It’s been an exciting week in the accounting world. The first full week of the traditional tax season is in the books with nine more left to go. As far as I can tell there have been no casualties.
Your favorite accountant is happy to report this is the smoothest tax season in years in his office. Three or four years ago I met Mr. Money Mustache and he put me on the map (Thank you, Pete!) it created a deluge of demand I was ill prepared to handle. The problem was I had no idea what I was getting into. Those problems seem to be fully resolved.
The added challenges nearly killed my practice. I had to learn new skills PDQ if I wanted to survive. Hiring more employees was a problem since nobody local had experience in what I was going through.
But, I am proud to say after several mental cramps I turned the corner. New policies and massive increases in technology have the office humming like a well oiled machine with stress reduced to a minimum. I’ll let you know if the psychosis returns.
Until then . . . I’m feeling much better now.
The smooth operation of our tax functions means I am still accepting new clients selectively. The bottleneck now is in processing the requests. To that end I hired a new team member to help with the follow-up of requests.
If you sent a request in the last few months without a response you should resend the request. Please include your phone number. Most do not. Amy will send an email with a follow-up phone call if we feel it’s a good fit.
The reason for the additional screening is to make sure it works for all parties involved. Sometimes expectations are different from what we can handle with our current structure. I’d rather discover early if there is a conflict or issues before we start. This is easier on both of us.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t get in. My team has managed to get things running smooth again after I overwhelmed the machinery. To keep it smooth we have to make sure we can do the job right.
Another Tax Bill
When you were looking the other way Congress passed another tax bill Friday. Yes, as in yesterday if you’re reading this the day I published.
The hoopla about the latest government shutdown was resolved with a major spending bill with lots of tax nuggets.
Here is why the spending bill is so important. The tax part of the bill retroactively renewed many expired tax provisions! This means many of the returns filed early are wrong!
The IRS is busting heinie to implement the changes. My software provider will update as soon as the IRS has their end fixed and ready to accept returns with the updates.
Here are some of the more common changes:
- Mortgage insurance premiums are back and will be the number one reason we will need to amend.
- Discharged mortgage debt is excluded from income again.
- The provision to deduct education expenses (qualified tuition and related expenses) up to $4,000 above-the-line is restored.
The remainder of the thirty or so renewed provisions generally affect businesses.
Because the IRS will need time to implement these changes you either have to wait to file (including possible filing an extension) or filing now and amending later. It’s your call.
I kindly ask readers to spread the word on the DIY tax software offered by 1040.com. This is the same software I use in my office. If you use the link on this page it supports your favorite blog.
This is a project close to my heart and means a lot. Thank you for considering the option. Many returns also qualify for free-file.
Remember we have a drawing for two cash giveaways next week Wednesday. Details are available on the Where Am I page. Be sure to open those emails with the latest TWA post to win!
Now let’s have some fun!
What I’m Reading
Every year at this time I make myself a promise as I head to the office each day that I will take an hour or two to read. This year, as in past years, the promise is unfulfilled.
I still read some early in the morning and at night after writing if I can keep my eyes open. The weekends are nirvana!
This week I worked on a book in progress, but mostly read from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
When I need to perform at my best I always look to my Stoic literature. If you don’t keep a copy of The Daily Stoic next to your bed you don’t know what you’re missing.
What I’m Watching
Just as time is tight for reading, time spent watching videos is also curtailed. As important as learning and relaxation are, tax season is a time when accountants sacrifice some of these hedonic pleasures.
SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy Rocket this week and I watched it live from my desk. It was the coolest thing ever! Enjoy if you haven’t already.
I also watched a few videos in the vein of the selection provided here. Mysteries intrigue me even if they are somewhat contrived. Old stuff grabs my attention hard. Here we see mysterious monuments from around the world.
What I’m Listening To
My listening tastes turn unique during these intense times. I think you’ll enjoy Beethoven’s Symphony 7 selection. The calming sound emanated from my office more than once this week.
When the coffee started to wear off I got silly. Something to break up the classical sounds.
Finally, as you read this your favorite accountant is probably sleeping it off or reading voraciously with drool running from the left side of his mouth.
I’m also planning a special post for Monday. We have enjoyed p/e ratios in the upper teens, 20s and higher on the broad indexes for so long people forget it wasn’t that long ago when the S&P sported a single digit p/e ratio and the average stock in the index threw off over a 6% dividend yield with many sporting even higher payouts!
Monday we will discuss what would need to happen to go back to those days of the late 1970s and early 1980s and the late 1940s and early 1950s. It’s been a while since we enjoyed such a market. I promise an engaging read.
Won’t you join me.