Hot-button issues. Tax guru Bob Jennings (CPA, EA, CFP, and RTRP) has been polling past attendees of his CPE seminars about Tax Season 2013. Clearly, tax professionals are still seething. “We sent our survey out and it must have pushed a button because the responses overwhelmed our servers,” says Jennings, taxspeaker.com. The results may not surprise you. But they are sobering nevertheless. He offers new data on: workloads, profits, software, volume of returns handled, retirement plans, and the use of engagement letters and portals. Here are the highlights so far:
Topic: tax season
Updated with responses from May 2013. The latest update to the topline results for the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer shows additional confirmation of four key findings, beginning with the across-the-board problems of a late-starting season and buggy software. How did your season compare? We’d love to hear. Send your comments, rants raves, ideas, or questions to me here. – Rick Telberg Key Finding #1: Most practitioners, across all size firms, report a tougher 2013 than 2012. (See chart below for comparisons by size of firm.)
A new CPA Trendlines analysis of long-term tax season activity shows how tax professionals may be working harder and enjoying it less. We’ll let two charts speak for themselves. – Rick Telberg Even as tax professionals have been increasing the number of e-filed tax returns…
By Rick Telberg CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer Tax and accounting professionals of all shapes and sizes, ranging in size from the soloist to the regional leader, are reporting a filing season markedly more problematic than the year before, according to the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer. The data for April, still coming in, shows majorities of firms in all class sizes reporting “somewhat worse” or “much worse” performance and results this year. The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer, now in it’s tenth year, is a real-time tracking poll of tax and accounting professionals’ sentiment, performance and results. As a reward for joining the survey panel, participants get early previews of top-line results and notifications. Click here to join the [...]
Hoisted from Comments. In this article, Ed Mendlowitz takes issue with Worst Tax Season Ever and suggests five strategies for continuous improvement year after year. Barry Melancon, CEO of the AICPA, and Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Society of CPAs, both said that they heard this was the worst tax season ever. I don’t know if it was or wasn’t. For us it wasn’t that bad. This raises a thought. It’s supposed to get better – if not, then why do it, or why not make a serious effort to change what you are doing so it gets better? I am reminded by a remark by Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets.” He said, “Maybe this is [...]
The nation’s tax accountants failed in the final days leading up to April 15th to close the gap commonly attributed to early-season delays and confusion, according to the latest data available. But if the shortfall holds through coming weeks of data gathering, CPA Trendlines believes it could mark a significant and serious downturn in the future of the tax prep industry. In this report: Tax professionals e-filed 63.3 million returns, down 0.4% from last year’s 69.6 million. Meanwhile, the number of do-it-yourself e-filers grew 4%, to 43.1 million, up from last year’s 41.3 million. Complete statistics on individual income tax returns, filings and filing rates, week by week, in year-to-year percentage change Number sent to IRS Number processed by IRS [...]
This is our favorite “away message” so far in this post-tax season period: TAX SEASON’S OVER! MY FACE IT HAS A BIG SMILE. AND SO IT’S OFF TO THE SHORE, 1040s NO MORE, AT LEAST FOR A WHILE. – 40-year veteran tax professional Robert D. Flach, http://wanderingtaxpro.blogspot.com/
Those who know Ed Mendlowitz, author of the CPA Trendlines Tax Season Opportunity Guide, know that he doesn’t like extensions. However, there are valid reasons for extensions. Ed grudgingly admits to 12: You did not receive K-1s or 1099s or other documents with information that you need to report. You did not receive letters confirming charitable contributions that are required to be in your possession by the due date of your tax return. There is pending litigation and reporting certain transactions might prejudice your position, or you are awaiting resolution that might cause or affect an adjustment or estimate made for last year.
Small firms and enrolled agents suffer the most damage from Washington shenanigans and balky software. [PRO member exclusive] By Rick Telberg CPA Trendlines Research Join the survey; get the results With Tax Season 2013 finally (gratefully) at an end, the latest soundings from the field show conditions continuing to deteriorate into the final hours, according to the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer. In this report: Practitioners’ top five problems during the season (chart) Practitioners rate tax season from “better” than last year to “worse” (chart) Reports and analysis from practitioners around the nation, including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. In earlier reports: Top Tax Season Trends, Issues and Opportunities Pro’s Turn Negative on Busy Season Slammed with Sloppy Software [...]
At this rate, practitioners may be on track to make the April 15 deadline, but just barely. At the same time, the number and proportion of self-prepared returns continues to rise. It has been estimated that between 2010 and 2012 some 12 million taxpayers dropped out of the paid-preparer market to go to do-it-yourself software programs. And that trend is clearly continuing. IN THIS REPORT: The box score so far this season, compared to year-ago periods.
Practitioners should consider how many of these mistakes they might be making right now, from Ed Mendlowitz, CPA and author of “The Tax Season Opportunity Guide.”
Stress management is critical to a successful season. By Sandi Smith, CPA Accountant’s Accelerator I don’t want to stress you out, but we really do need to do something about our stress levels. The American Psychological Association says our kids are getting headaches, having difficulty sleeping, and eating too little or too much due to pressure from school and household finances. The worst part is that most parents were not aware of the severity of their children’s stress. Many adults reported not knowing what to do to change their lifestyle so they could reduce their stress, so it just makes sense to talk about this a little. Here are the most common stress-reducing tasks that some people do, according to [...]
By Ed Mendlowitz Adapted from The 2013 Tax Season Opportunity Guide Urgency creates stress and pressure and leads to mistakes and improper perceptions of the quality of the work. Planning and execution reduce urgency. One way to eliminate urgency is to properly plan the work with realistic deadlines and proper resources.
How many will survive? Join the survey; get the updates. by Rick Telberg CPA Trendlines If you’re having one of the toughest tax seasons in years, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re one in an unusually large crowd. Unless trends reverse in the last four weeks of Tax Season 2013, many practitioners – mainly those practicing solo or in small firms – should be bracing for significant declines in revenues and profits from last year. TAX SEASON TRENDING: BETTER or WORSE THAN LAST YEAR? Some 64% of solo practitioners are reporting “worse” trends than last year, with half of them terming it “much” worse. About 16% are enjoying “better” trends overall. To be sure, small firms may be feeling more [...]