Tax Pros are Optimistic About the Current Season

According to the results of a recent survey, tax professionals in the United States are looking forward to brighter skies in 2015. In this survey, 300 accounting firms were contacted to inquire about their opinions about this year’s tax season. Opinions varied among respondents, the majority of those surveyed believed that the 2015 tax season will be equal to or better than the 2014 tax season.

Tax season

Tax season

2015 Tax Season Basics

Corporations and consumers are already making preparations for tax season, but official filing begins on January 20, 2015. There are no tax delays this year, and returns can be filed on paper and electronically. The opening filing date is 11 days sooner than last year and 10 days sooner than the opening date in 2013.

In addition, this year’s filing schedule is not tiered. That means that everyone will be able to start filing on January 20, not just those who meet specific qualifications. Although Congress initially gave the impression that tax extenders would not be renewed, all current provisions were maintained when these items were signed into law by President Obama on December 19.

 

opinions

opinions

General Opinions Regarding the 2015 Tax Season

According to the survey completed by Tax Pro Today and Accounting Today in October 2014, almost half, or 48 percent of tax professionals, believe that the 2015 tax season will be more profitable than the 2014 season. 32.2 percent, or one-third, believe that this season will be similar to the 2014 season without any major variations.

However, these positive feelings about 2015 are not uniform in all of the 300 firms surveyed. 19.7 percent of the firms, almost 20 percent, believe that the 2015 tax season will be worse than the 2014 season.

Work Conditions

Work Conditions

Work Conditions at Accounting Firms During Tax Season

In addition to asking accounting firms about their feelings and expectations regarding the upcoming tax season, the survey also inquired about the work conditions in their firms during this busy time of year.

Tax season invariably brings longer hours and potentially stressful work conditions for professionals, but firms handle the increased workload in a variety of different ways. One of the most popular ways of meeting higher demand during tax season is by adding Saturday hours.

Survey Results

Survey Results

According to the survey results:

–    45 percent of firms require employees to work every Saturday during tax season.
–    28 percent of firms require occasional Saturday work among employees.
–    27 percent of firms do not require employees to work on Saturdays as long as their work is completed during the week.

2015 Differences

Part of the reason for the varying opinions about this year’s tax season is the changes that will be implemented in 2015. Perhaps the biggest changes involve the Affordable Care Act.

Penalties

Penalties

Although this bill mainly focused on healthcare and assisting those who are currently uninsured or under-insured, it also has significant tax implications for 2015. Tax penalties for the uninsured have been put into place for individuals who do not comply with ACA regulations, so you cannot separate the Affordable Care Act from proper tax preparation. The penalty amounts will vary based on the number of insured parties in a person’s household and their total household income.

In addition, tax credits are available to those in certain income brackets who are paying for health insurance. Credits can only be used by those who do not have access to group healthcare plans through their employers.

Tax Fraud

Tax Fraud

Combating Tax Fraud

In an attempt to combat tax fraud, the IRS has also put into place new direct deposit limits for 2015. This policy went into effect at the beginning of this year, and it limits the number of direct deposits that can be deposited into the same bank account or pre-paid card to three.

After the limit of three direct deposits is reached, the taxpayer will receive a refund via paper check. Taxpayers will also receive a notice informing them that a paper check will be issued because the limit has been exceeded.

All tax returns are due by April 15, 2015, so it’s sure to be a busy four months for tax professionals across the country. However, tax season does not completely end at that point since extensions are available to individuals and corporations who request them and meet specific criteria. If you have to file 1099 online for several clients, you may want to consider using eFile4Biz.com. They do most of the heavy-lifting when it comes to the legwork involved with filing these documents. They let your do the e-file via their secure website platform, and they do all the tax form printing and delivery for you as well. Regardless of if you use them to efile 1099 forms for your clients, you may want to use them as a benchmark for how a trustworthy provider should serve you.  Their video is shown below.

Although the outcome of this year’s tax season is yet to be seen, many firms are planning to capitalize on these new opportunities and work to increase their shares of the tax preparation market.

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