You’ve taken steps to establish a digital 1040 workflow so your staff can work remotely. But here’s the million dollar question: Do your clients feel you’ve given them the same consideration?
Taxpayers are essential collaborators in the 1040 tax preparation process. You rely on them to gather documents, provide information, render signatures, and communicate with you. And when the tax return is delivered, firms rely on clients’ timely payments. If your workflow doesn’t provide an easy way for taxpayers to complete these tasks electronically, from any location, then it’s not truly digital, and it doesn’t enable remote collaboration. The good news is, enabling a truly digital workflow for your clients and tax team is as easy as adopting the right tool. TaxCaddy is a digital client collaboration platform that closes the loop and allows taxpayers and your tax team to do their part from anywhere, on any device.
1040 source document gathering & signatures
Taxpayers are responsible for gathering their tax documents—W-2s, 1099s, K-1s, etc.—and delivering those documents to you. Some documents, like engagement letters, statements of work, and e-file authorizations require signatures. If your office is paper-based, clients must send these documents via mail. If your office utilizes an online portal, clients must download, print, sign, scan, and upload which is inconvenient and time-consuming.
The thing is, not everyone has a home office. Depending on the client’s at-home resources, these tasks may involve a trip to the post office, FedEx, or the mailroom at work. Younger taxpayers, especially, are less likely to have stamps and envelopes at home, and not all people have easy access to scanners and printers.
In TaxCaddy, clients perform the necessary tasks in a with digital convenience, resulting in an improved experience for them and faster turn-around for you. TaxCaddy’s Smart Links feature automatically retrieves W-2s, 1099s, 1098s and leading banks, brokerages, and payroll service providers the day they become available.
If a client does have a paper document, they can deliver it to you using a tool that’s already in their pocket: their mobile phone. TaxCaddy’s secure photo-scanning technology is the same used by banks for mobile check deposits and ensures clear images every time.
Documents can be easily signed with TaxCaddy’s e-signature feature, which allows taxpayers to sign directly in the browser or in the TaxCaddy app for iPhone, iPad, or Android. It’s important to note that not all e-signatures are created equal. The IRS requires Knowledge-Based Authentication when e-signing form 8879. TaxCaddy’s e-signatures are 100% IRS compliant.
Tax questionnaires & communications
It would be impossible to prepare a tax return without complete and timely information from the taxpayer. They must answer questionnaires and be responsive to questions about the documents they submit.
TaxCaddy presents questionnaires with an intuitive interface that displays one question at a time. Progress saves automatically, which means that clients can pick up where they left off on any device, any time. The questionnaire is filed alongside all other documents and tax information in TaxCaddy, which serves as your client’s electronic tax organizer.
Keeping the lines of communication open is essential in remote collaboration. TaxCaddy comes with a built-in, secure messaging system that offers the same ease as texting. Both taxpayers and tax professionals can initiate chats that attach to specific documents, so it’s always clear what’s being discussed. Optional push notifications on the mobile app keep clients engaged in the conversation and encourage short response times.
This accessible, open channel of communication is not only helpful for preparers, but also a critical customer service tool. Many clients feel anxious and disconnected during office closures. The knowledge that their tax professional is just a text away can safeguard the business-client relationship.
Digital 1040 returns, form 8879, and invoices
Taxpayers can securely receive electronic copies of their tax returns and e-sign their e-file authorizations inside TaxCaddy without ever touching paper or walking to the mailbox. Completed returns are permanently archived in the client’s TaxCaddy account, where they can access them any time and have the option to download a PDF version. TaxCaddy is even fully integrated with SafeSend Returns, for firms already using this solution.
The invoicing process is just as simple. Firms can submit the invoice along with the completed tax return, and taxpayers can make payment from within TaxCaddy using credit card, ACH, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
The COVID-19 health crisis has caused companies around the world to make dramatic changes to processes and workflows. CPA firms with completely digital 1040 workflows have adapted to this ever-changing environment more quickly and safely. If your process doesn’t enable remote collaboration for everyone, including clients and administrative staff, this is an opportunity to make meaningful improvements. A few simple changes will result in safer, more flexible processes that will future-proof your firm and improve the 1040 client experience. SurePrep will walk you through the set up. Our guided onboarding plan includes a toolkit of marketing materials and client communication templates to facilitate a smooth transition to TaxCaddy.
The combination of TaxCaddy, 1040SCAN, and SPbinder creates a fully digital workflow that enables remote collaboration between clients, admins, preparers, and reviewers. To see a demonstration of the end-to-end digital 1040 tax return, we recommend viewing our webinar recording of The End-to-End Digital 1040 Tax Return – A Demonstration.