keeps flipping your answer on the 1099G form is this correct?
Nicholas Mitchell:  That is correct.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I am able to correct the 1099-G and move to the next step, and it retains it.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I am able to complete the filing process, but it does not appear to be including my 2013 CA state refund in my taxable income. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  Even though when I go back to the 1099-G form I see that itemized is still checked.
Ryan P.:  it sounds to me like you may need to change some things in the interview
Ryan P.:  Are you preparing your taxes using an Online account with a username and password, or are you using software that is installed on your computer from a CD or download?
Nicholas Mitchell:  I am using the purchased product on disc from the store.
Nicholas Mitchell:  1099-G shows itemized checked Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 6.50.22 PM.png
Nicholas Mitchell:  You can see the screen shots before and after I hit Next in this tweet: https://twitter.com/puxxled/status/587071190218346497. That's all I did was hit Next. 
Ryan P.:  which H&R Block product are you using tonight?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Are you a human or a computer generated response?
Nicholas Mitchell:  The product in H&R Block Deluxe Homeowners/Investors Federal and State
Ryan P.:  If you don't mind, I'd like you to upload your return data to one of our H&R Block secured servers so I can provide better support for filing your return. This file is for support purposes, only during this call. Can I get your permission to use this feature so I can view a copy of your information and guide you through to a resolution?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Are you human, or a computer generated response?
Ryan P.:  I am very much human
Nicholas Mitchell:  That's a relief, Ryan P. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  I am able to get to the filing point. It says my audit risk is risk-free. 
Ryan P.:  would you like if I looked at your return?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Is this a known problem, this flipping the itemized to standardized?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Yes, what do I need to do to make my return available to you.
Ryan P.:  1. Click File in the top left corner of the window.
2. Click Save As...
3. Add 'CSO' in the front of the current file name, this will create a copy of the return.
4. Remove the SSN info, bank account info, and any other personal information the client wishes. This info can be found on the background worksheet.
5. Instruct the client to save the return.
6. Click Help in the top left corner of the window.
Ryan P.:  this is your DFID: XXXXXXXXXXX
Ryan P.:  7. Mouse-over the H&R Block on the web option.
8. Click Upload return to customer support center.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I am the client, right? Not a third person.
Ryan P.:  did you save the return
Nicholas Mitchell:  I saved the return, yes.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I don't know what to remove. I removed SSN's. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  There's no bank info. I didn't get that far.
Ryan P.:  what ever information you don't want anyone to look at
Nicholas Mitchell:  Okay, I am prepared to follow the rest of the procedures you described.
Ryan P.:  Please let me know when you have completed the steps?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Submitted. It says it has been uploaded.
Ryan P.:  I have it here
Nicholas Mitchell:  I figure I'm going to be down three or four hundred dollars for being honest.
Ryan P.:  Lets look at the interview for the 1099G
Ryan P.:  is this for state and local refunds
Nicholas Mitchell:  This is the 1099G part for my California State Refund from 2013.
Nicholas Mitchell:  Early on in the Federal Income part of the process.
Ryan P.:  so on the 1099 G you have the question answered as yes right now correct?
Ryan P.:  at what point does It Flip it back to no?
Nicholas Mitchell:  When I enter the line, it comes up as itemized, correct answer. It has loaded info from my 2013 return with H&R Block software.
Ryan P.:  I see in the interview you have payer as California Franchise tax board
Ryan P.:  am I in the right place?
Nicholas Mitchell:  That's what it says on the form.
Nicholas Mitchell:  After I enter the Payer the amount, the state, it goes to a screen that says, "Since you claimed the standard deduction in 2013, your refund won't be taxed." 
Nicholas Mitchell:  And the itemized goes from Yes to No at the same time.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I enter Payer, refund amount, tax year of refund (2013), State. Then the flip happens and the false message
Ryan P.:  I do see that
Nicholas Mitchell:  Yeah, it's a pain. I'm been fussing with it for hours. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  I'm very much encouraged by the messaging to submit my tax return in this state.
Nicholas Mitchell:  by state, I mean dubious condition.
Ryan P.:  May I have a moment to research some information to help resolve this issue?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Yes, please.
Ryan P.:  I apologize but at this time I do not have additional information available to me to further troubleshoot this matter with the answer not staying the same.
I would like to escalate this case to our next level of support so that we can get this resolved for you. 
Typically, you should receive a response back within 2 business days by phone or e-mail with further instructions. Would that be okay?
Nicholas Mitchell:  I'm anxious to file. This my only time to do it. I'm a single father of two teenage boys, and I've had no end of anxiety about doing this, and today's the day I have to do it.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I can't wait two days. I have work, and some very huge obligations to take care of.
Ryan P.:  I understand your anxiety, however I have exhausted all my resources here.
Ryan P.:  unless you wish to delete the 1099G and do it again to see if you get a different outcome.
Nicholas Mitchell:  You are telling me for sure,though that the refund amount that my return, designated "risk-free for audit" and ready to file is not really. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  I've deleted it and added it many times. It doesn't take much to do that. Just three fields to fill in. the year is filled in for me.
Ryan P.:  I can only get you to our tier II team to have a look at your return now.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I did try something else, that maybe you could look at, that did seem to include the state refund as income. Let me see if I can remember what I did.
Nicholas Mitchell:  Hang on.
Ryan P.:  okay
Nicholas Mitchell:  The form called "Last Year's Data Worksheet". 
Nicholas Mitchell:  it was a pain, though, because it didn't fill in the data from my 2013 return.
Nicholas Mitchell:  And what I didn't like was that it reduced my refund from $XXXX to something in the $XXXX ballpark. [$400 reduction, kaput]
Ryan P.:  is that under income?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Yes.
Nicholas Mitchell:  Under form 1040, at the bottom in the forms dropdown in the tax software.
Ryan P.:  im not seeing it
Nicholas Mitchell:  It's a subset of 1040. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  Along with Child Tax Credit Worksheet.
Nicholas Mitchell:  There are 7 worksheets under 1040, "Last Year's Data Worksheet" is one of them.
Ryan P.:  how did you get there?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Box 2 of the 1099-G has a box for state tax refund amount. Do you see that?
Nicholas Mitchell:  There's a note that says use "Last Year's Data Worksheet" if there's an amount there. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  There should be an amount there, right? The software didn't fill it, didn't query me about it.
Ryan P.:  okay
Ryan P.:  that's where the $XXXX is?
Nicholas Mitchell:  You're the tax man! But it looks like that value should be there.
Ryan P.:  Unfortunately that is not what I am. I only deal with the software issues.
Ryan P.:  and this issue is out of my control. I will need to escalate this
Nicholas Mitchell:  Well, the software is not filling out the 1099-G completely.
Ryan P.:  That is why our Teir II teams need to look at this As soon as possible
Ryan P.:  I apologize but at this time I do not have additional information available to me to further troubleshoot this matter. 
I would like to escalate this case to our next level of support so that we can get this resolved for you. 
Typically, you should receive a response back within 2 business days by phone or e-mail with further instructions. Would that be okay?
Ryan P.:  I'm suspecting that it doesn't recognize your 2013 itemized deduction.
Nicholas Mitchell:  It recognizes the amount…it saves the amount, but that amount doesn't show up on the whole 1099-G form anywhere.
Ryan P.:  can I please get a good contact phone number for you?
Nicholas Mitchell:  My cell phone: XXXXXXXX
Ryan P.:  I do apologize for the inconvenience tonight Mister Mitchell.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I'm going to try and complete this part manually, with the worksheet, because that seemed to work. 
Nicholas Mitchell:  But I was shocked at how much it reduced my refund.
Ryan P.:  okay. did you want me to escalate this?
Nicholas Mitchell:  Escalate it as you say.
Nicholas Mitchell:  I'd like answers. I'll wait to file till I get the answer.
Ryan P.:  Have a great night Sir.
Nicholas Mitchell:  Is there a way to reach you if I don't hear anything back?
Ryan P.:  Through the chat, you will get a case number as we close tonight
Ryan P.:  Thank you for contacting H&R Block Tax Product Support, Nicholas. We look forward to supporting you in the future!
Nicholas Mitchell:  It's a great service. I waited on hold for an hour with another tech support number and then I was hung up. When I called back I was told the software department was closed. It's been along day.
Ryan P.:  MY sincere apologies!

Nicholas Mitchell:  Thanks, I'll let you go.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Topographical Observation


Funny how a tiny arc fragment of type 
differentiates the words Icon and loon, 
a thin line between 
being revered and considered a nut.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

butterfly couplet



What's lighter and more airy than a butterfly in flight?
The answer is its shadow in a dance of golden light.

Monday, March 3, 2014

End of a Marriage

Meera announced to me on Saturday, March 1st, that the first documents for initiating her divorce from me are ready and she needs me to go up to Union City to sign them.

It breaks my heart. I love her as much as I did when I fell in love with her more than 17 years ago. I love our family and it breaks my heart to see it torn apart this way.

It has been a grueling 16 months. I feel I did all I could to reconcile with her and repair our marriage, but, from what I can tell, her resolve to end it was sure and unwavering from the day she asked for a separation in October 2012.

Meera is moving on with her life, but will continue to share the parenting responsibilities with me. I will continue to do what I can to support her and encourage her when that is welcomed by her and appropriate. I also resolve to give her the space and distance, and try not to impinge on her peace of mind, her freedom to live her life, and fulfill herself according to her needs and desires.

I will continue to keep the lines of communication open to the best of my ability, and strive to understand her needs and feelings when she expresses them, and refrain from imposing my emotional burdens on her.

I will continue to love her, and wish her well. I will strive not to encroach on her life and pursuit of happiness when I'm battling with my own demons.

I will continue to honor, and love, and respect, and admire her. Meeting her, the good years we shared together, the creation and nurturing of our beautiful children, have been the most fulfilling and wonderful experiences of my life, and I will always cherish the blessings Meera's brilliant and generous soul have brought me.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

true life sonnet

Rural Revolution: Country Alarm Clock


The day began with Julian still asleep,
With thirteen minutes till his bus was due.
I thought, because his slumber was so deep,
Attempts to get him up just would not do.

And, being one who likes to take his time
To shower, dress, and look his very best
To send him out unkempt would be a crime:
Perhaps I’ll let him sleep and get his rest.

But no, I said, “Wake up!” and gave a poke
Then went to brew some coffee for us two,
While he, my son once bidden to awake, awoke;
His preparations in a flash were through.

   "So I don’t miss the bus, Dad, would you drive?”
   Well played, he was the first one to arrive.


This actually happened this morning, every word is true, except some of the quotes aren't strictly verbatim.  Julian, who is 14 and has recently developed a taste for black coffee in the morning, has to get to the bus stop by 7:00.  I woke up at 6:44 a.m. I woke him up at 6:47. 

I googled for a clock reading that time. Found a photo in a post by another blogspot user (a delightful early morning story as well). I cropped the photograph and decided it looked better in negative when after I accidentally flipped it.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

you'll thank yourself later



Fill thy dishwasher while ye may, 
Old dishes molder green: 
And these same saucers that smell today 
Tomorrow will shine clean.


 I'm going to be late for work, but at least I'll come home to clean dishes and counter space.

I poked n stroked till my wrist got numb
An you know I heard some dish-washer humm

Friday, July 26, 2013

Musica Della Sera Playlists




Recently something has changed and the data for our playlists is not being updated to appear in Google Search. I noticed this because it's handy for me to check to see whether or not Meera or me have played a piece recently.  I don't know what has changed.  The link to our playlist has been kind of buried several levels downs in the (fairly) new KUSP blog pages as part of the web presence remodel. 

Maybe if I put the link here, the search crawler won't miss it, so here is the main playlist page for Musica della sera: Voila!  This year's playlists for Musica della sera Thursday evening classical radio show on KUSP Radio: http://www.kusp.org/playlists/mds/index.html Come and get it, web crawler!  We're here, we're here!

The Musica della sera blog page is here: http://blogs.kusp.org/musicadellasera/