Valentine’s Day is upon us, and once I’ve purchased flowers for my fiancée, I will once again join the ranks of many other CPAs across the country preparing thousands of tax returns for clients of all shapes and sizes. While no two clients are the same, there are some common things clients can do to help us prepare returns in an efficient and correct manner.
Let’s start with the basics – get your information organized and returned as quickly as you can! At Henry and Horne we send all of our 1040 clients a packet early in the year called an organizer. This packet contains several pages of information “pro-forma’ed”, or copied from the prior year. Take a minute to flip through this packet and see what fields contain information that was included in last year’s return. Unless circumstances have changed, we will almost certainly need the same information for the current tax year to prepare an accurate return (plus anything new for this year). For example, if you had a brokerage statement from Fidelity or Charles Schwab in 2014, we will ask for that in 2015 unless you indicate that the account closed. By including this information, we do not have to reach out to you and delay preparation of your return. We are always here to answer questions about what should or shouldn’t be included – just ask!
Secondly, (and this applies not just during tax season) make sure you reach out to your accountant before you undertake a large financial decision. Thinking of selling/renting/purchasing a home? Let us know. Investing in an IRA or starting a business? Give us a call. One of an accountant’s greatest fears is calling a client to let them know after the fact that a decision will likely result in more tax or a different outcome than the client initially perceived. Tax law is complicated and almost nothing is clear cut, so by coming to us beforehand, we can alert you to any tax pitfalls so you may make a more educated decision.
While many of our clients and friends will enjoy the beautiful Arizona spring weather, spring training, and other various activities, we will be working hard to make sure your tax returns are complete, accurate and timely. With that said, we could always use a hand. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your CPA will be falling in love with you all over again.
(P.S. – Once your documents are received, they are scanned into our computer system, so if you can help it, no staples please!)
By Brock Yates