To ‘organizer’ or not to ‘organizer?’ Collecting tax documents your from clients

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Client tax organizers are a love-hate relationship. We love them when they come back in time and are filled out correctly. Clients love them when they actually utilize them to help prompt a preparation list of documents and items they need to collect for their return preparation. 

But the reality is that tax organizers typically come back incomplete, with confusing information or not at all.

Constant changes in tax laws for the last several years have made it almost impossible to skip organizers. Doing due diligence to ask your clients every question, like did you receive child tax credits, did you install energy efficient windows, did you buy or sell crypto, would require an hour-long conference call with everyone in order to get through the required questions. Sending them via organizer is definitely more efficient if you can manage to collect responses.

Below are a few best practices when sending out your organizers this year to help improve their efficiency:

Make sure you are sending them electronically, and they are electronically fillable for your clients’ ease of use. Bonus points if the forms are mobile-friendly. I am 10 times more likely to complete a form if I can do it via my phone while I am waiting in the school dismissal line. Take the time to notice what makes things easy for you throughout your busy day and try to replicate that convenience for your clients.

Consider automating with softwares like TaxDome, TaxCaddy or Thomson Reuters CS Suite. Organizers that can be custom created at the click of a button using your clients’ prior year tax data will help make it easier for them to fill out and more likely that you will get an accurate and complete organizer back. Using a basic electronic template that requires everyone to fill out their name and date of birth even though they know you already have it can make it frustrating for clients right off the bat.

Send with instructions or host a complimentary webinar. Want to really boost your organizers coming back complete and accurate? Host a complimentary webinar just for your clients. Go through an organizer and common mistakes or questions that get missed. 

Leave time for questions and answers and help to support them in getting organized. They want to get their returns filed as much as you do but procrastination sets in for the best of us when we are overwhelmed as to where to start with a project. Providing short instructions as a minimum can help to ensure you get what you need more efficiently. 

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