John M. Hoffman CPA

The Paperless Information Exchange

Technological changes are a great thing in the tax and accounting world. One area of technological advancement is the way that we exchange documents without paper.

Many clients are requesting that I email them a pdf of their tax return rather than a paper copy. This is great because it is instant, there is no postage, and you can store it not in a box or a drawer, but on your computer. I do request that you save the pdf someplace safe so you can get it when you need it. DO NOT think that you can access the emailed pdf, not download and save it and then go back later on to get it (like something that is attached to a normal email) as that does not work.

Scanners are inexpensive and the quality of the image is far superior to a fax. It does present the need to give good names to your scanned documents. When you scan the 8879 efile authorization form, rather than saving it as “scan001.pdf” and emailing it to me, name the document “JohnDoe2014form8879.pdf” and email it to me. That way I can save it on my system without the need for me to give it a unique name that will allow me to retrieve it later.

Systems like DropBox are a secure cloud based file sharing system. If you want to create a shared folder in Drop Box please don’t name the shared folder “2014Tax” but rather something like “Doe John and Hoffman CPA”. You can make a folder inside the folder called “2014 tax” and put your documents in that and I can put documents back in the folder for you.

What about those brokerage houses that claim that your accountant should be able to import your tax data into their tax software and save you all kinds of money in tax preparation fees? Well, call me old fashioned but I like to look at the material as it goes into your return and that way it should make sense to me. As such, I don’t (yet) use these import methods.