If you didn’t notice, this past year was a tough one for many accountants. From tax laws around PPP loans and Employee Retention Tax Credits that were changing seemingly by the week, to massive pieces of legislation that many accountants spent countless hours trying to study and strategize for impending changes to things like capital gains tax, only to have the bill not actually pass, to a complete failure by the IRS to provide even a somewhat competent service to taxpayers, well, you get the idea. It was a rough year for the accounting profession.
So with that in mind, here are some tips to help your CPA file your taxes with ease. Follow these suggestions, and you’ll be your accountant’s favorite client.
Send Your Tax Documents Together
This is probably #1 on the list of Things That Drive Accountants Nuts. Rather than sending an email every time you get a tax document in the mail, which just increases the chances your CPA will miss one of your two dozen emails over tax season (when your accountant’s inbox is flooded with emails from all their clients), please gather all your tax documents together and send or upload them at once. It’s a huge time saver for both of us, and decreases the likelihood we’ll miss a random document sent separately.
Use PDF format. Stay away from JPEGs.
We know – it’s so tempting to just snap a picture of a document and email the JPEG. But trust us, when we compile a set of workpapers to prepare your tax return, there’s few things more frustrating than a bunch of PDFs with a single JPEG mixed in that’s all out of whack and a different size than everything else. There are many apps out there today that will convert a picture into a PDF with a click of a button. Please take advantage of those apps and send a PDF. Even if your accountant uses a fancy mobile app with a client portal for you to upload documents (yes, we do that at Brook Bay Consulting), and that mobile app allows you to snap pictures, trust us – your accountant still really prefers to receive things in PDF.
Use A Single Method To Send Documents
Hopefully this one is self explanatory, but similar to #1 on this list, sending some documents by email, some by WhatsApp, some by text, and dropping off paper copies of others only increases the likelihood that something gets missed on your tax return. Do us all a favor and stick to a single method (at Brook Bay Consulting, we prefer you utilize our fancy mobile app client portal to upload all documents).
Respond to Document Requests Thoroughly
If your CPA emails you a list of 10 items needed to finish your tax return, try your best to gather all 10 items together and respond in one shot. Similar to some of the above tips, this saves us precious time and reduces the likelihood of us missing something important or getting into an email thread with 23 different messages back and forth.
Respect Your CPA’s Time
Everyone knows the reputation of tax season is, well, not fun. Long hours, high pressure deadlines, and lots of details that need to be right. It’s stressful. So if you call your CPA with a ‘two minute question’, please remember that hardly any question is truly just two minutes. While we strive to respond in a very timely fashion, during tax season it gets extremely difficult. So please be patient. With that being said, if you’re subscribed to a tax subscription package that includes unlimited phone calls to your CPA, I’m sure your CPA will be much more willing to take the call. If you’re wondering what a tax subscription package is, check out our recent blog post about this awesome change that we’re implementing at Brook Bay Consulting.