Tax season is officially here. But this year looks a little different for many of us due to Covid-19. We asked CEO Bryant McNulty of McNulty & Co CPAs in Sleepy Hollow to address what people should expect.
River Journal: What are the benefits of working with a qualified accountant virtually versus trying to do your taxes yourself with an off-the-shelf tax app such as H&R Block?
Bryant McNulty: With a qualified accountant, you are getting the experience that they have over their lifetime of working with different clients and situations. Most accountants like myself work with certain clients in certain industries, so we have knowledge that is specific to that particular industry. For example, if you had a Honda and you took it to a BMW mechanic, they may not know how to fix it, but if you took it to a Honda mechanic, it is going to be a lot easier for them to fix it.
You also have someone there for you throughout the year who can provide additional guidance. People who save the most in taxes plan with their accountant throughout the year and have conversations with them that you will not get if you do taxes yourself or use an app.
RJ: Are there rules that you need to be aware of when it comes to working remotely with an accountant verse meeting with them in person?
BM: One thing that it is important to be aware of is sending documents electronically. Typically, when you bring your accountant something in person, it is a lot less likely for your information to be stolen. The IRS does not recommend that you send any sensitive information via email.
Our firm uses a client portal that features the highest form of encryption that the IRS recommends, ensuring that our clients’ data is protected. That is one of the most important things – making sure clients’ assets are fully protected.
RJ: How have you adapted to working with clients in this new environment?
BM: I have been virtually servicing clients around the country for several years now, so I am very comfortable with that aspect. A lot of accountants had to get used to this change and were not able to adapt as quickly. We already had a client portal in place and were familiar with Citrix and Zoom, so we were ready for Covid when it happened.
Our client portal allows us to organize documents and makes sure that everything is efficient. It even allows us to electronically sign off on tax returns, so clients do not have to come in and physically sign. We even have an app where you can take pictures of your documents and upload them right into the secure portal, and I don’t know of any other small firms that are using this technology.
Need tax advice? You can reach Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org.