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10 posts from June 2020

July 15 Filing Date — Not to Move

Shutterstock_1682999677What's called a difficult decision is a difficult decision because either way you go, there are penalties.

-Elia Kazan

To advocate effectively on our members’ behalf and deliver the right resources, the AICPA periodically conducts member surveys to gather opinions on various subjects. As we navigate through this ongoing filing season, the AICPA Tax Executive Committee asked Tax Section members for their concerns and opinions regarding the July 15 deadline. The Tax Executive Committee has been carefully considering a decision regarding July 15 since, well, April 15. If you read July 15 filing date — To move or not to move, you know the heart of the matter was whether to move the deadline. We now have an answer — don’t move the July 15 due date. As famous ‘50s and ‘60s Hollywood director Elia Kazan infers above, our decision was complicated and multi-faceted. There were many issues to consider.

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5 tips for working from home with kids

Shutterstock_1677609325Remember “Take Your Child to Work Day”? For many of us, that’s become every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down offices, leaving professionals to carve out workspaces in their homes while keeping children occupied or helping them with schoolwork at the kitchen table. We’ve compiled the following advice to help CPAs remain productive, including tips from members of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee:

Protect your space. With so many firms going remote without much notice, not everyone was set up to work from home. If you have an office or spare bedroom, consider designating that a no-interruption zone for when you have important meetings or projects. If your environment doesn’t allow for that, try using a signal to your kids — like an upside-down cup on the counter — that you need uninterrupted time.

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5 must-have tax tools before July 15

GettyImages-1189336762Have you seen the memes or cartoons on social media that joke about how days and months are non-distinct during quarantine? While sheltering in place, we’ve had a vague notion of time. But for a few months now, we’ve had a new date on our radars: July 15th.

As the new tax deadline approaches, here are questions, ideas and resources for your toolbelt:

  1. Have you heard from all your individual clients?

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Turn challenges of sheltering in place into opportunities

Shutterstock_489814966This pandemic has rocked our world and the digital accelerator was pushed to the floorboard. We’re not going back to business as usual before COVID-19, and this presents opportunities for women to propel our profession forward with expanded influence and leadership.

Relationship building

During this time, we’ve been invited into one another’s home and experienced one another’s personal daily lives. We’ve seen a host of previously unknown aspects of personal lives — each other’s homes, favorite T-shirts and PJs, and children and pets via Zoom bombs.

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3 estate planning conversations to have now

GettyImages-681886373The coronavirus pandemic has encouraged people with existing estate plans to consider reviewing and modifying them, and people without plans to develop them. Regardless of your client’s situation, there are worthwhile conversations about estate planning to be had.

As a CPA, you have a strong relationship with your clients and a comprehensive understanding of their finances. Because of this, you provide great value, and when partnered with an attorney, you form a solid team. You bring your expertise on the financial structure and they bring their knowledge of the legal system.

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Considerations before reopening your office

IStock_000049546004_XXXLargeReopening your office isn’t as simple as unlocking the office door. Consider several factors before jumping to any reopening decision, starting with a couple of questions:

  1. Are our employees still productive with the office closed?
  2. Are our clients’ needs being met?

If the answer to both is “yes,” then what’s the rush to reopen? Understandably, you and your employees may be a little stir-crazy being at home, or maybe you’re frustrated paying rent for unused office space. Neither are good reasons to rush to reopen and risk employee safety. Perhaps now is a better time to consider boosting employee morale or focus on a long-term virtual solution that keeps clients and employees safe and shows that you care. There’s a session at this year’s all-virtual ENGAGE2020 (July 20-24) on enabling remote workers and virtual office.

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AICPA Economic Outlook Survey documents deep impact of pandemic

Shutterstock_749432248The AICPA released its quarterly Business & Industry Economic Outlook Survey yesterday and the results, unsurprisingly, weren’t pretty.

With commercial activity hobbled by pandemic-related restrictions, the CFOs, controllers, CEOs, and senior-level CPAs and CGMAs we poll reported that their companies in aggregate have slashed profit outlooks and pulled back hiring plans for the coming year. Our CPA Outlook Index – a comprehensive gauge of executive sentiment within the survey – dropped to its lowest level since early 2009, when the Great Recession was still in full bloom. Optimism in the U.S. economy is at its lowest ebb since late 2011.

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July 15 filing date — To move or not to move

Shutterstock_294458213“… there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

— William Shakespeare

I work for a membership organization, and representing our members’ best interests is what we do best. Lately, members have been telling us how they feel about the upcoming federal July 15 tax filing date. We’re hearing both sides of the story, from “don’t you dare alter the July 15 due date” to “everything has got to be extended until ... [pick a date].” It’s clear some members are not interested in any extensions and some want an extension until August, September or October. I’ve even heard November and December mentioned.

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Future-proofing the tax system with small businesses in mind

Shutterstock_302007509Life has quickly changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The responses from Congress, the Department of Treasury, IRS and Federal Reserve have been wide ranging. The coronavirus has caused tremendous upheaval for small businesses and their employees. Technology, the economic environment and new ways of working are being pushed to new phases, requiring new tactics.

COVID-19 has highlighted elements in the U.S. tax system that create barriers for small businesses. In a May 7th comment letter to Congress, AICPA identified a dozen of these barriers that Congress needs to address to future-proof our tax system and bring it into the 21st century. This post highlights three of the barriers small businesses frequently encounter:

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AICPA survey highlights gaps in Americans’ disaster prep

Shutterstock_101441059It’s understandable that as most Americans focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of natural disasters may not be top of mind. However, with the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season expected to be more active than usual and tens of millions of Americans in a more financially precarious position over the last couple of months, it’s more important than ever to prepare. Recently published AICPA data found that 6 in 10 Americans (60%) say it is likely a natural disaster will impact them in the next three to five years. And while many Americans have taken at least one step to prepare, there are still more ways to help protect their finances and their families should disaster strike.

Neal Stern, CPA, member of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, spoke with AICPA Insights about emergency preparedness and the AICPA survey results.

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