In the past month, individual returns have slightly picked up the filing pace, with an almost 5% drop in returns not started and a corresponding almost 5% increase in completed returns. However, there is a concern that, at the current pace, firms will see the same workload compression in late June and early July usually seen around the April deadline.
To reduce late-season compression now is the time to review your inventory. Make sure that your inventory list is accurate, forecast the remaining work, and process bulk update any issues or points with relevant planning topics. These usual late-season actions are even more critical, with the pace of individual returns consistently behind previous seasons. If your firm hasn’t started reviewing your inventory, here are a few tips:
- Ensuring your inventory list is accurate
- Run your searches in XCM (or other workflow solution) to identify the “No Info In” status tasks
- Consider if any are no longer active customers and remove them from your data set
- Search on all of your in-process extensions and close them out
- Forecasting the remaining work
- Import budgets into your preparer and review task roles
- Update projected start dates with the dates you anticipate working these returns
- Run your lists by staff to see who is over-allocated or underutilized
- Updating in bulk the issues and points with relevant planning notes
- Note discussions with customers
- Note instructions or obstacles for your preparers
- Run open issues and points reports for your open inventory and work the jobs
As we know, when the IRS extended the 2020 filing deadline to July 15th, they also extended the first two estimated tax payments for 2020 to July 15th. My home state of Massachusetts has adopted the federal guidelines, and most states have done the same, adopting some version of the guidelines. This delay has created an opportunity for you, and your clients who usually owe estimated tax payments, to review this year’s activity and adjust estimates as necessary. Discussing 2020 income projections is a perfect opportunity to reach out and touch base with your “no info in” clients.
Regardless of the reason, now is the time to act.