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Yardley CPA

How was your Tax Season?

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Overall, I think this tax season went more smoothly than I originally anticipated.  It didn't take that long to get used to the new 1040 format and ATX worked relatively well all season.  Sure, there were some hiccups and a learning curve but it all worked out in the end. 

Thanks very much to all the members of this forum who give their time and lend their experience.  It's such a great resource and one I value very much.   Enjoy the "off" season! 

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The new forms and reduced withholding absolutely slayed me. Having to sit with every client and go through the stress of their disappearing refunds OVER AND OVER AND OVER, with caring and compassion was emotional and exhausting.

The new forms sunk my performance time in each return. And time is money. 

Overall, the business of taxes was awful, for me anyway. If this was my first year, it would be my last year. And, I'm generally an upbeat person. I am going to close my office tomorrow and not looking back until May 1st. 

The up side to all of this is that God already knew what was ahead of me, went before me, and didn't let my spirit down. My assistant does all the processing, opens all their mail, scans all the documents, and together we create some kind of "fun factor" in every day. It might just be lunch, but we work something in. I'm really very blessed to have her. That's part of the "God" thing. It's a good spirit here, just tired from it all. 

I'm truly grateful for this board. Truly. Grateful. You all have become real friends. Another "God" thing, I'm sure. 

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I agree with Possi.  By the end of tax season I was navigating the new form fairly well, but I know that it slowed me down A LOT. And it seems like every year the brokerage firms get just a little bit later sending out their information and I wind up more crunched at the end trying to get things out for people.  I hate to set a deadline for getting paperwork, because many times it is out of my clients' control.  But I don't think I am going to have any choice but to announce that if information is not received in full by the end of March, returns will be place on extension as they arrive just to keep my sanity. 

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I had a very good season, and I'm really thankful for the Comparison forms in ATX.  Really thankful.  I didn't have any trouble showing people that they got a tax cut.  I think I had maybe three that would have done better with 2017 laws, and two of them were having meals subsidized by the rest of us, so I think losing the 2106 was a good change.  People with legitimate EE expenses need to get help from the ER, not the tax code. 

I feel so badly for those of you whose clients came up short because of under withholding.  Mine didn't have that problem.  I suspect returns with AGI of five figures had fewer problems with that.  And that's where I live and work, and we're not broke. 

Anyway I really still hate the new forms.  Really, really.  Hate. Them.  So glad I had the Comparison forms.  I usually started there.  The alternative was going to be saying, "Trust me," a lot.

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Generally it went well.  Few problems with the program but no need to call in.  Under withholding was a big factor and spent some time explaining, but sending the highlighted Comparison sheet with the return was very helpful.  Some clients didn't do so great with the new tax bill but most had no problem accepting it.  The 6 schedules slowed me down in the beginning so one day when I had nothing to do I sat down and memorized which is which.   Also,  next year should be a breeze with knowing ahead whether schedule A is needed or not. 

Thank you everyone for your valued input, I've learned from you and grateful for your help.  Always and Forever.

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I thought the season went really well until yesterday.  Yesterday was nuts!  I went home Sunday evening feeling totally prepared for Monday, but Monday came, and it was brutal.

The software (ATX) was slow this year and crashed multiple times a day, but once I started shutting it down after every few returns and restarting (a suggestion from Abby, I think), that problem mostly went away.

As always, I was super grateful for this Board.  Working solo, it's nice to have a 'firm'!  I have amazing staff, but no other preparer.

I hope each of you gets a little down time this week!

I'm curious . . . I filed 365 returns (all types) and have 70 extensions.  I know there are people here who did many more returns.  If you're so inclined to share, what does your practice look like?

Jim (who did 1000, I believe, and briefly outlined his system in an earlier post) might need to do a seminar ;).

Best to all of you!

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53 minutes ago, jasdlm said:

I thought the season went really well until yesterday.  Yesterday was nuts!  I went home Sunday evening feeling totally prepared for Monday, but Monday came, and it was brutal.

The software (ATX) was slow this year and crashed multiple times a day, but once I started shutting it down after every few returns and restarting (a suggestion from Abby, I think), that problem mostly went away.

As always, I was super grateful for this Board.  Working solo, it's nice to have a 'firm'!  I have amazing staff, but no other preparer.

I hope each of you gets a little down time this week!

I'm curious . . . I filed 365 returns (all types) and have 70 extensions.  I know there are people here who did many more returns.  If you're so inclined to share, what does your practice look like?

Jim (who did 1000, I believe, and briefly outlined his system in an earlier post) might need to do a seminar ;).

Best to all of you!

If your program was crashing multiple times, you need to check anti-Virus and other "system protection" software to see if it is causing the shutdown. 

We have done 2,500 here at the firm, and have experienced crashing, only when I tried to open 3 returns at a time.  Maybe 20 times, all season.

Also, if your computer hardware is more than 2 years old, REPLACE IT WITH NEW EQUIPMENT that has all the specifications to handle the new program.  Do NOT SKIMP on the system, due to price.  

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My season went well, with the exception of the vast majority of my clients coming in later than normal. I thought that I had lost a lot and then they all came pouring in. The damn brokerage statements coming so late with one or two amended ones just infuriate me. My deadline is much earlier than most of yours, but I don't know how you manage to get them out by 4/15. My February is so filled with appointments, that I only get anything done at night.  My new attitude that life is too short and to spend time with my family during tax season didn't help my workload, but I was much happier.  ATX worked well for me . QBI really slowed me down. I never felt confident that I had a handle on it, so I was continually researching.  ACA is still terrible, but I did find that when everyone else left the Nebraska market, but Medica, that the premiums went up so much that if was considered unaffordable for almost all of my uninsured clients. Most of my uninsured had paid penalties in prior years. 

I am very worried about having to upgrade from Windows 7 for next season. I am not a fan of 10 of my laptop and I have seen various reports both ways from people with running ATX 7 or 10. 

I will be here all year, because I have extensions and all of my backlog to catch up on.

Thanks to all of you and have a great summer! 

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The big surprise for us was the number of people who were better off as married filing separately.  One slow down was checking to see if MFJ/MFS was better (Drake does a good job at that, at least).  The comparison pages showing total tax versus withheld tax was great - that really helped people understand why their situations looked different.  LOTS of late forms, LOTS of questions on withheld tax tweaks, LOTS of questions about QBI.  I can read the new forms right side up and upside down (depending on where the client is sitting), but sideways is still giving me trouble.

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20 hours ago, jasdlm said:

...As always, I was super grateful for this Board.  Working solo, it's nice to have a 'firm'!  I have amazing staff, but no other preparer.

I hope each of you gets a little down time this week!

I'm curious . . . I filed 365 returns (all types) and have 70 extensions.  I know there are people here who did many more returns.  If you're so inclined to share, what does your practice look like?

I filed 318.  Mostly 1040s with assorted schedules:  A, B, C, D, E, F, H...  A handful of entities: 1120S, 1065, 990).  I filed 77 extensions.  They won't all show up for prep, I'm sure.  I have a commercial building in the [small] city limits, no staff.  I work six days a week February - April 15.  Office is open four days a week after tax season (bookkeeping / payrolls / putting out fires / maybe 60 tax returns).  My office today looks like some crazy woman worked six days a week for 10 weeks.  I send Posse approximately 3,876 emails a day.  In the off season - 8,776 text messages.  It helps me not cry.   Also thankful for all of you - my friends and co-workers.

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3 hours ago, RitaB said:

I filed 318.  Mostly 1040s with assorted schedules:  A, B, C, D, E, F, H...  A handful of entities: 1120S, 1065, 990).  I filed 77 extensions.  They won't all show up for prep, I'm sure.  I have a commercial building in the [small] city limits, no staff.  I work six days a week February - April 15.  Office is open four days a week after tax season (bookkeeping / payrolls / putting out fires / maybe 60 tax returns).  My office today looks like some crazy woman worked six days a week for 10 weeks.  I send Posse approximately 3,876 emails a day.  In the off season - 8,776 text messages.  It helps me not cry.   Also thankful for all of you - my friends and co-workers.

Soooooo…..does that mean no party at your beautiful home this year?   I think I can take you in cornhole this time!  Or not.

Tom
Modesto, CA

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12 minutes ago, BulldogTom said:

Soooooo…..does that mean no party at your beautiful home this year?   I think I can take you in cornhole this time!  Or not.

Tom
Modesto, CA

You know ya'll are always welcome!  You play a mean corn hole.  I'm pretty sure you and Donna won, and you are too gracious to brag. 

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My season wasn't as bad as I expected other than the lost time to being really very sick.  I really dislike the new 1040 and that was a time suck to explain it to each client with the schedules having multiple items combined into one number and looking like memo items stuck off to the side in the text instead of in the column of other figures.  It's like a giant stop sign that slows the preparer down in multiple ways.

I have some extensions, and except for two, all owe me information.

I had to yell at one this morning to stop calling me multiple times a day every d@mned day, and told her that I am so frustrated by the calls that I'm on the verge of telling her to come pick up her pile of 💩 and take it elsewhere.   If not, she will get a termination letter this summer.

 

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Well I was new to ATX this year and this Group was a Godsend for me!!! I paid for the conversion from old tax software to ATX and NOTHING converted correctly so I spent a lot of time fixing depreciation, NOLs, etc. before I could even do tax returns.  I have only been doing taxes for a few years so it was painfully slow for me; especially with new tax law to learn and new clients coming to me for the first time.  I had a lot of clients that owed or saw very poor refunds, as well as  multiple client deaths and other sad situations.  I never realized the emotional side of tax season especially when your exhausted.  I'm going to have to learn how to balance my schedule better because I'm wiped out and still have clients pressing me for there Returns that I had to put on extension.  I will also have to convert to a new computer this year as I am in Windows 7......not looking forward to that either!

I have a seasonal receptionist who only answers phones and does my scheduling and I do all the rest, including quite a bit of bookkeeping and payroll.  It was my most stressful tax year yet and the last three were filled with a lot of stress already.  I'm hoping next year will be much better! 

I am so very thankful for everyone's help and advice thru this tax season!!! Waiting for an hour+ on the phone for ATX is terrible so I'm so happy I was told about this group so early in the season.  Thank you!

 

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Returns took longer to prepare and longer to proofread and a lot longer to explain. So, I have more unhappy clients on extension than in the past. My two-year comparison was a great tool for proofreading, but I still had to know the flow of the new forms to answer client questions. You know that phone call you get three days later asking where's unemployment or something? And, I tried to use the comparison in working with clients, but they wanted to see things on the actual forms. I put the comparison first in their folders.

I really did not increase my prices enough. I need to work on that as I prepare extensions and get it in place for next season.

Usually I'm back to work full-time by 1 May or earlier and not out of town until July for Appalachia Service Project and August for hubby's family reunion. But, this year, two grandbabies are due in CT in June and PA in July and baby showers in both states, so I'll be out of town earlier and getting more calls asking when returns will be ready. I'm not enjoying work as much this year!

Drop-offs were about a month earlier this year, so I was backlogged and staring at that stack of folders for a month longer than usual. I did get a stomach bug that was going around and then back spasms that had me on heavy-duty muscle relaxants for nearly a week and not fit to work. And, our shower door warped or something and refused to close, so had to deal with shopping and measuring and workmen. At least I had my hip replaced 5 November to give me plenty of time to heal up enough to sit for long hours, but I'm still driving to a neighboring town for physical therapy, helpful but a big use of time.

The SALT cap is huge in expensive Fairfield County, CT, so lots of complaints from clients WHO WERE EXPECTING IT. And, CT changed laws for passthrough entities during 2018 for 2018, so clients were NOT expecting my calls for their PEs to make ES payments last June. Not my favorite tax season. 

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1 hour ago, Tracy Lee said:

Well I was new to ATX this year and this Group was a Godsend for me!!! I paid for the conversion from old tax software to ATX and NOTHING converted correctly so I spent a lot of time fixing depreciation, NOLs, etc.

Tracy Lee, welcome to the Forum.  With the exception of information not converting correctly, what is your impression of ATX after using it for the season?

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It is going to be a much better fit for me than the old tax program.  I'm VERY pleased I switched.  I have been very disappointed in the ATX customer service but this group has made all the difference for me.

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3 hours ago, jklcpa said:

I really dislike the new 1040 and that was a time suck to explain it to each client with the schedules having multiple items combined into one number and looking like memo items stuck off to the side in the text instead of in the column of other figures.  It's like a giant stop sign that slows the preparer down in multiple ways.

Yes!  I hate when there's an amount in the middle of page 2 added with an amount from a Schedule and the result is sitting there in the crowd of numbers on page 2 mocking me like, "Good luck explaining how I got here."  So awkward.  The WOAT. 

crying.jpg

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And, sometimes the "result" is NOT present but then gets added/subtracted/exported to yet another schedule. Takes SO much time to explain to someone and prove I really did include their unemployment or whatever. A time suck when client is here and I can point & highlight; a larger time suck on the telephone; and a huge time suck trying to type it out in an email (I refuse to answer via text; I just text them to check their email). I think the "postcard" should have built-in color coding to track the flow.

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I'm still trying to trace a difference of about $180 from a schedule from a worksheet from a who knows what to page 2 that left me and the client baffled.  Fortunately it wasn't enough to make penny's difference in tax but made me look, well, less than the stellar professional the client thought I was 🙄

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UT has a worksheet named "1040 reconciliation."  It is the old 1040!  It was a godsend.  I'd skip over the "postcard" and go over their return from here, where you can tell what the numbers are and where they came from.  We have used ATX for payroll and 1099s and had planned to switch to it for tax this year.  We decided against it because the learning curves for the new tax laws and for a new program would have overwhelmed us.  Ever notice how the new schedules have lines that correspond to the old 1040?  Like lines 1-9 are "reserved" and line 10 is exactly what the 1040 had.  It makes me think (hope) that even the IRS doesn't believe the new postcard has a future and won't have to change all the form instructions if it gets revised back.  If only the same could be said for the new W4.

I agree that this was a horrible tax season.  We had so many clients who owed and were not prepared for it.  My heart goes out to Tracy Lee.  There certainly is an emotional side to tax prep, and that plus the strain on our brains figuring out this new code made for a lot of stress.  Yesterday I accomplished nothing.  I did not have the energy to look at another tax return or read another email.  I cleaned out old emails (probably deleting many unread that I didn't have the desire to read), did some filing of scanned documents, straightened up the office, and did not even feel guilty collecting a paycheck while accomplishing nothing substantive. I so appreciate this forum for the tax knowledge shared.  Every question asked received thoughtful answers, and many of the topics were so relevant to what we were all going through.  We have over 150 on extension and I picked up a bunch of estates, so it will be a busy off-season but without the long hours and pressure of deadlines.  If only I can get my @ss in gear.

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On 4/16/2019 at 1:38 PM, Jack from Ohio said:

If your program was crashing multiple times, you need to check anti-Virus and other "system protection" software to see if it is causing the shutdown. 

We have done 2,500 here at the firm, and have experienced crashing, only when I tried to open 3 returns at a time.  Maybe 20 times, all season.

Also, if your computer hardware is more than 2 years old, REPLACE IT WITH NEW EQUIPMENT that has all the specifications to handle the new program.  Do NOT SKIMP on the system, due to price.  

I experienced zero crashing.  Overall, the program was the only help that I had.  As many have said, the Comparison sheet was what told the truth and every client got one.  Many extensions to go.  We cannot rule out the Schedule A in WI, because many, many times some of the deductions flow through to the WI return.  I had WAY too many people who owed a LOT.  That's a hard situation to deal with, unless the client understands.  From beginning to end, the worst tax season that I have ever had.

 

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On 4/16/2019 at 3:43 PM, Catherine said:

The big surprise for us was the number of people who were better off as married filing separately.  One slow down was checking to see if MFJ/MFS was better (Drake does a good job at that, at least).  The comparison pages showing total tax versus withheld tax was great - that really helped people understand why their situations looked different.  LOTS of late forms, LOTS of questions on withheld tax tweaks, LOTS of questions about QBI.  I can read the new forms right side up and upside down (depending on where the client is sitting), but sideways is still giving me trouble.

I really fail on the upside down this year.  Embarrassing and Unprofessional.  🤔

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I only do about 100 tax returns - mostly 1041s and rental 1065s. It was all and all a good season.

Monday morning I had some pickups but I had moved onto my regular job - investments and financial planning.

As was mentioned - the comparison form showing income, deductions and tax for the last few years was a freakin godsend on several clients. They paid 20% less in tax overall but owed with the return. Really made my life far easier.

 

The only pain is the horrifically late arriving K-1s.

 

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