Business Matters: tax season officially underway

Whether or not you have your W2 form yet, the tax season is officially underway. Jan. 23 marks the first day the IRS and the Minnesota Department of Revenue are accepting tax returns.
At the Plymouth accounting firm of Johnson and Company, Ltd. you can almost feel the pace picking up.

As the son of a CPA, Tom Johnson grew up with the tax business. As principal now of Johnson & Company, Johnson and his office of 9 accountants serve about 1,600 clients and most of them walk in the door after Feb. 1.

"We'll ramp up from 60 hours a week starting about next week until 80 hours a week in late February," said Johnson. "Then myself and a few other partners will probably be hitting the 100 hour weeks up until April 15."

Tax tips for this season

Since April 15 falls on a Saturday this year and Monday, April 17, is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., the filing deadline this year is Tuesday, April 18.

If you're weighing the options of doing your own taxes or hiring a professional, Johnson says consider the amount of action in your return.

"Action to me is kids, houses, investments, small businesses on the side that you might do," said Johnson.

Dan Hendrickson of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota agrees. The more complex your affairs, the more benefit there is for hiring a professional.

"I think the benefit of someone who is in the industry and who is either an accountant or a tax attorney, who has the background, will sign off on your form and will be there for you if you're audited, say down the road, as opposed to fighting that fight by yourself," said Hendrickson. "You have somebody already in your corner."

At Tom Johnson's office, they're ramping up and ready for the rush of tax return information.

"I don't mind receiving every piece of document they have, whether it's relevant or not because it might spur a question on my side," said Johnson.

Despite the long hours, even tax season can have its benefits.

"I'm fortunate that periodically clients will bring in snacks and treats and that always puts me in a better mood during tax season," said Johnson with a smile.
One other note to consider, a new federal law requires the IRS to hold refunds until Feb. 15 for taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit.

Alexandra Renslo reporting

Twitter: @alexrenslo

January 23, 2017


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