Over the many years that I have been in practice, I have learned that there are a few items a client should be more attentive to in order to create a much more efficient and effective relationship.
All clients should take the time to review their tax returns. In fact, if you examine your tax return there is a statement that reads “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return, including accompanying schedules and statement, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete.
Declaration of preparer (other than taxpayer) is based on all information which preparer has any knowledge.” Does this mean that the taxpayer should have an intimate knowledge of the technical aspects of the Internal Revenue Code. Not necessarily, but what I would suggest is that the return is examined for items that the laymen should be able to identify. Example, if you know that you made $100,000 in wages and you do not see anything in the wages line you may want to alert the tax preparer.
Most tax preparers now have sophisticated systems that allow the client to transmit their annual tax data to the preparer to facilitate the tax preparation process. There are a number of clients that start to com-pile data after the end of the year in preparation of this process. I would suggest that you create a folder, whether online or actual paper files where you can store items through-out the year in anticipation of the tax preparation process. I realize that a lot of items are not released until late in January or February following the tax year, however, there are a number of items that come up during the year that you can store and then does not need to take up brain energy until you are ready for the preparation process.
Further, 12 months is a long time. As I get older I find that my memory is not as good as it was when I was in my twenties and to remember to pull data months after a transaction occurs is a recipe for missing items or forgetting the detail of the transaction.
If in doubt, provide your tax preparer with more data than you think they may need. This is not saying that you want to be that client that walks into the tax preparers office with the ubiquitous “shoe box” but if in doubt provide the information to the taxpayer. You never know if it might present an opportunity for the preparer to take a deduction that you or he/she was not aware of.
If ANY tax notices are received during the tax year from any taxing jurisdiction it is a wise idea to transmit these notices to the tax preparer in charge of the tax preparation process. When transmitting the notices make sure to include ALL pages of the notice. Further, it is not a good idea to send photos taken with your cell phone or other device. Photos are not easily readable and transmittable to storage in the accountants systems.
I will even extend this to the previous point and state that transmitting your tax documents in photo format is not a wise idea. I would suggest that these documents are transmitted in a hard copy or actual .pdf format.