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Now, please
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“Early in the season the questions tend to focus on how quickly things can get turned around. Those clients in early often want it done right away,” said Garrett Wagner, a CPA and founder/CEO of the C3 Evolution Group, in Rochester, New York.
Fee speech
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“As usual, people are talking about prices, and we assure them that unless their tax returns have changed we’ll try to keep the costs as close to last year as we’re able,” said Debra James, an Enrolled Agent at Genesis Accounting & Mgmt. Services in Lorain, Ohio.
Pro former
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“The new W4,” said EA Terri Ryman of Southwest Tax & Accounting in Elkhart, Kansas. “I’m recommending that they complete the form as 'Single' with no exemptions. Then once they’ve had a payroll stub with the new withholding, compare it with the previous check stub and see what the difference is. Most seem to be dropping a lot,” Ryman added, “so then we calculate the difference and put it on the Additional Withholding line.”
Familiar bedfellows
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“The early talk is, ‘Can’t wait for the next tax cut!’” said Morris Armstrong, an EA and registered investment advisor at Armstrong Financial Strategies in Cheshire, Connecticut. “Breaks my heart to have to explain the facts of life: That should Blue sweep in, be assured that taxes will not be as favorable … I doubt if any meaningful changes in the Tax Code will happen if we have a split government.”

Added James, of Genesis Accounting & Mgmt. Services, “They’re also talking about politics, and since many of our clients have strong opinions that don’t necessarily align with mine, I remain quiet, and let them express themselves. It seems to make them feel better to have someone to bounce their ideas off.”
It’s in the mail
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“Clients are always wondering when they can expect to see their refunds,” said Michelle Staeball, a CPA and owner of Townertaxes in Rochester, New York. “I indicate that the IRS usually takes about 21 days, and New York usually takes about 28 days.”
What a croc
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“‘Why do I owe so much money?’ If you’re making money, it’s good for you and the economy,” said Portia Rose, a CPA and senior manager at Top 100 Firm Mazars USA in New York. “‘How can I reduce my tax bill?’ Let’s meet during the year. ‘Should I move to Florida?’ Not always the best idea — other non-tax things need to be considered. Think alligator in your back yard.”
QB why?
“This season is much more quiet than last year,” said Dennis Cole, a CPA and managing partner at Beers, Hamerman, Cohen & Burger, in New Haven, Connecticut. “With the sweeping changes made last year, clients had a ton of questions and there was a lot of uncertainty by both clients and preparers in early February. The biggest issue we encounter is whether the QBI deduction will be a permanent thing. With something this political, we can’t give a definitive answer.”
The more things don’t change
“It’s still too early to gauge what my clients are worried about, but the feedback I’m getting so far is that some of my clients are worried about what tax bracket they’re going to be in and how we can effectively save on taxes,” said Manasa Nadig, an EA and owner at MN Tax and Business Services and a partner at Harris Nadig, in Canton, Michigan.

Added Sallie Mullins Thompson, a CPA in New York, “They ask if it’ll be better this year. I tell them no! Unless, of course, their situation has changed.”
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