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Tax appointments 2021

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#1
Wiles  
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Soon the 10/15 deadline will be behind us and we will all start getting ready for the new year and tax appointments.

With the 'VID still likely hanging around, what changes are you going to be making in conducting your tax appointments?

How will you manage your client expectations with these changes?

I know one thing we will need to implement is screen sharing in order to show clients info from their tax returns. I have been putting this off and am kicking myself now as I am wrapping up the 10/15 tax returns. What solutions are you using for screen sharing?
 

#2
sjrcpa  
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If clients insist on coming for appts - it's masks and social distancing. Over time, fewer and fewer do. We shut down the office in March and no one had a cow.
We use Teams. We are a Microsoft shop.
 

#3
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Masks and distancing for clients who want appointments. The mask requirement was in my latest newsletter and a reminder will be in the year-end newsletter.

I believe you can use Teams to share screens, but I haven't yet tried that.
 

#4
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My clients skew elderly (for now). Some have embraced electronic working. Others have not. I currently have maximum half-hour appointments and am thinking of enforcing that for next season and tell them there is an additional charge if it takes longer. I would like discussions to focus on substantive issues, if any, rather than "Here's a 1099-R." "Oh, here's another 1099-R. I don't pay tax on that one because it's from the state."
 

#5
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I don't have a lot of clients that want to meet when they bring in their documents, maybe 10-15%. I am going to try to convince them to let's meet via zoom. I know it has screen share capabilities, as the hosts of meetings I have attended have used it. I personally have not yet used the screen share option, but intend to try it out soon. I do meet with some to go over their tax returns, so this is probably going to be my first option.
 

#6
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Ha! So few of my tax clients want to meet concerning there taxes, let alone review them, that my policies even before COVID were never an issue. I am asking more people to use my portal for exchanging documents, but a handful struggle with it and so I do pick up from them, still. Since I work from home, I have only ever allowed two clients to show up for a meeting, otherwise it is "no clients at my house."

I can share my screen with Teams and my other remote software, if needed, but no one ever requests it. The clients I do have that actually practice tax planning prefer to discuss over the phone, already, and I typically do not need to show them anything--explanations suffice.
 

#7
sjrcpa  
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BTW Wiles, what have you been doing between COVID onset and now for client appointments?
 

#8
jesella  
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We've been using Zoom all year (with security measures turned on, of course), which allows for screen-sharing. Our client meetings are at the end of our prep-cycle, so we've been delivering a draft of the return electronically to the client prior to their Zoom appointment. With that, screen sharing hasn't really been needed much (though we use it a lot for QBO training).

I anticipate that we'll remain remote-only (phone and Zoom wrap ups only) through the April 15 deadline. We do allow clients to book a quick pick-up / drop-off appointment with our front desk person if they must handle paper - requiring an appointment for that is allowing us to make sure we don't have too many people in the office at one time and allows for cleaning between clients. It also allows us to keep the door locked most of the time, which we've enjoyed :)
 

#9
Wiles  
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BTW Wiles, what have you been doing between COVID onset and now for client appointments?

We still have in-person appointments, but this is very rare. Usually for the type of client that we bend over backwards for already.

Since the lockdown, we had all of our clients drop off, email, upload their documents. We will then have discussions (emails or phone calls) during the preparation process, like you would normally do. What we are doing more of is uploading the final "draft" of the tax return (either full tax return or summary, depending on the type of client) to the portal and then schedule a telephone call to review and discuss. This is where doing screen sharing, instead, would be ideal.

We are finding more time gets posted to the job when there is the meeting at the end. Having the meeting on the front end allows us to do some input while the client is sitting there. Having the meeting at the end, when we are done, adds another 15-30 minutes of idle time.
 

#10
Wiles  
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How much does Zoom cost if you want it with full security for screen sharing? And would we need a license for each preparer?

We already use GoToAssist for remoting into our business client's computers. We have 2 licenses which are enough for our 6 accountants when doing remote access. This has the ability to do reverse screen sharing. But 2 licenses won't work if we plan on using this during 1040 prep. I think that will be too expensive to add 4 more GoToAssist licenses.
 

#11
ATSMAN  
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Wiles wrote:How much does Zoom cost if you want it with full security for screen sharing? And would we need a license for each preparer?

We already use GoToAssist for remoting into our business client's computers. We have 2 licenses which are enough for our 6 accountants when doing remote access. This has the ability to do reverse screen sharing. But 2 licenses won't work if we plan on using this during 1040 prep. I think that will be too expensive to add 4 more GoToAssist licenses.



$200 per year.
 

#12
EZTAX  
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We are trying to figure out staffing for next year. How many expect that we will get another Covid extension? 7/15 again? Hard to see how things will be better this coming year at least through the winter.
 

#13
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I'm not counting on it. I don't foresee a nationwide shutdown next year sufficient to have an extended tax season, to be honest.
 

#14
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I was just speaking to my colleague about will the IRS extend. I think IRS may extend until 10/15 with no penalties for late filing. This is because of ppp, and covid issues.
 

#15
ATSMAN  
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Depends on who wins the Presidency and what the makeup of Congress is in 2021.
 

#16
sjrcpa  
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As well as whether we get hid hard by the "second COVID wave" that's hitting Europe right now.
 

#17
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We are already getting hit. It's just a couple of weeks or so behind the westernmost parts of Europe. As Europe is still getting this under control, it is hard to see what things might look like over here.
 

#18
jon  
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There has been a promise to get rid of current President's changes 100%. I think it will be like 2019 due dates or 10/15/21 right away.
 

#19
philly  
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I have a blue bin in my office hall way. Until covid-19 is bye bye I am requesting that clients leave me an envelope with their information in my blue box or send me an email with their information or mail me information.
To many covid-19 cases in NY.
 

#20
WBR  
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The AICPA has been running a Townhall series of COVID related seminars and they have brought up the due date issue several times. It appears there is a push by the AICPA and large firms to make the July 15th deadline permanent. It’s not political its extra dollars for the larger firms. I will be surprised if the April 15th deadline stands for 2021.

Regarding my own practice, I will be pushing my clients to get their info in early. Will see what happens.
 

#21
sjrcpa  
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How does a permanent July 15 deadline = extra dollars for larger firms?
 

#22
CathysTaxes  
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If July 15th becomes a permanent deadline then I'm retiring.
Cathy
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#23
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WBR wrote:It appears there is a push by the AICPA...to make the July 15th deadline permanent.


What you seen or heard that makes you think that?

WBR wrote:I will be surprised if the April 15th deadline stands for 2021.


There is so much unknown between now and then politically, economically, and regarding the virus that I think it's anyone's game. But, if I had to bet with my "hypothetical" dollars, which is all I ever bet with (good luck collecting), I'd say no postponement. File your returns or an extension with payment by 4/15. The medical community and executive branch have a lot more data points now versus seven months ago as far as the virus is concerned. There's a lot less uncertainty.
 

#24
belle  
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sjrcpa wrote:How does a permanent July 15 deadline = extra dollars for larger firms?


Less overtime maybe? That's the only thing that comes to mind for me.
 

#25
CathysTaxes  
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belle wrote:
sjrcpa wrote:How does a permanent July 15 deadline = extra dollars for larger firms?


Less overtime maybe? That's the only thing that comes to mind for me.

Most people I know in the field enjoy summer hours. They won't want to give that up.
Cathy
CathysTaxes
 

#26
belle  
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CathysTaxes wrote:
belle wrote:
sjrcpa wrote:How does a permanent July 15 deadline = extra dollars for larger firms?


Less overtime maybe? That's the only thing that comes to mind for me.

Most people I know in the field enjoy summer hours. They won't want to give that up.


I don't like giving up my summer hours either. That, however, doesn't translate into *extra dollars for larger firms". I don't see how an permanently extended filing deadline would put any "extra" dollars into the coffers of a larger firm.
 

#27
ATSMAN  
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If July 15 becomes the new filing deadline, my business model will have to change drastically.
 

#28
CathysTaxes  
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belle wrote:
I don't like giving up my summer hours either. That, however, doesn't translate into *extra dollars for larger firms". I don't see how an permanently extended filing deadline would put any "extra" dollars into the coffers of a larger firm.

IME, it didn't. It just dragged my anxiety until July 15th because even though I was almost done by April 15th, the clients took that long to sign them.
Cathy
CathysTaxes
 


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