- How do you educate your clients about increasing notice volume and the changing compliance landscape?
- I regularly discuss post-filing compliance with my clients in person or with educational material.
- I talk to my clients about post-filing compliance only when they experience an IRS issue.
- Depending on the client, I sometimes discuss post-filing compliance work before the client has an IRS issue.
- Do you limit the scope of tax prep engagement letters so that clients aren’t surprised by bills for post-filing work?
- Yes, I use engagement letters to specifically outline tax prep services and clearly explain to my client that post-filing work requires a separate engagement.
- No, I use the firm’s standard engagement letters without further explanation.
- Depending on the client, I sometimes tailor engagement letters for tax prep and post-filing services.
- How many clients have you lost a client due to a post-filing notice or issue?
- I have never lost a client over an IRS issue or notice.
- I have lost three or more clients over an IRS issue or notice.
- I have lost one or two clients over an IRS issue or notice.
- Are you automatically copied on most of your clients’ notices through Form 2848, Power of Attorney, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization?
- Yes, I use Form 8821 to allow me to be copied on most of my clients’ notices.
- No, I wait for most of my clients to alert me to notices they receive.
- I use Form 2848 or Form 8821 on some of my clients to be copied on notices.
- Typically, how many times must you call the IRS for a client with a post-filing notice or issue?
- I typically call the IRS once to get the information I need or resolve the issue.
- I typically have to call the IRS more than once to find the right contact, get the information I need or resolve the issue.
- It’s about half and half. Sometimes I need to call only once, and sometimes I need to call multiple times.
- Does your firm keep updated template documents and best practice information on post-filing practice and procedure in a centralized location?
- Yes, we have a set of documents and/or resources for post-filing work available across the firm.
- No, I use documents and/or resources from past IRS interactions, but they’re not standard or available across the firm.
- For some issues, we have standard or commonly used documents and/or resources available across the firm.
- Do you use technology to organize, track status and set reminders for post-filing engagements across your firm?
- Yes, we use technology to keep track of our post-filing work and/or centralize documents.
- No, we deal with issues and notices the traditional way, without technology to track status or centralize files.
- Sometimes. Depending on the issue, client or practitioner, we may use technology to keep track of our post-filing work and/or centralize documents.
How to score:
For every answer A, give yourself 1 point.
For every answer B, give yourself 3 points.
For every answer C, give yourself 2 points.
If you scored:
7-10, Your firm excels in year-round service. You take advantage of best practices to educate your clients, bill for more services, stay proactive on notices and issues, and improve efficiency through technology.
11-15, Your firm is flexible in meeting the needs of clients, but doesn’t always follow a process. You do some things better than others, but there are some effective steps you can take right now to streamline post-filing work, reduce learning time, and increase your billable hours when it comes to post-filing practice and procedure. See the best practices outlined in this article.
16-21, Your firm doesn’t use a system to tackle post-filing compliance. As a result, you’re left with less billable time and more opportunity to provide better client service. Take a look at the best practices outlined in this article for steps you can take right now.
Jim Buttonow is Vice President of Product Development and Cofounder of the tax technology company New River Innovation. Jim's professional mission is to apply emerging technology to problems faced by tax professionals after they file.
Jim is a CPA and former IRS Large Case Team Audit Coordinator. He worked at the IRS for 19 years. Since leaving the IRS, Jim has represented many clients before the IRS. At New River Innovation, Jim is the chief architect of Beyond415 (Beyond415.com), an award-winning technology for tax practitioners to efficiently handle IRS issues, notices and audits. Through Beyond415, Jim also develops and presents CPE series on IRS practice and procedure for issues that arise after filing, such as audits, notices and discrepancies. Jim regularly speaks on compliance trends and post-filing practice efficiency strategies for CPA and accounting firms.