Filing taxes last minute? 3 tips to win over your CPA
By Yvonne Olson
I find it difficult to have pity on people who procrastinate about filing taxes on time.
I do admit, however, that I myself am a procrastinator. But when it comes to filing taxes, I don't leave them until the last minute. Some of you might be thinking, "But you are single - wait until you are married, and the filing gets more complicated." Maybe so, but that doesn't leave me an excuse for popping into my CPA's office the week (or two) before the April 15th deadline.
It's one thing if a taxpayer is waiting for a 1099 form, and it still hasn't arrived, but entirely different if they don't want to deal with it at all. Taxes still have to be filed, payments made (unless you get a refund), and putting it off until the last minute really puts taxpayers in a bind, as well as their CPA (Certified Public Accountant).
Some taxpayers believe there is still time for the CPA to finish their taxes, even with a week left. What they don't know, is the piles of returns in his/her office that are ready to be worked on, and the ones in the other room that are close (still waiting for information) to being worked on. Piles, piles everywhere, what's a CPA to do?
If you are wondering...no, I'm not a CPA, but yes, I do work for one. I see clients come in last minute and expect us to get their taxes done on time, and within a couple of days, as if it's a fast food restaurant with a drive through. On the other hand, I also see clients who come in and know they might have a chance, but because they are so late, don't mind an extension.
Here are a few tips to win over your CPA:
Tip #1: If you want favor with your CPA, don't be in a hurry to get them back (2 days is not long enough to finish the ones before you, and yours), and be open to filing an extension, if necessary.
Tip #2: Make sure you have everything, and it's in order (like forms together, etc.), current phone number you can be reached (cell phone is best), and you are okay with him/her calling you at 8:00 at night (yes, they are still working then!).
Tip #3: If at all possible, make copies of everything you will turn in. It will save time if they can keep what you give them (and the secretary won't have to spend an extended amount of time at the copier).
Bonus tip: If you really want to get in good with the CPA, get in good with the secretary, by bringing her a sugar-free vanilla latte, with whip, from Starbucks. (Okay, that last part is my order, but you don't have to do that.) =)
Finally, when it's all filed and done, your refund is spent, and your rushing is over, don't forget to thank your CPA...he/she would love to hear it!
About the author:
I am a secretary for a CPA in Washington State, and this is my second tax season. My employer is self-employed, and worked for the IRS many years prior to owning his own business. He currently has over 300 clients. You can view my blog at http://olsonwriter.wordpress.com
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.