Tax Season is Upon Us

January 2023

The years aren’t getting any easier!

The pace of change and impact brought on by the pandemic doesn’t show any signs of letting up. Generational changes in inflation, interest rates, how we work, where we work and who works are all present and with us as we try and navigate our business and personal economies. If you feel like it is too much of challenge at times, take a time out, watch Top Gun Maverick, which will be sure to give any good red-blooded American the can-do spirit.

2022 gave us some pretty significant changes in tax law. One change at both the federal and state (Mass) level are noteworthy. At the federal level we have the Inflation Reduction Act (curious name) which brought with it significant changes to energy related credits, corporate taxes and IRS enforcement (no standing ovation for that part I’m sure!) and in Massachusetts, the “Millionaires Tax” was passed which goes into effect in tax year 2023. Both underscore the importance of tax planning.

As we look to 2023 – facing recessionary headwinds – what can we do? Be prepared – “fortune favors the prepared” – let’s try to keep some powder dry, be prudent with our decision making, seek out value, be mindful of leverage and fixed costs, operate with a mindset of abundance not scarcity, and continue to seek opportunities, they are sure to be bountiful.

Please find below information that will help us all have a successful and stressless (or, at least, less stress) tax season.

An Exciting Change in Our Office Protocol

In recognition that the ability to work remotely is of growing importance to our existing team, as well as potential future team members (yes, we would love to hire, send those Accounting Graduates our way), we are formalizing our remote work policy.

Beginning with this tax season (effective, January 23rd), the whole team will be working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays – that means the office will not be physically staffed on those days. The phones will still ring, and the emails will still come through the wires, and everyone will be just as accessible as before… just not actually in the office.

We believe that our approach is the best way to find efficiencies from remote work while still being able to foster team concepts from in-office work.

2022 Tax Year Filing Season Tax Preparation

As we continually strive to be a paper-free company and in an effort to help keep the Cape green – we will be using email, our website, our secure portal, and our blog to keep you informed as well as provide questionnaires and checklists for the upcoming tax season in lieu of sending documents via snail mail.

Our individual interview and checklists serve as essential tools that not only provide you with a list of the source documents and information necessary to prepare your tax return, but also help us gain a complete picture and a better understanding of your 2022 story so that we can follow-up with the appropriate questions and do the best job possible for you.

Completing and returning the individual interview is a critical element of accurate tax preparation and therefore is a required step for all clients.

As the world (and the tax world in particular) continues to increase in complexity, it is of paramount importance to receive your input on events and circumstances that have occurred during the year. This year, we have taken the step of making the individual interview available to you where you’ll be able to complete it fully and “submit” directly online ~ saving time and resources. This ideally will enable you to conduct the interview in approximately 10 minutes and streamline the process for you. Please note, we cannot begin to prepare your returns without this critical information.

If you take a couple of extra minutes to double-check that you are sending us complete information, it will save a lot of time and we will be able to complete your tax returns sooner! Many people send in “most” of their documents, but a couple of items are left out. Please keep in mind that we will not work on your file until we have all your documents. Using the checklist is a great way to ensure that you didn’t forget anything!

Things do change – especially in a time like this – so make sure to note any important changes as well. For example, if you moved – make a note to that effect: “We moved to 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA – but… we kept our house in Whereeverville and now it is a rental”. Did you get a new job in 2022? Did you have a child? Did your student loan get sold to a different lender? Yada, yada, yada. These notes allow us to quickly address what needs to be changed and if they are not present, it has the potential to slow the process down.

Please note we kindly ask that you DO NOT staple your source documents together. All source documents are scanned into our system and electronically stored with hard copies being returned to our clients. Staples slow the scanning process down.

Sending completed information benefits everyone. We can’t stress this enough – our staff CANNOT begin to work on your returns until ALL necessary documents have been received by our office. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

How To Provide Your 2022 Tax Year Source Documents

Client Portal: Our client portal is a secure place to upload all your tax related documents. Our portal is simple and easy to navigate. It also lends the opportunity to upload your documents right from the comfort of your own home. If you haven’t registered, no worries! Just call the office or email and we can help you set it up within minutes!

Secure Dropoff: While we recommend uploading documents virtually through our portal, if there is any reason you need to drop off documents in a physical format you can do so by using our secure drop box located at the rear entrance of the building. The secure drop box is routinely checked throughout each in office workday.

Mail: You can still send your documents via mail. If you choose this route, please be sure to take into account the additional time it will take for us to receive documents and please try to have your documents fully complete and organized so we don’t run into that infamous snail mail time crunch.

Email: Questions you have about your filing or return can be answered by one of our team members via email; however, we do not recommend sending personal or financial information through this line of communication due to its unsecure nature.

Please send us your completed information as early as possible ~ including the individual interview. For clients who submit their information after Monday, March 20, 2023, (c.o.b.) we cannot guarantee that we will be able to complete the returns by April 15th. They will be placed on extension. (As always, we will make every effort to complete your tax returns by April 15th, but it is much less likely if we do not have all of your information by March 20th.)

What Does it Mean to File an Extension?

Extensions are quite common due to the ever-increasing complexity of the tax laws. I place both my business and personal returns on extension, without fail! An extension is a form filed with the IRS and the State to request additional time to file your tax return. The extension period is six (6) months, which extends the due date for submitting your final tax returns from April 15th to October 15th. It is common practice for CPAs to set a cut-off date for clients to submit their tax information so that they can plan their workload and ensure all client returns and extensions are completed by April 15th.

If we are going to file an extension for you, we will discuss whether you owe more tax than you have already paid during the year. If you do, a payment is required by April 15th with your extension. This payment can be made electronically with the filings of your extension. It is important that we have accurate bank account information for you on file to ensure that the payments to the IRS and State are made in a timely manner.

Completed Returns

When your tax returns are ready, we will contact you immediately to coordinate delivery (our standard medium is over our secure and encrypted portal). Our standard “turn-around” time for individual returns is 15 days (once all information is received). Placing multiple calls, emails, or texts to the office to check the status of your tax returns slows our process down. We appreciate your patience and ask that you keep this type of correspondence to a minimum.

Signature Pages (e-file forms) and Payment

If you are filing joint tax returns, both parties must sign the e-files. Our office utilizes RightSignature, allowing you to virtually e-sign the appropriate documents. Payment of your invoice is required at the time of delivery of the completed tax returns. Important: We cannot submit the electronic files to the IRS and State without signed e-file authorization forms and full payment.

As always, we look forward to working with you again this year. Please do not hesitate to call our office if you have any questions. We appreciate your business and continued support.

Please find the Individual Interview here