When I started at Bourke Accounting, one of my Bourke bosses told me about an incident that had occurred early in his career at his first job. It seems that a client said some pretty X-rated stuff to an administrative assistant. My Bourke boss was having none of it and “fired” that client on the spot with the words, “I have 500 clients, but only 1 assistant…get out.” Obviously, that sort of behavior has not been repeated by Bourke clients (we have the best patrons anywhere), but this situation brings to mind a few things that you, as clients, might want to remember this tax season.
Whether you’re an old hand at working with accountants or this is your first year using a professional, it is understood that none of us are perfect. So, to keep you happily satisfied – and to ensure your tax preparer’s sanity – we offer some advice from the trenches of accountingdom.
Last year, with the tax deadline extended for the pandemic, it seemed that tax season would never end. However, as of right now, the deadline for filing your 2020 return is the usual April 15th. What might not be so usual is your current circumstance; depending on how and where the virus hit you, your tax return might be a little different this year. For example, if you received unemployment benefits, you will need your Form 1099-G. In addition, if you received a loan from the Payroll Protection Program, you’ll need to know the exact amount received and what, if any, expenses are now deductible. See? As mentioned, things could get exotic.
While it’s never a good idea to procrastinate in your preparations, it’s especially important to get an early start this tax season. Besides potentially having to include unfamiliar documents, none of us can possibly know what other pitfalls might be around the corner. In a perfect world, providing your information at the last minute wouldn’t have any lasting repercussions. As we’ve lived through ’20, though, it’s safe to say that we’re not existing in that perfect world. Let’s say you give your stuff to your tax preparer on April 15th. Your pro (being a pro) stays late, finishes the return minutes before the deadline and hits “Submit” to efile your return. And the IRS server crashes. Or a watermain breaks in the office. Or any number of mad dog dumb possibilities become reality. Without being able to get to the post office, that return will be filed late. While this wouldn’t be the end of your financial world, it would be an extra headache that you just don’t need.
Another aspect to be mindful of is the importance of communication. Sometimes, an entire return can be delayed because of one tiny detail. If something is unclear or missing, your tax preparer is not going to take a guess, educated or otherwise. That being said, if you receive a voicemail or email from your expert, respond! Just as you are anxious to have your work completed, your preparer delights in nothing as much as a finished return. Your preparer won’t give up the quest for an answer, but it isn’t nice to ignore numerous telephone calls. Your hectic life can be made more tranquil with a 5-minute chat and a gratifying conclusion.
You can’t control that big world out there, but you can tend to your own backyard. In order to completely tuck 2020 into the recesses of your mind, let’s close the books on your tax return and move along.
Like you, Bourke Accounting bookkeepers and tax preparers can’t wait to see the taillights of this past year heading off into the distance. Bourke Accounting is looking forward to a beneficial (and, hopefully, normal) tax season with you. Let’s work together to finish 2020 as quickly as possible – and never speak of it again.
Written by Sue H.