In a prior blog, I connected the Project Management Triangle to the preparation of a corporate income tax return with a promise to discuss the three sides of the triangle; cost, time and scope. My last blog targeted cost. Now, it’s all about me.
In my prior life as a tax partner at KPMG, I didn’t understand how clients regarded tax returns. But when I became responsible for tax filings for a theater company, my perspective changed. My focus was on paying actors, negotiating leases and keeping artistic directors focused. I was wearing so many hats. Tax returns were not the priority, raising money was!
Now consider tax returns in relation to the following more abstract realities:
- We all have 24 hours in a day.
- Procrastination is generally not a good thing.
- Expect the unexpected.
Because time is our most valuable commodity, planning is crucial. In the context of tax return preparation, it is important that the company commit time to inform your preparer of facts and amounts to be reported. If you don’t make this investment, it’s likely your returns will be deficient.
Remember the saying, “If there’s time to do it over again, there was time to do it right in the first place.”
We all procrastinate. I get it. However, it’s one thing when it’s only about you and your task. With tax returns, it’s a significantly bigger problem. The IRS deadlines don’t move. If your preparer has lots of clients who wait until the last minute, he or she still only has 24 hours in a day to prepare your returns, as well as everybody’s else’s. The result can’t be good.
A client once told me I would die with my inbox full. What did he mean?
Simply to expect the unexpected. What do you do when your tax returns are due in three weeks and your boss throws you a new project due next week? I know. You’ll shift to the new task and blow off the tax returns. Guess what? The IRS doesn’t care about your new project.
Here’s the challenge.
- Don’t put up with a tax return preparer that waits until summer to request tax information.
- Don’t accept the historical deadline orientation.
- Don’t leave yourself open to the unexpected.
- Don’t respond to emails on summer vacation.
The VPTax way of doing things doesn’t let you off the hook. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to fulfill tax filing obligations when you are in control of the plan!
See all posts in the Project Management Triangle series.