what to do during tax season
items to memorialize in a control log to help avoid missed deadlines
Every busy season, there are untimely filed tax returns that result in claims. A control log mitigate the risk of a return being filed late or missed. Consider adding these items to your docket system.
Include all tax returns and related forms. Remember to include estate tax returns, those related to minor children, unfunded trusts, foreign financial accounts, and state filings, even if the client falls below the filing threshold in the current year or if no tax is due.
Incorporate COVID-19 related deadlines, if applicable. If a client has engaged the firm for assistance in applying for loan forgiveness or calculation of the ERC, document the final date to file the request into the firm’s control log or docket system. If a deadline is missed and proceeds are not forgiven or credits not received, the client may blame the CPA.
Remember to include IRS and state correspondence with due dates for notices and information document requests. While the IRS continues to work its way through the mail backlog, practitioners continue to experience delays. Obtain powers of attorney (IRS Form 2848) to represent clients and resolve tax issues.
Documentation will be critical for penalty abatement, including receiving notices from clients timely and retaining copies of certified mail receipts. If correspondence is lost or misplaced by the IRS, and the CPA does not have appropriate documentation, clients may blame their CPA for adverse consequences. Consider including reminder dates in the control log for follow-up with the client or tax agency, if warranted.
Consider memorializing the following information in the control log:
  • Original and extended filing due dates for each tax return,
  • Responsible client parties,
  • Information receipt date,
  • Date(s) additional information is requested or questions asked,
  • Date(s) of client response(s) to additional information requested,
  • Completion dates by preparers and reviewers,
  • Approvals by the firm and client, and
  • Assembly, delivery, mailing, filing and acceptance dates.