deadline

Top 10 things accountants do after deadline - TCJA edition

Our readers have come to count on our “Top 10 thing accountant do the day after deadline” lists. Every year, we poll the Raich Ende Malter staff on their plans for the day after the busy season deadline.

This year was a tough one for nearly all CPAs and tax preparers, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We were so busy and exhausted that, for the first time in all the years we’ve been publishing The REM Cycle, we fell behind schedule. That may explain the number one item on this year’s list, which everyone wanted to do all week.

We’re happy to announce that we’re back on schedule. Thanks to all our readers for hanging in there with us, and thanks to all of our great colleagues here at Raich Ende Malter. We’re in this together, and this year we relied on one another more than ever.

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Honorable mentions:

  • Taking my daughter to the doctor to have her adenoids removed. (Hey, let us know how she’s doing! - Editors)

  • Road trip!

  • Go on a diet!

  • TIME SHEETS TIME SHEETS TIME SHEETS TIME SHEETS TIME SHEETS TIME SHEETS

  • Moving to California!

Top 10 things tax accountants do after the tax deadline - Fall edition

After a three-month marathon session, many accountants breathe a sigh of relief at midnight on October 15. Once the realization sets in that the extended filing due date has passed, now what? Time to deflate and recharge is essential! The REM Cycle polled the staff of Raich Ende Malter and compiled the top 10 things that tax accountants will be doing on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

The result? The REM Cycle’s first ever video. Please like, share, and subscribe. Tell your friends and neighbors.

Top 10 things tax accountants will be doing after tonight's tax deadline

After a three-month marathon session of tax work, many tax accountants will be breathing a sigh of relief at midnight on April 17. Once the realization sets in that the due date has passed and they are unburdened from the intense weight of that deadline, now what? Time to deflate and recharge is essential to anyone that has just gone through such a gauntlet. The REM Cycle polled the staff of Raich Ende Malter and compiled the top 10 things that tax accountants will be doing on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Some of the fill-in responses were great, but didn't receive enough votes to make it onto the chart. Honorable mentions include:

  • "Sit in silence and wait for the next tax season."
  • "Celebrating my 47th wedding anniversary." Congratulations, by the way!
  • "Keep working on April 30th deadlines. Sincerely, the financial services group."
  • "Watch a Mets game all the way through without falling asleep."
  • "Deal with all the file rejections -- tax season doesn't end on the deadline."
  • "Celebrating my birthday April 18th, along with many checked items." Happy birthday!
  • "Have the luxury of deciding what to do when I wake up that day. Not knowing is exciting and may be something wonderfully unexpected."

What are your plans for tomorrow? Let us know in the comments section below.

Tax procrastination: the most dangerous game

 
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April 15. This is the deadline set by the IRS for filing your personal tax return.  (It’s usually April 15; this year, it happened to be pushed back to April 18, as a result of the 15th falling on a Saturday and then the observance of Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C. the following Monday, but that is a different story).  As most of us know, the IRS allows taxpayers to file an extension granting six additional months (usually to October 15… Because this date falls on a Sunday this year, the extension deadline is October 16).  But, and this is a big but, the extension grants only additional time to file, not additional time to pay. This point should be made abundantly clear to taxpayers, because no one wants to be hit with late payment penalties.  And most of us seem to completely disregard the first five months and push off getting our tax information to our preparers until we glance up at the calendar and realize we are almost out of time.

This is a dangerous game to play, for multiple reasons.

Most preparers have a full docket of work from the end of summer right through the extended due date.  This is due in part to procrastination of taxpayers and preparers, as well as a schedule in which multiple deadlines occur in rapid succession. The deadline for pass-through entities is September 15 (just one month prior to the deadline for personal returns), and trust returns are due September 30 (just two weeks prior).  When some of the information required isn’t available, this can create a butterfly effect.

Not all of the required information may be immediately available, but this is not a good reason to neglect sending over the readily-available information to your preparer.

Add the overwhelming amount of work to the complexity of tax law and expertise required to properly prepare a tax return, and one can see how there is an increased likelihood of errors, omissions, and/or missed opportunities.  This is a serious no-no for tax professionals.

The more time a preparer has to consider options and the presentation of facts, the more value can be added.  Additionally, there is greater opportunity to consider actions that can be taken in the subsequent year (which we are usually in the middle of when we are looking at last year’s information) or future years that can be favorable to the taxpayer.  Timing matters.

For estimated taxpayers, timing is of increased importance.  If your tax liability has changed and the prior year’s tax has been underpaid or overpaid, waiting until the deadline could leave you having paid three quarters of estimated taxes at the incorrect amounts.  This can result in penalties for underpayment of estimated tax or, even worse, giving excess interest-free loans to the government (oh, the humanity!).

None of the above addresses a more intangible issue, which is finality; crossing something off a list.  Getting your return filed offers just such a feeling, and I urge you to experience it.  Your preparer will thank you, too.

Bottom line? Don’t treat the filing of an extension as permission to procrastinate for six months, but rather just a short window to have everything lined up to comfortably make the extended due date in spite of any outstanding information. 

Tick-tock on the tax clock

How accountants feel the day after tax deadline.  Wikipedia

How accountants feel the day after tax deadline. Wikipedia

Posted by Evan Piccirillo, CPA

Time constraints coupled with the sheer volume of work makes tax season an incredibly stressful time for taxpayers and tax preparers.  Taxpayers will have to compile all of their tax information for the prior year and send it over to their accountant who will no doubt have a series of uncomfortable, probing questions.  The ever-present apprehension of having to write a large check looms overhead like a coming storm.  Tax preparers will spend countless hours poring over tax documents and IRS code sections trying to efficiently turn around tax returns, leaving no deduction or credit on the table.  The late nights and delivery food build up in preparers’ systems and erode their constitutions transforming them into mere husks of their former selves.

As each grain of sand runs through the hourglass, it feels as if the noose is tightening.

For taxpayers, the procrastination builds on itself like a cancer.  Dealing with all of this is painful, so why not put it off until tomorrow?  All of a sudden the calendar page turns and it is April 1st… not only has nothing been sent to the preparer’s office, the envelopes on many tax documents are still sealed and sitting in a pile on the desk.  In a frenzy, the documents (still sealed) are shoved into a large manila folder and mailed out, without a proper care and review.  Are some things missing?  Probably, but we have time right?  We can count on our trusted preparers!  There are still two weeks left!

For tax preparers, the work piles up and it seems impossible that there is a chance it will be completed on time.  Each day more packages arrive.  Each day the lists grow.  The arms on the clock spin at an astonishing rate.  How many returns did we get out today?  None!  This client still has open items, that client has yet to return their electronic filing authorizations, and by the way, they have a new trust return this year.  Tensions grow high and at any point a tiny spark could burst into a raging fire.  It is a marvel that we are able to maintain a level of calm in such conditions.

As the deadline comes into view just over the horizon, it feels like a blessing and a curse at the same time.  Knowing that it will soon come to an end is little solace when all one can think about is the final sprint to the finish line.  Tax preparers, many of whom have now fallen into the same rut as those for whom they are servicing, will likely still need to finish their own tax returns.  Many taxpayers are now growing anxious about making the deadline in addition to what they might owe in tax and that added stress pours like a waterfall over the preparers.

It builds and builds, panic turns to madness, the only thing fueling us is the little bit of adrenaline left in the tank.  Focus in such a torrent comes at a premium, and only the hardiest can maintain.  Frantically, the last of the returns are finalized and somehow all clients are either filed timely or on extension.  And then finally, as if waking from a nightmare, it is over.

Now that tax season is at an end, spring can truly begin.  Both taxpayers and tax preparers can breathe a collective sigh of relief and gather their wits.  Tax preparers can perhaps take some days off to be with their families, who at this point might have forgotten what they look like.  Taxpayers can worry about all of the other things in their life that need attention.  We can all forget what a test of wit and fortitude it has been until next year (actually four or five months).

So I say to you all as emphatically as I might: Happy End-of-Tax-Season!