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A busy year for tax accountants, even with a July 15 filing deadline

Justin Ho Jul 15, 2020
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The tax season is far from over, too. Some are applying for the Oct. 15 extension. Tim Boyle/Getty Images
COVID-19

A busy year for tax accountants, even with a July 15 filing deadline

Justin Ho Jul 15, 2020
Heard on:
The tax season is far from over, too. Some are applying for the Oct. 15 extension. Tim Boyle/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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Wednesday is the deadline for individuals and corporations to file their taxes. The IRS extended the deadline because of COVID-19. But those extra three months have kept accountants and financial planners pretty busy.

The extended tax deadline came as a big relief for accountant Lorilyn Wilson.

She said it gave her more bandwidth to concentrate on other issues, like helping clients apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans.

“Being able to tell our business clients, who we also do their taxes for, ‘Hey, look, we’re just going to focus on this PPP stuff, and we’ll worry about your tax stuff in a couple months,'” Wilson said.

And many people have been more concerned with their health or their jobs instead of all the tax paperwork they have to sort out.

“We’ve had to do more handholding, rightfully so, and really help them focus and walk them through what’s needed to be done for the tax return,” said Phil McCollum, tax partner at the accounting firm Henry+Horne.

The tax season is far from over, too. Accountant Brian Streig said he’s spent the last two weeks preparing extensions, which are due on Oct. 15.

“That’s starting to feel a little ominous,” Streig said.

In that time, Streig and other accountants say they’ll have a lot more on their plates — such as helping clients apply for PPP loan forgiveness.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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