Tax Time and Tax Season are different. I spent too many years in public accounting, going through Tax Seasons, before coming to my senses. Our kids would propose, “Let’s go to a (fill in the blank.) Far too often, I’d beg off and defer it until after tax season. I left Public accounting to return to Management accounting in 1987 and I never looked back!
Accountants can, and often do, record all transactions involving something of value. Some say that writing was invented partly to keep track of the king’s grain inventory. Remember Green Stamps? There was a question on the CPA exam* about accounting for them. Interested in Timber Farming? Talk to an accountant about its tax ramifications. Congress is ever-helpful in keeping the tax code complex.
Tax Season: Common due dates among their clientele compress Public accountants’ workload into an intense Tax Season, leaving the rest of the year for things that can take longer to complete. Deadline pressure abounds! Public accountants offer clients every subspecialty there is, but most focus on financial reporting, which requires calculating the tax bill. They also audit the work of Management accountants.
Management accountants’ clients look to them for financial reporting, as well. Important members of the management team, they also do forecasting, budgeting, cash management, internal auditing, tax work and cost accounting, among other things. They meet due dates, but focusing on one client lets them plan their time more evenly. They often hire Public accountants to help with time crunches.
Tax Time is less stressful. Now that Spouser (also an accountant) and I are retired, we only have to deal with April 15, although occasional volunteering for non-profits can bring other tax responsibilities. This year it’s just us, hence Tax Time.
In February I pounced on a $45.00 discount on H & R Block tax software, thus migrating from the TurboTax we’ve used for years. There’s nothing wrong with H & R block’s program, but changing horses in midstream is tough and time-consuming. Most tax software these days lets you load prior years’ information automatically. Things like tax carryovers and dividend payers’ Tax ID numbers are uploaded into this year’s return, which saves pawing through prior years’ records. H & R Block’s software does this but wouldn’t accept our prior year TurboTax files, so I did far more than $45.00 worth of pawing through. We’ll go back to TurboTax next year.
We’re getting refunds this time. Yay! Now, if I can figure out how to get the Block software to print the pages I want to save for our file, Spouser will review drafts of our Federal and State returns and I’ll click on the buttons to e-file them.
*The CPA Exam is required, along with an internship and demonstration of skill, for licensure as a Certified Public Accountant.