Happy Oct. 15, tax preparers. We hope you make it through today without any last-minute complications or wanting to strangle difficult clients. From what we’ve read and seen on Twitter, this year’s Tax Season 2.0 has been much more of an ass-kicker than in previous years as a result of the new tax law.
Anecdotally, this has easily been the toughest filing season for the CPAs and other tax professionals I know.
“End of Tax Season Is Near, and Accountants Are (Almost) Ready” https://t.co/sYanXF8t3n
— Jeff "The Buckinghammer" Levine, CPA/PFS, CFP® (@CPAPlanner) October 8, 2019
One week out from 10/15… Raise your hand if you're still waiting on client information 🙋♂️
— Tax TeleGraf (@LoganGrafTax) October 8, 2019
no truer words have been spoken about this tax season. https://t.co/onLV8SvCS7
— Andrea Carr CPA (@andreacpa0) October 3, 2019
And the complaints aren’t just limited to Twitter. Darren Neuschwander, a managing member of Green, Neuschwander & Manning in Robertsdale, AL, told the Wall Street Journal recently that the firm was WAYYY behind on finishing returns before today’s deadline:
Tax preparers are racing to complete individual tax returns due Oct. 15, which will finish tax year 2018 for the more than 15 million people who sought extensions from the mid-April deadline. A late flood of information from investment funds and tough judgment calls about new pieces of the law have accountants bracing for messy days ahead.
“We’re extremely behind,” said Darren Neuschwander, a managing member of Green, Neuschwander & Manning LLC in Robertsdale, Ala., who is preparing some returns himself instead of just reviewing others’ work as he usually does. “All of this is just kind of snowballing on top of everything else.”
Normally, Mr. Neuschwander said, his firm finishes final returns by Oct. 4 so clients can review them.
“That is not going to happen this year,” he said last week, contemplating a queue of 200 returns that has since been whittled down to 118. “It is just not going to happen.”
Things aren’t any rosier in an article Bloomberg published last week about the Oct. 15 deadline and the shit-show that is the revamped tax code:
A change in how the IRS calculates and taxes corporate offshore income has been a challenge for tax preparers, as has a new 20% deduction for pass-through businesses that meet a long list of requirements, accountants said.
Ed Reitmeyer, the Mid-Atlantic regional partner-in-charge at accounting firm Marcum LLP, said he emailed his staff in late July and September to warn that their workload will increase by about 20% in what is already a relatively busy season to meet the Oct. 15 deadline.
“There is some significant overtime,” he said.
Accountants have a new problem this year because they don’t know how to compute key portions of the code. The IRS still hasn’t written implementing regulations for some provisions, and some mistakes that Congress wrote into the law haven’t yet been corrected.
“It’s as or more complex as it was before,” said Mathew Talcoff, a partner in Boston at accounting firm RSM. “We thought we were simplifying things.”
So, congrats on (almost) making it through another tax season. If you need to get something off your chest today, best to let it out here because January is right around the corner.
And remember, if you need a little zen, we’re here for you.