To join in on this discussion, you must first log in.

Discussion:How many returns do you have left to finish?

From TaxAlmanac, A Free Online Resource for Tax Professionals
Note: You are using this website at your own risk, subject to our Disclaimer and Website Use and Contribution Terms.

From TaxAlmanac

Jump to: navigation, search

Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> How many returns do you have left to finish?


Jokadah (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
OK, So usually on April 1st I do a count of all of the returns that have to be finished by 4/15 so I know how many have to walk out the door each day to meet the deadline. I decided to do the count today. I have over 80 returns to do and I know more are on the way!! None of them are straight W-2 returns. I know a lot came in the last couple of weeks, but out of no where, I got slammed big time. They are arriving by email, snail mail, drop off, fax, it's crazy, alot of new clients this year. So just curious if I'm the only one getting slammed. Where's everyone else at?

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I expect to do between 700 and 725 total, plus about 23 amended returns.

Completed so far=555 (plus about 17 amended for 2006 and prior years that were not my fault and about 6 amended for 2005 and prior years that were my fault).

Pending and waiting for more info=12.

Ready to finish=0. (Was caught up on Wednesday and have been doing drop-offs as they are dropped off.)

To be dropped off from March 26th through April 13th = about 133 to 158. The pendings and those drop-offs will all be done by April 14th. (I'm not going to keep my office open on April 16th and 17th.)

I might have two or three extensions total, and there will probably be about 3 to 5 late drop-offs after the deadline from those who didn't file for extensions.

LJACPA (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Please, please, please Deb, let me ask you this again. I'm sitting here at 5 am (got in late today at almost 4:30) and am so tired I can barely move my hands on the keyboard. How in the world do you do so many returns? Are they virtually all 1040s? Are they mostly W-2 and not much more? Am I just DUMB? Do you work alone? If I can get 5 1040s done today (with my husband copying and assembling) I'll be thrilled! I've got around 50 in-house ready to be worked on and don't expect to be able to complete many of those without more info from client. Got another maybe 20 corps, about 1/2 extended with no info and about 25 more individual to come in. I cannot in my wildest nightmares imagine doing nearly 1,000 returns. I'm clearly doing something wrong.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
>>How in the world do you do so many returns?

I just keep working, live alone, and do almost nothing else for three months, except in March, I don't work on Sundays. In February (and late January), I usually work from 11 am until about 1 am (some days, I'll quit earlier than 1 am), Monday through Saturday, and work for about six hours on Sundays (because I have to get groceries, go to the bank, and do the wash and some housecleaning on Sundays).

>>Are they virtually all 1040s?

Yes, except for 7 corps and ptrs. Four 1120s (one of which is very easy), one blank and final 1120-S, one 1065, and one blank and final 1065. It's been about 12 years since I accepted new monthly accounting clients or any new corporation tax returns, due to the high volume of 1040s and lack of interest in doing accounting work all year long.

>>Are they mostly W-2 and not much more?

Yes and no. They aren't all easy 1040s with just W-2s. I have many Sch C businesses, rentals, farms, and investors.

>>Am I just DUMB?

No

>>Do you work alone?

Yes and have never had any employees.

>>Do you advertise?

Not anymore. From 1976 through about 1990, I placed a small ad in the local shopping guide each year. In the 90s, I did that about every other year. I haven't advertised for about four years. I've only had about 60 new and prior tax clients so far this year. It used to be about 100-120 new and prior clients every tax season, and I would lose about 100 clients every tax season.

PVVCPA (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
LJA, Thank you for asking what I wanted to ask. Wow! Deback. I definitely do put in less hours than you. I could probably do those hours, but my wife would leave me for sure. I put in about 65-70 hours per week during this time. I think my business is a little different. I don't sprint through April 15th like it's the finish line. I come back 2 days later, and I am at 40-45 hours a week for the rest of the year. I don't mind those hours. I need a year-round business. But I can't afford to burn myself out on April 15th.

I do about 250 tax returns. I can maybe go to 300, but I don't really want to. I have staff working up many 1065s, 1120s, 1120S's, 1041s for me that I then have to review. And I do about 25% of those myself. I have business clients that still have business stuff going on that need me to spend time on them. I have March year-end corps that would like to know how much equipment and bonuses they need to do at the end of the year. I have individual clients that need Personal Financial Statements for the banks. I have an auditor at the IRS that I have to train regarding Sec 263A and vineyard production.

I have got about 130 done, 60 on my floor staring at me, and about 60 more that have not come in yet.

LJACPA (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
My work/practice sounds a lot more like yours, PVV, except I work Deb's hours (never, ever on Sunday and around 4 am to 5-6 pm, Mon-Sat) and the only staff I have is my husband, who has another job and keeps up my monthly work and copies and assembles tax returns. I work alone (though have others 'occupying' my space) and do all the business, payroll, etc returns in addition to the 1040s. Am seriously considering major changes after this tax season.

PVVCPA (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
LJA, What major changes are you talking about?

I love to complain about my profession, but I love it. It's one of the best in the US. No up & down cycles. Guaranteed work, forever. You can scale back in retirement and still make darn good income. I learn a lot about what to do (and not to do) financially from my clients. I use this knowledge for my own finances and I use it to teach and help my clients that care to listen.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
When I chose this profession in late 1975, I wanted to only do individual tax returns. I've never had the desire to rent an office, hire employees, or become a CPA.

In 1980, I started doing accounting work for clients, as they called and asked me to do their monthly accounting. So, in the 80s and half of the 90s, I did a lot more accounting work--for about 25 total businesses at various times, of which I'm still doing the monthly work for four of them and three quarterly payrolls--just waiting for them to retire. The others either went out of business or sold their businesses. I fired one guy with two C-Corps, because he came into my office one day in March in the late 90s, very ornery, as always, and he didn't believe me when I told him the max contribution to a SIMPLE plan was $6,000 per year. So, I told him I was done doing his work. Very good looking guy, but I was tired of dealing with him. His two sons still have me do their tax returns.

I also chose this profession, because I love having nine months of freedom every year. It's worth it to me to work my ass off for three months and then do whatever I want to do for the next nine months, except for twice a month, when I have to do payroll (around the 8th--less than two hours) and accounting (in the last week of the month--less than three hours).

When all the year-end forms are out by the end of January, I'll do about 16 returns on most days in February, and in March and April (excluding Sundays), I'll do 6 to 8 returns per day. That's because in March and April, I get a lot of the businesses, rentals, and farms, so those returns take longer to do. I wouldn't be able to do this many returns (and wouldn't be happy) if I had the headaches of being a CPA, having employees, and having to do a lot of 1120s, 1120-Ss, 1065s, and 1041s.

I'm happy the way it is for me, except I would really prefer if everyone would drop off their stuff in the box on my porch and pick up the completed returns from the same box (and insert a check into a slot in the side of my house). Dealing with the people and the constant questions and idle chat is the part of tax season that drains me the most.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
By the way, usually on April 15th (will be April 14th this year), I'm usually all caught up, might do one or two quick returns that are dropped off that day or the night before, and am just sitting there all day waiting for the last few people to pick up their returns. That's the day I usually post my checks and deposits for the year into my old version of Quicken for DOS. I usually will have time on that day to clean my office. I plan on being done on the 14th, but I have a feeling I'll get enough drop-offs that weekend to force me to work on Monday and/or Tuesday. I'm hoping not.

Smokeytax (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
LJACPA - Way to go never, ever working on Sunday. I bet you get as much done after taking the day off, plus you are faithful to your beliefs.

I'm working on that.

PVVCPA (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I thank God for my wife. If I didn't have her I would work 24/7. She said, "Work your <bleep> off Mon - Sat, but you are NOT working on Sunday. We are going to Church, and then we are going to go to the park with the kids, and then we are going out for an early dinner, and then we are going to B&R for dessert, and then we are all gonna play a board game or watch AFV together."

PVVCPA (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Somebody brought the Hawaiian Sweet Maui Onion potato chips to work yesterday. I love those chips! It's 5 am and I am eating potato chips for breakfast.

RSRAGENCY (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
DEB...oh, my gosh! I thought my 200 clients were a lot! You must be fantastic!! I, too, am sitting in my home...in '93, when I took over this practice, I had NO computer, so I did it all by hand, and my girlfriend did typing....carbon paper and all! But the next year I got a copy machine, and had it for the next 10 years, till it no longer could be repaired. I used the copier to make front-to-back copies, had (3) sets made, client,me,agency....this year, however the stupid $1200 copier BROKE during the nite (Saturday) and I was forced to use my scanner....and you know what.....because I do all e-filing, I print out two sets of papers on the printer, no more front-to-back copying....and I am done SO quickly I shudder to remember when.........

Right now I have 21 sitting and still more are being dropped off. When I sent out my postcards in January I put a cut-off date of March 31ST, and my people are always here by then>

The other nite I was working and suddenly my husband came in and said "Good-Morning" I was shocked...I had worked thru to 4:30 AM and didn't even realize it!! I always have the movie channel on, so I really don't know the time!!

Good luck to everyone...I know this is the time to be pulling hairs!!

DJ

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
LJA -

>>If I can get 5 1040s done today (with my husband copying and assembling) I'll be thrilled!

What does your husband copy? Don't you just print the number of copies you need? When I print a return, I'll print two copies--one for me and one for the client. The only time I use my copier is to copy certain papers that clients include with their documents--their written or computer-generated lists and 1099-Bs.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
DJ - The last time I used the copier to copy tax returns was in 1989, which was the last year I prepared them manually--and the last year I had to order a bunch of tax forms. After the 1988 tax season in 1989, when I did 960 returns, plus about 40 prior year and amended returns (I remember I just hit 1,000...all manually done), I knew I had to make a change (had to work until 2 am almost every night for three months in 1989), so I bought a computer on 9/1/89 and an HPII printer. That was also just after Congress made a lot of changes--phased out credit card interest, increased the standard deductions, did away with income averaging, etc, so my clientele began to decrease beginning in 1990, as more people started doing their own returns. And being required to efile all returns by the State of MI, beginning four years ago, has drastically reduced the amount of time I have to spend on each return (no longer have to: print the originals, staple W-2s to the originals, staple the originals, sign the originals, clip an envelope to the originals, and tell each client to sign and mail the originals).

By the way, I didn't mention that I'm able to quit each day in March and April at around 7 pm.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
How many? Too many! Like last night when I finish this guy with over 117K in alimony payments to two ex-wives and in his letter a confession that the potential #3 did not work out well ['it must be me' he says], plus director's fees from Canada and a large salary from a pharma company. The Canadian form is in Cdn $ so I must convert, compute the foreign tax credit and then am ready to print when I note the mortgage balance on his house is an even million, plus there is interest on a second mortgage, not an equity loan, so I must email and find the balance since he used it to acquire the house....so it goes into the pile of 'pendings'.

Like the one with a 1099B from Pioneer fund for 48K with no gain or loss computation. Client calls them and they blow him off, telling him his accountant should know. Make a mental note to tell clients never to invest with these bastards and then email him to find out when he Mom began the fund for him, and his is over 40 years old.

Like the six people left who were part of the buyout by McClatchy of Knight Ridder and have only partial information on their KRI stock. Times like these XCItax.com can be some help; you pay but they can do this kind of crunching.

I sit down at the puter about 7:30am, take a shower about 9, and then except to hit the post office and maybe eat, leave it again about 10-11pm. Pam does the copying and assembling and billing....we cannot use Proseries for this because we have receivables.....right now over 30K and a number pay us with installments, and quite frankly, I am not going to depend on Intuit for everything. Our Simply Accounting ties into our bank deposits.

I print one copy on the efiled ones, but cartridges are not cheap. The copier is far cheaper for this and were it not for space considerations I would hook it to the computer. I went thru over 6000 copies on the printer between mid-February and now since I changed cartridges yesterday.

Anyway, now is the time it is getting exciting, when my phone calls go right through. Must be like being POTUS....then on the day after I am back to being Sam Sausage (old golf joke)

RSRAGENCY (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Deb, you have a fan!!! I am amazed!! I know, for 2004 filing, NJ required all those preparing 200+ had to e-file, so that made my life so much easier! Exactly, no stapling, signing,etc. Life is good!

DJ

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
D&T - Cartridges are not expensive if you buy them on eBay for about 1/3 to 1/2 of the retail price. My Canon copier uses the E40 cartridge, and I only have to buy one of those each year (for about $40 or $50 at eBay). Recently, I paid an eBay seller $100 total for two new cartridges for my new HP 4250 printer. I bought the same cartridge at Staples for $158 that same night, but that was only to figure out a printer problem I had the night I received the printer (which turned out to be a loose spring wire that I finally found out where it belonged, so I wasted $158 that night). For the last several years, I've been paying about $150 total for the three or four HP cartridges that I go through during a tax season (each cartridge prints 8,000 copies).

Another reason I'm able to do this many returns is because I don't have to deal with foreign taxpayers, and I have very few AMTs. I have very few clients who earn over $120K in total wages by both spouses.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
D&T - My billing consists of manually filling out those carbonless receipts, three on a sheet. Since I work alone, I have to do certain things to save time.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
And your clients pick them up! We live in a town where there is no mail delivery, so we have to stop for some time every day and hit the post office. It's like living in a 3rd world country. And they don't get the mail into the boxes until 10:30 if they are working fast. The comparison with the little town in New York State where I had rural delivery is stunning...there they would call me after the mail went out to notify me I had other packages, and they would send a driver out with them. Here is they don't stick a card in the box, you have to wait until the next day.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Many of my clients pick them up, but I have a lot that I receive in the mail and mail back to them. Many of those go to Florida or some other state for the winter.

I used to have to go to the Post Office every morning before I opened at 9:30 am (before I changed it to 10 am and then 11 am), but back in about 1992 (about the same year they built a McDonald's by the new expressway going past my town), the new Postmaster started mail delivery to some of us in town, in addition to the normal rural delivery. I was so happy when that happened! That may be why I did the Postmaster and my mail carrier's taxes for free for several years and have only charged them each $50 a year for the last three years or so. (Yes, I sign returns that I do for free, right or wrong, but I don't do many freebies anymore...just my son's, my brother's, and my best friend from the past. I even went up on my three ex-in-law-nephews this year, from $20 each to $40, $50, and $60.)

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Right at 40% to, which is definitely behind pace right now. I'd have to do 30+ this week to be on pace for 3-31, and I just don't seem them showing up yet. Time to make some calls.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
That was my problem last week, starting on Tuesday, when I finally got caught up. And the same thing happened last year (for the first time) at the end of March. But it picked up again at the beginning of April last year. I'm usually the busiest in April on the 2nd Monday and Tuesday.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
That's one thing I've never done -- make calls when clients haven't shown up and sending out letters or postcards during tax season. I figure my December letter is good enough, and I don't have time to make calls or send out postcards, anyway. If they show up, fine. If they don't, fine.

Jb (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
I am impressed with all of you! I am new to the alamanac and love it. There is so much knowledge that is shared and can at least get you going in the right direction. I worked for a firm for years, went out on my own, and have grown from 1 client to about 60 clients (now i know this is nothing from the other postings). Almost all of them are monthly or quarterly accounting clients providing set ups, Quickbooks consulting, general accounting, payroll etc. Lots of corp taxes. I really like this profession, but it's draining! I am also in the home and am back and forth on whether to get an office and hire someone to move to the next level. I am still attending classes to finally get that piece of paper and then want to sit for the EA. Possibly CPA, but that's another story (live in MD, want to sit in DE) Anyway, congradulations on your success! Will definitely need some general advice on efficiency later on.

Kathyt (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
I've done 396 Ind, with 351 left (some are almost finished, waiting on info); I've done 11 partnerships and have 5 left; I've done 12 corps with 14 left; I'll probably have about 150 extensions altogether. As soon as I quit taking appointments (next week) I should be able to knock these out pretty quick. It's hard to get much work done when I have appointments all day, next week will be much more productive.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
JB, think about what you want when you grow up...I got trained in a very efficient outfit built for profits. The owner could literally take 3-4 months off each year, but we needed a full time salesman to replace drops. When you add that first person, suddenly you need an office, and now, significantly more work to now pay for the office and staffer, just to keep your money where it was! And your time just got shorter. Bad deal. That's why I work alone and in my home. 90% profit margins...I can take the first week of every month off between May and Dec....

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
For several years, I've quit doing appointments after the last Saturday in February. After that day, it is on a drop-off or mail-in basis only. Most clients will drop off and not say much. Some like to sit down and ask a few questions or tell me what each document is, but for the most part, it's much easier to get things done in March and April, except for those few clients who think they can chat about non-important things because I'm not "with" anyone at the time they stop in. In February, clients usually don't stay long when they drop off, because I'm usually "with" someone during that month.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Jb - your practice sounds similar to mine. Don't let the number of tax returns you see here scare you. As long as you're doing monthly bookkeeping, I don't think you'll ever get to the number of returns that others show here. HOWEVER, your cash flow and work load is much smoother. It's just that January and April are killer months. I started out going to my clients instead of them coming to me; this was a way to increase business and separate myself from the competition. The home vs office question is one that only you can answer. Look at your home situation and your customer base. My customers wouldn't care but I needed to move out of my home to get some work done. Too many distractions at home since my husband only works every third day.

Kathyt (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
That's my goal, one day I want to be able to take off the first week between May & Dec. I do have an office but I have 2 employees, I have enough bookkeeping to keep them busy year round. It just seems like I'm never caught up enough to take time off like that, but I'm working on it. One day...

JAD (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
I'm so impressed with those of you who do not work Sunday no matter what. I don't work Christmas or Easter no matter what, and with year-end planning and of course 4/15, just setting those boundaries is a push. We changed churches last year, and so this year I emailed the Rev and explained that we weren't gone, we'd be there Easter and after 4/15.

I called one client, devout Catholic, a few years ago on Good Friday, couldn't reach him, couldn't reach the brokerage firm, called his wife at home, he answered, and I was surprised he was there...after he reminded me the day, I explained my faith so that he would know, and he said it was ok, occupational hazard, and let's go ahead and talk about taxes, we may as well suffer also.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
From April 16th through January 14th, my office is never open. I'll answer phone calls and will return clients' calls during that time, but except for a little work now and then and printing envelopes, letters, checklists, worksheets, and cover sheets sometime between September and November, I take off every week from April 16th through January 14th. When clients need their taxes or other work done after April 15th, I tell them to drop off their stuff in my drop box on the porch, and they pick up the completed returns from the same drop box, leaving a check in the box.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
I want to take away my client's atm cards...for those who use them instead of writing checks. I get the bank statements, the check register and a 12 page list of atm withdrawals, several every day...now I am the lucky one who does the annual f/s in order to prepare the tax return....these are the same ones who ask why they don't have any money if their business is profitable...DUHHHHHHHHHH

So to answer the question, I have 4 extended S-corps that I am working on, and one partnership, one C corp (international btw...goody!!!) and about 20 1040's left to do...mostly the stinking s/h's of the corporations....

I don't have a large practice, in fact it is quite small but I do accounting all year long and payroll and am the receiver of one S corp...so even though my numbers are smaller, I am working my dang butt off trying to get caught up.

Waiting now on UPS to deliver me a new high yield toner cartridge to print out a dozen or so returns and financials...ain't life grand? hehe

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
My husband and I went out to breakfast Sunday morning and were talking about plans for the future. He's retiring in 14 months and 4 days (not that we're counting!). He's only going to be 46 and will be doing something to bring in some money (fire pension has no cost of living increases). We've talked about lots of things: traveling the country and selling things at food fairs, working at Home Depot, going to work for another fire department to get another pension, and sports writing. He's been doing sports writing (baseball, football, golf) for a couple of years and it is going pretty well. He thinks he might be able to make a go of it. He asked if I was locked in where we are or if we could move about 30 miles south to be closer to the Bucs and the Devil Rays. I told him that I am not planning ANYTHING after 5/31/08 and that the only commitments I have are my office lease which runs out 7/31/08 and my car lease which runs out 1/31/09. Sure would be nice to only work four months a year and go to baseball games (of course I would miss spring training though)!

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Well, I feel like a lightweight. I have almost 135 returns total between individuals and corporations. And this is my full-time job. I also have bookkeeping clients the rest of the year and other client problems that keep me going.

However, I think I should cut myself a break. I do work from home, have a 6-year old daughter who is the light of my life. I love my wife dearly, but her job and my job are beginning to collide. I think part of my problem is this is my first year with my daughter being in school and not daycare. It's been a difficult transition. I have also suffered from depression due to a bad business decision two years ago, which I am still paying for and will be for some time. Not too mention two hip operations while doing this full-time. On top of that, I had an addiction problem, all my own doing, which I finally came to terms with and I began recovery. Only a couple of my clients know since they are old friends and helped me. It's been a challenge.

I haven't forgiven myself for my bad business decision. I think it's time I do. But I have felt, as a CPA, I should have known better. But somehow, I didn't trust my instincts well enough.

But I want to say, in all humility, this board has inspired me to perform better. It sounds crazy, I know. But, you all are helping me. I thank you.

Sorry, I didn't mean to get all goofy.

I do have a question. With so many returns some of you are doing, how do you process them all? My problem is not doing the return or research, it's the darn final assembly that kills me and where I get bogged down.

Tom

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Tom, (((((((hug)))))))

Don't give in. Stop listening to the enemy who wants to further destroy you. I'll stand with you any day.

You're doing just fine! I do about 250 returns all together, and like BL said, if you work alone with a year round biz, that's about it if you retain your sanity. Love your wife and daughter...at the end of it all, you will NOT be saying, if only I could have done another 100 returns....

RSRAGENCY (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
TOM,

FIRST....sign up for e-filing! THEN, hook up two printers, one for the scanner, one for the computer.. THEN...when you've finished the return, enter "2" for number of copies....(put the W2's into he scanner and press printer. Then as the copies come out of the printer, start checking the pages, as you assemble them for the client...the W2's should be ready to come out of the scanner, staple to the client's copies...stick in folder. Take the next set out and staple for your file......attach your copy from the other printer behind your copies....DONE>>>>>


Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
An electric stapler is a must!

I don't care want the instructions say about not stapling.

In my first year (years ago) I attached the docs with paper clips. I spent alot of phone time that year dealing with clients that felt compelled to go home, wait a few days, and then disassemble their returns all at once and needed help putting things back.

 I did that my first year.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
>>it's the darn final assembly that kills me and where I get bogged down.

I'm not sure why the final assembly bogs you down, because that's the easiest part of the process for me. I print two copies, staple one copy into a client folder, under the W-2s and cover sheet. Then I staple the other copy under my worksheet and my copies of the W-2s. Then I efile the original returns.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I save lots of time by not having a scanner and by not scanning W-2s or anything else. I just separate the W-2s, keep one copy, and staple the rest into the client's folder.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
FYI, I do e-file. Maybe my methodolgy is wrong. I print the return, I use a comb binder system as opposed to a folder (which I can't seem to break away from), I print out two copies, client labels, if they owe money, I do their envelopes, etc. I do instructions on different color paper so they stand out. Am I making things too complicated? When I am done, I just want to move on to the next return.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
You are doing more work than I do. I use the preprinted client folders from Greatland that fold easily, and I write the clients' names and the year on the blank lines. I have envelopes, when needed for city returns and other states, to the right of my desk that I printed back in the fall. The general instructions are all on my cover sheets that I printed on regular white copy paper back in the fall, and I write in the refunds and/or amounts owed on the blank lines on my cover sheets. If they owe money, I cut the 1040-V form using my paper cutter, slip it under an instruction sheet of the same size (that I printed in early January), and paper clip both to the envelope.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
You're being too nice! I email their copy! Efile the gov's copy! and print mine on a 4up method, which cuts most returns down to 3-4 pages. 4up is an option in your printer properties, if you can read 'em. Or do 2 up, still cuts paper in half. With their receiving the email attachment, I give instructions that I need the 8879 and state form back, signed. And that's it. No binders, no envelopes, etc. For the elderly folks, I'll print their copy and mail it back...if I don't have one of their kids as a client to do it for me!

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I also put red Xs on Form 8879 and clip the form to an envelope addressed to me, with a small instruction sheet (about the size of a 1040-V) on top. When clients' pick up their returns, I tell each of them that they need to sign at the red Xs and mail or fax it back to me, and then I'll efile their returns.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I save lots of time by not printing on a 4up method and emailing clients' copies to them. First, a lot of my clients probably don't have an email account, or if they do, I'm saving lots of time by not having to send out lots of messages with attachments, not having to get their email addresses, etc.

For me, compiling a return takes about two minutes, and that includes the time to print, now that I have a printer that prints 45 pages per minute. When they pick up their returns, I have their copy right in front of me, if and when they have any questions--and they pay me when they pick up (or if sent by regular mail, they send a check back with Form 8879). If I had to save the returns as PDF and take the extra time to email them to clients, I'm sure it would take more than two minutes each. Time is money to me, and I try to do everything that saves time.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Just had a 92-year old man call me (his wife died a few years ago). In past years, he's always (or almost always) brought all of his documents. He just told me that he hasn't received any of the documents yet. I told him he should have received everything in January or early February, and he said he hasn't. Nothing from the banks, Edward Jones, SS statement, etc, but he does have all of his medical bills written down (he doesn't have enough to itemize, by the way). I asked him if he had anyone who could help him look for them, and he said no, his relatives live far away. I didn't know what else to say except to bring me all of the mail he's received since January, and I'll go through it to find the things I need to do his tax return.

AHH (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Ditto on the hug for Tom. Ditto on "this board has inspired me to perform better."

I keep my client list at 250. I admit that way back when Deb posted her 700+ clients, I felt....um...inadequate, lazy. Then I sat back and remembered why I decided to go out on my own and limit my client numbers. My priorities changed when I realized life was zipping by and my children were almost old enough to leave home. One daughter is already gone and I have 3 more yrs with the other. Even though "tax season" is only 4 months, it can seem like FOREVER to a child. I couldn't stand one more "When will tax season be over?" Therefore, I ventured on my own(luckily w/ a client base built from previous firms)and put a single wide mobile home behind my house as an office. I live on a 200 acre farm so I have the space. I wanted to keep home seperate from work. Didn't want clients trapsing through my house at all hours and made it very very clear to them where my office was and what hours I would be available. I think the key to this type of self-employment is to decide what service you are willing to provide, to whom, when, set your limits, make them very clear to your clients, and STICK TO THEM. 55 more returns and THREE WEEKS to the light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck to all.

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Taocpa

It's all in the preprep. I do most of this after New Year's.

I use avery address labels print several sheets of the fed, state, and local addresses. I affix these labels to 6 x 9 peel & seal envelopes. These are kept in a bin next to work area. I have a work doc formated for 2" x 4" labels with the client name and my business name on them. I print my business cards for the tax portfolios and stuff all 200 of them.

As I recieve returns, I just affix the client label to a portfolio and keep in stack.

Almost forgot. I'm really into the stackable inboxes. I have one tower that has 16 inboxes. Good thing I'm 6'2". They are sorted by "Not Started", "In Progress", "In Review", and so on. Returns start on top and work towards to bottom. The next tower has 6 inboxes stacked with finished returns designated "Complete - Need to Notify" to "Complete - Appt Scheduled".

It's all about preprep, orginazation, and time management. When assembling time rolls around I do them in batches. I don't print and assemble as they are completed. As I copmplete the review, it's printed and placed in "Ready to Assemble". As that gets full, I assemble a few returns in a sitting.

As for time management, I try to do assembly Weds-Fri after "working and reviewing". I devote Sat-Sun to consulations and pickups.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
I have a "Tax Time Tips and Reminders" list for myself. It includes such things as making mailing labels, buying office supplies, making sure enough snacks and drinks are on hand, etc. I review the list every week from 11/1 to 12/15 then daily from 12/16 to 1/5. Helps me get in the right frame of mind for tax season and nothing in my "preplan" falls through the cracks.

Jokadah (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
This might be a stupid question but we're all braindead at this point, or at least I am. I have a question for you guys that are printing two copies of the tax return, one for you, one for client. Don't they have to be signed? Or do you sign both copies? I print out one copy, sign it and then run it through the copier.

Here's another must have, you've got to have auto document feed on your copier. I have one of those big four drawer jobs but I also have a smaller one at home that has the auto doc feed.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Faster for me to just print two copies. Otherwise I would have to stand up. Press the button to change the machine from fax to copy and then hope that the feeder doesn't grab two pieces of paper.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Have ProSeries sign them for you. There's a checkbox to enter your name in the sign. box.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Jokadah - No, I don't sign the client's or my copy. They are just our copies, so there's no need to sign them. But, as JR pointed out, I do have the check box checked to have my name automatically printed at the bottom of page 2 of Form 1040. I have a Canon PC745 copier that doesn't have auto doc feed (bought several years ago, one night during tax season at Office Max, after my old copier died). I'll probably get that feature the next time I have to buy a copier. Will probably just buy the combination copier/fax, but I hope it's not this year. I'm hoping to upgrade my hot water heater, dishwasher, living room furniture, and dining room table this year, in addition to the things I've already bought -- the new printer and new bedroom computer (that has since been moved to my office for a 2nd computer to print envelopes on the old HP4 printer).

BL - I have an HP 920 fax machine that will make copies, but I've never used it for that. Sometimes, in the summer, when I fax something, it will grab two sheets or more. I thought this had something to do with moisture in the air, but it hasn't done that for several months now, so I'm not sure what is causing it.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
I've got a very nice copier/fax that you can put software in to make it a printer and scanner. Got it in a barter with a client a few years ago. It's a MUCH nicer/fancier machine than I would have ever bought but we both got a good deal. The rollers in the feeder need replacing and I've been to lazy/busy to make the call.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Well, 10 clients have dropped off between 11 am and 4:45 pm today, with 17 more work days to go, so I hope I'll exceed my estimates of 133 to 158 more to be dropped off from this morning. I don't mind working for three more weeks, if I don't have to sit around and do nothing. I need the money!

Tilt53 (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
As of now, we've had 687 appts. and still have 86 to go. That doesn't count the mail in returns, about 10 mail-in's still to arrive. I have 1 person who does data entry and 1 who packages the returns. I still have to review every piece of paper that goes through the office. I've been working 7 days a week since Jan. 2 and can hardly wait until the season is over. And then to top it off, they're predicting snow again tonight. I want summer!

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I'm sitting here next to the window, with the window wide open, and it feels like it's 80 degrees out there. Well, I just checked, and it's 75 degrees with 47% humidity. Too hot for this long-sleeve shirt.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Got the A/C on here Deb....who knows how warm but the humidity is so thick you could cut it with a knife....Gotta LOVE FLORIDA!!!

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I just knew someone from Florida would post soon. haha! I remember the last time I went to Florida in the middle of summer. It was so hot, I didn't want to leave the motel room. But I did, anyway. Couldn't miss the dog races!

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
I just checked Orlando, and it's 82 degrees with 46% humidity. I can't believe Michigan is this hot at this time of year, and especially compared to FL!

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
WOW; now I am east of Orlando on the ocean, but still it has to be near that....let me check Vero...ok...it is only 79 but 54% humidity...it is still too hot...hehe

Michigan because of the Lake would have high humidity I would think, no? But the warm temps....wow

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Wore shorts for my client meetings yesterday. Met a couple of them outside on the porch. Breeze was great but the oak pollen started last week. Oh what a mess. My blue car looks green with the dusting of yellow pollen.

Jb (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
JR1 and Bottom Line- Thanks for the input. Almost every company owner I deal with has one common compliant.....employees are a big headache! I think that's the main reason I held off on moving forward with office and hiring someone. Besides the fact I too have an 85% profit margin.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Sandy - I'm about 115 miles from Lake Michigan and about the same from Lake Huron, so I don't know if the lakes affect the temperature in the middle of the state or not, but could be.

AHH (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Should this thread be changed to "The Weather Report" File:Smiley.jpg

NC coast-clear blue sky,sunny,80. Sat. nite I must have dreamed I died and came back as a 20yr old, cause it was so nice yesterday that I worked my back out in the yard. This is the only reason I'm posting here today....can't lift even a return folder w/o moaning and groaning...sitting in one, careful, position and moving typing fingers only is a struggle. Can't wait to see what I "think" I can do on 4/18 !!!!!

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Jersey shore, lucky if it is 50, cloudy and not pleasant. Spring is our worse season because of the nearby Atlantic.

I forgot to tell you, Deb, the reason we use the copier is that the deal we got has a year of free toner and the price is almost the same as the last one I bought in 1998 but this is digital.

Just finished my first owes 6-figure; I think I have one or two more. This one is 135K. He expected it.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
No, it should be changed to: Oh, My Aching Back! I feel for you! I know what it's like, and you reminded me of 4/1/93 at 11 am exactly, when my L2 or L3 disc finally ruptured (after being in pain off and on for about four years), while I was walking back to my chair after retrieving a client's folder. When that happened, I could hardly move. My roommate at the time kept supplying me with ice packs, and I had to sit in my chair and just prepare returns for two or three days, then I would spend a few hours compiling them, and start over with sitting and preparing. I had to wait until July 12th of that year to have laproscopic surgery to clean out the spurs, and 14 months later, the pain finally went almost completely away. Since then, I just take Naprosyn once in a while to control the pain. But it's been getting worse lately, and I think the spurs are starting to pinch the nerves in a little different spot, so I'll probably have to have another surgery in the future. Try some Naprosyn. It works great for me, but I can only take one once in awhile, due to being on three blood thinners for yet another problem that I won't bore you all with.

AHH (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
Oh my lord Deb now I'm really in pain. Please please don't make me think surgery. And I defintely ain't picking up another file this day! Ice? I've been using the good ole heating pad and therma care back patches and ibuprofen. Maybe my self-medicating tactics are at fault here, not my think-I'm-twenty antics!!

I solemly swear you will not see me here tomorow. I will work. I promise. God help me.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 26, 2007
Well, you reminded me of something else. That night, back in 1993, I slept with the heating pad on my back all night. When I woke up the next morning, the pain was worse. Use ice, not heat, or alternate ice and heat. Ibuprofen might work a little for a while, but Naprosyn is much better, as long as you don't take more than one a day and don't take it every day for several weeks. (It can cause bleeding if you take it every day for five weeks...that's how long it took for my problem with Naprosyn a couple of years ago.) When the pain starts to go away, take a Naprosyn every other day, until it goes away for good. Then quit taking it.

Don't think surgery! My problem began when I fell into a creek sliding down a hill when I was about 12 years old. So it was an existing problem that started getting worse in about 1989. It also got worse in about 1971, when I was a passenger in a car that was hit in the rear by a semi truck without the trailer. Spent 8 days in the hospital in traction, but that finally got better.

Anyway, take it easy. Don't get up and down much, and try to rest as much as you can...in bed. I hope the pain will go away quickly.

AHH (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2007
This proves my point to a tee........accountants ARE therapists and medical doctors! Ice and Naprosyn it will be. Thanks Dr. Deb.

BTW-first back injury-I was 18 and lifted a 50lb bag of hog feed wrong. I only weighed 105. Stupid is as stupid does.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
Wasn't it great to be young and strong. When I was 16 I would throw a 100 lb sack of horse feed over my shoulder and walk across the pasture. Didn't think anything about it; it was a job that had to be done. I only weighed 105 at the time.

FLAcct (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
Back to the subject...I don't keep track of the number of tax returns I do during tax season, rather my total billings for tax season. After all, that is what is most important to me. How about it?

Chase (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
I don't even know how many are left --- I mean I can count them because it's not that many but am having a horrific time with a diverticulitis flare - up. Oh, the wonders of getting older and I am in so much pain -- not to mention the irritation from the taxpayer who brought in their tax docs with more charitable contributions than their AGI (records with a FMV of $10 -- including 78's). Now my husband & I have a collection of over 600 albums, classics as they are, with most every record that Dylan ever made, the Grateful Dead, Janis, etc. but I would be hard pressed to give a FMV of $10 on the donation receipt of records. (In fact, we met Phil Lesh last weekend!! totally exciting!) Have a good night all as I need to lie down.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
Agreed. I've done 109 returns with around 40 still to go. My A/R is now $11,000. Since only about 1/3 of my practice is tax only, my A/R is normally high at this time of year. By June it will be down to its normal $1-2,000.

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
Is it just me, or is everyone seeing more and more 'problem' returns. It used to be we could crank through the majority of them, and only had a few problem ones. This year it's just the opposite. The few that are doable on the spot are few and far between. I feel dumber and dumber every day bc every day something new pops up that I've never had to deal with before.

I'm amazed that people prefer drop-offs. We do a lot of dropoffs, but few include everyting they need to, and lots of them result in questions that we need to call them for anyway. We have a big pile of "waiting for info" returns, where people forgot items, a big pile of "problem" returns, where there is some sort of glitch that needs to be worked on, and a pile of returns we haven't gotten to yet. What I really love is the corporates that don't get me their stuff until March, so I have to file an extension, then I have to pester them again for the stuff they forgot in the first dump, and then 2 days after they get it to me, they start nagging wondering if it's done yet. (Well maybe if you'd get it all to me on time in the first place, it would have been done by now!)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
The simple answer to this question is: TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY Image:smile.jpg

CScpa (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
Hey everybody! I just passed my two year anniversary of being out on my own. "Cheers for me!" It's been a slow but steady growth. I finished all my 1120s, have only one 1065 that is running behind getting me info with nine 1040s left out of 30. I do more corporate and partnership returns in terms of $$. I also have a nonprofit audit in October. I guess my year is spread out as well with the audit, payroll and bookkeeping. Any business I can bring in at this point, ya know? Oh, here in Alabama, it was close to 90 degrees! Ick! Where did spring go?

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
The other simple answer is: EXTENSIONS!!!!

Gee but it's great

To do a 4868

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 27, 2007
Wwtaxes - I don't think I'm seeing more problem returns, but I know the new energy credits this year have caused me to spend more time asking every homeowner if they had any energy saving improvements. Very few people knew about these credits, but after asking almost all homeowners, I've filled out a lot of Forms 5695.

I prefer drop-offs, especially in March and April, because I'm too burned out by that time to have the patience to spend much time with any of my clients. I can do that for the first six weeks, but the last six weeks is rough enough without clients asking more questions. Besides, many of the returns I get in March and April take longer, so I need to be able to work alone and have the time to get them all done. And I refuse to work much past 7 pm every night in March and April anymore, and I would have to do that if I made appointments after the end of February. I don't mind making quick calls to those who brought me "half a return."

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 27, 2007
D&T - Do you really enjoy doing tax returns in the summer and fall? I'd much rather get them all done by April 15th, so I can do other things for the next nine months.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 27, 2007
Chase - I'm sorry to hear you're in pain with diverticulitis and hope you'll feel better soon. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I went through that in December 2004, went to Emergency after three days of extreme pain (which started three hours after eating at a KFC on a Sunday night at 8 pm...didn't think the chicken tasted that good, either), had all the tests they do for abdominal pain, was fed three kinds of antibioitics during that time, the doctor said I had a minor case of diverticulitis and/or diverticulosis, then they discovered I had a heart rate of 35, so I came home eight days later on Dec. 23rd with a pacemaker.

Two weeks later, I had to go back to Emergency for chest pain and pain down both arms (which started when I was on my way down to my office on January 7th to start the year-end work...actually, while I was finishing up shampooing the living room carpet while stressing about having to get started with the year-end work and tax season). That time I came home four days later with a stent and five prescriptions for drugs I have to take the rest of my life. Since then, I've been eating Frosted Mini Wheats (Maple and Brown Sugar) almost every day and haven't had any abdominal problems since.

Get well soon!

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
I'm beginning to think more and more of the 'normal' returns are doing their own filing. We're behind on the number of returns for the year, but I wonder if all of the rest of them will come in or not. We get referrals, but they tend to be oddballs (the returns, not the TPs, although sometimes both!) Income to decedent's after the year of death (and no estate existing, bc there is still a surviving spouse), Trusts, Corps that don't know they're a corp, corps that don't care that they're a corp, TP that got married, but they don't live together, so they both want to file HH, couples getting divorced (can you have half the refund put in her account, and half in mine??), kids having kids living with grandparents, people claiming kids as dependents and neglecting to tell us the child got married in 06.....Honestly, I just want a return I don't have to think so hard about - it doesn't have to be a no-brainer, just a less-brainer!

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 27, 2007
>>I'm beginning to think more and more of the 'normal' returns are doing their own filing.

I'll agree with this 100%. I'm sure that's why my total clientele keeps going down a little every year. I think if I advertised a lot, I would probably be getting a lot more oddball returns to do.

Jokadah (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
"Is it just me, or is everyone seeing more and more 'problem' returns. It used to be we could crank through the majority of them, and only had a few problem ones. This year it's just the opposite." WW I agree, more off the wall challenging returns this year. Luckily, my new client list has grown bigger this year more so than any other year. I did not change advertising but what I use is working better this year. More walk in new clients this year as well. I have the normal new referrals but business is up. Also have more new clients that have not filed in years. Quite a few non-filers for '04 and '05.

One came in this morning who has not filed since 2002, s/e wants me to do his accounting and taxes. Told him honestly the most I could do at this point was file an extension for '06. Wanted to know my fee and I told him anywhere from $200-$500 for each month of accounting and this does not include tax prep. (He uses his ATM card alot so not sure what fees will be.) He has nothing done, his stuff is all comingled. I have to sort through boxes of receipts, enter and reconcile all bank and credit card statements from 2002-2006. (yes, I'll be getting a big fat retainer before I start anything) This is my second one this year that has not filed since 2002, the other one had 1099MISC income. Anyhoo, a lot of work but . . . I'm going to Europe in September and an extra 12K to 30K plus tax prep sounds good to me. So much for taking off a lot of time after the 16th.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
In this business it helps to vent. The founding and growth of T/A is the best invention since double entry back in Florence in the late Middle Ages.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
Since 75-80% are done by mail here, I just love the people who email me messages like: "Gonna be sending my stuff tomorrow, but here's a heads up spreadsheet summarizing some of it." Now these people will be perhaps # 38 in line, but they think the email will make me drop everything and start their work Emails with attachments have become like faxes were twenty-five years ago. Remember those days? Someone would send one of those new-fangled faxes and call immediately to see if you had it. Then they'd call again 30 minutes later to ask the answer. Come to think of it, they still do.

Sometime check out the film, Bullitt, and see the original 'fax machines' circa 1968.

Klesher (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
DT - love your humor- love this board. another sleepless night. Not sure how many returns I have but too many and all "thinkers" plus I have a LM-2 due March 30 for a new union! A nightmare! I also get "panicky" the last week of March but this year it just seems worse.

How many days left?

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
I also have more pending returns this year than previously. Energy and sales tax. (I'll have to find my car note.) I attach an "info needed" list to the top of their papers. I make a note of the time and date that I called them. If they get ALL the info to me within 24 hours, they stay on the top of the stack and I complete their return. If it's more than 24 hours, they go back to the bottom of the pile. When they call with "Is it done yet?", I've got my notes on the top of their pile showing what I need and when I requested it.

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
D&T - I so agree that it helps to vent right about now, and it certainly helps to know there are others out there feeling the same way.

I'm about ready to choke the "Are they done yet" askers. I begged for their business records in January and February, got them in March, asked for missing stuff in on March 10, reminded on March 22, got it on March 24, and on March 26 got an "Are they done yet" email, bc they'd really like to wrap this up. And they're one of many doing the same thing! Do they think we just sit here and wait for them??? I like Bottom Line's MO of going to the bottom of the pile after 24 hours. What I hate is when they come back in 3 weeks later and expect you to remember everything you discussed in the original meeting. I'd like a 3 strikes clause: You get one appointment, one chance to bring back everything you forgot, and if I have to deal with you a third time, you're getting a double bill.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
They go to the bottom of the pile because 24 hours is about the extent of my short term memory. I like your double bill idea. Maybe I can add a harrassing phone calls surcharge. Hmm - what to call it - Communication surcharge?  :)

Klesher (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2007
Joyce - right on! You must have the same clients I do - they think I am sitting here waiting on them! Then they get me the info and voila - the return is done by magic!

Yes it is refreshing to know others are going throught the same thing as I am

To join in on this discussion, you must first log in.
Personal tools