How does the optimizer work?
This answer only applies to partners with linked returns.
When you first add certain credits and deductions to your return, SimpleTax will guess who should claim what (Note: in older versions of the app, certain credits may not be applied until you follow all of the steps in this post).
Once you and your partner have finished your returns, click Check & Optimize. This will run thousands of calculations to determine who should claim what credit, how you should split it, or whether you should carry it forward to a future year. Once the optimizer finishes, the Optimization ResultsOptimizations table will appear and the optimized amounts will be applied.
If you don’t see the table, the optimizer has not yet run, so you’ll need to click the Check & Optimize button again. If you still don’t see the table, your partner’s return may not be ready. Switch to their return and walk through the same steps.
When you first add optimizable credits and/or deductions, they will be applied in full (even if you don’t benefit from claiming them this year). If you have a linked partner, the credits/deductions will be applied to one of your returns. You can review the initial allocations in the Optimizations table (in the Summary section).1
To optimize your return, complete your return(s), click Check & Optimize, and clear any errors.2 The optimizer then runs thousands of calculations3 to determine whether you should claim a credit, split it, or carry it forward to a future year.
If you change any optimizable inputs (e.g., add another donation receipt), that credit (e.g., donations) will go back to it’s initial state (e.g., applied in full to one return) until you run the optimizer again.
Note: The optimizer looks for the highest possible combined refund this tax year—it does not support multi-year tax planning (but you can override any results).
If you have a linked partner, generally the credit is applied to the higher-income person’s profile (at the moment the credit is added to the return).
If the optimizer does not run you may need to click Check & Optimize again, and/or clear any errors from your linked partner’s return.
Using—primarily—function minimization, for the math folks out there.