It’s been a little more than a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the numerous strides in fighting the virus, many businesses are still operating under social distancing protocols. The field of tax preparation is among them. Although virtual tax appointments have existed for many years, that’s not to say that all clients embraced them. Although some filers prefer to work with a CPA remotely, there are many others who’ve preferred to schedule an in-person appointment.
But this year, due to the pandemic, many CPA firms have shifted to a virtual model. If you’re unsure how virtual tax appointments work, or you have questions about how to prepare for one, read on.
You’ll still get a consultation
If you’re concerned that you won’t get to speak with your CPA, you needn’t be. When you schedule a virtual appointment, you’ll still get to speak with an expert. Some clients prefer to do their consultation by phone, while others opt for video chat. During your consultation, your CPA will assess your tax situation and they’ll ask you about your goals. Once they understand what your needs are, they’ll ask you to send them your files.
What you need to know about sharing sensitive documents
Since you won’t be able to physically hand sensitive documents, such as earnings statements, investment account statements, and others, to your CPA, you’ll need to transmit them securely. In some instances, your certified public may ask for you to fax certain documents. In others, they’ll ask that you scan and submit them via their firm’s secure web portal.
A web portal is a website (or web application) that serves as a secure storage space. This allows clients to share important documents with their CPA. Whereas web portals are extremely safe, email is a less safe option. As such, be very wary about sending sensitive documents (to anyone) via email—especially if those documents include personal identifying information such as your date of birth, address, bank account numbers and/or social security numbers.
Once your CPA has completed your return, they’ll schedule a review conference. This can also be done by phone or by video chat. They’ll explain your return, how this year’s return differed from last year’s filing, and they’ll answer any questions you may have. Upon your approval, they’ll file your returns electronically.
For more information about how virtual tax preparation works, or what you’ll need to do to prepare for a virtual appointment, call our office today to get started.