I posted my TO-DO List as at Monday April 10, 2006 .. HERE .. which shows that I had 67 items on my To-Do list.
Well .. since then – I have been working on two major year ends and two Final Returns, manage to get 7 envelopes of individuals or family tax returns ready for pickup on Monday (or Tuesday – depending on Holiday Status) – but my To-Do list now stands at 69 tasks to do! Eight more families came in this week, plus another corporation year end due.
I have to make a difference this upcoming week – the 2nd last week before the April 30th Income Tax Deadline (here in Canada) … so I have decided to change my tactics with accomplishing my To-Do list task.
Keeping in mind that I have tried to inform my clients when they drop off new information, of how busy I am, I always ask them for the urgency of completion. Only a few are really in a rush. Regardless, for personal Income Tax returns .. what I have been doing for the month of April 2006 is almost IMMEDIATELY inputting the slips, and separating what I have, and what I have to do, or if I’m missing information. Generally, this means that for the few that ONLY have slips .. I usually just finish right then and there. For the ones with Rental Properties, Self-Employment Income, Farming Income, Stock transactions, etc etc … I just look at the information after entering the slips and take notice if I have everything.
Then, either two things happen. I take note if there is a HUGE balance due or a HUGE refund. Generally, these will take priority for me …
* Huge Balance Due – generally these are the most risky tax returns, plus late filing creates penalties and interest. Although most of my clients with balance due would rather wait and file or E-File as late as possible prior to the deadline .. I do not want to have all the Huge Balance Due clients sitting in my in-box on April 29th.
* Huge Refund Due – Naturally, how huge is always speculative, but most of my clients with huge refunds coming KNOWS that they will be getting a huge refund – in fact, they probably always get a refund and have been planning this since last tax return year by increasing their tax deductions, buying more RRSP’s etc. Also, naturally, they have their refund pretty much pre-spent and want me to E-File as quick as possible.
So, unless there is a huge balance due or a huge refund coming, generally the next step that I would take is just pack up the files, slips and my notes with missing information (and non-entered information) and put the sling in my REVIEW box, waiting until I have entered and gone through all the other information.
Well .. NO MORE!
I finally got around to the first item in my review box – that was not a huge refund or had a huge balance due .. but I inputted the slips on March 20th. This was the oldest date RECEIVED that I had input partial information and placed in my Review Box .. and involved other issues. The tax returns were basically done – but not printed. There is a corporation involved that I also have to prepare a Notice To Reader, do a little tax planning and remuneration options, and file a T2. But .. there isn’t much there and I could have finished in a day … Printed the next day .. Billed and even collected payment before March 31.
ATTENTION CLIENTS: I am now switching back to my familiar method that I have been doing for the past years … F.I.F.O. … “First In – First Out”
That means: As soon as I get to your stuff .. I will be working on your stuff! I do not know how you stand at this particular moment – sorry! But, when it is your turn .. all my attention will be focused on you, and finishing your stuff a.s.a.p.
I guess I should apologize for any delays on some of the jobs going out in the past week, or yet to be completed .. I thought I was doing about half my clients a favor by GOING THROUGH everything before actually DOING anything (except inputting slips that is and seeing where they stand). But, the more and more I was doing that, the list kept growing and growing and taking too long before I got back to completing a job.
Ah … FIFO .. it’s the only way .. and, it works much better than LIFO (Last In – First Out) or HBDIFO (Huge Balance Due In – First Out) or even OFOBDCWWTTRCY (Occassionally freaked out by desparate clients who want their tax returns completed yesterday!)
AND SPEAKING ABOUT INCOME TAX FILING DEADLINES
If you didn’t know … April 30th is a Sunday, so the Official Deadline for filing your income tax return for 2005 in Canada is Monday, May 1, 2006. If you are self-employed, both you and your spouse have until Thursday June 15, 2006 to file your income tax return, however .. payment is still due by May 1, 2006 .. so, if you think you will owe by June 15th and can make an instalment before April 30th – this might be worth considering to save a little arrears interest.
You can check out the Canada Revenue Agency website for more details …
People in the USA have an April 15th federal tax filing deadline .. although because the 15th (yesterday) was Saturday, the deadline is pushed forward to Monday April 17, 2006 for the most of the U.S. I believe there are a few states that are extending it to Tuesday April 18, 2006 as a result of the long-weekend and Easter Monday .. but, only if you live in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont or the District of Columbia.
You can check out the IRS website for more details ..