Tax season….always a great time for all involved! A couple of things have complicated tax season even more than normally. There has been a delay in taxpayers getting forms. The Form 1095s are coming out late. That is the form that proves your health coverage for 2017.
In the past several years, the investment brokerage companies have gotten an extension on getting your Form 1099B. This is the form that shows all of your interest, dividends and capital gains from your investments. Not only did they get an extension until March! They send out the forms when they are not known to be the final version.
Make sure that you give your CPA the FINAL version. If you give them an earlier version and subsequently you get a corrected version, you will have to pay for the time to re-work the return or even possibly for an amended return if your CPA has already filed the return with the preliminary form.
The problem for us CPAs is that these delays make it such that we cannot prepare nearly as many returns in February as we have been able to in the past. Now, many more returns come to us in March and April, so the workload is even more than in previous years.
What you need to remember:
Get your documents to your CPA as soon as possible, let them know what you may be missing and realize that it may take longer to get your return out the door than before due to the sheer volume of returns we get between the middle of March and the original due date of April 17th.
Don’t be afraid to extend. There is very little downside to extending. No firm can get all of their returns filed by the deadline and the IRS would not want us to anyway. The only issue to consider when extending is that you get an extension to file, but YOU DO NOT get an extension to pay. If you think you may owe additional taxes with this year’s return, you have to give your documents to your CPA with enough time for them to estimate your tax liability so you can make a payment with your extension.
The new tax law is just that…new. Not every firm will be prepared to discuss in length how these changes will affect you. We have not had much chance to work with the new law and we are under the gun to file 2017. Have some patience and understanding that tax season may not be the time to ask the blanket question: How does the new law affect me? Also realize that the new tax law is much more sensitive to specifics of your situation than it was in the past and time will need to be spent to analyze the changes to you in particular.
Be prepared to have your CPA fill you for this time. We have to spend a lot of time learning the new laws and then considering your particular situation to see how you are affected. This time is billable. We bill for our time and expertise. so be prepared for your CPA to say that they are happy to review your situation and counsel you on the impact, but you should expect to see a bill for the counsel and advice.
Above all, remember that we are dealing with a massive amount of information, are in contact with every client we have in a 75 day period of time. We all find ways to keep track of hundreds of emails, voice mails and documents coming at us. Consideration of what we are dealing with is greatly appreciated. We are all trying to do the best we can to offer a quality product and good customer service, but it is a unique situation…tax season. Too much in too short a period of time. Hug your CPA this year, well maybe not, let’s not spread the flu around!!