Well, now that the holiday season’s over, we’re already looking at filing tax returns once again. We’re going to talk today about how do we minimize the pain and mitigate the suffering that goes along with filing your taxes each year.
At Avion Wealth, our focus is mitigating your taxes and maximizing your cash flow, and part of that is helping the client with their taxes. In fact, throughout the year, we’re looking at tax strategies. One of the issues that we get at this time of year is that the CPAs want documents as early as possible, but you don’t have them. And if you send a document every time you get it, the CPAs are likely going to charge you every single time they get a communication from you, because they have to open the file and file that document.
It’s very inefficient for them. It can be costly for you. So bundle and batch. Bundle the information and share with the CPA about once a month, starting with the end of January. And communicate. Communicate what it is you’re giving them and what it is you’re missing, and when you expect to have that, keeping in mind that 1099s and K-1s are almost never ready on time. Your next trouble or challenge is that 1099 and K-1 deadlines are so early in the year that any large fund or entity or custodian is almost certainly going to be forced to issue the 1099, knowing they’re going to issue an amendment. And, of course, they don’t tell you they know they’re going to issue an amendment. It’s a problem that’s been caused by the IRS.
The last thing you want to do is get all these 1099s, your CPA runs your taxes, and then you start feeding them amended 1099s. So when you give them the bundle, let them know, “Hey, I don’t have final 1099s and I certainly don’t have final K-1s.” And the truth is, if you’ve got K-1s, you’ll almost certainly be extending all the way through to October. That is just the nature of the beast these days.
A lot of people think if you extend the taxes, you’re more likely to get audited. There’s no statistical relationship whatsoever. They’re using various artificial intelligent tools to tell if there’s something wrong. And those tools have not found a correlation between late filing and cheating on your taxes. So be ready and patient when your CPA wants to file an extension. Frankly, they need to move April 15 to May 15. It is becoming almost impossible, with the rules that are in place today for an April 15 filing to be feasible. It certainly is not for our clients. It’s impossible to stay on track. Extensions are becoming the norm. The CPAs aren’t big fans of extensions if they don’t need them because those can snowball. And, remember, most good CPAs also have business returns to be thinking about in the off month cycles.
Finally, do not send a check. Now, if you’re using a CPA, it’s probably not an issue. And even if you’re doing it yourself, pay electronically, if you must pay at all. If you send in a check, in today’s IRS, that check could take nine months to process. It will be treated as late. Now they will figure it out, but the monkey puzzle tree that you’re going to have to climb to get through the process is not worth the pain. Do not write a check. Always use EFTPS or irs.gov.
So those are our tips and traps for surviving the tax season this year with minimum amount of pain. Remember, bundle your documents and batch your communications with the CPA. We wish you a fantastic tax season this year.
Paul is the founder and CEO of Avion Wealth, LLC. He leads a team of wealth managers in building and executing financial plans for high net worth individuals and families. Contact Avion Wealth to speak with a financial advisor.