What's new in 2024-1

Important Family Code changes

Xspouse 2024-1 incorporates the new changes to the Family Code that take effect from September 1, 2024. These are major changes and are the first in decades to the Family Code. These changes include the following:

Revamped Federal tax display

The display of Federal tax on the Income Tax tab on the right side of the main screen has been revamped to make it easier for users to follow the tax steps in the tax forms.

What's new in 2023-1

Windows are now centered

In previous versions of Xspouse, the main window opened in the top left corner of the screen, and all child windows (eg, the data detail windows) also opened in the top left corner of the screen (even if the main window had been moved to another location).

In 2023-1, the main window now opens centered on the screen and all child windows open centered on the Xspouse main window (even if the main window is moved to another location).

California Foster Youth Tax Credit

Two fields have been added to the Party Tax Information window (under the Taxes menu) to indicate eligibility for the California Foster Youth Tax Credit.

Form 1040, Schedule 3, Other credits

The "Other nontaxable income" data detail window has been updated to include two catch-all fields that provide a flexible means to input the aggregate value of inputs to Form 1040, Schedule 3

What's new in 2022-1

Date of birth fields

Date of birth fields have been added in the #of children detail window and in the Party Tax Information detail window.

Explanation of using the date of birth field for children

The detail window for entering the list of children now includes an optional date of birth field to enable the program to automatically determine the credits that the children qualify for based on their ages. The credits that the children qualify for are displayed in the #exemptions detail window.

If none of the children in the list have a date of birth entered then, as in past years, the program assumes that all the children qualify for all of the credits and it is up to the user to manually make any necessary changes in the #exemptions detail window.

Note: Making manual changes to credits in the #exemptions detail window will disable the program from automatically determining the credits and the program will, instead, use the manually entered inputs from the #exemption detail window, regardless of the dates that have been entered in the children detail window.

If auto mode for determining child credits is active then an asterisk ('*') is displayed to the right of the #exemptions field. If auto mode is disabled then no asterisk is visible. Note also that the auto/manual mode is separate for each spouse. So it is possible to have auto mode for one spouse (indicated by an asterisk alongside that spouse's field) and manual mode for the other spouse (indicated by the absence of an asterisk alongside that spouse's field)

To re-enable the program to automatically determine the credits based on dates of birth, highlight the #exemptions field on the main screen and press the asterisk key. An asterisk will then re-appear to the right of the #exemptions field to indicate that automatic mode has been re-enabled. NOTE: RE-ENABLING AUTO MODE WILL UNDO ANY MANUALLY ENTERED CHANGES.

While it is not mandatory to enter a date of birth for all, or any, of the children, users are strongly urged to enter a date of birth for every child as that will allow the program to make the most accurate determination of eligibility for the various credits. If some children in the list have a date of birth entered but other children in the list don't have a date of birth entered, then their eligibility for credits will be inferred from their position in the list relative to children who have a date of birth entered. In that case, users should check the #exemptions detail window and make any manual adjustments that may be needed (but remember that making manual changes in the #exemptions detail window will disable auto mode - see preceding comments).

If a date of birth is entered for every child in the list then it is not necessary to enter children in age order. If a date of birth is entered for every child then the program will correctly re-order the list of children (oldest to youngest) based on their date of birth.

Note, if a date of birth is entered for every child in the list and the children are entered in the correct age order then it is sufficient to enter just the year part of the date of birth for the program to correctly determine child credits. (Note: the program will not sort the list if only the year part is entered).

On the other hand, if a date of birth is not entered for every child in the list then it is very important to enter children in age order (oldest to youngest). If dates of birth are entered for some of the children but the children are not entered in the correct age order, then the children with dates of birth will be moved in the list into the correct age order, which will affect the relative position in the list of children with no date of birth entered (and, hence, will affect their inferred eligibility for credits).

Revamped Schedule 8812

The IRS discontinued Pub 972 and implemented a new Schedule 8812 for tax year 2021. The 2021 Schedule 8812 is a merger of the former Pub 972 and the old Schedule 8812. However, for years 2022 and 2023, the tax code for Child Tax Credit reverts to the requirements that were previously split across the former Pub 972 and the old Schedule 8812. To cater for the differences between the 2021 Schedule 8812 and the requirements for 2022 and 2023, Xspouse implements the differences in addtional tabs in the implementation of Schedule 8812, with the tabs being labelled with the year to which they apply.

MFS default changed to "Std deduction"

The default method for tax deductions if status is MFS has been changed from "Itemize" to "Std deduction" in keeping with the fact that a significant majority of households now take the standard deductions rather than itemizing their deductions.

What's new in 2021-2

American Rescue Plan Act 2021

Xspouse has been updated for the American Rescue Plan Act 2021 changes to:

In order to implement these updates the following user interface changes have been incorporated:

In addition to the user interface changes, the accompanying calculations steps are as follows:

Earned Income Credit

For 2021 under the no children scenario:

A background briefing of what the above steps mean is available at https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IN/IN11610/6

Child Tax Credit

For Year 2021, the child tax credit of $2,000 per child under age 17 at the end of the year has been extended to include children aged 17 at the end of the year. Additionally an amount of $1,600 is available for children under the age of 6 at the end of the year and an additional $1,000 for children aged 6-17 at the end of the year. Both components of the CTC are fully refundable subject to two different phase-out rules.

The additional credit components phase-out at a rate of $50 for every $1,000 or part thereof above the following thresholds:

The original $2,000 credit continues to be reduced by $50 for every $1,000 that modified AGI is more than $400,000 for married couples filing a joint return and $200,000 for all others.

In order to handle the above changes, a second page has been added to the Publication 972 tax form in Xspouse that calculates the additional credit and phase-out, then adds this amount back to Line 10 on Page 1 of Publication 972.

Further, as both components of the 2021 CTC are fully refundable, the calculation of the Additional Child Tax Credit on Schedule 8818 has been modified for Year 2021 so that the additional credit is equal to the amount on Line 5 of Schedule 8812.

Child and Dependent Care Credit

For 2021, eligible taxpayers can claim qualifying employment-related expenses up to:

The maximum percentage has been increased to 50% (up from 35%) and the phase-out threshold raised to $125,000. Above the threshold, as previously, the percentage is decreased by 1% for every $2,000 or part thereof that the adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold down to 20%. Thereafter, the percentage remains at 20% until a secondary threshold of $400,000 is reached above which the percentage is again decreased by 1% for every $2,000 or part thereof that the adjusted gross income exceeds this secondary threshold, until the credit fully phases out at an adjusted gross income over $438,000.

For 2021, the CDCC is fully refundable so the amount from Form 2441 in 2021 is written to Form 1040 Schedule 3 rather than to Schedule 2 as in other years. A note explaining this change has been added to the bottom of Form 2441 in Xspouse.

Browser view and printing

2021-2 fixes a bug in the browser preview where, in some scenarios, the incorrect spouse label was being exported to the browser view.

What's new in 2021-1

Added Schedule D Tax Worksheet

The federal Schedule D Tax Worksheet has been incorporated into the tax calculations within Xspouse, as well as triggers to determine which worksheet to use to calculate federal tax; ie:

New field for pre-tax contributions to 401(k) plans

A new data input field has been added to the main screen for entering pre-tax contributions to 401(k) plans.

Additional data input fields

Fields for 28% rate gain and Unrecaptured 1250 gain have been added to the detail windows for both "Other taxable income" and "New spouse income".

Fields for lines 4e and 4g from Form 4952 have been added to the detail window for "Ded interest expense".

A field for Charitable contributions has been added to the detail window for "Adjustments to income".

More detail in display of Schedule CA (540)

The display of Schedule CA (540) under "Taxes/Tax Forms" has been significantly expanded to show more lines in Part II, Adjustments to Federal Itemized Deductions". The expansion of this section of the display will make it much easier to see how the figure for line 18 is calculated.

What's new in 2020

Browser preview for child(ren) timeshare

The child(ren) timeshare views can now be opened in your browser. To open the timeshare views in your browser, click on the "Browser" button that has been added to the timeshare window in Xspouse.

The first page that will open after you click on the "Browser" button in Xspouse will be the list of children.

An ellipsis (...) beside a child's name indicates that more information is available by clicking on the ellipsis. For example, if the child's timeshare was set using the "Table" option, then clicking on the ellipsis beside that child's name will show which option in the table was selected for the child.

Similarly, if the child's timeshare was set using the "Worksheet" option, then clicking on the ellipsis beside that child's name will display the worksheet for that child. The browser display is interactive and you can click on any month or either parent to see that month's and/or parent's data.

Printing a worksheet from the browser will allow you to choose whether to print just this month for the currently selected parent (this is the default print setting), or to print all months and/or print for both parents.

Changed settings are cleary identified

In order to make it easier for the user to identify which settings have been changed, all settings that trigger the “Settings changed” warning on the main screen are now displayed in red font in the Settings window when changed from those shipped with the program.

If a setting is changed back to the Xspouse default, then its font returns to black. That makes it very easy in the Settings screen to identify which settings have been changed.

Health insurance detail window

In the Health insurance detail window, with the removal of the federal individual responsibility payment, the federal input has been simplified by having the user enter the net payment after the premium tax credit has been accounted for. At the same time, with the introduction of a state based individual responsibility penalty, provision is included for entering the penalty.

Young Child Tax Credit

California has introduced a Young Child Tax Credit if a qualifying child is under the age of 6 years. A YES/NO toggle is provided in the detail input window for #Exemptions to indicate this. The default is NO.

QBI coop patron reduction

An additional option has been included on the QBID calculator to allow for a coop reduction.

A subwindow opens up on pressing the Coop button to allow the required input.

What's new in 2019

Qualified Business Income Deduction Calculator

Xspouse 2019 provides a fully-integrated qualified business income deduction calculator that is accessible via the detail window for the "Qual bus income ded" field on the main screen. As with other input fields on the main screen, a value for QBID can be entered directly into the field, or the QBID value can be computed by opening the detail window to display the QBID calculator, and entering the qualified amounts for QBI, W2-wages, and UBIA.

The calculator provides buttons for adding and deleting PTBs and SSTBs, and for aggregating/disaggregating PTBs. The QBID calculator automatically takes the filing status, taxable income, and capital gain information from the currently open case in order to calculate the various parameters, such as the applicable threshold, phase-in range, applicable percentage, and others.

If businesses with a negative QBI are added, the calculator automatically follows the netting rules set out in the regulations.

If a QBID value is entered directly into the "Qual bus income ded" field on the main screen, any data that had previously been entered into the QBID calculator will be ignored (but not deleted). If the calculator is subsequently re-opened, and the 'OK' button clicked, then the QBID value that is computed by the calculator will again replace any value that had been entered directly into the field on the main screen.

Taxable/non-taxable, deductible/non-deductible spousal support

Xspouse 2019-1 builds on Xspouse 2018-1.1 in treating spousal support judgements post 2018 as being non-tax items federally, and treated as adjustments to income for state taxes.

In conformance with the new FL-150, Xspouse 2019-1 includes new input fields for taxable and non-taxable spousal support payment in the detailed input windows under “SS paid prev marriage” and “Other taxable income”.

Additionally, a switch has been added to the Settings screen to allow activation of federal tax for spousal support, if required.

If this switch is set to “YES”, a new warning message is displayed on the main Xspouse screen to indicate this fact.

Note: The default in Xspouse is 'NO', as this conforms to the federal tax changes.