Best Practices to Prepare your Tax Return

We will do our best to give you outstanding service, and if you keep these guidelines in mind, you will help us to do our best work for you. Keep...




We will do our best to give you outstanding service, and if you keep these guidelines in mind, you will help us to do our best work for you.

  1. Keep your documents organized throughout the year. If you have rentals or a business(es), keep them separate. We recommend that you have a designated file to store all your tax-related documents as they come in during the year.  Increasingly, our clients are scanning their tax documents and maintaining an electronic tax file. Either way, doing it throughout the year is always easier than waiting until the tax season.
  2. Keep the originals, send us copies. Please submit documentation only once. If possible, provide us with copies (or PDFs) of your tax documents rather than originals.  And if you are sending us electronic documents, please send them in a PDF file format rather than as photos taken on your smartphone.  Photos of your tax documents are often difficult to read and require extra time to convert to a usable format. If you’d like to use your phone, we recommend using Microsoft Lens (iOS, Android) or Adobe Scan, both free apps which will allow you to convert your photos to PDF’s. Documents must be scanned in black and white only.
  3. Use the organizer. We use a delivery and uploading service called Safe Send. Please upload all your tax documents to Safe Send. Click HERE to watch a short video on how to organize your documents for your DPW Team(video coming shortly). If we do not file your personal return and only your business(es), upload your tax documents HERE. You do not need to password protect your documents. Do not use any special characters when saving your documents, as this makes it impossible for us to download. We email these organizers in January which are pre-filled with your tax information from the previous year. While it is not necessary to fill out the organizer in detail, it is a good idea to use it as a guide for what documents we will be looking for. Blank organizers found here.
  4. Complete the questionnaire that accompanies your organizer. This helps us better understand your situation and allows us to identify any issues or changes from the prior year that may need to be addressed to complete your return. You can access an electronic version of the questionnaire here. If you also have businesses, click HERE to fill out this questionnaire for each of your businesses (link coming soon).
  5. If you’re dropping documentation off for your accountant, for document clarity, please separate in labeled piles all personal documentation and all business documentation by business. You do not need to make an appointment for drop-off. Our admin staff is happy to take your documentation at the front desk.
  6. If you have additional documentation for your personal return or any documentation for your business (es), download all information to your SafeSend account. You do not need to password protect your documents. Be sure to separate your documents into personal and business(es) if applicable.
  7. We do not require receipts. However, receipts are necessary in the event of an IRS audit. Please provide your deductible expenses in a spreadsheet or some other organized format.
  8. Bring in all documents at one time. To the extent possible, please transmit or bring us your tax documents all at once rather than as you receive them. We do realize that in some cases you might have a few outstanding items that may not be available until later.  If that is the case, simply get us what you have and let us know which items are outstanding and when you might expect to receive them.
  9. Bring us your tax information as early as possible. If you have your information ready, get your documents to us right away. Once we have your information, this puts you in our queue so we can quickly begin the tax preparation process. We also appreciate the opportunity to complete tax returns early in the season.  If you wait until the last few weeks of the tax season, we may not be able to complete your tax return without going on extension.
  10. Appointments may be limited as deadlines approach. As the accounting industry and world adapt to a hybrid working schedule, face-to-face appointments become increasingly limited. However, we are able to jump on the phone or even have a virtual face-to-face conversation to provide quick and easy communication. You may consider requesting an appointment for after-tax season if you wish to discuss your tax situation further.
  11. Designate a primary contact for correspondence with your accountant and please let us know how best to reach you (phone, email, text).
  12. Review your tax return. We do our best to prepare an accurate and complete tax return from the information you provide, but we still ask that you review your tax return carefully. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to make sure everything is reported correctly. If you do see an issue or have a question, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will address it immediately.
  13. Make your tax payments to the IRS and other applicable taxing agencies. If you have a balance due, you will have to take care of that on your own. Links for how to pay IRS and ODR can be found within your SafeSend account or can be done online. How to pay IRS HERE. How to pay ODR HERE. If you should make quarterly estimated tax payments, we will provide vouchers and instructions for payment. We encourage making payments online with IRS and ODR.
  14. Notices from the IRS, ODR, or other taxing agencies can be scary. Don’t panic. Provide us a copy of all pages received and we will take a look and get back to you with the best course of action. It’s important to get any notice to us immediately, as they are time-sensitive.
  15. Don’t shoot the messenger. No one likes a surprise tax bill, so if that happens to you, please keep in mind that we have already done everything we can within the law to minimize your tax liability. We will be happy to work with you to reduce the chances of any surprises going forward during our tax planning meetings that begin in September. If you’d like to be on the calendar now, email office@dpwcpas.com or call 503-362-9152.

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