Crazy season for advisers who prep client tax returns

Work days get longer and busier starting in late March at financial planning firms that also prepare client tax returns.

Their offices are abuzz on Saturdays these weeks, and regular planning meetings with clients and prospects are put off until after the April 18 filing deadline. Some firms bring in extra staff to help calculate returns, and most provide lunches and dinners to thank staff for their added efforts.

Overall, the four weeks leading up to April 18 are a blur of financial statements, client calls and late nights, according to financial advisers who complete returns for clients as part of their planning processes.

“It’s a very busy time of year, but we feel like it’s important to continue doing returns for clients because tax planning has become such a critical part of a client’s overall planning, especially since the 2012 tax changes,” said Lyle Benson, founder of L.K. Benson & Co.

The firm makes projections over the year as to where clients will stand in terms of their tax liabilities, and when it completes the returns it’s making sure the numbers align, he said.

“The tax planning steps we take during the year, such as harvesting losses, are reinforced when we do the return,” Mr. Benson said.

But time-wise it’s a stretch for his eight-employee firm, which brings in some additional part-time help during the tax season.

At Padden Financial Planning, founder Sheila Padden made it easier on herself this year by bringing on a paraplanner “who loves tax preparation.”

Now each tax return gets two sets of eyes on it, she said.

“Tax preparation helps me with my tax planning work because it keeps me sharp,” Ms. Padden said. “The devil is in the details.”

All of her regularly scheduled financial planning meetings from February through mid-April each year are tax focused. She’ll welcome her first post-tax-season meeting on April 20.

[Source:- Investmentnews]