3 Tax Preparer Tips During the COVID-19 Outbreak

tax preparer tips during covid 19 outbreak

The information in this article was last updated on December 27, 2020. This article relates to the tax laws enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. These laws may have expired or reverted to their original state.

The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting businesses of all kinds, including tax preparation. Most preparers file their client’s taxes from a physical office location, often with the client in the room with them. While many companies are moving to remote work, it leaves tax preparers with questions. How do I communicate these changes to my clients? How do I prepare returns from home? TaxSlayer Pro is here to offer tips to tax preparers to help them through this uncertain time. 

1. Connect with TaxSlayer Pro’s support team if you use desktop software 

If you have TaxSlayer Classic or TaxSlayer Premiumcontact TaxSlayer Pro support. They can help you correctly back up returns. If you have another computer at home, they can walk you through how to correctly download and set up the software on your device. If your physical office is required to close due to COVID-19, you will still be able to prepare, e-file, and transmit returns from home. The support team will help you make this transition as smooth as possible. 

2. Read up on the stimulus checks

If your clients experienced a drop in income from 2019 to 2020, they may need extra assistance claiming their stimulus check(s). If their 2019 income was too high to be eligible for the check, but their 2020 income falls under the threshold of $75,000 for individuals or $150,000 for married filing jointly, they can claim their $1,200 first stimulus check and/or their $600 second stimulus check in the form of the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 taxes. The Recovery Rebate Credit is a refundable tax credit, allowing them to receive one or both of their stimulus checks in their tax refund.

For these clients, it makes sense to file as soon as possible so that they can receive their refund and their stimulus check. For other clients, it might make sense to wait to file. If they are eligible for the second stimulus check based on their 2019 income but have not received it yet, the check or direct deposit may be arriving soon. In this case, waiting to file may simplify the process of getting their refund. If they claim the Recovery Rebate Credit but then receive their second stimulus check, there may be delays in approving and distributing their refund.

For more information, see our FAQs about the Second Stimulus Check for Tax Preparers. If clients are unsure whether they wish to file now or wait until closer to the deadline, you can encourage them to send over their forms and documents through our mobile app or client portal and then use TaxSlayer Pro’s refund calculator to see whether they are going to owe or receive a refund.

3. Set up TaxesToGo and Customer Portal 

If you have TaxSlayer Pro Premium, ProWeb, or Web + Corporate, you have access to our mobile app, TaxesToGo, and the Customer Portal. Both of these tools allow your clients to send you their forms and documents, sign the tax return and signature documents, and chat with you about their return. For more information on how to set up these mobile tax prep solutions, see the resources below. 

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