Today's Features

10 Tips for More Energy This Tax Season

Businessman listening to music in officeFeel free to keep them going year round, of course.

By Sandi Leyva
The Accountant’s Accelerator

Is keeping a high energy level a challenge for you?

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: How to Teach Financial Literacy | Why Businesses Offer Subscriptions | Your Time Has No Inherent Value | Four Tools for a Millionaire Mindset | Reconnect with Your Why | 3 Ways to Work Less and Earn More | How to Find Hidden Money for Your Clients | How Small Firms Can Use Value Pricing
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Here are a few tips to revitalize your personal energy. Some of these are very simple, so simple you may think they won’t do anything for you.
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Advertising Done Right

But remember there's more to marketing.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

I have not seen too many CPA ads that have generated revenue, but I’ve seen enough to know that the right advertising program works and produces new clients.

MORE ON MARKETING: 12 Branding Tips | How to Meet Referral Sources | How to Sell Bundled Tax Services | 7 Questions for Succession Planning | 15 Points to Buying or Selling a Business | Offering Elder Care Assurance Services | 9 Questions to Ask About Divorce and Taxes | Guiding Clients in Investment Allocation and Management | How and Why to Offer Estate Planning | Why CPAs Are Suited to Financial Planning
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Most of the CPA firm ads are announcements of their being there, goodwill ads, yellow page or Internet site ads, or branding ads. Advertisements should be designed to get business leads.
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Individual Tax Filings Still Lag Behind 2016

Chart of IRS data for week ending March 17, 2017
Data for week ending March 17, 2017 [Click for larger image]
More e-filings handled by pros, but not by a large margin.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

How much difference can four days make? Or are there other issues?

MORE ON TAX SEASON: Five Ways to Protect Clients from ‘The Sleazy Six’ Tax Season Scams | Four Common Errors in Form 1098-T | Taxes: Beyond Income to Gas and More | Readers Sound Off: What Tax Season Decline? | Five-Point Action Plan for Turning Tax Scam Threats into New Opportunities | Liberty Tax Earnings Down 48% | H&R Block Lagging Behind Last Year
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Most 1040 data remains on a downturn from 2016, with only refund amounts edging barely into positive territory.
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Taxpayers Tell How They Really Feel

Pie chart of when people plan to pay their taxes
^ When people plan to pay their taxes

They don't like the IRS, but they might get an IRS tattoo to skip out on taxes.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a moment.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: Five-Point Action Plan for Turning Tax Scam Threats into New Opportunities | Liberty Tax Earnings Down 48% | H&R Block Lagging Behind Last Year | Tax Pros Filing Only 51% of E-Returns | Tax Refunds Up Slightly | Tax Filings Data Looking Less Squirrely | Tax Return Filings Still Lag, But Pros Hold 57% of Market | Tax Filings Down, but IRS Blames the Calendar
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We know how accountants view tax season. But how about the average taxpayer?
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Four Common Errors in Form 1098-T

Form 1098-T Tuition Statement

The minefields in tuition statements.

By Dennis P. Benvie MS, CPA
Surgent Professional Education

Errors associated with educational credits, specifically for Form 1098-T, can be easily misinterpreted.

Eligible educational institutions often file Form 1098-T to report either the aggregate amount of payments received (Box 1) for qualified tuition and related expenses or the aggregate amount billed (Box 2) for such tuition and expenses. Should you receive this form, here are four common errors to watch for, and how to interpret them.

Benvie

1) Educational credits are based on the amount of adjusted qualified education expenses paid for the student in 2016 for academic periods beginning in 2016 or beginning in the first 3 months of 2017. An issue occurs when the costs for early 2016 tuition were billed in 2015, and the educational institution utilizes Box 2 of Form 1098-T.Example: In January 2016, Alex pays $6,000 for his final semester of classes. The university Alex attends actually billed the tuition payment in December 2015. In May 2016, Alex pays certain qualifying expenses amounting to $200. Alex receives Form 1098-T for 2016. Box 1 is blank, and box 2 includes $200.

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