It's Mary O'Keeffe from the Bed Buffaloes blog.
I was thinking about you this morning. I woke up and checked my email and was greeted by a friendly reminder from Bank of America, which handles the payroll for the Schedule C business my husband runs (and for which I work also.) It was reminding me that I need to review and file the W-2s as well as the other end of year and end of quarter paperwork. (Fortunately, they make that easy and cheap, as long as all employees have their paychecks direct deposited in Bank of America checking accounts, which are also free.)
Anyway, as I reviewed and printed out my own W-2, I reflected on the fact that it seems so early to be doing W-2s.
But I'm glad to be able to get dealing with all of that year end/quarter end paperwork out of the way, even though I will be way too busy to prepare my own tax return until probably late March.
All of that is prologue to my actual comment on your blog.
You mentioned that you were spending New Year's Eve typing out W-2s.
That also seems early. I wondered if you do that earlier now than you used to years ago because your clients' employees are eager to efile and get their refunds quickly these days?
Or if you have always it done it early, just to "clear the decks" so you'll have time for all the work that will be coming your way when your clients start bringing you the data you need to prepare their returns.
And my response -
Typing W-2s on Christmas Eve (if possible – my big client has a bi-weekly payroll on 3 companies and one, a union, pays monthly on the first of the month) and New Year’s Eve is a long-standing tradition of well over 20 years.
This annual custom has absolutely nothing to do with my clients’ employees being eager to “e-file”. For the most part, while the W-2s are typed before January 1st, they are not mailed or handed out to the employees until at least mid-January. I have found over the years that if mailed out too early they have a tendency to get lost, and I was often contacted during the tax season, when time is precious, to provide a replacement.
As you suggest, I type W-2s on the holiday eves to “"clear the decks". It is one less thing I need to deal with in January. Besides, as I have posted I have not gone out on NYE in 30 years - so it seems a good a time as any to do this task.
You may know that I personally do not “e-file” the federal returns of my clients (although I do e-file NJ state returns when appropriate) because I cannot do so totally free of charge. I do not use flawed tax preparation software to prepare tax returns – I do all my returns manually – and I am not about to waste thousands of dollars to purchase such software just to be able to electronically file federal returns.
I am curious to see how the IRS will respond to the new electronic filing requirement for tax preparers for 2010 returns. Will they provide a totally free method to e-file at www.irs.gov or allow taxpayers to “opt-out”?
BTW – what do you think about the IRS “Tax Preparer Review” recommendations?
And I love your idea, suggested in today’s “New Reality TV Show” post at BBIYTC, to have tax cheats Chuck Rangel and Tim Geithner appear as contestants on a TV show called "Are you smarter than a VITA volunteer?"
PS - Thanks for the message of condolence.