Normal plans for this time of year may have been thrown through by a (second) tax season like no other, but the priorities before autumn are still not waiting for a company. With the October extended return deadline approaching, practitioners wonder how best to fill the time between now and the infamous season two.
“First off, I want a vacation,” said Terri Ryman, a registered agent with Southwest Tax & Accounting in Elkhart, Kansas. “Of course I have to have the extensions done.”
Ryman’s original list of 52 expanded returns to close has grown to 66.
“Job security,” she added. “And three new customers were added after the deadline.”
Other priorities before mid-October?
“Make sure tax advisors are currently reporting the tax strategies we have implemented for 2020,” said Bruce Primeau, CPA and president of Summit Wealth Advocates in Prior Lake, Minnesota. “For example, reporting Roth IRA conversions through the back door or buying and holding stock options for corporate incentives.”
“Professional gift tax filing is a top priority this summer,” said Jonathan Curry-Edwards, CPA and head of the Private Client Tax Services team at Friedman LLP in New York. “In 2020 we advised customers on giving gifts in order to use their remaining exemptions for the period before the end of the year. Compared to the previous year, this led to an increase in the number of gift tax returns to be submitted.
“I look forward to taking some time out to see family and friends in person,” added Curry-Edwards. “We worked through two extended tax seasons during the pandemic and that can lead to burnout and fatigue.”
More than historians
It is, of course, another harrowing year of tax changes – and no change to that pattern is in sight in the future. David Levi, a CPA and a Minneapolis-based Senior Managing Director at CBIZ MHM, sees a priority in working with clients in 2020, 2021 and future tax matters “given the uncertainty of future tax law,” he said.
Big issues certainly include decisions about whether and when to sell assets due to possible changes in capital return ratios, potential changes to the rules for recording profits in relation to assets held at death, and the possible end of certain tax-free distributions from estimated assets from partnerships and trusts.
“We want to work with our clients as advisors and advisors, not just historians,” said Levi. “We are at a time when no one really knows where tax policy will end, nor do we know when potentially significant changes will take effect. We need to keep in touch with our clients and their other advisors on income and inheritance tax matters and be ready to act on short notice. “
“Given the many tax law changes proposed by the Biden Administration, it will be helpful to focus as soon as possible on completing pass-through business and individual income tax returns for customers for 2020,” added James McGrory. CPA and shareholder at. added Drucker & Scaccetti in Philadelphia. “This will not only help to provide a basis for calculating the estimated tax payments for 2021 … but also to keep a customer’s tax situation in view.”
To do list
The American Institute of CPAs offers a range of productive housekeeping between deadlines:
- Clean up files based on your document retention guidelines to keep things tidy and clean your desk. (Please contact your professional indemnity insurer or legal advisor to hold documents.)
- Digitize more files for flexibility and to build on the work experiences learned in the last year of working from home.
- Review your company’s data security plans. Use this AICPA template as a guide.
- If you haven’t checked your IRS identification numbers lately, now is a good time. Protect and monitor your PTIN, EFIN and CAF number.
- Track the returns submitted via your daily e-file confirmations. This can be a warning sign if you receive more confirmations than submitted returns. The IRS publishes the number of returns submitted to an EFIN on a weekly basis.
- Review your professional liability and cyber liability plans.
This year, too, some tax advisors will keep their perspective.
“Filing as many extended personal, business, and fiduciary statements as soon as possible, information for clients to fill out and submitting their paycheck protection program pending documents, standard accounting audits and payroll for clients,” said Brian Stoner, a CPA in Burbank , California. “In other words, the usual.”