Children of certified public accountants might be wondering what’s become of their mom or dad lately. Many Iowa C-P-As are working 14-hour days with the approach of the deadlines for filing state and federal tax returns.
Jeff Strawhacker, a C-P-A in West Des Moines, says at this late date, procrastinators can forget about trying to get an appointment. “We like to see people start to gather their information in early to mid-February and go through it and get it to us as soon as possible,” Strawhacker says. “If we can get the information in before about the middle of March, we’re typically in good shape. After about the middle of March, things really do get a little tight and it’s sometimes tough to get those returns out the door.”
In recent months, there have been changes in the federal withholding, new rebates offered on vehicle purchases and for hybrid vehicles, in addition to all sorts of changes in tax law, making it challenging for even the sharpest accountants to stay current on every nuance.
“This year’s been interesting because we had a lot of late legislation in 2008 dealing with other tax changes, dealing with disaster-related tax relief acts, and then we have the new stimulus package coming through in 2009,” Strawhacker says. “It does make the reading and the comprehension level a little hard to keep up with at this time of year.”
While some see their C-P-A as a valued financial advisor, he says others equate a trip to his office with going to the dentist. Strawhacker says, “There are a lot of clients that are glad to see me because we do talk about planning opportunities and ways to help them in future years and there are others who just dread tax-filing with a passion and don’t want to face it and it’s just like pulling teeth to get the information in and get it done, so it’s a little mixture of both.”
The deadline to file federal tax returns is next Wednesday, April 15th. State returns in Iowa are due on April 30th.