5 Ways Maximize Your Tax Professional’s Efforts In The COVID-19 World
Tax season is upon us, and even with the extension, the deadline to file is a little over a month away. Meeting with your tax professional face-to-face is a thing of the past, and with the abrupt inclusion of so many new laws in the past few weeks, tax pros everywhere are facing a major crisis to keep up with changes all while making the big deadline. Here are five major things you can do to ensure your overworked tax pro does the best possible job for you!
1. Ensure you’ve provided all your basic info; it can often be the most missed.
In this world when you, the client, aren’t as easily able to meet your tax pro in the office, often many of the details provided to us are missing. This can lead to a bottleneck while we wait for clarity or missing information via an email just to start the return. New clients: ask us for our client intake form. Be detailed about your situation and provide your prior year tax return, which will ensure we catch any changes or carryovers. Returning clients, let us know about what’s new! We not only want to know what’s new with the business, your kids, etc., but make sure we’re up to date on any piece that could affect your tax situation.
2. Provide all documents and info and be clear about what each one of them mean.
If your professional uses a cloud-based file room, make sure each of your documents is uploaded separately as a PDF or excel, clearly named, not upside down, and easy to read. We have a checklist to provide you so you can make sure you uploaded everything. The more organized you are, the less your preparer has to focus on interpreting and categorizing and can focus on getting the best possible result on your tax return.
3. Do some bookkeeping and totaling to save time (and money)
It is often misunderstood that your professional needs every receipt from you. Often, all your pro needs is simply the totals of each item, though you should hold on to all those receipts in case the IRS ever asks. If you have a rental or small business and want to minimize your return cost, get a good summary of expense numbers separated by category and put it on a clearly listed sheet for your pro. Be detailed with your categories, though (i.e. insurance should be separated between auto, mortgage, business liability, health, etc.).
4. Reach out to your professional for advice before making decisions that create a tax event, not after.
Despite the vastness of the tax code, there are few, if any, “loopholes” to reverse a year’s worth of damage once it has been done. After that first year when you’ve built a relationship with your tax pro, they are typically happy to guide you on these prevention tactics throughout the year, not just at tax time. Selling a house? Ask! Meeting with a salesperson pushing a big tax credit? Ask! Rolling over or taking money from a retirement account? Ask! Your professional will be able to guide you.
5. Avoid the eternal “Is it ready yet?”
Your tax preparer understands you are more anxious than ever to get a result. After all, 2020 was a major financial event for pretty much everyone. We, the tax pros, are working harder than ever to make sure we have completed your return properly and have all information to save you the most money. After all, Congress majorly changed laws a few weeks ago that are still being interpreted by the IRS, and then by your lucky preparer and their software. During the last-month deadline, hundreds of weekly calls from you and other various clients asking about the status of your return can be overwhelming, and rush results that you won’t be happy with. Trust the process and know that as soon as your tax pro has the result, you will be the first person they want to tell.