Tax Season Checklists: The 2020 Update


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2020 BONUS: The Getting-Your-Affairs-in-Order Toolkit

More than 40 tax seasons distilled into over 100 essential tools, tips & techniques
By Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, ABV, PFS
– Practice-proven, easy-to-use checklists.
– More than 260 pages of list after list.
– Thousands of important items, street-smart insights, and not-to-be-overlooked details.

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You’ll get two files: The printable PDF ebook, PLUS the customizable Word.doc.
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$199.95 $149.97

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Ed Mendlowitz, The CPA Trendlines “Practice Doctor”

About the Tax Season Checklists

These checklists have evolved over the years and are, in some respect, a collaboration of professionals seeking to improve the quality of their practice and create methods to work more effectively and efficiently.

Some of the checklists are formatted to be printed and hung on walls as posters such as the Key for a “Successful Tax Season,” “CPA Firm Business Model,” and “Advantages of Tax Season” pages.  Since the checklists are presented in Word format, they can be reformatted and customized to suit a particular practice if desired.

The Word® file is set up so you can copy and paste the checklists and adapt as you see fit. Any checklist can be accessed by searching this document using any keyword.

– Edward Mendlowitz, CPA

The Complete Checklist of Checklists

General Issues and Posters for Your Office

  1. Key for a Successful Tax Season – Can Be Posted on Your Wall
  2. Accounting Firm Busine$$ Model – Can Be Posted
  3. Advantages of Tax Season – Chart Can Be Reproduced and Distributed to Staff or Posted
  4. Three Questions to Ask Regarding Quality of Work Performed or to Be Performed
  5. Goals of Tax Season
  6. 10 Ways to Stay in Control
  7. 50 Ways to Make More Money During Tax Season Including Increasing and Improving Productivity

Tax Return Preparation and Review Checklist

  1. Preparer’s Work Process and Procedures Checklist
  2. Reviewer’s Procedural Checklist for Individual Tax Returns
  3. Reviewer’s Procedural Checklist for Business Tax Returns
  4. Reviewer’s Review Notes
  5. Tax Season Follow Up Form
  6. Reviewer’s Pre-Review of Complicated Transactions
  7. Easing Tax Season Workload Compression Checklist
  8. Top 12 Tax Return Preparation Errors
  9. Checklist of 46 Tax Filing Errors Clients Should Avoid
  10. Reviewer Qualification Test
  11. Answers
  12. Tax Research Request
  13. 20 Reasons for Obtaining Extensions

Client Relations, Services, and Billing

  1. Top 10 Client Pet Peeves
  2. What Makes a Good Client
  3. How to Make Your Tax Return Easier to Do
  4. Things to Consider When Accepting a New Client and Establishing a Fee Arrangement
  5. Preparing Bills for Tax Returns
  6. Additional Services Checklist for Clients
  7. Sample Listing of Additional Services for Tax Clients
  8. Tax Department Services
  9. Sample Tax Notice Service Letter
  10. Bill Accompanying the Tax Notice Service Described in the Letter
  11. Ways to Reduce Tax Preparation Fees
  12. Letter to Inform a Client of a Fee Increase for the Coming Year
  13. Letter to Inform a Client of a Minimum Fee That Is Higher Than They Should Pay
  14. Ways to Get Additional Tax Clients
  15. Ways to Get Additional Business Clients
  16. 21 Reasons for Lack of Tax Client Retention
  17. Why Should a Client Use You to Prepare Their Tax Return?
  18. Why a Client Should Use You to Prepare Their Tax Return
  19. Advantages of a CPA Preparing Tax Returns
  20. Checklist of Questions to Ask a Non-Filer Who Wants to File Their Delinquent Returns

Post Tax Season Retrospective

  1. Post Tax Season Retrospective Checklist
  2. Getting Rid of Tax Preparation Clutter

Staff Management

  1. Ways to Make Tax Season Better and More Fun for You and Your Staff
  2. Additional Ways to Excite Staff That Are Not During Tax Season
  3. Things to Consider While Training Staff
  4. Staff Development and Growth Checklist
  5. Ways to Evaluate Staff Tax Season Performance
  6. 30:30 Training Method Crib Sheet


  1. Controller’s Checklist
  2. Questions for Interviewing a Bookkeeper
  3. Sample Term Sheet Descriptions for Bank Loan

Succession Planning

  1. Needed for Every Succession Plan
  2. 30 Ways to Transfer Ownership to a Successor

Business Valuation

  1. 50 Reasons for a Business Appraisal
  2. Preliminary Document Request for a Business Valuation or for a Consultation Engagement

Financial Planning and Investment Management

  1. Financial Planning Engagement Document Request
  2. Reasons for Pursuing a Life Settlement Checklist
  3. Getting Married Financial Planning Issues Checklist
  4. Prenuptial Agreement Checklist
  5. Tax Issues When Changing Your State of Residence Checklist
  6. Ed’s Stock Market Investing Beliefs (A “How to Invest” Summary)
  7. 10 Investing Watch-Outs
  8. 15 Investing Axioms
  9. How to Be Your Own Financial Planner
  10. Questions a Client Should Ask Their Financial Advisor Checklist
  11. Investment Policy Statement Template
  12. Family Budget Worksheet
  13. Elder Care and Family Bill Paying and Planning Checklist or for Family Office Services


  1. Buy-Sell Agreement Issues to Consider Checklist
  2. Checklist for Starting a Business
  3. Preparing a Business Plan Checklist
  4. Swot Analysis Checklist
  5. Checklist of Services for a Client Buying or Selling a Business
  6. Task List for When a Client Wants to Sell Their Business
  7. Not-For-Profit Board Member Responsibility Checklist of Tips
  8. “Absentee” Owner Technique and Checklist
  9. Daily Flash Numbers’ Report (3 Versions)
  10. 40 Concerns of Business Owners

Managing an Accounting Practice

  1. Checklist of Reasons for a CPA Firm Merger or Acquisition
  2. Critical Issues in Running an Accounting Firm Checklist
  3. Credit Card Authorization Worksheet
  4. Sample Employment Policies Checklist
  5. Checklist of Items to Put in Permanent File
  6. Organization Minutes Checklist
  7. Running a Meeting Checklist
  8. Checklist for Change Projects
  9. Factors to Consider When Estimating the Cost of a Review Report
  10. Books to Boost Your Practice

Personal Checklists

  1. Checklist for Traveling
  2. Things to Pack for a Trip
  3. Checklist for Golf
  4. 10 Do Nots
  5. Things to Do to Start the Year on a High Note
  6. Start the New Year Without Clutter
  7. Tax and Other Financial Records You Should Keep Forever —And Those You Should Toss
  8. Sustainability – 12 Easy Things You Can Do

BONUS: The Getting-Your-Affairs-in-Order Toolkit

Worksheet 1 – Checklist of Estate Planning Things to Do

Worksheet 2 – People to Call About My Death or Permanent Disability

Worksheet 3 – Designation Sheet

Worksheet 4 – People to Include in Will or Trust

Worksheet 5 – Specific Bequests

Worksheet 6 – Obituary Questionnaire

Worksheet 7 – Checklist to Prepare for the Death of a Spouse or Partner or a Close Person You Would Be Responsible for Handling Their Affairs

Worksheet 8 – Important Papers Listing and Checklist Short Form

Worksheet 9 – Important Papers Listing and Checklist Long Form With Space for Complete Details

Worksheet 10 – Balance Sheet

Worksheet 11 – Cash Flow and Income

Worksheet 12 – Estimated Assets to Be Included in Estate and Potential Distribution to Beneficiaries

Worksheet 13 – Terms of Trusts

Worksheet 14 – Life Insurance

Worksheet 15 – Pensions and Annuities

Worksheet 16 – Financial Obligations

Worksheet 17 – Passwords

Worksheet 18. – Escheat or Unclaimed Funds Request Forms

Worksheet 19 – Warning Letter to Ira Beneficiaries

Worksheet 20 – How to Protect Your Children Against Identity Theft

Worksheet 21 – 10 Non-Tax Reasons for Estate Planning

Worksheet 22 – Forms of Ownership

Worksheet 23 – Managing Other People’s Money

Worksheet 24 – How to Give to Charity from Your IRA (And Avoid Taxes)

You are welcome to use the checklists in your office without attribution.
If you use them in a speech handout or presentation outside your firm, you are also welcome to use them, but I would appreciate an acknowledgment of the source such as:
Prepared by Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, Partner, WithumSmith+Brown, PC.

Enjoy, use, and have a great tax season!

– Edward Mendlowitz, CPA

Tax Season Checklists: The 2020 Update

$199.95 $149.97

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