80 Years of Tax Continuing Education
Cheers to 80 Years The year 2020 marked Tax School’s 80th anniversary. While it’s not entirely true to say that we’ve been providing tax continuing education all those years (we’ll…
March 19th, 2020
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue. It may not seem that way right now, but we’ll get there! Tom talks about how April 15 is still the filing deadline and that it’s just payments that can be made at a later date. Give Tom a watch/listen below to get some details, as well as some things to consider from a client data protection standpoint.
How are you dealing with the current climate? Are you conducting meetings online? Filing extensions for everyone? Bathing in hand sanitizer? Let us know in the comments!
by Tom O’Saben, EA
I’m kind of a doom and gloomer when it comes to dealing with the government. So I’ll have to say I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we don’t find ourselves six months to a year from now answering all kinds of letters where in fact, IRS does assess penalties for those clients who pay their balances due in July. But nonetheless, the New York Post ad is wrong. I’ve given you the link coming up, coming up forward here, that the filing season has not been extended. Payments due have been extended. So Secretary Mnuchin, I think was kind of flippant in his comments, which said that “well, what’s the big deal? You know, most people file electronically anyway.” And I appreciate a lot of what you’ve had to say. And also the AICPA who has asked all of us to basically take an email letter that they’ve crafted and for us to pretty much sign off on it and forward it to Secretary Mnuchin
and also to our local members of Congress and Senators, basically saying that over 60% of returns are prepared by us… by tax professionals. Now we have to deal with what about the sheltering in place? How are we going to get our information from our clients? How are they feeling about meeting face to face with us? And how do we feel about our clients coming into our offices? So those are all valid reasons. And I see again, that you’re posting those concerns out there on Facebook.
So I know some places you’re just you’re just business as usual. I don’t disagree with it unless there’s something against local law that would prohibit if there’s a lockdown other than essential travel. If there isn’t a lockdown, then that’s going to be a call from your office.
But let me give you a caution out there for all of our clients. Most of our clients are ignorant when it comes to the potential for identity theft. They’re just schlepping information on the emails and sending it to us. I had a packet that was leaned up against the door of my office on the outside. Can you believe that? Somebody just came by, put their stuff outside the building, put it and leaned it up against the door crazy. I would strongly suggest the use of secure portals. Now, I’m no IT guy, but let me tell you a portal has got to be more secure than just attaching things to an email. If you’re not using a portal, you might look at various sources that make them available to you. But if you’ve got the ability to use an online portal, then go ahead and give an introduction to your client to be able to use that and upload their information that way. You know, throughout all of this pandemic that’s going on, let’s not forget that the scammers see this as a ripe opportunity to take advantage of us and our clients. So let’s really, really be careful. Be sure to use the online portals. If clients
want to drop off, let’s make sure that we’re getting information from them and all of that information is kept in a secure place. A lot of times we’re vacating our office for multiple hours – you think the bad guys are? They’re looking for opportunities to break in and mine that information that we’ve got. If we’re going to use emails, some kind of passwords to go back and forth. Let’s keep our information secure. In a real basic type of sense, you know, going up to the corporate deadline, which is the one that always drives me crazy, and then I try to come back to sanity for a little bit. After each client left, I was taking some of these Clorox wipes (and no, I didn’t go buy out of store of them)… But I would take some Clorox wipes and wipe down the front of my desk and the handles on the chairs where people sat, and the door handles or other surfaces that people might have touched. Just to give us a little bit of added added protection. I would avoid handshakes. I would avoid hugs. You know, some clients, they only see us once a year. So they just love to come and see us and they want to give us a hug. Let’s do the elbow thing unless you’re coughing into your elbow. So you want to want to avoid that as well. So be very, very careful with security. Listen, if you feel like the best answer at this point is to go ahead and shut your office down, file extensions on everybody and and shut the office down until this passes, which I don’t know when that’s going to be: do it. But please inform your clients. Maybe send out a mass email as to what you’re intending to do. And give them an opportunity to know what’s going on or to perhaps again, give you that information, either via portal or secure email or drop off or mail — however they want to do it. And we’ll go from there.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll get through this. I truly believe as I posted on my own personal Facebook page that you know, over the rainbow, skies are blue and they will remain to be blue. Hang in there. We’ll continue to give you updates as we come along. So this is Tom O’Saben from the University of Illinois Tax School coming to you from my apartment bunker saying we’ll say goodbye for just a while.
Disclaimer: The information referenced in Tax School’s blog is accurate at the date of publication. You may contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more up-to-date, supported information and we will create an addendum.
University of Illinois Tax School is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog and the information contained herein does not constitute tax client advice.