The Tax Preparation Process

Here’s how the tax preparation process generally goes:

  1. You get me all of your tax information. We can arrange a meeting, or you can mail me your info, or scan and email it to me (or Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), or drop it off in person, or however you see fit. If you’re a new client, I’ll need a copy of your prior year tax returns, either on paper or in pdf format. See here for a list of other things to consider. I’ll of course let you know if I think anything’s missing, so don’t worry too much about whether or not you have everything; most of everything is fine.
  2. Sometime within the next couple of weeks, I’ll fill out your tax return using the information you’ve provided, and we can email or talk over the phone to answer any remaining questions.
  3. I’ll send you a draft copy of your tax return, as a pdf. I generally send this electronically; you’ll get a link via email that will allow you to view and download the draft. I may call you at this point to talk over anything that I think is worth discussing.
  4. You look things over and let me know if you have questions or if you see anything that needs to be changed. I’ll send you revised drafts, as necessary.
  5. You download and save the final pdf copy of your tax return, and let me know that you’re ready to sign and e-file. Note that I generally do not send a paper copy of your tax return to you; you may request a paper copy, for an additional fee. If you ever lose your pdf copy, I can very easily send you a new download link.
  6. I’ll mail or email you all the necessary paperwork, including forms that need to be signed and returned to me, a final invoice, and payment vouchers and instructions for any tax payments you need to make. 
  7. You sign and return to me the necessary signature forms, along with payment of your tax preparation fee.
  8. I’ll e-file your returns once I get everything back from you, and will send you a confirmation email when they’ve been accepted by the IRS.
  9. You send in any tax payments that are due, per any instructions that I’ve provided.
  10. I’ll return to you any original tax documents (W-2s, etc.) that you gave or sent to me. This may not happen until after tax season ends, when I have a bit more time to work through the huge pile of accumulated tax stuff that I need to scan for my records.

That’s it. Of course, there can be variations depending on your specific situation, but that’s the general idea.

The information on this page is current only up to the original date of publication: December 16, 2013. For more information, please see the Terms of Use.