Marcelino: Hello, and hello, welcome to The Tax Answers Advisor, I am Marcelino Dodge. Can’t believe I’m already up to show number 20, and we’re building it’s just a beautiful ride here we thank you all for listening to this podcast. And I thank especially our listeners throughout the world, not just here course in the US but in Ireland and Colombia and other countries, it’s always nice to know we’re getting out and many are taking advantage of this valuable information you can always contact me directly at www.cashtracksfinancial.com.
Also my email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call me, it’s 844-394-4287, you can even visit me on facebook at facebook.com/cashtracks. Yes, there’s a lot going on with technology and taxes, and is the tax professional you’re using up to date, especially true in this pandemic environment where a lot of are working remotely or desiring to have work done remotely. Is your tax professional up to the challenge?
We’re going to discuss that a little bit more in a little bit of history of taxes as well in the United States going put out this warning again for every one because it is just so important because the IRS feels important and I just know it’s vital in my experiences of doing taxes, is that of the ghost prepare. Yes, to prepare who is unethical, who does not sign tax returns, usually charges 25, 50 or 100 bucks for a return that they do on, do-it-yourself, software.
These individuals, because they do it cheaply, they do not have a P10 number, which is a requirement, that’s a preparer tax identification number, that is required for anyone who is paid to prepare a tax return. These individuals often require some type of payment in cash and they don’t give you any type of receipt. They will also invent income for those to whom they do a tax return for to help them to qualify for credits, they’ll even say things that you can claim.
Like for example your rent, or your electrical, or your gas that you can claim all of these as deductions on your tax return. If you don’t have a business, and all these other things, they’ll give so that you can get some specific credits for these. And these are just fake deductions that they use to just try to make some quick money and the only one that gets left holding the bag is you, the taxpayer, because when the IRS comes calling these individuals, because they didn’t sign the tax return. Essentially they get off scot-free.
But you as a taxpayer is the one whose name is on the return and who electronically signs it, so to speak. You’re the one that is on the hook. And the other problem with these types of preparers is that because they usually do it on, do-it-yourself software is that you don’t always get a printed copy, and you don’t even always have access to the account that they created with the do-it-yourself company to do the tax return. So it’s just not a good idea.
Now the other challenge that often happens with these which is just really sad that a refund that is issued, can be directed to the ghost prepares account and not your account. And that is a very scary situation so you could definitely be very, very bad, very bad for you, so avoid these type of prepares anybody says, oh I can do that for a better cost or I can do that for you. No, it doesn’t work, or even if they say or they’re not going to charge it but they can do it for you.
They’re still relying on the software, because they don’t really know how to put it in and people always end up getting less than they would get otherwise and going to a professional like myself, who really looks over key things carefully, makes sure that the law is being followed. Another thought putting out there is that the IRS today or in the last couple of days has put out the information that all of the legally permitted Economic Impact Payments have been made based on the 2019 and 2018 tax returns, those who did not receive one but still may qualify.
They need to file their tax return for their recovery rebate credit, which most of them, most people received that in advance but there could be a few out there and we’ve had actually a couple in this office already this year, who qualify for this credit, and, and they’re going to get it to at least we’re putting it on the tax return and they should receive it. So, it’s going to be fascinating to see how these come out but so that’s out there so you should have received your Economic Impact Payment or your stimulus payment as it is also called.
And some may still be waiting but they’ve, they’ve been put out they made the checks literally could still be in the mail for some. Another reminder is that if you’re participating in the gig economy through one of these sharing services, I did a show on this a few weeks ago, you must report that income. It’s still income, and you could be liable, well you would be liable for not reporting that so keep that in mind.
Now here’s a question I always like to put out there because I just found the most current figures for these is that, if someone ever tells you that the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes. Well, for 2018 note consider this, 1% of the taxpayers in this country, the top 1% of earners, those who make money in this country, paid 40% of the income taxes that were collected 40%. So that top 1% pays a good percentage of the taxes. Now the top 10% of wage earners in this country who have income, paid 71% of the taxes into for 2018.
So, what this point of this is if that one. Someone ever says well the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Well, according to the IRS, the rich pay a high percentage of the income taxes that are due, and that are collected. So I just leave it out there. Is that fair? You decide. Now as we take a look at today’s topic about technology and your tax preparer, we think about it through history, the US government has used technology of various means to collect taxes, especially as taxation, was the seed of the Revolutionary War, which led to severing ties with England back in 1776 taxation without representation.
Now of course through history what we appreciate is a fact that the Department of Treasury was first established with Alexander Hamilton, as the first Treasury Secretary in 1789 and that started this journey of a variety type of taxation in the United States now. It wasn’t until 1862 when a permanent internal tax system was established for the United States that was at the time, designed to fund the Civil War, that the United States was in.
That was just real bloody and everything but anyway, that helped establish a permanent type of internal tax system within the United States, and up to that time apparently there is some really nefarious things going on after that because, in 1870, it came out that while there needs to be more privacy with personal information because must have been some publishing of personal tax records or something going on because they finally made it illegal and so that those who are collecting taxes are those within the Tax Division there could not be publishing that information so started the initial privacy, which of course we still have that very strong privacy protection up to today within the tax system which is really good for you as a taxpayer to have that.
Now the federal income tax was established in 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. Now this is sometimes debated by individuals who try to say well the 16th Amendment wasn’t really ratified because in this state. Whenever it didn’t happen in, I think the state of Ohio is what they’re talking about, as an excuse not to pay federal income tax or an excuse that income taxes aren’t legal. Well whatever reason or excuse they use it. It’s fact that income taxes are a part of the US Constitution in the US government is allowed to have them, and allowed to charge people with tax on their income.
Then in 1914 came out the first form 1040. And it’s interesting, so I got a copy of this form. In my office, I got a few years ago and I first found it, it’s a little it’s a lot different than our 1040 form today but it’s interesting that it, it still was complicated even back in 1914, at least I think it is when I look at it. It’s like just has these different charts on it, just the way that I calculate stuff it’s like, are you serious?
Well it’s interesting because they had a time period at that time and they were doing taxes, where you needed to actually submit your tax return you don’t message your payment, you need to pay your tax return by June 1st submit your tax return, and then make a payment by June 30th back at that time. It’s this interesting how that develops in the form number 1040 just have to come out because they came with they got to the numbers, you do this, like search on the IRS website, some of the history of it. The form 1040 number is kind of like it was the next number of the forms they were working on, so okay so this is going to be basically it’s been adopted, has been formed 1040 ever since.
So this is always one of my favorite facts about tax history. And we’re looking at this technology is that in 1931, the infamous a gangster Al Capone indicted on tax evasion, they couldn’t get it for the other crimes, but they got him for tax evasion. And he had to pay 215,000 in back taxes that he owed plus he spent some jail time, as well as interest and penalties. So, lesson. Even if you’re a criminal. Pay your federal income tax, because if they don’t get you for anything else.
They’ll get you for not paying your taxes because all income is taxable. Even if it’s generated in an illegal manner. So just keep that in mind. Now, the revenue service was started collecting payroll and withholding taxes that was signed in the law in 1935, so of course that leads up to our current Social Security, Medicare withholding. It’s on all of the payroll checks nowadays and also part of self-employment tax that also paid by many self-employed people today which many of us still kind of get a little bit irate when we have that held out for checks I know when I first went into work.
I got my first payroll check back in. Back in the 80s, that yeah I was like what is this anyway. But yeah, our favorite thing seeing withholding on there. Now, interesting. The Bureau of Internal Revenue that’s what it was called back at the time, started using technologies such as electric typewriters continuous forms and other forms. Another technology as early as 1949. And so, the importance of your tax preparer being keeping current with technology, is because the IRS through three years.
Three years the Revenue Service has used technology for various means and continues to upgrade. So it’s important that us as tax preparers keep up as well. And in 1950, they started using computers as early as 1950 in their tabulation in their calculation, and how they were just processing everything as early as 1950. I did not know that. But it’s fascinating to see that, how soon and how early, the US government was doing this.
And then there was a major reorganization in 1953. Now with this reorganization, the IRS with the Internal Revenue Service as we know it today. That’s when it came into full force and was born. And then it’s, as we look at this and think about how the IRS has progressed over the years, once again, as early as 1962 January, they added automated data processing in full, which sped up the processing of tax returns, even more. I mean, sometimes you think back to the 50s and the 60s and how maybe stuff was not as processed as fast but boy, the gut the federal government was on top of that the IRS came in, started using all this data that’s how they were able to do some of the things they do is that they utilize technology and so it’s, it’s so important for us as tax preparers, and those tax professionals, we’re the ones that we keep up with it too.
And then, here’s the interesting thing remittance processing which that has to do that deals with processing of mail and so on 1978. They started processing 22,000 pieces of mail in an hour, through the process that they were doing just phenomenal 98% accuracy with that. And what we learned this little history and I, this is just some of the highlights of the history here, with the IRS and the taxes, it’s just important to know that they’ve utilized technology, and they’ve continually upgraded to be more efficient, as an organization than to be able to basically do what they do, collect taxes.
And so with that, eventually, electronic filing started in 1991. I remember mailing in my tax returns still in 1991, but I do remember also the initial part, this is a little bit before I actually started in going into the tax business, but yet that’s when electronic filing started and it was so new and so, in that time, is that there was certain advertising restrictions that the IRS had an electronic filing for the first few years that they had it, that you couldn’t say certain things.
I was just kind of getting, getting some basic knowledge just kind of learning things and doing taxes at the time learning about electronic filing and so on.
But the regulations they had at that time just. You could not, you could almost could not say your filing electronically, is it anyway but that obviously changed about 10 years later and now they want everybody to have electronic filing which is pretty much the way 90% of returns are done is through electronic filing now. Then of course, as we come up to today we look at IRS.gov, there’s various online tools that assist both taxpayers and tax professionals to be able to access tax accounts, to be able to look up certain information like a W-2s, or a 1099s that you have look at your tax account see how much you owe.
Also, as you go through this, we can file like power of attorney that’s available now so that I as a representative, your representative can go in and look at your information through this power of attorney. And then of course one of the biggest things that they have now that you can go on to IRS.gov and do, is sign up for your IP pin, which basically is a pin number that is used to file your tax return that is required to have which is actually going to be very handy and I love it for my clients that I have a lot of problems with clients who have children who are claimed on another tax return that they’re not eligible to be claimed on another tax return.
This is going to be big, at least I’m going to encourage it among my clients is that go in to IRS.gov get this IP pin, at least, for your children, so that it will keep others from claiming them on a tax return because if you have that six digit PIN number. Anybody else that tries to claim your child will not be able to do it. That is an excellent part of being able to have this and to utilize the technology tools that the IRS has available, like this one through IRS.gov.
Now, I certainly appreciate this a little bit of history how the IRS has used technology continues to improve technology to improve the taxpayer experience I mean, how they utilize through the years they’ve done what they can. And then of course they added the phone service, 800 phone service which did really good for a while but it has been very challenging, especially in the last year because of COVID but that does work sometimes too.
What we’re going to do is we’re going to take a little break now after this little history, and then take a look at my own journey with tax preparation and the use of technology here so we’re going to talk to you again in a couple of minutes. I am Marcelino Dodge on The Tax Answers Advisor, on the Voice America Business Channel.
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Are you wanting to grow wealth faster, save time and build a nest egg? Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just file your tax return? Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works year-round, improve your numbers, keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Call Marcelino Dodge today, 719-336-8739 to schedule your free tax strategy review. Call 336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.
Many people want to build wealth or grow their business faster, but do not know what specific numbers to look at that actually helped build monthly cash flow. Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just filing your tax return? Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works year-round to improve your numbers, keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Schedule your free tax strategy review by calling 719-336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.
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This is The Tax Answers Advisor with host, Marcelino Dodge. To reach our program today, please call in the number is 1-866-472-5790. That’s 1-866-472-5790. You may also send an email to email@example.com. Now back to The Tax Answers Advisor.
Marcelino: Welcome back to The Tax Answers Advisor, this is your host, Marcelino Dodge. I certainly appreciate you listening to today’s program is going to take a little technology journey with me today because it’s important that your tax professional uses technology wisely because the IRS uses technology tools to learn about you to use collection efforts, and so on. So it’s good that we consider this as a tax professional scene, making sure that we are ready to do things for you in a very professional, very technical manner.
In just my own time, I’ve been doing taxes at 20 plus years and worked with it. First time I was working with taxes, was on a DOS computer using a dot matrix printer with the continuous forms through it the first time. I was working with the tax returns, and doing that and I look back and I think about boy that was sure interesting but it was effective, for the time to put out that information, and to be able to do it. Now one thing has always been consistent is the calculations within using tax software.
That’s one of the great parts about it. Now, I do have in this business, the time I’ve been in it. I’ve always had a computer of some sort that I’ve used now. I do know of those who have been in this business 30, 40 years doing tax returns, and some who were retired who still used, adding machines, various forms. They would when one individual who I was a good friend with were done taxes I guess many years back, said they would actually travel to individual’s homes, like with their adding machine and their forms or whatever they’d go in and add up everything in the person’s home and fill out the form there.
And then sign it, the person would submit it in from there that was real interesting, as well as you think about back at those times in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and into the 90s a little bit, I think, is how some would really go down and maybe get those forms there. There was a time, not so much in the near past but there was a time when you’d get that like book from the IRS that 1040 booklet that big that thick booklet or whatever it was, it had your tax forms had what you needed in it to be able to file your taxes.
That was of course before the electronic filing era. And you’d go in, you fill those out sometimes you’d fill them out by hand. I know, individuals who would go in they fill it out initially, and you have to be very careful on these forms because errors are extremely possible, and that was one of the big issues that people run into is that they perhaps have a name misspelled or they’d have a Social Security number off, and then of course the calculation error with manually filling out those forms. So it’s been a while since I’ve done one manually, but I’m always looking at the forms coming off of my printer is to be very carefully and so even today you can still order forms from the IRS if you want or I know like in my town here you can go down to the library or the city complex.
They have some of the forms there some of the booklets that you can get there but the IRS does not automatically send them out, because very few people actually use those. Now I do know some people I occasionally run into that, I will say are like computer phobic, they just don’t want any of their information on a computer anywhere so there, that’s fine but when you send it to the IRS it’s going to end up on a computer. The IRS computer at least so.
Now we do, I did a few of them initially when I started by hand, use the calculator to do it, which is really nice when I did my initial training. That’s how I how I did it, I did some manual calculations, looked up on the charts, which is really good way to learn the process to understand what the computers are doing and if I could train someone to do it that way initially I would. I would really try to, but then a lifetime just gets away to be able to do that so.
And then of course, that time use a calculator to add up double check triple check your calculations, and then put the stamp on it, hopefully just one stamp, depending on what you’re mailing because as we know standpoint comp covers one ounce. So, depending what you’re having to mail in, or how many forms you were having to mail in at the time, you may have had to go down to the post office and have them weigh that to make sure you had the right postage because the last thing you want is your tax return to arrive at the IRS postage do.
Good thing to keep in mind what’s another reason why electronic filing is such a wonderful, wonderful area. Now I remember when I started off course, I’ve always used the computer at the time I’ve been doing it. Tax is always use some type of professional rated software not a do-it-yourself software, that many ghost preparers used, it’s just not good. And then with this quality professional software usually, as I’ve been working with it, it’s always included some type of electronic filing and it’s interesting, is that back in the early days is early 2000s, 2000 between 2000 to 2005.
It was interesting because the software companies were working very hard at getting everything compliant and most of them do a very good job of it, but what happens sometimes is that just due to variations between states is that for some reason, the software company will not always have a state ready when the federal was ready, and that happened to me a few times here in Colorado, the software company I was working for whatever reason they, they had the federal e-filing all done. But for some reason the state of Colorado wasn’t done. It’s just I don’t know exactly something between their programming and the state or what it was, but actually those problems haven’t existed for many years.
They’re managed to get all of the e-filing pretty much down to a real science I will say, connection between what software company is doing and what the state is doing in Colorado.
And then, other states too because I file and I file other states like California, New York and Kansas, that I’ve done tax returns and submitted them in, and to date, not really had any difficulties with these states anymore, it seems like most of those problems and issues have been ironed out, which is very nice. Makes it good on the client, makes it easy on me, but even makes it better for the client.
I remember to it’s interesting we started I was using one, I will just say, and we’ll see so many of them today, but we see them in certain pictures, the big heavy monitor that was basically like one of the old television sets there as mature monitors look like and had a slow laser printer. Because after I got started in this business it was real fun looking at this as looking at all this ink I could possibly be using sight so I, I moved away from inkjet as quick as I could have gotten a laser printer, it was slow, but now I would just save tons of money on toner.
And initially, when I got started back in there, I was, we had the internet going, of course, and transmitting to our software provider through the internet, that’s pretty much all I use the internet for at the time begin initially getting started because a lot of the tools that are available today just weren’t there. In the early 2000, to 2005, 2010, but particularly the other stuff and then paper, wasn’t paper for those anybody that’s been in this business that paper costs.
I used to go through two to three boxes of paper, 10 reams in a box each tax season because you’d print a client copy of the tax return. And then you printed a file copy and put it in your file cabinets, little file cabinets and I actually still have today. And then of course after certain things you then ran a copy of certain other things that you had a client signed but then you needed to make sure you kept a copy of then, in some cases you even copied W-2s as well because you give your W-2s back to the client.
But then, you would also keep a copy of the W-2 in your file because inevitably the client would be coming back on, can I get a copy of my W-2? So, anyway, we always kept copies of those on file, and of course my big filing cabinets for drawer filing cabinets which are still around today actually still have the same ones I had back in 2003 and four. Just kind of repurposed but we’re still using them, and the boxes as I mentioned here have been really cut down and I’m gonna explain that in just a little bit about how I adjusted that use of paper, which is also environmentally friendly.
Now during this whole course of doing the technology, I also use technology and internet, which I’m gonna talk about this more in a future show about taking the test, and then passing the test for the Enrolled Agent designation with the IRS. I’m going to explain that, about being an EA more in a later show but technology helped me doing with that and then as I progressed into this business a little bit more and more and continually looking at technology making adjustments, and trying to serve clients, even better, give a better level of service kept using tech looking at the technology and the tools that are available.
It just kept moving forward, because I’m a person as I work with individuals, like any who contact me as a result of this program. My goal is to always provide fantastic customer service because doing tax returns, and work with an individuals on this level like I am doing is actually my. Let’s say probably like settled into the third thing I finally settled into after I finished college, because I don’t say it took me a while to find myself, but I but I’ve always had the thought of providing good customer service as a tax professional.
That’s the one thing I do get a lot of comments on we really appreciate how you explain things we really appreciate how you help us, we really just appreciate many the way that you conduct business because you’re not just throwing the information at us or you’re not just throwing a tax return at us, but you’re explaining it to us you’re giving us the how-tos where can we do better. And so that’s just how I’ve always thought about technology wise in the business is to move forward, give the best service.
And part of that was initially when I was using computers have always had a desktop of some sort, computer that we’re using, what today actually as well and the business is first initially started networking used to move information between computers using an old three and a half inch disc if anybody remembers those, using those I would take return cop because we had the software on more than one computer, but it wasn’t quite networked yet.
Well, we took that little disc and moved it from one computer, copied on this one, we’ll go over this once we could put the return ins we can transmit because we only transmitted off of one computer. Then finally, I got me a router one year and started running this nice little cat five cable between the computers and that’s it’s made a world of difference to having everything connected to one system using one computer primarily as the transmitting computer, and it just has done wonders helps to really be more efficient, helps things get out faster and helps us to be able to do even more. And do a better. Now, we consider to as I mentioned, one of the areas where I really started looking at, where can I save some money and be efficient and be environmentally friendly, is to start using two-sided printing, duplex printing with my tax returns.
And I’ve been doing this for several years, because every so many years I’ll update my printer because the first printer I bought many years ago. In fact, my first color laser printer I bought was only a single sided printer, and it worked good printed up the copies worked very well. But, I just got to a point where as I was thinking as I was looking at a new printer I was like, this one prints two sides was like a novelty thing to me so I was like, you know this would be really be good.
And so I ordered my first duplex printer and started printing two sides and my paper usage just dropped dramatically. Just I’m going to two-sided printing, which it’s interesting that over the last 10 years I’ve been doing two-sided printing for at least 12 years I think at this point. On my tax returns that I use for individuals, it’s still amazes me today. How many tax professionals when I get a tax return from a prior year, from a new I’ll say from a new client coming in, and I say okay I need to see your last two or three years of tax returns they bring those in and it still amazes me to this day.
How many tax professionals only print on one side of the paper? Because many of the forms that you can print on two sizes worksheets you can put on two sides. There’s so much you can do on two sided that’ll save money, that’s why I do it saves me money on paper, and just use much less, of course, environmentally friendly because you’re using less paper. Set up my first website back around 2008 2009, as well initially is back at that time, it was interesting because it was a really a new concept for tax for people to be using websites and the tax software.
I was using at the time actually, had a nice little deal we could use to set up a website, well that’s good so, I started doing that it’s interesting because what I found is that in the area that I work is I work in a small rural area, is that not very many of the tax professionals or even on board with that or they do something very basic with it. And so it’s just been a ride, and having consistent web presence has been very good for my businesses.
This makes it very easy for ones to find me we’re always at the top in our area when it comes to search engines. Then of course, 2009 coming into 2010, the social media started coming in. The Facebook and the Twitter. Initially, I wasn’t going to mess with social media in my business, or even on a personal matter but then I got to thinking, well, you know I’m here. I’m really working to try to stay ahead of the curve, and trying to help reach people more, well with that. What I’ve done is I decided back at that time, you know, I’m gonna go ahead and get on Facebook. I’m gonna go ahead and get Twitter, and it’s really nice because when I got onto Facebook and Twitter. I set up my Cache Tracks Financial page on Facebook, I got the facebook.com/cashtracks. I was like wow, this is great!
Same thing with my Twitter handle @cashtracks. That is just, I was like wow! And I still had those today and I’m the one that has them, and we use those very effectively. You see that with when social media pages get a post there, you visit them makes it very easy to find them, so but very advantageous to take a social media, and got a bunch of followers, both on Facebook and Twitter and it’s been very good right there as well.
And then one of the biggest changes I made in those years throughout 2010, 2011 is that instead of printing out copies for clients. I print out for clients I’m sorry, instead of printing out copies for me to put into a metal file cabinet, each year, right around that time period, I discovered a wonderful electronic filing program that I could use, and instead of printing out those physical copies, saving paper once again.
I started storing those files electronically, and that has been a real blessing because it’s made it easy to go and find information that individuals need within their own little file system that I have. So just some adjustments we continue to do through the year, so now we’re going to really get into, how I’m having to keep up now? And how a tax professional really should be keeping up with the three competitors and a lot of stuff going on in the last specially in the last 10 years and other adjustments?
So we’re gonna come back and discuss that in just a couple minutes, here on The Tax aAnswers Advisor with Marcelino Dodge, on the Voice America, Business Channel.
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Are you wanting to grow wealth faster, save time and build the next egg? Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just file your tax return? Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works year-round to improve your numbers, and keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Call Marcelino Dodge today, 719-336-8739 to schedule your free tax strategy review. Call 336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.
Many people want to build wealth or grow their business faster, but do not know what specific numbers to look at that actually helped build monthly cash flow. Hire a tax pro who makes you money and does more than just file your tax return. Marcelino Dodge of Cash Tracks Financial identifies your key numbers, works a year-round to improve your numbers, keeps you compliant and helps you achieve goals faster. Schedule your free tax strategy review by calling 719-336-8739 or visit cashtracksfinancial.com.
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When it comes to business, you’ll find the experts here. Voice America Business Network.
This is The Tax Answers Advisor with host, Marcelino Dodge. To reach our program today, please call in the number is 1-866-472-5790. That’s 1-866-472-5790. You may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, back to The Tax Answers Advisor.
Marcelino: Welcome back to The Tax Answers Advisor, I am Marcelino Dodge. Really appreciate you listening today about technology, and your tax professional, are they adjusting are they keeping up. Yes, it is so important for a tax professional in serving you as a tax client that they keep up with technology not staying in the past, especially in this area. Now, with the pandemic happening, and so many other opportunities we need to keep in mind as tax professionals and there’s a lot of free competitors out there that’s just trying to swipe away our business.
And with this, it’s important. And I have found important is that with the increased use of the cloud over the last 10 years I’ll admit, I was one of probably many. I was very hesitant at first to make this adjustment to the cloud because it’s like, I am just so comfortable. I know the information is right here on my computer, I know that it’s safe. I know that it’s a set comfort level thing. But yet, well, I’ve come to learn and appreciate as clients and people adjust. Many of them need access to their data.
And yes, we give them at least, I always give someone a copy of their tax return, I got a very nice folder I’m using now. That is very durable, that they give them their tax return information in, we’re all guilty of this at some point. I need that tax return, but where is it, and that’s of course it comes back to for it or now. I provide even more access to for clients to be able to do that which is by having more information stored on the cloud and those options have really, really increased over the years because I’ve always had some type of client portal for the last 10 years hasn’t been widely utilized. But in the last couple years, the use of that portal has just really exploded in my business. And that’s why I kind of always stuck with it. I’ve always had a few that use it, but just demand, and changes, and people are getting where they’re getting more comfortable and using that, especially those, especially young adults.
They need to get access to their data. And sometimes, occasionally what I’ll encounter is a client who is okay with not receiving the physical copy, they’re happy with just the electronic copy because as a tax professional, I can provide you with either the electronic copy, or the physical copy just due to the nature of who I usually conduct business with I always provide a physical copy. Yet, occasionally there’s some who will just be happy with the electronic copy and that is certainly made available to them through an easy to use web portal.
One of the areas to that continues to adjust and change, especially in the current circumstances is billing in payments. People are using, or looking for touchless payment options payment to be able to pay online, which is actually something I’ve had available for a while, through my website, where ones I can send them a bill, they come back and pay it directly and we get the notice back when they’re paid. That is fabulous.
So, then we just move forward, which also makes it easy because, as we have a secure web portal for individuals to be able to easily contact us. It makes it safe for those who are concerned about the safety because of the circumstances they want to be safe and that’s we’ve done that. We’ve made those adjustments actually have an adjusting like this for years, having all these options available for individuals. I just didn’t anticipate that they would become utilized so quickly.
But yet, I’ve always tried to look forward, in being prepared for these items to be able to provide these tax services for individuals. But yet, we always got to keep in mind that how secure is everything, it’s only as secure as your employee and so I have to also keep in mind, keep in my employee train on the importance of web security. What also we keep in mind is because email itself is not a secure form of transmitting information, or sending client documents so, or even sending messages for that matter, so I keep within the system I’m using now.
And I think it’s very important that clients can’t always call, but what clients can do, is they can, because there’s a web app for like the portal that I use, they can send me a secure message through that portal. That way, it goes nowhere else, nobody else sees it, it’s within their account. It comes right back to me or my assistant who looks at it and we make the adjustment for them with that which makes it very secure and getting information back and forth, because with email being not secure. And it just shocks me literally. It shocks me when I hear tax professionals, or I even see and I’ve seen it posted on Facebook. I see a tax professional say, well we’re accepting documents you can mail and you can drop them off, or you can email them to us. That’s what shocks me because not only of the security issues with that, but also the potential virus issues you can have your system, tax preparer professional system could get infected by some type of virus not saying that anybody would do that intentionally.
But that’s why we as a company we do not accept any tax documents via email, because we’re protecting all of our clients by keeping any potential software problems, off of our computers and we some I know some clients aren’t always happy about and some people aren’t happy but you know it’s for the protection of the clients and if you’re going to deal with computers and the internet. All the web-based information that we’re using now you got to have these security protections in place.
And thus we keep these in place and we’re very, very strict with them. And that is for the protection of our clients, and of course our protection as well as a business that way we avoid any type of breaches, or at least I should say. We do our best to avoid any type of breach. And we continuously monitor this process also, tool been utilizing over the last few years. It makes it very easy to do work remotely.
So people don’t even have to come into the office, as well as allows me to serve people. Basically anywhere, anywhere in the world that’s a US citizen that’s looking to file their tax return. Is that IRS approved e-signatures for like the 8879 for the electronic transmission of your tax return. That’s a system I have fully implemented now, because those are often requested through email to add security for you as the client.
I’m always thinking security, is there’s a knowledge-based assessment that is done is that before you even get to the form when we send out the request? You have to be able to answer some questions. And then, you’re allowed to access your form and that’s because these forms when we send them out like 8879 for a signature, that has your personal information on it, has your Social Security number on it so that needs to be secure.
And so, we send it out looking out for client security because that is always one of our number one priorities, is client security. And speaking of client security. We think about this a few years ago, I was looking at my, I had almost phased out my filing cabinets, I got some four drawer filing cabinets that I’ve used for a long, long time. And I’ve been, I thought I was phasing them out. But then some recent information came through just recent, more learning about documentation safety and storage of client files and protection of client data because there was a time and I as a business. I used to have a table that I would put completed tax returns on, just kind of lay them out in alphabetical order or whatever for clients to come out and then additional information came out and from the IRS saying, you need to secure your client data better. I was like, well, it can’t do that anymore. So I had on my filing cabinets here. Secure the client data, it’s not really a technology thing but it’s because I still got some several paper returns that I do is that we secure all client data.
I had to actually add locks to these, file cabinets because they hadn’t had locks, since I bought them, but I found a neat little way cost effective way to add some security to the filing cabinets so there’s a lock on them now, and all client data, any paper client data we have, that has any private personal information. Completed tax returns, pending tax returns, bank statements for accounting clients. All that information is locked up every single night.
Within these filing cabinets, or if there’s other information that we have that’s locked into the desk drawers of our desks or in another cabinet I have, that we also lock stuff up on so it’s not just doing technical or technology security. We’re doing some just good physical security as well as we’ve used technology which reduces what we do but we still gotta have some physical security that we use to keep client data safe. And in addition, a regular internet security software regularly updated.
And that’s vitally important that you use. Good, or that your tax professional is using a strong security software on their system. I really believed in this so much this year that I just completely upgraded for the security of my clients, I upgraded to a wonderful service that helps to maintain my computers and provide some excellent security. I upgraded my network, I upgraded the router, and my Wi Fi all of that increase security so that client because the client information is completely safe, fully utilizing technology for the protection of clients, and for the service of clients, making it easier to do business with us.
But yet at the same time maintaining client, security and then one of the biggest areas that we have is an internal office policy for emails, it’s a no click policy, which what this means is that for the majority of emails that have some sort of attachment. We do not open that email in our email program in Outlook, we do not open it, that email is, or that attachment is set aside, eliminated, whatever. Or, especially if it’s someone trying to send us some data for their tax return, we say no, we can’t accept it that way.
What we can do is we can have you send it to our web portal. That way it’s completely online. It’s not going to be clicking something that’s going to load some type of program that we don’t want on our program, not to say we don’t trust our clients but in a way, we don’t trust our clients. We just don’t want any, efforts coming in there so technology as we see, has many, many wonderful benefits for you, the client, and at the tax professional like myself needs to utilize these for you, the client so that you can get your copy of your tax return very easily through a web portal, so you can make a payment, very easily on your mobile device, or do an e-signature through the forms as well, so that you can get your form sign, whether it be your engagement letter or the authorization to transmit the tax return to the IRS.
All of that is very important in using technology wisely. Then of course having the security in place. Does your tax professional have the security in place, like we have the security in place to protect your data and doing your tax return. You’re so, so, so client oriented you want to protect the client at all costs and we constantly take that stand with everyone we do we maintain a standard in the use of our technology, maintain a standard in our clients is that you have to do it the way that we’re going to ask you to do it, provide the information that we need and utilize the tools that we have.
We don’t use outside tools. Now, there’s one side point also, I forgot to mention is that as a business. It’s also good for a tax professional to have text messaging with multimedia messaging which is a beautiful thing we just added that in this year. It’s worked out real great. I’m trying this wants to send you a picture they can send it through texts. Again, have your tax professional, make sure they’re taking advantage, give me a call sometime 844-394-4287 or email Marcelino Dodge, you can email me it’s email@example.com, or visit me at Facebook which is facebook.com/cashtracks.
I look forward to talking to you again next week at 9am Pacific. I really appreciate and I thank you so much for listening to The Tax Answers Advisor, I am Marcelino Dodge on the Voice America Business Channel.
Thank you for listening to The Tax Answers Advisor with host, Marcelino Dodge. We’ll be back again next Thursday at 12 noon Eastern time, and 9am Pacific time, on The Voice America Business Channel. We’ll have more to share next week.