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Keeping Up With the Benjamins

What every tax professional needs to know for the Winter 2010/Spring 2011.

January 13, 2011
Sponsored by Webinars and Webcasts From Thomson Reuters

Gearing up for the current tax season is proving to be more challenging than ever, especially since 2010 has been referred to as “one of the biggest years for tax changes since the Tax Reform Act of 1986.” Although 2010 was a year of multiple changes and updates (but then again, what year isn’t?), the biggest battle for the 2010 taxpayer isn’t going to be managing the updates; it’s going to be overcoming confusion.

The tax professional’s greatest battle is going to be grasping the magnitude of the changes quickly enough to direct clients on the best way to incorporate these changes and minimize their taxes.

This year, don’t get overwhelmed by the seemingly constant changes; instead, take action by preparing and educating yourself for the new, and fast-changing, tax environment. Tony Johnson, long-time Gear Up speaker and author, suggests that although there have already been many tax changes in 2010, there will be even more this year. To be completely informed, he recommends tax professionals do three things:

  • Attend a comprehensive seminar which will include a review of changes in the last few years as well as changes to date for the 2010 tax year. (These are typically 16-hour seminars.)
  • Subscribe to Checkpoint to receive daily e-mails with late breaking news regarding taxes.
  • Attend monthly webinars that cover 2010 tax changes. (Usually four hours per session, but could be eight hours depending on extent of changes.)

This year may have you spending more time with each client to not only gather all their pertinent information to prepare their tax return, but also to educate them about the new changes, answer their questions and help them prepare for the future impact of these changes. “Proactive tax professionals will spend time with clients doing advance tax planning not only for 2011, but also getting ready for significant changes to be passed in the next few years as a result of Health Care Reform and other expected changes,” says Johnson. “This should all translate into increased billings to clients, [and there will probably be] resistance from clients who are hurting with this economy, so we must work smarter.”

Top five impactful tax updates for tax professionals for Winter 2010/Spring 2011

  • Bush Tax Cut Measures
  • Health Care Act of 2010
  • Small Business and Jobs Act
  • Homebuyer Assistance Improvement Act of 2010
  • 2010 Education Jobs Act
— By Kristy Alpert and Winford Paschall. To learn more about Webinars and Webcasts from Thomson Reuters, click here or view a schedule of all upcoming webinars (PDF).