Good Day All,

Hope all your ‘Year-End “ went well. As always, our office was (is) very busy; lots of prep, lots of calls and letters, and loads of Software updates. OHH, did I mention it was and still is, being very stressful? This will be another interesting year!

I’m sure, as many of you, a lot of our work is done interfacing with The IRS and State Agencies plus, Taxes, Representation, Bookkeeping, Planning, and Investments. Taxes and Representation continue to be the busiest and most challenging. Followed closely/inclusively by Client Bookkeeping.

This year it seems with the IRS problems and all the letters our Clients are receiving we are wearing our Representation hat more than our Tax hat. Some of the letters are so bizarre that you barely know what the IRS wants. Of course, many are routine and I can’t emphasize the word “many” here as our office has definitely seen a big uptick in IRS letters!

Most of us have Bookkeepers on Staff or do Bookkeeping ourselves, but Representation is a completely different knowledge base and if you don’t have some basic knowledge you will be lost. If you have not taken classes in representation, I strongly recommend that you make it a priority. If you want to be able to represent your clients effectively, it is almost impossible to do so without some Representation knowledge. Even if you do not choose to do a lot of Representation, it pops up at so many levels of our work that we all need to be aware of what’s going on and how best to deal with the various issues. Representation classes will help you understand the basics and you can expand that knowledge as much as you need or want. No matter what level you choose, you need to become proficient in knowing what to do or where to go for help.

Representation is such a natural fit for our work; first to be ‘of service” to our Clients and second, of course, to increase income. There is so much coming from all the IRS, FTB, and EDD this year that Enrolled Agents are being flooded and must deal with understanding the letters and figuring the best course of action to be taken; my thoughts, “Be prepared.”

On another note:

Lower your expectations – as most of you are aware, the IRS continues to be incredibly overwhelming, and often, it is next to impossible to get through on the phone. We subscribe to a service that ‘cuts’ our hold time for IRS calls and even so, one of us in the office was on hold for over four hours one-day last month waiting to be connected. Be patient, keep trying, and hopefully, you will get connected. Unfortunately, we do the best we can and sadly lately it does not seem to be enough.

Advise your clients that if they have a problem, we can help but it is going to take more time than in the past.’ Prepare your clients and staff for these delays so you lower their expectations of immediate resolve also.

My Word, every day, we are getting updates. Never have we as a group, attended as many ‘update’ classes as we have these last few months. I wonder how those using Turbotax and H&R Block are doing it. I am glad I have OCCSEA, CSEA, and NAEA supporting me!!

That’s it for me for now. Be well, be busy, and be prepared.

Bill Stewart EA