If you’re like many of the tax professionals I’ve spoken with recently, the 2021 filing tax season felt like a long, winding sentence. Last year’s April 15 filing deadline was delayed to July due to the epidemic, which coincided with the autumn extension tax season and resulted in new tax legislation. Now we’re looking at another deadline, and we’re not as rested and rejuvenated as we are in late February.
To put things in perspective, I’d like to offer one of my favorite quotes (which I speak to my adolescent regularly, whether she likes it or not):
Dealing with Tax Season-Make sure you look after yourself:
Going for a run, taking a yoga class, drinking enough water, eating healthy foods regularly, or all of the above are examples of ways to stay in shape. When your battery is low, it’s tough to provide clients the attention and energy they require. Putting exercise on my calendar and treating it as an appointment has proven to be effective for me. Also, use food delivery services; I’ve found that they have healthy selections and are a substantial time-saving!
Early on, discuss the possibility of an extension with your clients:
In numerous critical areas of tax legislation, an excellent guidance is still required. When combined with the ongoing pandemic, an extension may be the best option, even for clients who have previously refused one.
Remind clients to tell you how much their economic impact payment is:
Notice 1444 and Notice 1444-B should have been sent to everyone who received payment. A significant number of your clients are unlikely to have kept the notice or made a note of the payment amount. Individuals can find out how much they owe by logging into their online accounts.
Provide your clients with instructions on how to obtain this information to save time. You may use the analytics in your tax software to determine which taxpayers’ 2019 adjusted gross income (AGI) qualified them for payment.
Encourage clients to send you their data as soon as feasible:
Find ways to encourage clients to file extensions in tax season, even if they are already doing so. Give clients who aren’t on an extension a deadline by which they must furnish you with ALL (OK, most is probably fairer) of their information. Encourage your customers to provide information on time with a discount, or penalize them with a price if they don’t. Also, if you haven’t heard from your clients, use this letter to gather the information you’ll need to file an extension.
Don’t Click that email link!
Phishing efforts are becoming more common in tax season. Make sure you and your coworkers are always on the lookout for these kinds of emails. They may appear legitimate because they appear to come from a company you know or trust. These phishing emails frequently contain typos, improper grammar, or fake links. The IRS recently issued an urgent electronic filing identification number (EFIN) scam alert to tax professionals.
Keep an eye on your employees and coworkers:
For a variety of reasons, this has been a challenging year. My optimistic side feels we will come out on the other side, having learned many valuable things. However, with tax season upon us and life still not back to “normal,” many people are in a bind.
Whether to engage a certified public accountant (CPA) or do it yourself is one decision you must make. As a CPA and former IRS agent, there are several scenarios in which I recommend filing your taxes using online tax software. However, there are some tax situations in which I recommend forming a working relationship with a tax specialist. If you work as a freelancer, own a small business, or are an investor, consulting with a CPA may benefit. Establishing a connection with a CPA can assist you in navigating potential tax deductions, developing long-term tax strategies, and being on hand if the IRS comes knocking to audit your taxes.