The tax season in the Upside Down

IStock_85574993_XXXLARGEIn early May tax practitioners are typically easing back into work after a well-deserved break. For many reasons, that is not the case this year.  

For those who have seen “Stranger Things” (no spoilers for season 3, please!), you may feel like you’re in the Upside Down. If you haven’t seen the TV show, think alternate parallel universe. And not in a good way.

A global pandemic has us grappling with what it means for our personal and work lives. There was unprecedented filing relief extended to all types of income tax returns due between April 1 and July 15. Legislation led to new types of credits, as well as many other relief measures. This included the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which has tax practitioners brushing up on many new rules. A lot of practitioners struggle with remotely serving clients and working from home because of all the potential distractions that come with it.

But time marches on. Clients still need help to understand how to take advantage of the available tax relief options. They’ll want your help with strategic business planning. Tax returns still must be either filed by July 15 or extended to the fall.

Additional tax legislation is possible. You may have missed some key elements during the flurry of the past month. In that case, you need to get up to speed with the changes for your clients. For example, do you know how and when it’s beneficial to take retroactive 100% bonus depreciation on qualified improvement property? (Read more on this.)

We want to help tax practitioners strategically plan as we move past an uncommon April. And we need your help with this.

Please take a few minutes to take our survey and let us know how you’re doing. What were your main pain points during the past few months? What are your expectations for the near future? What are some of the better moments that you hope will stay with you once COVID-19 is behind us? We want to hear from you.

We’ll share these survey results on the May 7 and May 12 webcast “Tax Practice Quarterly: The Evolving Tax Practice in the Midst of a Pandemic.” This webcast is free for Tax Section members and offers two CPE credits. Two seasoned practitioners will share advice on how you can evolve your tax practice. That could mean offering a new line of services, restructuring your billing policies or incorporating some work-from-home lessons into your planning.

We know this has been a challenging time. Whatever your experience, there’s no question it’s been an upside-down tax season. Regardless of the due date postponement for many returns, clients may need their returns completed quickly –– perhaps for PPP loan applications, cashflow purposes for refunds or several other reasons. As you think through what the rest of 2020 means for you as a tax practitioner, join us May 7 to hear about ways you can evolve as a firm and as a professional.

April Walker, CPA, CGMA, Lead Manager — Tax Practice & Ethics, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants