We are thrilled to finally release two checklists that will help you analyze a tax return. With over 111 votes, this has become the most requested checklist. Tax returns are complicated to review without following a structured review process. Given the complexity of this particular subject and the demand for this kind of checklist, we wanted to share a few observations on our approach.
We spent a lot of time determining the best way to craft a checklist that would be engaging and of interest to the advisor (and the client). Our goal was to create a thorough checklist that wasn’t overwhelmingly technical. At the end of the day, this checklist is designed to uncover the major issues both in filing a tax return (like double-checking that the client is receiving the right deductions) and the planning issues that creep up through a tax return (like the basis of non-deductible IRA contributions and carry forward losses).
Our intent is that these checklists will help provide a focus for the advisor and ultimately save time when reviewing a tax return. The structure of the checklist itself follows the format of our other checklists. There is a probing question. If the answer is YES, that means there is an issue that will need to be addressed or reviewed (perhaps at a later point). If the answer is NO, the advisor (or client) can move on.
These checklists are all based on the 2018 tax return. We opted for 2018 so that advisors could begin to test the checklists in their practice right away. We will incorporate feedback and update the checklists for the 2019 tax return early next year.
We continue to adhere to our two-page limit. Given the numerous items to consider, this forced us to split the checklist in two. One checklist deals with issues to consider for someone who is retired. The other checklist deals with issues to consider for someone who is working (and may have dependent children). Please note, we intend to roll out a separate checklist for business owners.
Finally, we have included references to specific tax forms and in most cases the specific lines on the form to make it easy for the advisor (or client) to find the answers to the probing questions.
Without further ado…
For Essential and Deluxe members, here are the two resources being released today:
What do you think of these two new resources? How can we improve it? Send me an email – I’d love to hear your thoughts.